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Category Archives: programming

It’s Not All Kayaking and Wacky Museums

The glamourous life of an itinerant iOS developer.

anatomy of a Firefox bug

A long-term annoyance for me in Firefox is the bug that truncates text in an ALT tag. This is most noticable in web comics which like to put commentary in the image tags, though some news and forum software also uses the ALT tags to preview links. As a result, what should look like this:

ends up looking like this:

The great thing about open source is that it’s transparent: this was first logged as Mozilla Bug 45375 in 2000 (!), and the comment logs are on the web. And like sausages and laws, if you like open source, you probably don’t want to see how it’s made.

For the first few years, you can see the occasional complaint about how long the bug has been opened, usually dealt with in the standard open source response of “we’re doing this for free, fix it yourself”. When frustrated web companies affected by the bug offered money and programmers to fix it, the Firefox developers threatened to block any patches they submitted, because they didn’t like the “tone” of the offer.

After seven years, there is supposedly a fix that will go into Firefox 3.0. The punchline? There is no official release date for Firefox 3.0.