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Mozilla Ubiquity dies an incredibly quiet death


Let me start off by saying I personally think Aza Raskin is a genius. Really. When Windows Phone 7 Series just came out, everyone was all amazed about how "the data is the UI", and how everything is so semantic and clean. Well, it's been done. Raskin did it quite a while back with the incredible (and sadly deserted) Enso Humanized launcher. This launcher was mind-blowingly cool. Really. It's still way ahead of Launchy and other Windows launchers, if you ask me. The guy is a true visionary.

Okay, but Raskin moved on to become head of User Experience in Mozilla Labs. He continued working his magic there too, and came up with Ubiquity. Ubiquity is basically THE coolest add-on ever created for Firefox. Nobody else has anything like it. It's a command-line for the browser (kind of like Quix, which came after it) but it's semantic and smart, and it shows you real-time results.

And now, it's basically dead. It's such a quiet death, that they won't even say it's "dead". Nobody even bothered updating the main Ubiquity page with this information -- I had to really dig to find it. It's kind of pathetic, really. The main Ubiquity page (which is very beautiful) says "Welcome to the new ubiquity blog!". This is from Aug 17, 2009. Has never been updated since.

I think that (a) it is a huge mistake to desert such an innovative project. No other browser has this, and it's literally way ahead of its time. And (b) if you go ahead and decide to ditch it (or "put it on the back burner" or whatever lame PR euphemism you come up with), at least be responsible about it, and let the world know properly! Update the main project page, for crying out loud!

This is the second groundbreaking project Raskin has had to desert. I have no idea why that is, and I guess he has his reasons (he's working on Firefox for Mobile, which is a much higher-profile product). I just have to say that for me, it's kind of sad to see such a product left to die. I thought I'd let the world know, in case there are other Ubiquity users around here who are wondering why things have been so quiet.

Tags: firefox, mozilla, op-ed, raskin, ubiquity