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Firebird 0.8 might delete all your files

Just found out that the greatest browser in the world will ship monday with an interesting bug, not considered a blocker by the developers. The new installer will delete all files in the installation folder if you select a custom clean install.

As a workaround some warning text has been added, but I bet Murphy will make sure the most prominent reviewer will decide that "C:\Program Files" is a perfect place for a nice clean Firebird install.

http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=228672
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=42018
http://www.mozillazine.org/talkback.html?article=4252

Jan Derk
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Dear god.  "Ben" is a moron.  It's been around for ever, so it's not that big of a deal?!


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Actually he was wrong.  Not that he's a moron but I wouldn't necessarily think him suitable to run a project of this scale.

Ooops editorialising...

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

A briefly-available (and long since fixed!) version of iTunes did something similar -- because a pathname wasn't quoted, installing it could delete an entire secondary partition.

http://diveintomark.org/archives/2001/11/04/icatastrophe

I'm appalled that this isn't considered a blocking bug for Firebird.

Dobie
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Its bad only if you custom install, and only if you install in some containing directory with other stuff making the assumption that the Installer will add the Firebird directory.

Ben was wrong because you could always configure the Mozilla Installer to create whatever directory you liked, why this isn't  a suitable fix for Firebird I haven't had the available desire to go find out.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The developers neglecting this proves they come from a Unix mindset.  Who else could pass that kind of brain damage onto users while being so cavalier about it?

D Ritchie.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Wow, that's just sad. 

It's *very* common for users to install into incorrect custom locations.  They don't realize that they need the full path and think that picking D:\ or D:\Program Files is enough. 

SomeBody
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Would someone please tell me why people KEEP writing installers?

There are plenty of commercial installers (Installshield, WISE, whatever).

There's at least one very decent open-source installer -- http://nsis.sourceforge.net , and there are probably more.

Am I missing something here? 

Alex
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The thing that's really stupid about this bug (aside from the fact that it's been around fro so long) is that unlike most programs that extensively muck with the registry and do sundry other things, there is no need for an "installer" with Firebird..

I frequently download nightly builds as ZIP.  Just unzip to your location of choice and go.  Firebird will find your existing profile or create a new one is one doesn't exist.

It couldn't be simpler.

Officer Robert Barone
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

That's OK, I have too many files anyway.

Mr. Fancypants
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I use the installer version of Firebird because of Java and Flash. Instead of doing an arcane ritual to configure them, all I have to do is click "next" when I install each one of them.

RP
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

That's funny.  One of the main reasons I started using Firebird was so that I would never have to see anymore Java or Flash.

Richard P
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

"It couldn't be simpler."

Yes, and then make it use java.  That's why people use the installer.

Mike
Thursday, February 05, 2004

In open source, all bugs are shallow.

Unfortunately, so are the developers.

fluffy
Thursday, February 05, 2004

http://www.bengoodger.com/weblog/archives/cat_mozilla_firebird.shtml#000544

T.S.
Friday, February 06, 2004

Ben still doesn't get it.

Dobie
Friday, February 06, 2004

I still don't get what? I changed nothing other than the text in the dialog to try and make it clear what Seamonkey has been doing for years. Please don't slam me for polishing the turd. I didn't invent this behavior. I didn't write a "new" installer. The Firebird installer is but a thin veneer over the Seamonkey back end which has been in place since at least Netscape 6/Mozilla 0.6. In a perfect world with infinite time I would have been able to go through the old code in more detail.

I don't defend what the the old installer code is trying to do here. It's not overly elegant or efficient code and it often takes very inelegant ways to solve problems (such as in this case). In the end I have removed the function entirely. So now I believe there's no "easy" access point to mass delete files in the Firebird 0.8 installer. As a result, there'll probably be a large number of people reporting that third party components are breaking the app - since they are no longer being cleansed by the installer. 

For anyone that thinks running a project of this size is a cake walk, I have two words. Bring it.

Ben Goodger
Sunday, February 08, 2004

I for one am happy to see the "Clean install" feature removed. Thanks.

What surprised me and some others is that you took the Mozilla installer and left such an obvious defect in that could have easily turned into a PR nightmare. "Mr CEO do you really want to depend on Open Source software that can delete all your files with a simple install?"

We all know that most users don't read. Install is like a 2 seconds click, click, click, click. And sometimes like click, agree with bla bla click, let's try Custom click, Clean sounds good click, yeah program files is what I want click, warning what warning I have seen too many warnings already click. The thing that made me fear this bug the most is that it could have happened to me. No way I was gonna recommend Firebird 0.8 if I could expect a "Thanks mate, all my files are gone now" call.

Firebird is so highly rated, because it takes the best of Mozilla and puts it in a framework that excels in usability and beauty. It is the ultimate proof that open source software can be user friendly and target non-technical users. The problem with creating great software is that users are going to expect the same quality level from all parts of the application.

Mozilla was for geeks, Firebird for the rest of the world. So yes, the reason that everybody was falling over a bug that has been in Mozilla for so long is that Firebird is just too good.

Jan Derk
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Ben; hello, hello, hello.....Is there anybody in there. Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home. It would have taken one person a couple of hours with a third party tool to create a foolproof installation. probably less. So please don't give us crap regarding turds

Spit Shine a turd?
Thursday, February 12, 2004

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