Dear #Mozilla, please create a lightweight version of @Firefox

November 18, 2011
By Bogomil Shopov
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Here’s an idea: As an ordinary customer, like more than 90% of all Internet population I may don’t need “Web Developer” menu and maybe the rest 30% of current Firefox functionality.

Why don’t you create a lightweight version of Firefox, just for fun browsing?

Bogomil Shopov

I care about privacy, ethical design, and freedom in many aspects. I spend 20+ years working as a web developer and architect, analyst, manager, and product owner/manager in different environments, several countries, and multiple software industries like Healthcare and Hospitality. I wore many hats, and I use the knowledge gathered to optimize the flow of value across complex systems.


  • jou

    November 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    That’s because, the devtools don’t make it “heavier”.
    That’s because, Mozilla’s mission is to make people aware of the web, and keep their right to tinker, check what the sites do, and so on.

    Of course, many people are just here saying “take my money and shut up. Please control my life and my data”

    But that’s against what Mozilla stands for.

    And the main point is, if Mozilla hides the menu behind a about:config and all other menus too, you’ll believe its “lighter” and “faster”. Maybe even “more fun”.

    The issue is people’s education, sadly.

    • Bogo

      November 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      >>”That’s because, Mozilla’s mission is to make people aware of the web, and keep their right to tinker, check what the sites do, and so on.”

      Agree with that, but how many non-developer users will understand
      what is web developer menu and “what the sites do” from it?

      • Felix Pleșoianu

        November 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm

        Bogo, obviously not everyone will use the developer tools to understand how the Web works. The whole point is to *give them the option*. Because if you don’t, then *nobody* will learn. Is that what you want?

  • Olly

    November 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    What other features are you thinking of? I’m unconvinced there’s all that much to be removed.

    Lets take Safari on the iPad as a nice, simple, browsing-only app. What’s desktop Firefox got that it hasn’t? Web developer stuff. Live bookmarks. Find as you type. Tab groups. Save-as. Plug-ins. Add-ons.

    So let’s remove the web developer menu, live bookmarks, tab groups and add-ons. Is Firefox really that much smaller or faster now? Is it any more fun?

    • Bogo

      November 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      History for example, bookmarks also :)

  • Kyle Huey

    November 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Why? If we remove the Web Developer menu item, how does that make your browsing experience better?

    • Bogo

      November 18, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      I am using chromeless-like project these days and I am extremity
      happy with it. Most of the menus are useless for me.

  • Felix Pleșoianu

    November 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Let me tell you a secret: the Opera browser has a whole suite of development tools built in. The WebKit engine, likewise (though not all derived browsers enable it — Arora does, for example). Firefox is in fact the only serious browser where the development suite (called FireBug) is an add-on. You may want to rethink your request. :)

    Better yet, use those development tools to learn how the Web is put together. That’s how we all started, and that’s why you can enjoy such a rich Web today. Do you prefer depending on Facebook for the ability to speak your mind online?

    • Bogo

      November 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      >>Do you prefer depending on Facebook for the ability to speak your mind online?
      I don’t get that :)

      • Felix Pleșoianu

        November 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm

        What’s unclear, Bogo? :) If I want to publish something on the Internet, all I need is a host and domain name; the rest I can do myself, ranging from the looks of the website to the software that powers it. Whereas you depend on a big company that may suddenly go out of business, or simply decide to shut you up. I owe my freedom to the fact that even the earliest Web browsers allowed me to tinker and figure out how the Web works. And you want that freedom taken away from us all?

        • Bogo

          November 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm

          Still don’t get it Felix. What is connection between
          freedom and web developer menu??

          • Felix Pleșoianu

            November 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm

            Bogo, the Web developer menu can help you pick apart websites and learn how they are put together. That gives you the freedom to make your own instead of depending on others for expressing yourself online. Ever heard the saying “knowledge is power”?

    • Nope

      November 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm

      The engine can’t have developer tools built in. The browser
      can. The engine has hooks to allow the tools to function –
      Webkit and Gecko have about the same amount of them. Do you
      seriously think that Firebug could work w/o extensive support
      from Gecko side? The situation is getting fixed, BTW: Firefox
      is getting webdev tools back, despite idiocy and stubbornness
      of Asa Dotzler and others.

    • bert

      November 18, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      Well, Firebug is the most successful web development tool and it seems Mozilla wants to get rid of it.

      Firefox has 400 million users. How many of them will use devtools? And panorama? 1 million?

  • ARno

    November 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I completely agree!

  • LorenzoC

    November 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I guess web developing tools are much more useful than the “tab groups”. And since I browse from my desktop, I have never used Sync either BTW.

    If you worry of bloat, it is a well known fact that the real issue are plugins and extensions.

    • Bogo

      November 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      Maybe a customizable version will be awesome – if you’re developer – here;s your big firefox package to make the web, if not – here’s our idea to browse fast and better than now

  • jk

    November 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I’m glad to see that some people in Mozilla still carry the original “spirit” of Firefox.

    There is still hope!

  • abral

    November 18, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Removing a menu won’t make Firefox faster :D

  • Ken Saunders

    November 19, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Well sure, I agree to a certain extent. The thing is, what one person doesn’t like or want may be just the opposite for another.
    The only truly fair way would be to give people the ability to choose what they do and don’t want (perhaps let them compile/customize Firefox for themselves). That used to all be done through add-ons, and there are add-ons that became default features and I still wonder why some things became default features, but it isn’t my browser ( entirely :) )

    You have to consider that Mozilla has to offer what other browsers do, do it better than they do, and to offer their own unique bells and whistles.

    I don’t think that it’s a good use of Mozilla’s resources to maintain another option. They’re still working out the enterprise issue. I do think that individuals could offer lighter versions of Firefox, and there are a few. That’s the beauty of open source I guess.

  • pd

    November 19, 2011 at 5:52 am

    This is highly amusing. First Mozilla decides to re-write the Firebug wheel, halving the resources dedicated to developer tools for us poor web devs. Now people are complaining about the presence of one pissy little Web Developer menu item as bloat. LOL

    What a joke! The very extension system that propelled Firefox to a significant market share is now being ignored, in the ‘we too’ desire to have pre-installed tools. More to the point, the first versions of those tools, as seen in Aurora 10 and nightlies, are so grossly inferior to Firebug that it will take a long time to get them up to scratch.

  • jou

    November 19, 2011 at 7:09 am

    from what i understood, if we would hide the dev menu even if its still there it would make you happy.

    as odd as it sounds I understand. its wrong, and kinda “dumb” and I disagree with it, but still, i understand.

    if enough users think the same it could be something worth doing actually.
    but you’d have to prove that somehow, and, i don’t know how myself.

    maybe metrics will tell, since they measure how many people click on web dev tools.

  • njn

    November 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Dear Mozilla, please remove all the features in Firefox I don’t use, they are obviously bloat. But don’t even think of removing any of the features I do use, they are obviously crucial.

    • Bogo

      November 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Like :)))

  • Gervase Markham

    November 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    One reason to keep it in there is that we _want_ every user to eventually care about what’s in that menu. If we can turn every web user into a web maker, the web will be an immeasurably more awesome place.

    We don’t start that process by making tools harder to get.



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