Presenting at this meeting is Robert O'Callahan, a member of the Ximian desktop Linux group at Novell, responsible for Mozilla/Firefox browser development and the integration of Firefox into Novell's Linux desktop product.

Robert did his undergraduate study at the University of Auckland and has a PhD from Carnegie Mellon university. He has also previously worked at IBM Research. He made it known that he wanted a full time job working on Mozilla that he could do from New Zealand, and Novell hired him for their desktop team to work fulltime in Auckland on Mozilla improvements, including multi-column layout for web pages and improved SVG (scalable vector graphics) support.

Slides from Robert's presentation are available in OpenOffice Impress format.

Outline of Robert's talk:

  • Mozilla History

    • Netscape opened the source in 1998
    • Netscape 6 released in 2000, but codebase wasn't ready
    • AOL stops support, Mozilla Foundation set up
  • Moz. Foundation could be more user-friendly/less corporate

    • get rid of netscape4-style suite (composer,mail,web)
    • can add features like popup-blockers
  • Firefox 1.0 release

    • New York Times ad
    • Take-up: 5% of US market, 10% France, 20% Germany
  • Corporates paying Moz developers

    • IBM, Novell, SunMicrosystems, Google
    • Keeping the web open - open formats, not forcing video/image formats
    • competition: IE stagnated since 2001, Microsoft recently announced change of policy - IE7 development and future release for XP
  • Novell Linux Desktop

    • stability/long support cycle
    • target corporate desktops
    • Novell moving to NLD internally for all employees
    • Firefox replacing Epiphany as NLD browser
    • Suse engineers build/package firefox, integrate GNOME lock-down stuff
    • Help get support from community for Mozilla problems in NLD
    • Help get Novell code fixes patched back into trunk (easier to push fixes back than maintaining own patchset)
    • Keep track/align Mozilla and Novell schedules
  • Mozilla for desktop apps

    • XUL - browsers written in xul on top of framework
    • integrate with mono so mono apps can use XUL
    • standards-based
  • Continual Gecko code development

    • move back to a more C++ style away from COM style - use pointers instead of structs for function calls
  • Mozilla Future

    • better text handling - eg hyphenation, multicolumn layout
    • graphics - hardware acceleration, richer applications
    • better/inovative apps - eg gmail, google maps (no explicit page reload)
    • Cairo, SVG, new layout engine ...

This was followed by a quick presentation by Douglas Harvey (IBM) about "Linux on Power":

  • 64% of customers surveyed planned moving some or all systems to Linux in the near future
  • blades/PowerPC
  • the IBM pSeries - 64-way P5 machine at Auckland University
  • Virtualisation - "hypervisor" - can support up to 20 VirtualMachines on a 2way box

There was a pSeries (520?) set up at the back for demonstration purposes, including hotswapping the CPU :p

Thanks to Douglas Harvey of the Systems & Technology Group at IBM New Zealand and Chris Penney of Novell for arranging this meeting.

Beer and pizza provided compliments of Value Added Distributors, the principal distributor for IBM iSeries and pSeries equipment in NewZealand. Contact Anatole Perry (anatole@ - Storage Specialist.

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