Older blog entries for modus (starting at number 7)

Most developers would object to being personally contacted about this sort of thing - reactions would range from your email being deleted without a response to massive flamage.

It would be much better for you to first read the mailing list archive for whatever mozilla mailing list is appropriate for this, to make sure this hasn't already been addressed. For good measure, check the FAQ and other parts of the web site. If that doesn't turn anything up, post to the mailing list. But please don't send private email to the developers - that would defeat the purposes of the mailing list (to scale well and to help the next guy who has the same question).

It looks like they use newsgroups instead of mailing lists:


You also need to check the bug tracking system (Bugzilla) to see if 1) a bug has been reported and 2) where the developers are at in terms of dealing with the bug.

Here is the link for the bug tracking system:

http://www.mozilla.org/bugs/ I just did a quick search, and here is the bug you want:


It appears that they are aware of the bug, it has been assigned, and someone is working on it. There is a duplicate of this bug at:


But you can always double-check the newsgroups to see if it's been talked about lately.



Hey Mozilla Developers,

My name's Matt Obert, and I maintain a Freebox in the AS220 Cafe in Providence, RI. It defaults to GNOME and currently has three browsers installed: Navigator, Mozilla and Galeon.

Keepin' it short: there has been a problem with lack of application feedback. The Cafe User gets impatient while waiting for their browser to load, and generally hits the Launcher again several times, which slows everything down even further.

I've hacked this so that the launcher button issues a SIGTERM before booting, but it would be even better if Mozilla had a splash screen with the lizard logo (designed, by the way, buy my good friend Shepard Fairey!) I'm not asking you to code it by yourself or anything, but if you could spread the word among Mozilla developers, that would be much appreciated.

Thank you for your patience. If you're still interested in reading more, check out my diary at:


I took Jim's advice and added the killall line to the properties in the GNOME panel launchers for all three browsers. A kludge, but an effective one. The "Cafe User" will learn very quickly to open a new browser window without clicking on the launcher again, because the launcher button will crash the app dramatically before starting a new instance.

I'm still thinking about the splash screen idea. I think I could write a tcl wrapper that just threw up a little window with a button that said, "Loading Mozilla, eh?" and give the person some instant feedback on this. Of course, it would be nicer if I could get the lizard logo in there, since it was designed by a good friend of mine (Shepard Fairey, of "Andre the Giant has a Posse" notoriety.) And it would be even nicer if we could include one of those silly animated thermometers that gradually changes color from left to right as the app loads, since the Windoze-trained "Cafe User" loves those little things. Unfortunately, I am not up to the challenge just yet. I'll be working on my quick-and-dirty version in the meantime.

Ctl-Alt-F-whatever took a while to clear the screen, but very soon I was able to type "ps aux" to find dozens of Netscapes, dozens of Mozillas, and at least five Galeons rampaging around the CPU. I rebooted after using "killall -12" on all the browsers.

One thing you could do is replace the launcher commands in the gnome panel as follows:

For mozilla,

killall -q mozilla-bin;mozilla
[killall sends SIGTERM by default]

and so forth. Or make wrappers that do this and put them in /usr/local/bin. Or do something that detects that a mozilla is already running and takes no action. But a killall approach should work.


On Sat, 24 Feb 2001, Matt Obert wrote:

Ctl-Alt-F-whatever took a while to clear the screen, but very soon I was able to type "ps aux" to find dozens of Netscapes, dozens of Mozillas, and at least five Galeons rampaging around the CPU. I rebooted after using "killall -12" on all the browsers.

Part of the problem here is the lack of splash screens to pop up and let the user know what is going on. Mozilla seems to have a -splash option, but it doesn't do anything on my machine. Galeon doesn't seem to even have the option. Perhaps we should start complaining about this, as it isn't something that geeks have to worry about on their own machines.


I came into the Cafe today just in time to watch a long and messy fsck over somebody's shoulder. I should have asked what they did to freeze the computer up, but I didn't want to seem nosy and annoy the person, so I walked around the room and talked to a few people for a while, until I noticed the individual in question getting up and leaving the Cafe in frustration. I rushed over to the computer to find it in a near-catatonic state -- not completely unresponsive, but very nearly so. Ctl-Alt-F-whatever took a while to clear the screen, but very soon I was able to type "ps aux" to find dozens of Netscapes, dozens of Mozillas, and at least five Galeons rampaging around the CPU. I rebooted after using "killall -12" on all the browsers. In retrospect, I could have simply killed X with a Ctl-Alt-Backspace (or Delete, or whatever.) That would have been a carpal tunnel saver, though inelegant.

Ultimately, when we are done installing apps and configuring the desktop, we are going to make all disk partitions but one read-only, like Jamie Zawinski recommended.

The cafe install proceeds apace, with new icons for Mozilla and AbiWord both installed in the panel. I also put Gnumeric in the "Featured Free Software" drawer -- it looks pretty much like M$ Excel, so the Cafe User should recognize it.

Lack of application feedback (even a splash screen would be nice) is still causing users to click on browser launchers multiple times, which is a real problem: the whole screen freezes up after a while, and the frustrated user generally hits the Reset button when this happens. More trouble.

Fri, 23 Feb 2001:

Well, it's done. Tom and I reinstalled RedHat 7.0 instead of Mandrake because the download was easier, and I just finished building Ximian GNOME, which has the easiest install I have ever seen for Linux -- just point lynx at a site with a flag that says to read it as "-source" instead of HTML!

lynx -source http://foo

Tomorrow, Tom will be back to build KDE, since it is a fiendish tangle of module dependencies -- although KDE should be much easier to build now that we are armed with RPM 4. Remind me to tell you the RPM 4 story sometime, it's a long one.

On Fri, 23 Feb 2001, Michael Castelle wrote:

y'all get mandrake running last night? what's going down?

No, we had to switch to RH 7.0 to get a fresh install (due to the weird RPM 4 situation) but now we have a Cafe desktop again. Unfortunately, most of the changes we made were "under the hood" and the biggest problem with the cafe -- the frayed Ethernet cable -- is still a problem.

There is still work to be done -- Tom wants to compile a 2.4 kernel, while I am more concerned with bringing back Flash 5 and XBoing, and maybe installing Tux Racer.

We also took apart oscorb and removed all the dust bunnies within. Didn't locate the CPU battery, but that's okay because the RH distro seems to be able to tell the time, unlike the Mandrake install we had in here, which I had to patch with an initscript called "timesync" (basically, rdate) which called another local server (brown.edu) and basically said "Yo, what's the time?"

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