Asa Dotzler

Spread Firefox

Linux -- In Search of the Desktop
22 minutes, 10.2mb, recorded 2005-08-05
Asa Dotzler
When Asa Dotzler blogged about "Linux on the desktop" on his mozillazine blog, the response was phenomenal. It was also posted on Slashdot and ZDnet, and Asa got a lot of feedback on his blog post. In his blog entry, Asa has emphasized on the four main places where Linux needs to improve to make it big on the desktop. These are migration, stability, simplicity and comfort.

Asa argues that Linux application developers must make it easy for Windows users to migrate to Linux by importing settings and preferences from Windows. This will enable these end-users to see the power and usability of Linux without disrupting their daily routine. Also API stability for both GNOME, KDE and other desktops leaves a lot to be desired. Package and patch management is another problem area which troubles a lot of new users who move over to Linux.

Linux applications should be simple to use and developers should not put in features and configurable settings just because it is possible for them to do so. It is best not to confuse the users with too many options. Efforts should be made to make Windows users comfortable on Linux by keeping the button positions on the dialog boxes and the keyboard shortcuts the same. There is no value added in changing these. Asa also feels that Linux is a good developer platform and that more developers should use it.

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Asa Dotzler is the community coordinator for several Mozilla projects. He is the founder and coordinator of Mozilla’s Quality Assurance (QA) and Testing Program, which has grown from just a few contributors when Asa joined the project to tens of thousands of volunteers today. As the Quality Assurance lead, Asa works with Mozilla’s volunteer QA and testing community to ensure excellence and to certify applications for release.

Asa is also co-founder and community coordinator for the Spread Firefox project, launched in October 2004, where he spearheads open-source marketing projects. Spread Firefox is charged with empowering Firefox community members to raise awareness of the popular Web browser. When he's not helping new QA and marketing contributors, he's working with, the project management group at Mozilla, to define requirements and development roadmaps for the Mozilla projects.

Asa has been an active member of the Mozilla community since 1999. After volunteering for more than a year, Asa joined the Mozilla organization and has played a key role in delivering products including the release of Mozilla 1.0 and the release of the award-winning Mozilla Firefox Web browser and Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail client now used by more than 60 million people combined worldwide.


This program is from the O'Reilly Open Source Convention held in Portland, Oregon August 1-5, 2005.

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