Updated: August 26, 2011
Universally, including planet Earth and the Federation dominions, the About option in the File menu of every single piece of graphical software is used to display miscellaneous yet informative details about the software you are using, including the version string. So far, every single program out there has adhered to this simple unwritten law.
Now, a challenger appears. If rumors are true, combined with the Internet buzz, blog posts and Bugzilla tickets which I'm sure you can find aplenty without my help, Mozilla wishes to remove the version information from the About page. The version string will still be available if you type something like about:support or about:version in the address bar, but for the absolute majority of clueless users, the change will make them wonder what version of Firefox they are running. Hmm, let me tell you what I think.
I think removing the version information is not enough. This tiny details cannot be the only thing that makes Firefox so different from Chrome. I mean, after ditching all the good things that made the browser so popular in the last five years and alienating the loyal userbase, super-ultra-turbo-fast versioning and weird changes for the sake of change are necessary to make Firefox unique in the browser crowd. You can't stop at the version numbers. What I propose is to create a special Firefox version, the uniquest ever.
This Firefox version will remove all and any confusing information from the user, including the URL themselves. LOL. Who needs all those confusing slashes. Let's drop the prefix first, so users don't know whether they are connected to FTP, JAR, HTTP, or maybe HTTPS. Then, let's drop the suffix. Do you care if the displayed page is HTML, HTML or PHP? Finally, remove the central bit. Use holistic browsing. It's all about the cloud. It's all about apps. You have Facebook. You don't need website addresses. They are meant for old people, conservative people, the former generation.
This new version of Firefox will be called Firefox I'M WITH STUPID. It will allow displaying the boring information only by using special switches from the command line. For example, if you want to display the version, you will use the --i-am-with-stupid flag. And if you want to see the URLs, then you will use the --al-gore-made-the-internets flag. Here's a great example from a Linux box running a pre-alpha release. w00t!
Moreover, the browser will always run in the special Pre-Dawn channel, which is ever better and faster than Aurora and Nightly combined. It will contact the GIT server every one minute and pull random data, so you're never truly and fully up to date. Voila!
Now, how's that? Would you not like this sweet piece of a browser? I know I would. Like totally, definitely would. Now that's called being different. Google have nothing on this.
There we go. The fine line between fun and horror, between humor and tears. I really wonder what the Mozilla dev slash marketing team has in mind. I am also wondering about their formula for success. Because Firefox reached its 30% userbase when updates were slow, tabs were on bottom and all the geeky stuff was where it was. Now, it seems that it is all ancient history, bridge over troubled waters, a relic that no one seems to care about, except the users watching in growing frustration as Mozilla pumps out Firefox whelps every three nanoseconds.
I think my special version would really work. First, it would show immense progress, just by gaining seven thousand version increments in four hours. Second, it would make users happy by removing the little details that tells them what software they are running or where they are browsing. It's like cars. You don't really care if you're driving the basic Audi A3 1.8T or the super-hot RS3, it's just some letters on the back. Right? Right ... Wrong. See ya around. Don't take this too seriously.