It’s kind of a thing

November 9, 2000

I’m writing this Wednesday morning (except for a bit below about Mozilla, which I wrote on Tuesday but wasn’t able to post). As of right now, the U.S. Presidential election is too close to call. Whichever candidate gets Florida will likely win the election (barring some bizarre upset when the Electoral College meets). Florida’s margins are so close that the state is legally required to do a recount, and the absentee ballots (which have already been cast but may not have arrived yet) may be enough to affect which way things go.

Now that it’s over, I’ll come out and say that I’m hoping Al Gore won, and I’m very irritated at Ralph Nader who may turn out to have cost Mr Gore the election. Third parties simply are not practical ways to get political points across. Without an immense popular base (which Mr Nader never had, despite all his talk about how he was running to win), the best a third party can hope for is to do no harm to the campaign of politically-similar candidates. The worst is to throw the election to the candidate with the most dissimilar views, thereby actually making things worse. Mr Nader acts as though four years of George Bush would help his cause by being so anti-consumer and anti-environment that people will flock to the Green Party for a change. Somehow, he has managed to be simultaneously cynical and delusional. Without a better voting scheme, the Greens will never be anything more than spoilers.

(Update: It’s now more than 24 hours since the polls closed and we still don’t know who won. Mr Gore has a lead in the popular vote, but of course that doesn’t actually count for anything. We might not know who won until the actual Electoral College vote.) #

More evidence that Netscape Navigator 6 is not the same as Mozilla

Apparently, Netscape 6 is not fully standards-compliant due to a number of bugs—some painfully obvious, like the inability to nest definition lists correctly. The linked article provides ten examples of these bugs. Some of these bugs are already fixed but Netscape won’t include the fixes in their release.

I can understand the reluctance to accept a fix that potentially creates other problems, but some of the justifications used by the Product Development Team are pretty flimsy. Like, they can’t fix a misspelled error message because it would “break localization” (i.e., translation into other languages). As one participant put it, “how often do people translate mispellings while localizing?”

My feeling here is, if you’re going to wait several years to release a product, it’s best to release one that actually works. That being said, the vast improvement over Netscape 4 is welcome. (via Zeldman)

Followup: Since I wrote the above, MozillaZine has posted a tirade against those who would dare criticize Mozilla, largly missing Mr Flanagan’s point that if you announce that you’re going to release the most standards-compliant browser ever and then you spend several years working on it while continuing to update your old, crappy browser, it doesn’t look good if your new product accidently destroys table formatting if someone tries to modify the table with Javascript—especially if there’s a fix for the bug already.

In its response, the Web Standards Project (which was also slammed by MozillaZine, apparently because of past criticism) points out that it is Netscape which is making Mozilla look bad, by releasing a browser which still has serious bugs and which most people will use to judge the success of the Mozilla project. #


Doc Searls points out Microsith, which is well worth wandering through. (The Sith being the evil forces in the Star Wars movies.)

Elsewhere, Dave Barry demonstrates a good sense of priority. #