Firefox EWG – Meeting #3

Cross-posted from the Enterprise2.0 blog

Summary
Call on Sept 19th was about useful Extensions for the Enterprise. A larger portion of the meeting, however focused on the apparent dwindling interest in Enterprise Firefox within the larger community.

Is the Enterprise simply not ready to bring Firefox in-house? Or, are the majority of institutional adopters simply happy with a consumer product floating about?

Perhaps one of the problems is that we still talk about Firefox as a Web Browser as opposed to a “Productivity Platform” for the Desktop.

Firefox is a Productivity Platform
All the features that make Firefox a consumer favorite deal with productivity. Tabs, keywords, search bars, extensions, dictionaries, etc help us be effective and productive in our work and home lives. When consumer says “better usability”, enterprise says “better productivity”.

Mike Kaply spoke about adoption at IBM. Developers are finding ways to enhance the end-user experience by writing custom extensions for Firefox. Whether the extensions glue several applications together or simply automate the tedious process of filling out web-forms, end result is a boost to productivity.

If Firefox is the gateway or glue between what’s on the Desktop and what’s on the network, potential for productivity-boosting application is something to ponder.

Raising awareness
Mike and I are going to take lead on a few initiatives to help raise awareness on the Enterprise Firefox front:

  • 10 Steps to adopting Firefox in the Enterprise
    Now that we’ve begun to pool experiences, we should be able to bake out a definitive guide of sorts for things to consider when bringing Firefox into an enterprise environment
  • Good Ol’ Conference
    We will begin looking at opportunities to present at some Conferences
  • Blogging – check…
  • Code Day and Training
    The learning curve for any kind of Mozilla-related development is rather high. Perhaps training targeting institutions and enterprises (like an Enterprise track) will help developers scale this wall.
  • Enterprise Firefox Incubator
    Talk has alway been cheap. As we address settings management, security, tools etc we will kick off projects within the Enterprise Working Group.

Enterprise Working Group Incubator
On my end, I’m going to kick off some projects for the Incubator. Specifically there has been interest in:

  • Mission Control – how to get up and running, what the back-end implementation can look like and benefits over GPO
  • Customized Reporter Extension – so that you can redirect Broken Website reports to a repository on your intranet
  • Managed Security Zones for Firefox – how to configure and lock capabilitiy.policy settings in Firefox, how to create a “trusted” zone and fully leverage Web2.0 technologies within your trusted intranet.

As always, if any of these topics or projects are of interest to you, please visit the wiki, participate in the calls or simply leave a comment on this here Blog.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Firefox EWG – Meeting #3

  1. Most important issue is performance. After installing tons of extensions (like Firebug, Web Developer Toolbar, TIDY Validator) FF becomes slow. (Memory hog…old issue). That’s the reason why we avoid using extensions to FF in our enterprise.

  2. Mike,

    Some thoughts:

    (1) I’m not convinced the conference call route is the most useful communications method here. If you start with the time, its currently just after hours for me (start 6pm) but that means 7/8pm for mainland Europe and obviously later and later the further east you go. Conference calls are not going to be adequate, effectively, for Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. That’s a lot of continents to miss out on! Further, I have felt after the couple that have happened so far that often I would have wanted to go away and think about a response to some of the issues raised. The Conference call is great for handling specific issues but not so great for a multi-layered discussion in the wide areas we have been talking about, in my opinion.

    (2) IBM and “TeamA” are both very big organisations and the way an IBM or a Big Bank solves a problem is very different to how smaller organisations solve problems. I am concerned at how heavyweight a lot of the solutions bandied about are. You and Yuri have been talking about a server for Mission Control, a server for managed extensions, a server for updates to Firefox. The mountain is not going to move to Firefox, Firefox has got to move to the mountain – unless we come up with a solution that allows Firefox to fit into existing infrastructures, its a dead cause.

    (3) I’m really glad you and Yuri are keeping the momentum up and I’ll help out wherever I can. I don’t agree that interest in Firefox as an enterprise application is dwindling. Hey, look at FirefoxADM. For my shame I haven’t touched it for 2 years, and yet, currently, it is being downloaded more than ever. We just need to tap into these people.