Monthly Archives: September 2007

a comparison of browsers…

I heard this comparison of web browsers was on digg but I’m not about to go look for it.

Mobile and PC usage equal in Japan

Mobile and PC Internet usage is about equal in Japan. It will tip towards mobile I am sure. The rest of this is pretty obvious stuff. As non-PC Internet usage grows everywhere in the world, we’ll be going back to the walled gardens of the AOL-era PC Internet. Not a good trend.

The study estimated that 53.6 million people are using a mobile device to access the Internet, a figure nearly equaling the 53.7 million who accessed the Internet from either a home or a work computer in June 2007. The study was conducted among 3100 people age 15 and over.

Checking email is the most common Internet activity from mobile phones, used by 75 percent of those surveyed. Forty-one percent checked email at least once a day. Accessing news and information was next most popular with 52 percent doing so. Search and navigation queries were close behind at 51 percent. 

Time spent web browsing on mobile phones is still much lower than that spent on desktop PC’s. Internet usage on mobile phones averages 8.1 hours per month versus 18.9 hours by PC.

Adoption of web usage on mobile phones skews young. People under 34 years old account for 64 percent of mobile phone web users versus 45 percent of PC web users.

Despite these significant usage figures, consumer satisfaction remains low. Only 12.6 percent of respondents accessing the Internet via a mobile device stated that they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”, with 52.1 percent stating that they were either “very dissatisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied”.

Mobile Phone Web Users Nearly Equal PC Based Internet Users in Japan

Speaking at PopOut! 2007

I will be speaking briefly at the PopOut! 2007 event at Suntec City in Singapore on October 4th. If there are any Mozilla community people in Singapore, I would be happy to meet you at this event. Please leave a comment at this blog if you would be attending PopOut!

The companies that will be presenting at PopOut! 2007 include:

update on the cost of monoculture in Korea

Some of you may remember a popular post I had earlier this year called “the cost of monoculture” which looked at the de-facto monopoly that Microsoft Internet Explorer has in South Korea for a number of historical and technical reasons. There has been some movement on this topic recently and I wanted to share this information with everyone.

On September 11th (while in the last minute rush planning Mozilla 24), I took a day trip to Seoul to make a presentation on behalf of Mozilla to present to the Korea Free Trade Commission, the major quasi-governmental anti-trust body in South Korea. To provide some background to the state of the Internet in Korea, some 35 million of the 50 million South Koreans use the Internet, leading the world in broadband usage. Comscore data supports this as well. Mozilla was invited to present on the de-facto monopoly that Internet Explorer has in Korea, which is detailed on my blog from earlier this year. The presentation I used is up on the Mozilla wiki: Fair Trade Commission (South Korea).

In addition to Mozilla, Mike Junn, country manager for Opera Korea, spoke about the limitations Opera has in the Korean mobile browser market due to the KFTCI’s policies, and Mountie Lee from Paygate (a Korean payment processor which has a browser-agnostic solution) spoke on the limitations of the payment processing market. It was important to show that the actions of the KFTCI, who provide the accredited certification service only for Internet Explorer, end up affecting not only other desktop browsers who can’t support a Microsoft-specific proprietary plugin like ActiveX, but also non-Microsoft mobile browsers as well as payment processors who want to provide their services on browsers other than Internet Explorer. Showing the diversity of the organizations impacted by the KFTCI’s policies, in addition to the market share implications, showed the breadth of the impact of the de-facto monopoly.
Attending the meeting were officials from the Korea Free Trade Commission (KFTC), the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTCI), the Korea Information Security Agency (KISA) who provide the Korea-specific cipher SEED which is used in the KFTCI’s accredited certification service, and a number of industry experts including Channy Yun who is the most active Mozilla volunteer in Korea and is the localizer of Firefox in Korea.

The meeting presentation was organized by Dr. Keechang Kim of Korea University, who has been in the news recently as one of the organizers of the non-profit OpenWeb group, and who has been pushing for browser and web interoperability in Korea. Currently Internet Explorer has a 99.43% market share as surveyed by a major Korean survey firm.
This was a very important meeting as the decision on whether to move forward with an investigation will be made after the content of this meeting is evaluated by the KFTC. Note the KFTC is the organization which fined Microsoft $32 mi. USD for antitrust abuses in Dec. 2005, and forced Microsoft to sell two versions of Windows in Korea (without the Media Player and instant messenger.) So there is an important precedent. The EU also fined Microsoft for anti-trust abuses and forced Microsoft to sell a version of Windows without Media Player, called Windows XP Home Edition N. The EU decision against Microsoft was recently upheld by the EU Court of First Instance which also indirectly supports the KFTC’s 2005 actions against Microsoft.

Prof. Kim told me that the KFTC was initially leaning against investigating this issue further, but that after the meeting, “[Mozilla’s] presence itself made everyone realise that the question today is a competition law issue.” The key thing to recognize is that while technical solutions like adding support for Korea’s cipher to NSS (which is only one part of a potential technical solution for Firefox) should be investigated, keeping the discussion at the anti-trust/competition law level is critical for changes to be made to Korean policy. If this issue was seen only as a technical issue, it would not receive the attention of the Korean anti-trust officials, who have acted in the past.

While we do not know yet if the KFTC will move forward with additional investigations into this issue, I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who has worked hard to bring the issues around browser choice, the de-facto monopoly of browsers in Korea, and open standards in Korea to the current position. To Dr. Keechang Kim and the Open Web team, I offer my gratitude and support. To the web developers in Korea who are slowly but surely moving towards open standards and valid HTML, especially the team at (popular Korean portal) Daum, who have a valid home page, your efforts are being noticed. Mozilla supports the open web everywhere, especially in Korea where there isn’t a choice at the moment.

Westminster eForum

British writer and author Glyn Moody recent spoke at the Westminster eForum on the topic of open source software. He’s provided his statement on his blog.

The main point I’d like to leave with you is this: that open source is not about computers, it’s about people. It’s about how we create, how we share, and how we live and work together in the age of the Internet.

So, far from being some minor technical issue, of interest only to a few anoraks, open source and the larger ideas behind it are, in fact, absolutely central to the way society, democracy and government will function in the 21st century. What we are discussing today is just the beginning.

Guardian UK reporter Victor Keegan, who attended the eForum discussion, added an op-ed around the topic of the discussion of open source at the eForum at The Guardian.

The depth of its [open source software] neglect was made plain by speakers at a seminar last week hosted by Westminster eForum, which tries to make parliament aware of IT issues. It turns out, in contrast to what other governments are doing, that most departments – including Health, Work and the Foreign Office – are so risk-averse they have virtually no open source in their IT infrastructures. The Treasury runs less than 1% of its operations with open source. The Conservatives, who rightly believe Labour is vulnerable in this area, claim that nearly £700m could be saved by switching to open source. This is disputed by others who point to the high initial cost of switching from an embedded system and retraining everyone. But in the long run, low maintenance costs plus the absence of licence fees and upgrade charges must give open source the edge and, even if it didn’t, there is still a strong case for encouraging it because a workforce skilled in open source would be well placed to exploit the enormous opportunities opening up for the future.

Schools are not much better, a double tragedy because they not only don’t benefit from savings but also lose the opportunity to train children in the skills of the future. Equally serious is the indifference of small companies. This, we were told, was down to a suspicion that anything that is free can’t be any good.

Keegan also kindly uses the example of Firefox as a successful open source software project that is popular in the UK. It’s great to see Firefox popular in Europe and the UK, but it’s disappointing to hear that the UK government is so conservative about open source software. It’s interesting to look at governmental adoption of open source software because it’s not what you might imagine. I’d like to cover that in a future post in greater detail.

Andreesen on Firefox as a Level 2 Internet Platform

Marc Andreesen has a very interesting post about the various “platforms” that are available on the Internet. He categorizes them into 3 levels.

Level 1 he calls the “Access API” and good examples are Amazon Web Services or Flickr or Delicious or any service that has an API.

Level 2 he calls the “Plug-in API” and he uses the examples of Adobe Photoshop, Mozilla Firefox and Facebook. Regarding Firefox and Level 2 platforms he says:

This is the kind of platform approach that historically has been used in end-user applications to let developers build new functions that can be injected, or “plug in”, to the core system and its user interface.

More recently, Firefox is well known for having a great plug-in, or extension, API that lets third parties build a wide range of Firefox plug-ins. These plug-ins span functions from blogging to dowloading to search to language translation.

Andreesen goes into a lot more detail on the strengths and weaknesses of Level 2 platforms. He, more than anyone else, knows intimately the strengths and weaknesses of Mozilla.

The Level 3 platform he calls the “Run-time Platform” and he uses the examples of his own new venture Ning,, Second Life, Amazon EC2/S3, and Akamai.

Andreesen goes on to make some very interesting statements about the future of Internet services that ring true to me:

I believe that in the long run, all credible large-scale Internet companies will provide Level 3 platforms. Those that don’t won’t be competitive with those that do, because those that do will give their users the ability to so easily customize and program as to unleash supernovas of creativity.

I think there will also be a generational shift here. Level 3 platforms are “develop in the browser” — or, more properly, “develop in the cloud”. Just like Internet applications are “run in the browser” — or, more properly, “run in the cloud”. The cloud being large-scale Internet services run on behalf of users by large Internet companies and other entities. I think that kids coming out of college over the next several years are going to wonder why anyone ever built apps for anything other than “the cloud” — the Internet — and, ultimately, why they did so with anything other than the kinds of Level 3 platforms that we as an industry are going to build over the next several years — just like they already wonder why anyone runs any software that you can’t get to through a browser.

The whole post is fascinating and worthy of your consideration.

Tencent WebQQ supports Firefox

Nice to see Tencent’s WebQQ service supporting Firefox.

Tencent (0700.HK) updated its web-based instant messaging service Web QQ with a new interface and improved speed and stability, according to a post on Sohu’s (Nasdaq: SOHU) online forum. The updated version also supports Mozilla’s FireFox browser.

Pacific Epoch – Tencent Adds Support For FireFox

Comscore rankings for Japan web properties

This is a bit old but the Comscore numbers for June 2007 are in for Japan. I didn’t realize that Comscore has an office in Tokyo. Mozilla is listed in the “Top 10 Gaining Properties by Japanese Unique Visitors, Age 15+*” but that is driven by downloads of updates to Firefox.  It’s nice to see us in that list though.

· There were a total of 53.7 million unique visitors online in Japan in June, or 49 percent of the country’s population, age 15 or older

· Yahoo! was the most popular property, with 41.5 million unique visitors. Yahoo! now reaches 77 percent of the total Japanese online population, and averaged 33 visits per visitor in June

· The average Japanese Internet user spends 15 days per month online

John Resig to speak at Adobe Max Japan

As the 2007 Adobe Max Japan website has just been updated, you can see that John Resig will be speaking on “Tamarin and the Browser Scripting Revolution” on September 1st here in Tokyo. The session description is as follows:

Adobe releasing their ActionScript Virtual Machine as open source software to the Mozilla Foundation has sparked a browser scripting revolution. In this talk we’re going to look at all the new features being developed on top of the Tamarin JavaScript engine, including ways to embed Tamarin in other browsers. We’ll also look at the new JavaScript 2 language and how that’s being used in Firefox 3 to create some impressive applications.

I believe this is the first presentation on Tamarin in Japan and I think John will be covering some of the exciting new efforts like ActionMonkey, IronMonkey and ScreamingMonkey. John writes more about all of these at his blog.