Marketing Firebird: Get a Clue!

Simon Willison cs1spw at
Mon, 15 Sep 2003 23:56:03 +0100

I just spotted this on a weblog:


But marketing can only come when the basic user issues are handled and 
there are two (or three) that need to get addressed.

    1. Installer.  You need to have a standard Windows installer with 
every single build.  Period.  Now I just checked AGAIN with the nightly 
url and you still just have a big zip of files.  That's just plain 
unacceptable.  If people can't install easily then they just plain 
won't.  Want to offer a zipped version for those that don't like it?  No 
problem but that's an additional option NOT the damn default.  And, yes 
Virginia, installation software is scriptable and automatable these days 
so it can be tied into a standard Windows build process.

    2. Profile Format Changes.  I don't know what it is about the 
Mozilla project but how many times have we all seen the message that 
says "you need to install this into a new directory since we decided 
(once again) to change our profile format and we don't give a rats ass 
about backwards compatibility or being a pain in the arse to our users". 
  Dude!  One reason I don't install Mozilla / Firebird for most of my 
non geek Friends even though they'd like it is that losing user data is 
unacceptable and this message is just plain scary.  Either stop changing 
the profile formats or simply refuse new code if they haven't written 
the import routines for the old profile format.

    3. Now since there is no installer, I shouldn't say this but if you 
address point #1 then the answer is not to make an installer and then 
zip it so its smaller file size.  You need to move from a .ZIP that 
contains an installer to a true Windows .EXE that installs itself.  The 
byte savings isn't worth the hit to usability.


I agree with all three of the above points. Can anyone on this list 
bring these to the attention of the Firebird developer team? I'm sure 
they have considered these already, but they really are vitally 
important if we want Firebird usage to increase.