Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Users with add-ons much more likely to upgrade? · 2008-07-02 14:00 by Wladimir Palant

Henrik Gemal posted on current Firefox market share. Apparently, current Net Applications figures say that only 24% of all Firefox users already switched to Firefox 3. Interestingly, the percentage amongst Adblock Plus users seems much higher. The numbers on addons.mozilla.org indicate 43% Firefox 3 users. This is confirmed by the numbers from popular filter subscriptions, e.g. 43% of EasyList users (largely US-based) and more than 45% of “Cedrics Liste” users (mostly German) are already using Firefox 3.

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Comment [4]

  1. pd · 2008-07-02 14:36 · #

    This is more proof that add-on update lag is a big hinderance to early adopters and power users, the likes of who are arguably more inclined to test nightlies.

    Just another reason why Firefox could be more innovative and add more proven usability from Add-Ons: the Add-On update lag.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Adblock Plus has been supporting Firefox 3 nightlies for something like two years, there was barely an add-on update lag. Yes, this is a considerable effort and most add-on developers don’t take the time – but shifting that effort to Firefox developers won’t help either. I want the Firefox developers to develop Firefox, not spend their time on add-ons.

  2. Robert Wetzlmayr · 2008-07-02 16:08 · #

    From my experience, it’ll be the other way round. As ‘pd’ said, I’m also personally rather hesitant to dash into upgrading FF as some of my essential extensions might seize to work. It requires some research (or a sibling FF installation) to determine whether all extensions are up-to-date.

    Add to the confusion, that for instance the official Firebug site lacks a download locations for the FF3-compatible version – though it exists.

    All things considered, this makes upgrading FF a less enlightening experience as it could.

  3. pd · 2008-07-02 19:20 · #

    I am not suggesting that the main developers spend their time on Add-Ons. I am suggesting that there is an Add-On update and therefore (for many people) a new Firefox version lag – whether this be testing nightlies or waiting to adopt a new version. Perhaps MoFoCo could do something to address this? Maybe offer financial incentives to the developers of the most used extensions?

    Whilst loosely on the topic though, where is the plan to take Firefox beyond 20% market share? ATM it has about 16% yeah? Do Mozillians think that more of the same approach taken thus far will be enough to build more market share? Are they even aiming for market share?

    As a web developer I’ve got to believe Mozillians want to eat IExploder’s market share because if they don’t, there will not be enough pressure on Microsoft to maintain a decent browser and we will have a crappy incompatible web for the next half-dozen years or more.

    Will Firefox reach beyond 20% without building-in substantially more features that are substantially more compelling than have made it into the main browser so far?

    Most of the development that the main developers do is not actually very innovative in terms of user experience. It is more often fixing some antiquated architectural legacy like RDF storage that in turn allows for a new download manager and the ‘awesome’ bar. I suppose the machine learning behind the awesome bar is innovative however things like zooming are only fixed by the move to cairo and then only match what is already on the market.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    But MoCo is doing something, a lot actually. See Alex Polvi’s blog (http://alex.polvi.net/) for example, Alex has been tracking add-on progress and resolving issues for months before Firefox 3 release. There were bugs for most popular add-ons on bugzilla.mozilla.org, and developers got help making their add-ons compatible. And I also know that MoCo does regression testing with some of the most popular add-ons on trunk, in a few cases they reported Adblock Plus being broken before the users did it.

    If you click the link I posted above – Firefox market share is reported at 20% right now. That’s the lowest estimate actually, XiTi for example reports much higher numbers. And – yes, they are aiming for further increasing market share. I am not sure whether a “grand plan” is available somewhere (it probably is) but it should be a combination of traditional marketing (MoCo is running quite a few marketing campaigns), community marketing (http://www.spreadfirefox.com/) and simply delivering the best browser out there.

  4. eupator · 2008-07-03 14:38 · #

    It’s hardly surprising – grannies are unlikely both to upgrade their browser by hand, and to install extensions.

    There used be an issue with many extensions not supporting newly released Firefox versions, therefore slowing down early adoption, but recently Mozilla successfully nudged extension authors to support Firefox 3 earlier (and gave them more time to do so).

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