Revisiting how we build Firefox

Robert Kaiser kairo at
Fri Jul 10 21:42:07 UTC 2015

Russ Thomas schrieb:
> On 9 July 2015 at 08:29, Mike Hoye <mhoye-4eJtQOnFJqFBDgjK7y7TUQ at> wrote:
>> Those esoteric plaforms are "MacOS and Windows", where something like 99%
>> of our users are.
>> ... but we need to ship our software to our users as we find them out
>> there in the world on the hardware and OSes they have, not as we might wish
>> them to be.
> You make it sound like Firefox behaves on the target OS as the target OS
> might expect an app to behave... but I know Firefox does not do that on
> Windows. The Firefox window is anything but "standard", including most of
> the window chrome and controls.  I (along with many AHK users) wish it were.
> Maybe this initiative will change that?

Converting Firefox to plain HTML is very probably actually making its 
look and feel fit less into the different platforms as well as make 
Firefox itself less customizable (for example, by killing off real themes).
At least that would be the case with the current state of HTML, and it 
would at least take a few years to make HTML fully capable of fitting 
itself into the look and feel of different OSes and their different 
themes (all of the major OSes support at least a few different themes at 
this time).

If the transition is done step by step and very carefully and along with 
a *lot* of work put into HTML to close the still existing gap it has to 
XUL, then I'm sure it can be done within a few years - but it still 
needs a lot of work.

I personally wonder how this fits at all into the three pillars of 
Firefox development that were presented recently, and where the direct 
user benefit is in "killing XUL". That said, XUL was created as a 
transitional technology because HTML wasn't ready for UI (and it still 
isn't fully there yet, even though much further along) and I'm convinced 
that slowly and step by step we need to move to HTML, even if I think 
that talking of the end goal of getting rid of XUL itself is premature 
at this point.

Note that this is all my personal opinion and not meant to imply we 
should stop this all, I'm in no way part of those decisions (I'd only be 
if, and that's a big "if", we'd end up endangering release quality, and 
I'm pretty convinced that nobody would want to risk that, actually).


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