Firefox blunder could give Chrome the edge

Mozilla has admitted to losing months of valuable user data when a member of staff accidentally formatted a server.

Firefox blunder could give Chrome the edge

When using Firefox users can report any websites that fail to render correctly using the “Report Broken Web Site” option in the menu. This data is used by Mozilla to improve and refine the application.

“Well, any sites reported as broken in the last three months? Yeah… you might want to report it again,” suggests Mozilla engineer Mark Smith on his personal blog.

During the extremely busy Firefox 3 launch day, which brought many Mozilla servers to their knees, the reporting tool was moved to a secondary server. Unfortunately, nobody thought to move it back afterward. Forgetting this, Smith formatted that server for use elsewhere, destroying months of valuable information that could have been used to improve Firefox performance.

“I forgot that this site had been moved, then forgot about it when I shut down that database (and we had no monitoring on that site), and away it went,” he explains. “One of the guys here, on his way out today, stopped by my desk and told me not to worry about it so much. My boss said the same thing.”

Although the problem is not thought to be disastrous for the development team, it comes at a time when developers need to be working hard to give Firefox the edge over Google’s new Chrome browser.

Early results on Chrome users visiting the PC Pro website suggest that the rapid rise since its launch has come mostly at the expense of Firefox’s market share.

Despite our figures showing the opposite, the president of Mozilla Europe, Tristan Nitot, said “Chrome is not aimed at competing with Firefox, rather it’s made for competing with Internet Explorer.”

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