* Posts by Patrick Finch

24 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Dec 2007

Not so shiny shiny: MWC in a post-affluent iPhone world

Patrick Finch

Re: Good point

Somebody did: the Nokia 220. eur 29, 40 days standby battery, IIRC. That was Nokia's first announcement at MWC.

Windows 8 'sales' barely half as good as Microsoft claims

Patrick Finch

Error in Guardian article

There's an error in the source:

"If you go by NetMarketShare, you get 3.82% for April. The difference is between the way that they measure "users"; StatCounter tries to adjust for internet population in different countries to give a figure reflecting the broader population, while NetMarketShare simply counts hits."

It's actually the reverse, NetMarketShare is weighted (but with bases from 2009, quite out of date for emerging markets especially in SE Asia) while StatCounter is one raw population, (per their FAQs - they also publish the de-factor weightings, the absolute sizes of their sample by country). That means that the difference between 57.3M and 59.25M is more readily accounted for: it's reasonable to assume that recency of purchase has some correlation with propensity to use the Web. A figure of 58M devices in market seems reasonable.

Internet Explorer makes modest gains against Google Chrome

Patrick Finch

This data is subject to change

(N.B. I work for Mozilla)

StatCounter has only qualified 2 days' worth of data for April, see their FAQ:

"After the expiration of a 14 day period from first publication, no changes will be made to the data."

Anyone who watches their data reasonably closely knows that data published during this 14-day window does change quite frequently.

I like StatCounter's interface a great deal, but a count of unweighted page views is not a great proxy for market share. For this reason I tend to follow NetApplications. No method is perfect, but I prefer having a documented method to not having one.

WTF is... WebRTC?

Patrick Finch

Re: New and improved Chatroulette?

"Could be another avenue for enterprising pirates as well to exchange streaming video peer to peer.."

-or copyright owners to stream content to an authenticated end-point?

Football club catches, then punts, Kaspersky name

Patrick Finch

Re: 13 FTW!

"The sport all-too-modestly known as 'The Greatest Game' " (to quote "When Push Comes To Shove").

Rugby league has always been disadvantaged by the establishment- until 1995, rugby union banned players for being paid to play league. And then, on signing a TV deal with Rupert Murdoch, the moral objections of a century evaporated overnight. But that's nothing compared to the game's history in France:


Mozilla's Social add-on MERGES Facebook with Firefox

Patrick Finch

Re: Bye bye firefox

[I work for Mozilla]

It's an API that you integrates social services with the browser if the user enables them. In the case of Facebook, it's like having a Facebook tab open. From your post, I gather the feature is not very appealing to you.

I humbly suggest you try Firefox 17, and if you have ideas for how you wish to control your experience online further, we are very keen to understand and implement them.

I am not sure if this will help what you describe as your paranoia about "data whores", but the Collusion project (http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/collusion/ ) may be of interest to you.

Man City drags Big Data into Big Football

Patrick Finch

I think there's something special about football's resistance to statistical analysis.

When my own beloved Liverpool tried to import "Moneyball" principles which worked so well in baseball, it went horribly wrong. They shelled out large fees on uncontested deals for Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll based on a statsitical analysis of their contributions on the pitch. None of them was especially successful, three have left after a single season. Even more intruiging, if you ignore the one statistic that actually matters (difference of goals scored and goals conceded), Liverpool did very well - by shots, possession etc.

This is nothing new. In the 80s, the "long ball" game was inspired by the statistic that most goals were scored from less than three passes (so why bother to pass it?). The result was that the English game took a great step backwards to becoming "head tennis", while other countries worked on developing skills involved in playing football.

I suspect its the fluidity of the game, the contiguous play, that makes it very hard to isolate key variables (and indeed, to enforce the advantage and offsite rules with any degree of consistency). Most other sports have discretely defined passages of play.

Firefox support extended to older Android mobiles

Patrick Finch

It's a Beta

(I work at Mozilla)

Beta software isn't guaranteed to run flawlessly. The stable release is on ARMv7.

Mozilla releases Firefox 10, adds developer tools

Patrick Finch

Stable releases and testing


Your points have been very well made. We now have:

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/ where we will maintain a stable release on extended support.

For the stable release channel (with 6-week releases), you should know that the build first lives in our "Aurora" channel for 6 weeks, followed by 6 weeks on a Beta channel and of course, the number of features integrated into each build is smaller than a "traditional" release.

Patrick Finch

I don't believe that we are insulting anyone's intelligence


The difference in the new scheme is that features - major features - are permitted to be integrated into the product when they are ready, rather than waiting for a major release.

The version numbers are not really intended for any purpose other than that of version control of the software. Contrary to the beliefs of many here, we do not actively promote a version number: it is associated with the build you download and install...that's about it. What the Register, or any other publication, chooses to put in their headline about the release is of course beyond our control.

Patrick Finch

"not much mention" != "no mention"

Our updating will become quieter - I've posted a link the feature page elsewhere on this thread. If that's what you mean by "shouting" about updates, we have demonstrable progress already with this release around add-on compatibility, and (much) more to come this year.

If by "shouting", you mean writing a blog pointing out all the changes in a release, the assumption I have operated under is that it is a matter of transparency - would you challenge that? I'd be interested. Similarly with "digging" to find version numbers in Chrome; something similar has been proposed in Firefox, but it was not uncontroversial. (bug 678775 in Bugzilla, if it's close to your heart).

I agree with your observations about the general technology consumer.

Patrick Finch

Silent updating for Firefox plans

@Not That Andrew

Short answer is no.

Long answer is: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Silent_Update

Patrick Finch
Paris Hilton

Intrusive, you say?

@Grease Monkey

It's certainly true to say that Chrome's release process has influenced Firefox's. But I don't think that we publicise Firefox version numbers any more than Google does Chrome's, do we? The trade press (such as El Reg) uses the numbers in their reporting of the release, but I don't think there's much mention on the Mozilla blog, or the download page.

Indeed, we agree with your perspective that we expect majority of users not to care about the version. There is at the same time a class of users who certainly do care - people deploying in managed environments, people with specific compatibility requirements etc., and we're also seeking to meet their needs. (These are also people who read the trade press and are perhaps well served by El Reg and others reporting the numbering)

Paris, because I feel people are seeing more of me than perhaps they should

Patrick Finch

Us and because we need it

(N.B. I work at Mozilla)

We don't seek to promote version numbers, but they are useful for, well, versioning.

On the one hand, we want to be able to release features to users and developers as soon as they are ready. On the other, the presence of those features needs to be machine readable. Not to mention, for the business of building, testing and releasing software, you need to know which version you are talking about. I would suggest that Reg readers can agree that is axiomatic.

Version numbering (major / minor) is something that reasonable minds can disagree on, but we've chosen major revisions predominantly because we are able to ship new feature in any new release. We use the numbers to control the versioning of the software, not because we think we're fooling anybody

(By the end of the year, we won't be at v22, rather might expect to have version 17 as a stable release, with version 18 on a Beta release and 19 as an "Aurora" build. )

Patrick Finch

I don't think anyone will shoot you down in flames...

(N.B. I work for Mozilla)

You hit the nail on the head: we've always released security updates with a high frequency, and we're attempting to make all updates less "noisy" for the user: this is still a release or two away.

I'm not going to argue that our update frequency is at an "acceptable" level - for you, it clearly is not. On the stable release of Firefox you can probably expect one to two updates every 6 weeks: a version update and potentially a maintenance update.

We feel our release process is producing a better browser - I'd say that's demonstrably the case - but we're not ignorant to the impact on users and are working hard to address (amongst other things) how verbose updates are and add-ons compatibility.

Second e-petition hits 100K: Calls for Hillsborough docs

Patrick Finch

ex-pats are citizens and can vote

Article appears to conflate ex-pats with non-UK citizens. I am a UK citizen and ex-pat and I lost a friend to the tragedy: I was able to sign the petition.

@AC "let the dead lie in peace" - I trust they do, but the living, it's a different story. How would you feel if you sent your 14 year-old son to a football match and he never returned, and the course of events that afternoon became a subject of much conjecture? You'd surely want to know what happened.

I don't think such a desire is a matter for flippancy, nor do I think it's about for retribution (as you seem to) - after all, what redress could be made? It's about finally being able to say goodbye, after 22 years.

Note to Mozilla: We don't get the Firefox billboards

Patrick Finch

Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla

Hi Matt,

I didn't work on producing this brand campaign, but I am aware of some of the thinking behind it and I would challenge your assertion, "The claim that it also "does good" is irrelevant".

I believe that users have a lot more trust in and affinity for the software they are using if they understand that it is being produced by a mission-oriented non-profit organisation, certainly I think that's the case in the Bay Area, where this campaign ran.

Mozilla's organisational model and mission were not things we had made many specific efforts to communicate on a large scale to users previously, and we could hardly be upset therefore when many of our users (indeed, many people who work in the industry) were not aware of them.

But if Mozilla is going to differentiate its own brand, communicating that identity seems rather important. We do not expect users to make a choice based entirely upon that factor (something I'd hope Firefox 4 demonstrates), but we do want them to understand a bit better who they have a relationship with when they use Firefox. I wouldn't characterise this as an attempt to induce guilt.

OpenSolaris spork ready for download

Patrick Finch

OpenIndiana looks to be on safer ground

IANAL but I did work at Sun on both OpenSolaris and OpenJDK launches.

If you accept the code to OpenSolaris under the CDDL, my understanding is that you are covered by a very explicit patent grant in that license. The GPLv2 under which OpenJDK was released has similar (weaker?) provisions, and implementations that conform to Java specs also have some degree of patent coverage. However, Google didn't take the OpenJDK code, and the product that they released does not conform to a Java spec. The Google/Java situation is very different to a fork of OpenSolaris code.

Mine's the one with the elbow patches.

Mozilla gives passive-aggressive missive to pre-Firefox 3.6 hold-outs

Patrick Finch

@ Jeff Deacon

(N.B. I work for Mozilla)

I do not think Mozilla announced any such thing. I believe that there was a discussion in 2008 about the potential value of an opt-in programme to collect and share publically data on browsing, as it was considered this might have a number of beneficial uses for research, policy etc. Mozilla was / is probably one of very few organisations capable of delivering this data that would not seek to use it for competitive advantage.

I do not believe that at any stage the idea was to sell users' habits to anyone (and I am not sure Google really need to buy usage data from anyone!), and as far as I am aware, this project was not funded, and Mozilla does not collect data about browser usage.

I am delighted that you like Firefox 2 so much, but I tend to think that 3.6 is an improvement and I would recommend upgrading.

Firefox nabs 30 million users in eight weeks

Patrick Finch

@Conor Turton

We (Mozilla) do not count unique installs, we do not track users in that way. We count pings to a list of blocked malware and to update servers.

I hope my explanation I posted above makes it clearer. I agree that the figures are a simplification - they have to be - but they are certainly not bullshit.

Patrick Finch

On multiplying daily usage by 3

@Woodgar @Bernie 2, @ Loki 1

I work at Mozilla, and I would defend the multiplier of 3 * average daily usage as a reasonable estimate for actual usage (although obviously, it is a simplification).

In Europe (including Russia), there are an estimated 402 million internet users, and we see about 47 million daily users of Firefox.

Net Applications reports Firefox market share in Europe at 34.2%, which would mean approximately 137 million European users (assuming 1% users = 1% market share).

This would mean actual Firefox usage is 2.9 times the average daily usage of Firefox.

It does seem likely that Firefox users tend to be heavier-than-average Internet users, but many use more than one browser, (for example they might be obliged to use IE at work). I don't know of any good studies that can account for that, so, all things being equal, a multiplier of 3 seems a reasonable approximation.

Mine's the navy anorak.

Google backs EU's Microsoft antitrust battle

Patrick Finch

@Paul Uszak

The Council of the EU is the highest authority in Europe, and this article is about regulators from the European Commission, not the European Parliament.

Mine's the blue one with 12 gold stars on.

Axmark quits Sun cos he 'hates' working for the man

Patrick Finch

@Anonymous Coward

I worked at Sun for over a decade and left this summer: in my opinion engineering leads the company and the company is very much aware of Linux (have you been following OpenSolaris?).

Gibson plugs in self-tuning roboguitar

Patrick Finch

This isn't why you buy a Gibson...

@M. Poolman

Totally right. I just fulfilled a childhood dream of owning an ES-335. I would have felt even less justified in my self-indulgence were I not able to tune the thing properly. It's a fine instrument though, and it stays in tune however hard I bend the strings.