Monthly Archives: May 2008

9th Annual Mozillagumi party, Tokyo, May 31

One of the oldest Mozilla communities on the ‘net is celebrating it’s 9th anniversary this weekend, May 31st, here in Tokyo.  The Mozillagumi, a Japanese community of Mozilla developers, localizers, testers and users is celebrating 9 years of community support for Mozilla in Japan.  I for one am very glad that there is such an active and engaged community of users here in Japan.

The event this Saturday should be interesting for Mozilla and Firefox users.  The lineup of speakers includes:

The event is free and open to the public, so we hope to see you there!

Firefox 3 profiled in the New York Times

EDIT: The article is now on the front page of the BOTH the Business section AND the Technology section!

NY Times, Business section, front page, Monday, May 26th

NY Times, Business section, front page, Monday, May 26th

NY Times, Technology section, front page, Monday, May 26th

NY Times, Technology, front page, Monday, May 26th

The New York Times is my hometown paper, and I’m a regular reader of The Grey Lady, so it’s a pleasure to see Mozilla’s efforts for Firefox 3 profiled in my paper: Open-Source Upstart Challenges the Big Web Browsers.

With tasks like e-mail and word processing now migrating from the PC to the Internet, analysts and industry players think the browser will soon become even more valuable and strategically important.

“People in the industry foresee a time in which for many people, the only thing they’ll need on a computer is a browser,” said Mitch Kapor, the software pioneer who now sits on the board of the Mozilla Foundation and has created a start-up, FoxMarks, that is developing a tool to synchronize bookmarks between computers. “The browser is just extraordinarily strategic.”

That notion has helped to rekindle the browser wars and has resulted in the latest wave of innovation. Firefox 3.0, for example, runs more than twice as fast as the previous version while using less memory, Mozilla says.

The browser is also smarter and maintains three months of a user’s browsing history to try to predict what site he or she may want to visit. Typing the word “football” into the browser, for example, quickly generates a list of all the sites visited with “football” in the name or description.

Firefox has named this new tool the “awesome bar” and says it could replace the need for people to maintain long and messy lists of bookmarks. It will also personalize the browser for an individual user.

Cisco and China; Linux in Korea; community survey; JUI in Tokyo

Intel® C++ Software Development Tool Suite 1.0 for Linux* OS Supporting Mobile Internet Devices
Free IDE for mobile linux development.

OECD Broadband Portal – Press release
Data on broadband growth.

Firebug 1.2 beta for Firefox 3 RC 1
Works with Firefox 3 RC 1! Might have a few bugs but please check it out.

Q&A with Isaac Mao on tech blogging in China: Censorship, and opportunity
Isaac was very helpful when we visited Shanghai in 2007 before we opened the Mozilla Beijing office.

Cisco Systems Denies Online Censorship Role in China
Cisco internal documents show otherwise.

Cisco Leak: ‘Great Firewall’ of China Was a Chance to Sell More Routers
Not surprised; very disappointed.

Cisco saw opportunity in “Golden Shield” to help fight criminals…and dissidents
Must-read from Rebecca MacKinnon on Cisco-firewall-gate.

Read and be depressed with me.

China’s All-Seeing Eye
Naomi Klein for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Open-Source File Format Is to Be a Part of Microsoft Office
Embrace & extend.

Report: JUI (Javascript User Interface) 2008 conference in Tokyo
Akky and Serkan have made Asiajin a must-read in 2008.

Firefox 3 Usability Survey
Isriya Paireepairit of the Mozilla community in Thailand would like your help with a survey he is working on for his university studies.

Metagold: A Research Blog about Nico Nico Douga
Fascinating English-language look into the hot video web service of Japan. Correspondent’s Diary – Tokyo food
Excellent Tokyo food blog.

Linux Foundation Opens Korean Office
The LiMoKr must be targeting enterprises or just the server market because the Linux desktop is dead in the water in Korea without support for SEED and Korea’s unique Windows/ActiveX-based encryption method.


.jp Registry report 2007

Lower fees, more coordination within Asian registrars, expansion of JP DNS servers, DNSSEC.  Personally, I am still on the fence with regards to i18nized domains.

Chris Blizzard video interview

Amanda McPherson, the marketing director for the Linux Foundation, linked to a great video interview with Chris Blizzard from the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. Chris talks about Firefox on Linux, Mozilla and Linux, Firefox on mobile and other topics related to Linux and Firefox.

Firefox 3: UTF-8 support in location bar

There have been a number of posts recently looking at new features of Firefox 3 including the new smart location bar (a.k.a. Awesomebar), the new bookmarks functionality, color profile support, the site identification button, the 3 new themes, to name just a few.

I’d like to take a look at one of the new changes for Firefox 3 – support for UTF-8 multi-byte uris. To give credit where it is due, this functionality is already available in Internet Explorer 7, in Safari 3, and in Opera 9. However, this functionality is slightly different in these browsers (which I will explain further below.)

For those of us who mainly use the Roman-language us-ascii web, you may not notice one of big changes for Firefox 3: UTF-8 multi-byte support in the location bar. This is a very large usability win because previously non-Roman ascii language uris were unreadable in Firefox 2. In Firefox 3, they are now human readable.

As an extreme example, here is the Japanese wikipedia page for the place in Japan that has the longest name, 愛知県海部郡飛島村大字飛島新田字竹之郷ヨタレ南ノ割

For those of you who study Japanese, you would pronounce it like this: 「あいちけんあまぐんとびしまむらおおあざとびしましんでんあざたけのごうよたれみなみのわり。」

In Firefox 2 where the location bar would not display the Japanese multi-byte characters, the encoded uri is 254 (!!!) characters.

In Firefox 3, where the location bar supports UTF-8, the uri is 54 characters (and is readable within an average laptop browser window.)愛知県海部郡飛島村大字飛島新田字竹之郷ヨタレ南ノ割

Human readability and a shorter uri together make this quite an important feature, especially for non-Roman ascii language parts of the web (which I think are the parts of the web that may be growing the fastest recently.)

Two other examples to show the extremes of multi-byte uris in ascii text:

The Welsh town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is 58 characters in length.

In Wikipedia Japanese, it becomes a 389 character encoded uri in Firefox 2.

It is a mere 69 characters if we can use a browser that supports encoded multi-byte characters in the uri.ランヴァイル・プルグウィンギル・ゴゲリフウィルンドロブル・ランティシリオゴゴゴホ

Here is a Japanese wikipedia page that has information about a portion of the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. It is a 704 character encoded uri in Firefox 2.

It is 104 characters using Japanese in the uri:日本国とアメリカ合衆国との間の相互協力及び安全保障条約第六条に基づく施設及び区域並びに日本国における合衆国軍隊の地位に関する協定の実施に伴う刑事特別法

These are extreme examples to show what happens when a multi-byte uri becomes encoded.

Here is an enlarged image of Firefox 2 of a uri from the Japanese volunteer translated Mozilla Developer Center documentation on Vine Linux. (Click on the image to see it larger.)

Firefox 2 on Vine Linux-focus

You can see that the uri after “MDC:” is unreadable encoded text. (Click on the image to see it larger.)

In Firefox 3 it looks like this: (Click on the image to see it larger.)

Firefox 3 on Vista-focus

It’s a tad blurry but I hope you can see that the uri says “MDC:日本語版” which means ‘Japanese language.’

Here are 3 screenshots of Firefox 2 in Vista, Mac OS, and Vine Linux, as well as 3 shots of Firefox 3 in Vista, Mac OS, and Ubuntu to show you the differences. You can click on the images to see larger images if you would prefer that.

Firefox 2 on Vista (non-human readable because of encoded uri; click on image to view larger)

Firefox 2 on Vista

Firefox 2 on Mac OS (non-human readable because of encoded uri; click on image to view larger)

Firefox 2 on Mac OS

Firefox 2 on Vine Linux (non-human readable because of encoded uri; click on image to view larger)

Firefox 2 on Vine Linux

Firefox 3 on Vista (human readable with decoded uri; click on image to view larger)

Firefox 3 on Vista

Firefox 3 on Mac OS (human readable with decoded uri; click on image to view larger)

Firefox 3 on Mac OS

Firefox 3 on Ubuntu 8.04 (human readable with decoded uri; click on image to view larger)

Firefox 3 on Ubuntu 8.04

Dynamis helped me make the screenshots in Japanese just as an example (as that’s the non-Roman ascii language that we are most comfortable with) but if you have examples from your non-Roman ascii language, please feel free to post Firefox 3 screenshots to the web and leave uris in the comments so people can see how this might work in another non-Roman ascii multi-byte character set.

With respect to how browsers handle this functionality differently, Firefox 3, Opera 9 and Safari 3 all automatically decode uris in the location bar so that they are human-readable. IE7 has support for UTF-8 multi-byte uris but will not automatically decode them in the location bar.

There are no specifications anywhere for this browser behavior as far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong.)

Finally, note that pages that are not UTF-8 encoded will not be decoded properly in Firefox 3 if the uri is multi-byte.

It is a small feature, but for those of us who spend time in the multi-byte Internets, it is a very, very important feature for both readability and usability.

Thank you to dynamis and jdaggett for the review and help.

Some other posts about new features in Firefox 3

viral ads in China, the year in browsers, cute corporate mascots, IDN

  • The Mozillagumi’s 9th annual party will be held in Tokyo on May 31st. Presentations by John Daggett and David Tenser of Mozilla, Channy Yun of Mozilla Korea, Takagi-san of AIST, Nakamoto-san of, and a number of others. This event is free and open to the public but requires signup iirc.
  • We object to “Restriction of Harmful Information on Network Bill”
    The Wide Project, (a non-profit that works to promote the Internet in Japan), takes a stand against recent movements by the government in Japan to increase censorship of content on the Internet (a futile effort led by a clueless politician who wishes to blame the medium and not the users.)