> 1) there is no stable API, so downstream is forced to go from one branch to the next (and not stay on mozilla-central) - see, for example, Fennec itself which is going to take the Gecko 2.1 number.
Not sure what you mean about Fennec here - I'm a Fennec dev, and we track mozilla-central very closely. We use the same mozilla-central for our releases as desktop (perhaps a few commits earlier or later though). Point updates might end up a little different, but overall, we use mozilla-central just like desktop Firefox does.
> 2) You can submit patches all you want, but unless there's a clear benefit to Firefox, you just won't get it in.
I agree with this point and I'm concerned about it. We need to improve about that.
> That, to me, shows a lack of understanding of how they work. In case you haven't noticed: all those apps are large enough that getting a first useful version out takes longer than one Firefox version.
I would argue here, that they take so long *because* they fork the browser. If instead things like RockMelt started out as a Firefox addon, they could be finished much earlier. Yes, as you say they would need to keep up to date with new Firefox versions, but the benefits of that outweight the disadvantages.
The primary reason Flock and RockMelt are browsers, and not browser plugins, *is not technical*. The main reason is financial: Their business model is (or, for Flock, was) in large part identical to Firefox's: Revenue sharing with search engines. Only the browser itself participates with that, not addons, so they are forced to release entire browsers, with all the technical burden that that brings.
> Sorry, I might be bitter right now because, I quote: "I can appreciate why this is very useful to you guys but it isn't something that we need in the main project right now so all it will represent is added maintenance costs as we do further development"
Reading that makes me unhappy too. As I said above, I agree that we need to improve with that stuff. Can you please link me to the quote's source, so I can see the whole picture and try to help?