When I blogged about the launch of Firefox 1.0 five years ago, I knew it was a big day that we would look back at in the future. However, I would be lying if I said back then that I knew what kind of impact Firefox would have on the web as a whole.
Five years ago, you couldn’t choose what type of computer of device you wanted to use to browse the web because all websites were designed to work with IE on Windows. Something as basic as surfing from your mobile device — we take this for granted today — was completely out of the question. Microsoft was in full control of the Internet and your web experience.
This all changed when Firefox was released on November 9th 2004. Finally, web developers could design web sites according to standards instead of designing them to work for IE. Finally, users could experience web sites the way they were meant to be. Finally, the web was accessible to everyone.
In a nutshell, Firefox is the reason why we can surf the web using our iPhones, Linux netbooks, or OpenSolaris PCs.
If I appear to be slower to respond to e-mail lately, it’s because my two-year-old MacBook Pro broke down last week, leaving me without access to my local data. It started with some occasional graphical glitches (see video) but it only took a few days until the computer wouldn’t boot anymore. Interestingly, during this gradual fail, the rEFIt boot menu that normally allowed me to start Linux suddenly disappeared. The first time it disappeared, I could restore it by resetting the PROM memory, but now it’s just gone.
Macs are weird in so many ways. You can’t just install Linux and expect it to work — you have to install additional software like rEFIt just to boot into another OS than Mac OS X. Furthermore, you can’t just plug a USB stick in and boot from it. In short, Apple is the very definition of locked down proprietary technology and it annoys the hell out of me.
I’m sick and tired of Macs and I’ve decided to even out the remarkably unbalanced Mac/PC ratio at Mozilla by getting a PC as my next computer. I’ve also decided to give in to my passion for Linux and use it as my full-time OS from now on.
While I’m waiting for my new computer to arrive, I’m writing this from Sofie’s little 12″ PC running Ubuntu. It works like a charm, but I am definitely not as productive as I was with my own computer. I sometimes have to let go of the computer for a few minutes so Sofie can check her mail — after all, I’m the one borrowing her computer. However, the biggest reason why I’m not as productive as I was before my MacBook broke is that I don’t have access to my local data.
Two things I’m a lot more dependent on than I ever thought:
The local address book of Thunderbird
The local AwesomeBar data of Firefox
I’m working on getting a Linux Live CD (Sofie’s laptop doesn’t have a CD burner) to boot up my MacBook and transfer all my local data to this computer so I can resume full productivity speed again.