Lim Chee Aun

Malaysians and Firefox

I always wonder, am I the only Malaysian involved in this Firefox mania? I asked myself this question ever since the release of Phoenix 0.1, about two years ago. If you don't know what is Phoenix, you might not realise that this open-sourced web browser project has 5 names, rebranded over and over again from 'mozilla/browser', 'm/b', 'Phoenix', 'Firebird' to the current 'Firefox'. It's quite confusing, I know.

Phoenix 0.1 on Windows XP

I still have the 'phoenix-0.1-win32.zip' file on my hard disk. And it's still installed, just incase I feel nostalgic one day. I might be the only Malaysian to download this piece of software, despite my slow dial-up connection. After few releases of Phoenix, I start to contribute to the Phoenix development by creating various application icons. Later on, I create a simplistic theme called Phoenity and publish it to the community on October 2002. At that time, MozillaZine has a primitive forum that I used to browse around. To my surprise, I'm the only Chinese there, because most posters have non-Chinese names, or nicknames, as I observed.

Anyway, I don't care. When the phpBB-powered MozillaZine forums was launched, I am one of the earliest fans to register. If you check out my profile, you could notice that my joined date is 6 November 2002, just one day after the launching date. On the first few weeks of December 2002, I've released a total of 9 themes for Phoenix, which most of their development has been discontinued now, thanks to Real Life. Besides, I've also lent my hand to David Tenser working on Firefox Help, which has now been officially transferred to Mozilla.org.

I might be the first Malaysian to switch from Internet Explorer to this browser. Generally, my decision to switch is not due to security concerns, unlike nowadays, but more into web standards support and innovative browsing features. I like the complexity of the Gecko rendering engine and the simplicity of the user interface. To be more specific, I cannot live without tabbed browsing, popup blocking, and Find As You Type. Believe me, those features are essential.

All the while, I never thought of encouraging other people to switch. Most of my friends are not hi-tech enough to even understand the term 'web browser' or 'alternative browsers', not to mention 'Mozilla Firefox' which could scare them away. However, I managed to convert Navin, a Form 4 friend of mine and Mac enthusiast, to a Firefox user. For the past few months, my Phoenity theme somehow has encouraged few people to make the switch, too, because they favour my icons. How nice.

Mozilla Firefox has been mentioned few times on The Star In.Tech. I supposed, more Malaysians get to know this browser now. I couldn't recognise any Malaysian Firefox users until I found a weblog post linking to my weblog, shown on my site stats. This blogger, called Zaim, is a Malaysian Firefox fan. Whoa. Suddenly, I felt that I'm not alone after all.

He is so enthusiastic that he suggests spreading Firefox here in Malaysia:

So Malaysian open source and Firefox users out there, why not start a spread Firefox campaign here? I can think of a few things we can concentrate on:

  • Localized Firefox buttons and ad in BM

  • Revive the localization of Mozilla (not only Firefox) to BM, the last localized version is Mozilla (not Firefox) v1.0.1! To my knowledge, there hasn't been any localized version of Firefox

  • Push the usage of Firefox at local colleges, universities or schools

Okay, so I'm probably over my head, but why not?

http://www.zlah.com/pd/archives/000029.html

Later, I found few more Malaysian Firefox fans, listed:

All of them have displayed the Firefox button link on their sites. I guess none of them knows the existence of a made-in-Malaysia Firefox theme listed on Mozilla Update. Well, maybe I'm the kind of guy who don't like to show off. Mind you, this blog doesn't contain any direct or indirect link to my Phoenity site, whether you notice or not.

What I'm thinking right now is to find more Malaysian Firefox fans out there. So, if you know any, don't forget to tell me!