I'm writing this with my brand new browser, and I wanted to tell you about it. In case you haven't heard (and it was hard to miss, given that I saw it everywhere on the web, and even heard it on the CBC National Radio news last night), Firefox 3 was released yesterday. You can download it here.
Firefox 3 boasts more than 15,000 improvements over Firefox 2, and is being called by everyone from tech to mainstream journalists, "the best browser for the web."
So what am I most excited about? It's not the Awesome Bar or the advanced security features, it's not the new UI or the improved download manager. It's something else.
Firefox 3 represents a new kind of software project: a project welcoming of student involvement. For more than two years we've been working with hundreds of students to improve Mozilla and Firefox. Seneca students and faculty have added features, fixed bugs, created new tools, improved old tools, written documentation, tested every conceivable configuration imaginable, written extensions, vetted and tested extensions, added back-end functionality, added front-end functionality, made it possible to measure and analyze data coming from the browser and users, improved localizaiton support, setup and supported build and test infrastructure, worked in C++, JS, Python, Bash, Makefiles, and who knows what else. We've had our hands in so many aspects of this massive and wonderful piece of software.
When I see the number of improvements, and I run this browser, I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment, both personal and on behalf of my students and colleagues. There isn't a school anywhere in the world that cares about or understands Mozilla as deeply as we do. Three years ago I would not have believed it possible that we'd have done as much as we have.
My favourite thing about Firefox 3 is that it contains thousands of contributions from the Mozilla@Seneca community.