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Mozilla OS Looking Grown Up On Its Own Developer Phone

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the fox-in-your-pocket dept.

Firefox 114

An anonymous reader writes "It's no secret that Mozilla has been working on a mobile OS. Previously codenamed Boot2Gecko, the project focused on a purely HTML5 based system that worked in many ways like current mobile devices. As the project grew into Mozilla OS, the company has laid out a partnership with ZTE that will have real world devices in certain markets early next year. Testing for this OS had previously consisted of a compiled ROM that would be flashed over a handful of Android devices. Now, Mozilla has moved into full fledged product evaluation mode with their own custom developer phone."

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Three cheers for Mozilla (5, Insightful)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419821)

I suppose there will be a degree of negativity about boot to gecko, along the lines of "they've already lost" and "they should focus on fixing the browser".

Personally, I wish them every success. Firefox has been great, and the idea of a phone OS built by a non-profit whose only agenda revolves around standards, privacy, user control, openness and general sanity will be a refreshing change from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. It actually seems to be happening, too, unlike so many other projects we hear about.

(But if you want some negativity - given that they're primarily funded by Google, and presumably don't have a massive patent war chest, they'll probably be sunk if they ever get anywhere. Time to donate!)

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (-1, Flamebait)

OpenDoors (2736729) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419831)

Firefox has been great, and the idea of a phone OS built by a non-profit whose only agenda revolves around standards, privacy, user control, openness and general sanity will be a refreshing change from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

Since when Mozilla has been non-profit? They are fully for-profit company. Just because they open source their products and generate revenue via Google instead doesn't make them non-profit.

You are the literally the product they're selling to Google and other search engines.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (4, Informative)

vagabond_gr (762469) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419851)

From mozilla.org:

The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes openness, innovation and participation on the Internet.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (2, Informative)

OpenDoors (2736729) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419865)

Mozilla Foundation (non-profit) owns Mozilla Corporation (for-profit) which handles the development of Firefox, Thunderbird, Firefox OS etc.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (5, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419877)

Foundation handles the development. Corporation pays people and collects revenue. This is an artifact of tax law in the USA, Mozilla is still run by Foundation which is non profit.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420111)

It sounds more like a technicality to me.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423101)

Or a tax loophole.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420267)

Yup, I've worked for non-profits before and was looking forward to cashing my checks with "famous non-profit name here" on them but for legal/tax reasons they had a little shell company for payroll so it said "xyz staffing" or some crap instead.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420701)

You realize the point of a foundation is to remove taxes?
The foundation exists because of financial reasons beneficial to mozilla corporation, not to "promote the web" or whatever.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (1)

Mythmon (893588) | more than 2 years ago | (#41424951)

Do you realize that the foundation came first? The corporation was created later. The IRS said that Mozilla needed to pay taxes, but could not because it was a non-profit. So the corporation was created to handle the money.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (4, Funny)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419869)

From mozilla.org:

The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes openness, innovation and participation on the Internet.

riaa is a non-profit too, just saying. they got plenty of employees and are in constant need of money though.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419875)

I love it when everybody is right. :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Corporation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Foundation

And of course:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Project

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419905)

Mozilla Foundation is non-profit. Mozilla Corporation is for-profit. The Foundation owns the Corporation. It's a sort of legal workaround as I understand it. I'd say it's closer to the truth that Mozilla is non-profit since the for-profit is owned by the non-profit.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420175)

Since when Mozilla has been non-profit?

Since for ever. Stop making shit up. Non-profit means non-profit. And they don't sell anyone's details.

Didn't WebOS try this already (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419883)

So if everyting is HTML5 then presumably this is going to be like WebOS or apple's Dashboard apps? Didn't Facebook recently retreat from HTML5 to native? Then there's the grim history of javas early promise of write once run everywhere. Has HTML5 grown up so much that it can finally pull it off? or is this more than HTML5

Re:Didn't WebOS try this already (2, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419893)

So if everyting is HTML5 then presumably this is going to be like WebOS or apple's Dashboard apps? Didn't Facebook recently retreat from HTML5 to native? Then there's the grim history of javas early promise of write once run everywhere. Has HTML5 grown up so much that it can finally pull it off? or is this more than HTML5

nokia scaled back a lot of their webruntime promo too(but on there, the interest from developers was mostly to sidestep binaries signing/certification).

has html5 finally grown up so much? no, it hasn't. not even on desktop. basically they'll have to invent a bunch of extra api's to match even half of native stuff even on windows phone 7 not to mention craploads to match android.

just imagine writing a spotify client in pure javascript/html5.

Re:Didn't WebOS try this already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41422127)

I don't imagine that it's much more complicated than doing it in .NET, Java, or Objective C. As long as the proper APIs are exposed to the javascript it shouldn't be too much of a headache. It also assumes that there's hardware support for decoding whatever format they're using, but that'd be the case in most alternatives anyways.

Re:Didn't WebOS try this already (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 2 years ago | (#41424233)

https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebAPI [mozilla.org]

Exposing some new APIs via Javascript isn't black magic. Phone, SMS, Camera, WebRTC, WebGL, all Javascript APIs that exist and can be tested today and have been in the works for a year or more. All the hardware access you would want is available in Javascript (for sufficiently authorized apps, obviously).

Writing a Spotify client as an OpenWebApp in pure-javascript is quite possible today. Preferably using something like Opus [mozilla.org] for audio, of course.

Re:Didn't WebOS try this already (4, Insightful)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420093)

Yes, Facebook did just retreat from HTML 5. However, the difference there is that they were attempting to support how many different hardwares, screen resolutions, browsers, etc.

Mozilla here can work with it because they are vertically integrated. They can optimize the apps for their phone alone, not worrying about other phones' screen sizes, resolutions, processors, etc. That's not to say it's not still risky. HTML5 is scarcely grown up, IMO.

Re:Didn't WebOS try this already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421489)

In the words of David Spade in his SNL days... I liked it better the first time, when it was called WebOS!!!

Re:Didn't WebOS try this already (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423043)

Yes, kind of like Tizen and Windows 8 Metro too.

Although the difference is, all those platforms do have native applications. Boot2Gecko really is just Linux kernel and some userspace code to talk to hardware (think of: wpa_supplicant) and their browser core:

https://wiki.mozilla.org/B2G/Architecture [mozilla.org]

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419887)

I hope that is easily expandable via plug-ins much like their browser. Don't want a web app to have access to something just disable that with appblock plus. wan't to kill the comic sans font from apps just install comic sans remover plugin. But since it is all browser based will how will app writers not have costumers simply copy the page source for the HTML (presumably a extended version of five) CSS and JavaScript? And what advantage will this have when all of their apps will be usable by everyone else (being web app runing in a browser) but not vis versa(native apps)? aren't the people already realizing web apps where a bad idea already like facebook saying that it was a bad move and switching back to a native app? they will have to work on some native apps even Google has realized that and is working on running native code on ChromeOS another browser as a OS implementation. How will it do with out flash will Mozilla finally relent and use the pepper api even just as an optional plugin? what about audio and vidio codex on my pc it gets them from vlc on my linux box and windows media player and vlc on my windows box who will provide them on the firefox mobile os since they seem to have funny ideas about what codex should be the standard.

How is it "negative" to want Firefox improved? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420213)

How is it negative to want Firefox improved, rather than having them waste resources on some half-assed "operating system" for phones?

Firefox is a product that many millions of people actually use on a daily basis. It's also a product that exhibits poor performance and excessive memory usage. That means it's a perfect candidate for improvement. The need for improvement is clearly there, and there are many people who would benefit from said improvement.

Yes, it is better now than it was several years ago, but that's mainly because of extreme competition from Chrome. It could still be so much better, however. Its users are still BEGGING for Firefox's performance to be improved, and its memory usage to be reduced. Nobody is begging for yet another a mobile "operating system", especially not one from Mozilla.

Re:How is it "negative" to want Firefox improved? (0)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420707)

Firefox is a product that many millions of people actually used on a daily basis.

Fixed that for you.
Most Firefox users already moved to Chrome.

Re:How is it "negative" to want Firefox improved? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421547)

Troll much? FF's overall market share hasn't changed that significantly. It's been at about a third for a long ass time. The long tail has gotten shorter and the IE idiots grew up and started using other things. Don't mistake your personal and emotional switch from Firefox to Chrome as a trend. You and your 3 friends don't really make a trend, and 76.32% of statistics from blogs range from fucking stupid to fucking made up.

Re:How is it "negative" to want Firefox improved? (1)

toddmbloom (1625689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41422011)

Firefox 15 is ten times better than Chrome, which I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.

I can't believe the tech community still clings to the notion that Chrome is good just because they have a false belief that Google is some great bastion of technology when they're not; they're just another pathetic ad company.

Re:How is it "negative" to want Firefox improved? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421455)

Its users are still BEGGING for Firefox's performance to be improved, and its memory usage to be reduced.

Firefox is now has lower memory usage than Chrome. Learn to read more than a few troll blogs and STFU because your ignorant. And I'm fucking begging for some mobile OS besides fucking Java and the Apple lock-in and castrate OS. (No, Windows isn't worth mention.) Truthfully I would not use any of the popular mobile OSes if I didn't have a choice.

Re:How is it "negative" to want Firefox improved? (2)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 2 years ago | (#41422495)

It's also a product that exhibits poor performance and excessive memory usage. That means it's a perfect candidate for improvement.

As someone who uses FF on a daily basis, I can't help but think these complaints come from people who don't use the software and are repeating old complaints. It's just like PulseAudio.

I haven't seen memory leakage problems since 3.5 came out, over 3 years ago.

It's certainly true that something can occasionally misbehave and suck memory/CPU, but that can happen in all browsers and it's usually related to a page with absurd JS or the Flash plugin.

Re:Three cheers for Mozilla (1)

thelukester (2722207) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420901)

Sorry buddy, but Reality is not Negativity. There are millions upon millions of iPhones and Android devices running with lower specs than 256 MB memory and a 700 MHz CPU, and they are very usable and responsive, EXCEPT for web browsing! So if Mozilla wants to fix the problem with low end smartphones, they need to fix their browser first.

Then they can focus on creating a streamlined smartphone OS based on Native apps, not CPU hogging HTML5/CSS. Mozilla is living in a dream world, where they don't grok the real problem with low-end smartphones are battery life and performance. CSS was never intended for GPU acceleration and Javascript requires a heavy VM that sucks away CPU cycles and drains battery life, not to mention 10-100x slower than native.

Here's an idea, take WebOS or Android,make the GUI fully hardware accelerated, rewrite all the basic apps to run Native code, remove any HTML 5 / VM kruff . Now add your new state of the art Firefox XXXXX for web browsing, and you'd have something that I'd want to run on a low-end smartphone.

No Google lock-in (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#41422563)

IMHO, the best thing about this is you get a nice OS without the Google or Apple lock-in (how stupid is it that you have to create an account in order to use your phone?).

That, and you don't have to be logged in all the time. It's the same as your desktop: you choose the level of privacy you want.

Browser Based OS (4, Insightful)

OpenDoors (2736729) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419823)

I really doubt that this is good direction. It's the greatest lock-down of all time. Every web-app (Google Docs etc) is behind the greatest DRM of all time, just like Blizzards Diablo 3.

The only reason this haven't ben discussed on Slashdot before is because it's been Google that has been developing fully browser based OS, and Google fanboys have de-routed every intelligent discussion about the merits of Chrome/Firefox OS.

Sorry, but in my opinion we must stop this development here and keep our native open and closed source apps. You can't even disassemble browser apps, all you have is the front-end. At least with Windows and MS apps I know they are going to stay around and work when I need them.

Re:Browser Based OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419841)

You probably meant to say Apple and APPL apps..

Re:Browser Based OS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419871)

HTML5 applications can work offline. They already have interfaces for sandboxed filesystems and built in SQL DBs. Granted, apps that have an online component(most of them probably) don't have to release the source for their server software. That is the case with native apps as well though. I suggest you spare some time to review the HTML5 specs. It's actually a pretty good development platform. You may even like it

Re:Browser Based OS (4, Informative)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419927)

You can't even disassemble browser apps, all you have is the front-end.

Say that again? You just look at the source code, the javascript and it's all there. Maybe not like you want it, but there is nothing intrinsic to browser apps that make them a sort of DRM. If it is written in HTML5, you can look at the code if they make it available - in fact in some ways you can do 'Show Source' in a browser easier than many native apps. Even Google Apps you can do 'Show source' in your browser. In a certain way the web is far more open that native apps, which are painfully difficult to disassemble from the binary.

The only real problem are the requests from the server - true, they don't often release server software source. But often this is mostly connection to some database. While this can be problematic for open source, it is not intrinsically so. Most web apps can also be written to work offline.

Re:Browser Based OS (3, Interesting)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420059)

Yeah but you cannot review the code that lives on providers cloud of webservers. For instance althouhg you can view the source to google mail's html and javascript in your browser (and even muck with it using the right ff plugins), there is not any practical way for you to deploy your own gmail on your own server.

A lot of webaps are open source, but if you dont even control the application when its runnign in. I don't know if I have a side, but there is a big shift. For instance with Microsoft office, Microsoft cannot "track you" using their software. Of course I like OpenOffice more than Microsoft, and even though GoogleApps makes collaboration over the Internet a lot easier, it does mean google can track everyone who is using their software. This is definitely something new and a different kind of evil that Microsoft probably never thought of in the early days of poor connectivity.

An open source alternative to googleApps that anyone can deploy on their own PlugPC (or other device) server could allow us to transition to web-based apps and protect against being ruled by vendors. I kind of see free software as inevitably becoming better than proprietary software over time.

Re:Browser Based OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421611)

>For instance with Microsoft office, Microsoft cannot "track you" using their software.

Say what? Have you read the source code, and are 100% positive about that? What's stopping them from tracking you, given that they control the entire platform? And they also have cloud-based versions of their office programs, just like Google.

Any point you might be making is being clouded by your own inability to articulate it in a manner that isn't silly or misinformed.

Re:Browser Based OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41422035)

Can you see the code from iPhone apps? Or Android, WM? This is totally non sense!

Re:Browser Based OS (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423143)

Firefox OS does not depend on the network, the whole system support "View Source" just like any webpage. There is no closed source server component.

All the server projects Mozilla does have actually are all open source projects, like:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox_Sync [wikipedia.org] (bookmarks, history, password syncing)

https://github.com/mozilla/browserid [github.com] Project To allow you to login with only an emil address to sites in similair fashion as OpenID/OAuth, SAML , but is probably easier to use for mere mortals and allows for proper privacy and which does not make you dependenant on for example Facebook.

So you can run their software on your own server.

Heck, I am running their Sync software on my own server and it works.

Re:Browser Based OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420003)

I think this is a good point and needs more discussion. If you ignore freedom, it will go away.

Re:Browser Based OS (1)

Alef (605149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420189)

Technologically, you don't really have to choose between a locked down cloud and native only apps. It would be perfectly possible to have independent cloud storage services working with web based applications storing data in open and standardized formats, letting you choose where to store your data and which applications to use to work with it. The problem is it's usually not in the interest of individual corporations to open up in this way -- it's easier to develop when you control the whole stack, and it makes it harder for customers to leave.

Re:Browser Based OS (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423175)

That is exactly what the Unhosted project is all about:

http://www.unhosted.org/ [unhosted.org]

"Unhosted web apps do not harvest user data onto a server. For both users and web developers this has many advantages over the more server-centric web 2.0 architecture that's typically used in web-based Software-as-a-Service (hosted web apps), and in same-origin AJAX apps (so called "one-page apps") that use one tightly coupled backend."

"Because unhosted web apps don't force the use of their servers on you, you can sync your data yourself, to a place that you trust. Dutch universities already run such a 'remote storage' service, specifically designed to be compatible with unhosted web apps."

"With your data living outside the app, you can switch back and forth between apps without even exporting and importing. Better than data liberation, this is personal data freedom brought to the web."

There is even a W3C specification:
http://www.w3.org/community/unhosted/wiki/RemoteStorage [w3.org]

Re:Browser Based OS (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420381)

The only reason this haven't ben discussed on Slashdot before is because it's been Google that has been developing fully browser based OS, and Google fanboys have de-routed every intelligent discussion about the merits of Chrome/Firefox OS.

You, sir, are either a troll or insufficiently familiar with the debate here to make such declarative statements. I have debated at length here on slashdot the lack of merit of having an operating system which boots directly into a browser, and my comments have been relatively well-received. Comment invalidated.

You can't even disassemble browser apps, all you have is the front-end.

What does that even mean? It's a lot of nonsense. HTML5 has offline apps. You will be able to browse through these apps, twiddle their sources, et cetera. Indeed, you will have more power to do this than with smartphone apps, which are compiled; you will be able to fiddle with the HTML and JS. You either have no idea what you're talking about or, again, you're some kind of troll.

Re:Browser Based OS (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423127)

No, that person is absolutely right. This [slashdot.org] will happen any time you say something Google doesn't like.

Re:Browser Based OS (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41424117)

No, that person is absolutely right. This will happen any time you say something Google doesn't like.

Welcome to the world of groupthink, citizen. Unhappy thoughts are double-plus unacceptable to the bore collective.

Re:Browser Based OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421399)

I fail to see how this is anything like DRM. It's an OS. You distribute your source-based applications for that OS, and no one seems to be asking you to not develop apps, not distribute them, or only distribute them to certain people in certain formats. Sure, if might only support HTML5, but then it's not like you can write native apps for iOS in just any language.

Re:Browser Based OS (2)

afgam28 (48611) | more than 2 years ago | (#41422849)

Sorry, but in my opinion we must stop this development here and keep our native open and closed source apps. You can't even disassemble browser apps, all you have is the front-end. At least with Windows and MS apps I know they are going to stay around and work when I need them.

From a technical point of view, there's nothing stopping open source apps from staying open after they've moved onto "the cloud".

Imagine you bought server time, let's say an EC2 instance from AWS. Then you load it up with a webmail server, a storage server, and an open-source Google Docs-style word processor. You could use this EC2 instance to serve you mail, music and documents from anywhere using any device. And you could do it using 100% open source software.

This is what open source software could look like in the post PC era, but it's a shame that most open source advocates are so vehemently anti-cloud that they will not help make this possible.

didn't they already announce something like this? (3, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419837)

didn't they already announce something like this?

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/07/mozilla-dumps-boot2gecko-name-firefox-os-tktktk/ [wired.com]

the picture in this article sure as fuck looks like a reflashed android though! pretty full fledged, but that's zte for you..

Re:didn't they already announce something like thi (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419849)

my question is: how easy is it to get on good side of FAA (or your country's fly-or-no-fly agency)...?

It sounds a lot like WebOS to me.

Re:didn't they already announce something like thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419879)

It sure does look like say the Verizon galaxy s fascinate with extra "trim" around the edges and bottom

Re:didn't they already announce something like thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41422469)

That's an S2.

And I wouldn't be surprised if they put their OS on an existing model of phone. It only makes sense.

Re:didn't they already announce something like thi (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423189)

Yes, the S2 is a one of the development phones of Firefox OS.

a REALLY open source mobile os finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419863)

cuz we all know android is open source in name only

WebOS (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419867)

How is this different in architecture from HP's WebOS?

Re:WebOS (2)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420005)

iOS KOed WebOS because native iOS apps crushed and humiliated web apps. FireFoxOS is just another ring entrant to get knocked down.

nice (5, Interesting)

gedw99 (1597337) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419881)

i have been running this on my laptop for curiousity value.

it works very well, and writing new applications for it is very very easy because its just all web development with html, jsand css.
makes it very quick and easy.

also webgl works. Unlike Iphone and android.

i actually think that this will be big, but take time for people to appreciate it.
for companies and startups its hell getting android and iphone apps out, but with this is easy peasy.
the main thing will be that cordova (phone gap) support it, so that people can write in web technologies and still deploy to android, iphone and firefox os easily

Re:nice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420163)

it is very very easy because its just all web development with html, jsand css.
makes it very quick and easy

See, that's the problem with the HTML5-craze. Webdevelopers rejoice because they (think) they can write "apps" with the technology they know, and thus it must be good technology.

HTML was never meant for apps. Javascript was never meant to be a language for writing full-blown applications. As someone with 10+ years of creating websites, CMS'es and web-based applications I can only conclude that they both suck for writing mobile apps. Also compatibility between these HTML-based platforms (FirefoxOS, Tizen, PhoneGap, W3C widgets, etc etc) is mostly absent.

I've been dabbling with QtQuick and QML lately on my Nokia N9. I really like it. It's designed from the ground up for writing apps and GUIs in general. For the heavy lifting and more low-level stuff the integration with native C++/Qt is easy. I now feel sorry for people who think that HTML5 is *the* way to create apps. But also Android and Cocoa could learn a trick or 2 from QtQuick.

FWIW: I haven't had first-hand experience with it, but JavaFX 1.x looked quite powerful too. Seamless databinding, GUI oriented, very expressive language and a native, build-in bridge to Java SE for the power-stuff.

No doubt there are even better solutions than QtQuick and JavaFX, but my point is that all these HTML5-related platforms are certainly not the best for writing apps.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420297)

all these HTML5-related platforms are certainly not the best for writing apps

They don't even have to be best, or even that good. The main attraction is to be free from The Ecosystem just like the websites. To write the next killer app, just build it on your own servers. Build your own billing or rent the billing service from somebody else.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421209)

I can install apps from any source I like on my N9, even the ones not permitted in app stores. Dito for Android. That indeed is they way it should be, unlike Apple and Microsoft. No bonus points there for HTML-based apps.

Re:nice (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423229)

Why do apps needs servers ? Really HTML5 supports running without servers just fine.

Re:nice (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420393)

HTML was never meant for apps.

Really quite irrelevant.

Javascript was never meant to be a language for writing full-blown applications.

Substantially more relevant. However, it should not be a problem for most types of apps people want to run on a cellphone.

What I don't get is why anyone would want a Web OS notebook, let alone desktop.

Very relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421275)

No, HTML not written for apps is very relevant. HTML provides next to zero ready-made GUI elements, nor layouts. This leads to DIVeritis, laden with classes and id's. These are all "stringly typed" at best and thus hard to maintain, harder to debug and refactor. CSS is also not suited for apps: you cannot copy/paste a widget from somewhere and expect it to render exactly as in the example.

Sure, with some effort even HTML-based apps can look "native" and good, but from what I've seen from Tizen and FirefoxOS the HTML-code to get there is simply atrocious.

Re:Very relevant (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41422065)

No, HTML not written for apps is very relevant. HTML provides next to zero ready-made GUI elements, nor layouts.

Next to zero, but not zero. It does in fact provide ready-made GUI elements, and in fact it's most if not all of what you need to build a functional (if ugly) interface even without CSS.

This leads to DIVeritis, laden with classes and id's.

Who cares? You're not meant to edit the HTML directly.

These are all "stringly typed" at best and thus hard to maintain, harder to debug and refactor.

These can all be generated programmatically, which can be done by a widget library atop Javascript.

CSS is also not suited for apps: you cannot copy/paste a widget from somewhere and expect it to render exactly as in the example.

Your argument is that it makes copy/paste less trivial than other systems in which you might build widgets?

Sure, with some effort even HTML-based apps can look "native" and good, but from what I've seen from Tizen and FirefoxOS the HTML-code to get there is simply atrocious.

Who are you, and why should I care about your opinion?

Re:Very relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41423119)

You really think you can program apps using nothing more than drag&drop tools? Or that those widget libraries are a true breeze to use? (Remember they're still javascript). Hah.

You don't need to care about my opinion. However, you might be interested in my experiences: I've done plenty of hands-on work with HTML and JS-frameworks in the last 10 years, but since I've tried QtQuick I know that HTML5 is not and will not be the best platform for apps by far.

Re:Very relevant (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423251)

"Sure, with some effort even HTML-based apps can look "native" and good, but from what I've seen from Tizen and FirefoxOS the HTML-code to get there is simply atrocious."

Funny, as this discussion is on a page which discusses Firefox OS. So the HTML-based apps are native to the platform.

Re:nice (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423217)

Actually, HTML5 was specifically created to make "apps".

Also I believe Firefox OS, PhoneGap, Tizen all use the W3C widgets standard to for defining HTML5-based applications.

Funny you mention QML, as it clearly derived from HTML.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41424069)

Funny you mention QML, as it clearly derived from HTML.

QML is derived from Javascript, but added (strong typed, mia) features. Other than a hierarchical model, which is common to many languages, it has very little to do with HTML.

If HTML5 was created for apps, then well, they failed. The examples you provided are not interoperable. If they were, then why are there so many of them?

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420283)

i have been running this on my laptop for curiousity value.

What's there to run? How's it different from running a regular HTML5-capable browser?

I mean, as a Mozilla OS developer, couldn't you do the bulk of your development with the laptop's browser? Are there some special Mozilla-OS-specific javascript facilities that wouldn't be there on the browser -- or other HTML5-capable smartphones and tables?

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41422607)

i have been running this on my laptop for curiousity value.[...]also webgl works. Unlike Iphone and android.

Because using an emulator on your laptop mimics the same experience as on the real device. Yeah. Come back when you know anything about embedded development, running an emulator/simulator doesn't prove shit in the real world (especially in terms of performance).

Usabilty Battery usage? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419885)

From what I've read of B2G/Mozilla OS is that it will be lightweight and be able to run on cheap low-end phones. If it can deliver a smooth, slick interface and/or longer battery life on cheap phones better than equivalent android phones then it could well take market share. The way way we will find out is when they start shipping.

Re:Usabilty Battery usage? (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 2 years ago | (#41421279)

"From what I've read of B2G/Mozilla OS is that it will be lightweight and be able to run on cheap low-unend phones. "

How is a 700Mhz Arm with 256MB "low-end"? The first iPhone could run a browser and responsive apps on a 400Mhz ARM and 128MB Ram. The first Android devices were similarly low power. Chinese manufacturers like Huwaii are already selling Android phones unsubsidized for less.

Do you really think you can get more responsive apps running Html+Javascript than native apps?

Basement Nerds Fail (-1, Flamebait)

Life2Death (801594) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419913)

This is dumb, it only fractures the market more and opens them up to the Grate Fone Warz. Why not help finish reactos and BeOS clones? I mean for real, why piddle over pointless junk that 12 nerds will buy and they'll get sued or bought out over? Derp!

Re:Basement Nerds Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420099)

If you don't like the direction the developers are taking Firefox OS then make your own fork ok asshole!

Re:Basement Nerds Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420105)

yeah? why help projects with a chance to compete with Microsoft? why not go support dying projects with a tiny userbase?

you can take your post and shove it up your One Microsoft Way.

Elect a Gay Nigger For President!

Re:Basement Nerds Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420121)

People work on Firefox OS to build their resume and help their career. I mean if you're hiring a developer to make Firefox apps wouldn't you pay a premium to somebody who actually helped create it? Open source is really just a way for people to fill their resume, they don't do it "for the community". The sooner you realize this and stop being the naive the sooner you can switch to OS X and get on with your life.

Nice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419939)

With their tradition of memory leaks (still very much present in the FF16 betas) this will probably be the first phone with RAM in the terabyte range.

Gecko. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419941)

Well, Mozilla has always been kind of a "secret" name for designating projects, right?

Will the phone be named Mozillaphone? ZTE 80z14?

Shouldn't this thing have a catchy name like Android? (you know, common people never say iOS6, they call it iPhone -- and already feel like Sci-Fi dudes just for that... ;)

Since things tend to go bumpy when names are chosen (Phoenix, Firebird, Firefox), I wonder who will come up with bright ideas this time?

Re:Gecko. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423269)

Their "catching name" will probably be Firefox OS (or maybe people will be able to buy a "Firefox Phone"). Firefox is a name which many people already know.

I don't see how that is a bad idea.

Anyone used it yet? (1)

mpol (719243) | more than 2 years ago | (#41419979)

Has anyone used this OS yet, and can share some thoughts on it?

I'm a bit worried that it's a low cost (and probably relative slow) phone, while at the same time HTML5 can be a pretty heavy load.

I myself am not very fond of Android, and I will not buy anything from Apple or Microsoft. IMO The market can use another platform, especially when it is a portable platform with portable apps.

Teenaged Boys Hairstyles and Haircuts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41419987)

We charged in a instance where looks are real crucial and everyone can realise why. Teenage boys are decent more and much involved in their pretense, so variety is action over young boys' hairstyles. Maturate out the most swish teenage boys hairstyles and haircuts. When it comes to hairstyles, everyone wishes they would be able to sportswoman the last and trendiest ones. Retributive equivalent practice trends, hairstyle trends seem to replace every year, because people know changes and bonk to look majuscule and swish. Unremarkably people get bored with a hairstyle relatively speedily, so it is best to take a versatile hairstyle instead, because they will worship you various styling opportunities.
http://boyshairstyles2013.blogspot.com/

Gay Nigger OS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420067)

I'm still waiting for a Gay Nigger Linux Distro.

Why So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420251)

GEEEZ why so insulting in your title?

Re:Why So (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420675)

Since when is anthropomorphizing a piece of software named for a ficticious form of fauna insulting?

Gecko engine on Andoid good idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420277)

Lets see, the whole ecosystem will depend upon android running gecko at a reasonable speed. The weakest link in any js, css based environment will be the web itself. So essentially the core phone apps that do not connect to the net need to be bullet proof speed daemons to make a dent in the market.
Big question is how well does the core work when the phone is just being used as a phone, camera, audio recorder/player, video recorder/player or office notation device.

Speaking from my experience with the Windows phone environment where doing anything as simple as taking notes requires a ridiculous number of steps to use the device, Mozilla can become the killa of devices if they concentrate on making access to simple functions like taking notes, saving files, browsing your storage, recording video and voice and the other things that smart phones can do, easy to access. Without having to go through a tonne of screen press steps.

Hint, create access to simple functions as a browser button that is accessible at any time regardless of the screen app that is current. Then on all apps have a back button to return to the last function. If you hit the back button twice it will return you to the home screen and save any changes that you have made to a file, recording etc automatically. KEEP IT SIMPLE and you will succeed where Microsoft and others are failing miserably.

Google chrome had the right idea and the time for a desktop/home screen that does it through one interface has arrived. This does not mean that you need to be online to access the cloud for text editing or whatever and if Mozilla does it right where all the others try to send you off to the cloud to do simple things and store things at extra bandwidth cost then Mozilla could succeed big time in the phone OS world. Yes there is a huge market for Palm like devices and sending everything to and accessing the cloud is just too expensive and time consuming for the majority of people who want a smart phone. Microsoft, Apple and Google might find that their cloud centric universe can piss on them sometimes.

Personally the only thing I use my smart phone for is taking audio notes, video notes, written notes, and photos. Of course telephony is important but the cloud certainly is not! Yes I can facebook or gmail or whatever but that is not what I spend all my time doing and the majority of the myriad of small business smart phone users like myself are in the same boat.

With RIM about to bite the green weenie, Mozilla has the chance to step into the world of small business in a big way if they play their hand right as NOONE is going to unseat Apple and Google in the consumer smart phone market not even Microshaft.

Re:Gecko engine on Andoid good idea. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423317)

I believe they will first target the South American market. Why ? Because the iOS and Android based devices are very expensive to import.

If I understand it correctly Mozilla just makes the software and the carrier delivers (produces, locally sources ?) the hardware.

No market (0)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420335)

This may be a javascript developers wet dream, but otherwise it has absolutely no selling points. There are already Android apps for damn near everything, including real games that far surpass what HTML5 could hope to do. So we've got a high-end phone, running another incompatible OS that has very few apps available. For what possible reason should people drop the android ecosystem? If they want to run a web app, that's what a web browser is for. The average person won't care about the novelty of an HTML window manager.

And web-apps have long been my nightmare on the desktop... I don't want to do whois queries on your web site, thanks, I'll take my tiny, decades old command-line. No BS about supported browsers, insane resource usage for trivial tasks, no issues when there's no internet connection, no crazy workarounds like web sockets to the web server, then converting the connection into another protocol and proxying the connection to a different server (which might be on the private network where the public web app can't hope to reach it... etc etc.

Re:No market (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41420721)

You should checkout the fully 3D HTML/JS FPS
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/demos/detail/bananabread

Re:No market (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 2 years ago | (#41421163)

Oops!

There was a problem starting Bananabread. Please see the Troubleshooting section below for more information.

Technical Details: WebGL is missing.
=======
That much about web based apps that just work.
Wiki says:
"Mozilla Firefox - WebGL has been enabled on all platforms that have a capable graphics card with updated drivers since version 4.0"

Last firefox, ati 5770, what the heck?

Re:No market (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#41421407)

works for me

Re:No market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421969)

Mozilla should write graphics drivers too since AMD/ATI can't pull their head out of their asses.

Re:No market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41422869)

Noscript on your machine is blocking some objects.
Go to "recently blocked sites" from the toolbar icon and allow the various choices there

Re:No market (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 2 years ago | (#41425065)

Does about:support say anything useful about why WebGL is not enabled for you?

Re:No market (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#41421383)

HTML5 is quite good when someone implements it properly. Not everyone wants Google sticking their nose in everything they do. This is a good alternative.

Re:No market (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423343)

Actually Firefox OS does not tarket the high-end phone market, but the lower end.

HTML5-applications don't need to depend on a server. Anything which will be on the phone by default will certainly not depend on an Internet connection.

Re:No market (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41423961)

You're a moron. This phone has high-end specs, where there are Android phones still selling in the US which are lower-spec than FirefoxOS is targeting, and which are going, non-subsidized, for as low as $40. There is no lower-end than that, and FirefoxOS most certainly will not out-perform Android.

  http://www.virginmobileusa.com/shop/cell-phones/venture-phone/features/ [virginmobileusa.com]

Is Marc out there? (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 2 years ago | (#41420665)

"The browser is the OS," ring any bells?

Mozilla OS is not responding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41421405)

Great. Now I can go from constant "Firefox is not responding" messages to "Mozilla OS is not responding."

Re:Mozilla OS is not responding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41424959)

Great. Now I can go from constant "Firefox is not responding" messages to "Mozilla OS is not responding."

Spoken as a true blue Internet Explorer user.

Over the years I have seen infinitely more explorer messages regarding IE not responding than Firefox hands down. Hell the best way to freeze the shit out of Windows 7 is to do some really advanced web html5 stuff with internet explorer. I still get a much larger numbers of call to help in our computer room when my wife messes around with complicated web interfaces on IE. What I wind up doing most of the time for her is cloning the address she was looking at and going to it in FIrefox instead.

Yes Firefox is slightly slower to boot up with the Gecko core that does not rely upon the constant running os core mshtml engine. Gecko certainly does not freeze in windows any where near as often as IE does using the ms engine. The days of doing the three finger salute ctrl_alt_del to free up FIrefox are largely over..Safari on windows is a non entity and the Chrome desktop/browser unfortunately is just too weird for my wife to wrap her head around, as by and large Chrome is the best browser hand down for pure surfing.

Firefox as a cell phone front end could make a really great internet capable phone OS. Obviously you have never used Firefox with a Linux machine otherwise you might understand how great an HTML engine Gecko really is! Remember when you run Firefox on windows Gecko is competing with Explorer for resources and if you have your default browser set to IE then other things that need internet and HTML rendering access like xml help files etc will push Gecko out of the way making you think that Firefox is at fault if you are surfing with firefox at the same time....

PS it is possible in MS land to use XML based windows help without the core mshtml engine. So if you run something like Photo Shop help you will find it takes the same amount of time to load up Gecko as when you boot up Firefox in the first place. The major advantage that Windows still enjoys is the fact that their html engine boots when you start up.

With Windows computers and devices you will find that the default browser and rendering engine is already set and users just do not understand how to change it OR more importantly how to launch Gecko as a startup service!

Building a Gecko Linux driven device from the ground up is one hell of a good idea and I think it could very easily make the Windows8 environment look like dog shit by comparison.

MS along with Apple is still trying desperately to defeat Mozilla and Google and JOE user just doesn't know what is really going on.

Take for instance the fact that Google Maps has been screwed over by Apple ...History is repeating itself

MS Word kills off Word Perfect and Lotus because of vendor lock in and OS compatibility issues ...(Done deal)

MS Excel kills off 123 because of vendor lock in and OS compatibility issues...(Done deal)

Internet Explorer kills off Netscape because of vendor lock in and OS compatibility issues....(Mozilla foundation brings it back from the dead and still has it on life support)

Bing and MS Maps trys to kill off Google, Google Maps, Google Earth (fight still in progress)

Apple sues everyone on the planet as Microsoft patent extorts them for using Android....(saga ongoing)

Apple tries to eliminate Google Maps with the iPhone5 the same way Microsoft screwed over Netscape when the net first started to become something everyone used....(latest jab at Linux, OSS and Google in general)

The very fact that my TV, my cell phone, my BD player all use the Linux kernel and OSS tells me that the assholes in Redmond and at Apple are going to eventually lose out because of their determination to monopolise and dominate all digital communications. Eventually their greed will bite them in the ass.

The Otoro phone ? (2)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41422999)

I believe these devices are called "Otoro", because that is what it says on this page:

"Otoro
        Otoro is a phone being used as a test and development platform as a low-to-midrange smartphone. Most core Firefox OS developers are working on Otoro."

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Boot_to_Gecko/B2G_build_prerequisites [mozilla.org]

Re:The Otoro phone ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41424857)

well microsoft, apple, googe, and mozilla are all learning that the only way
to make any money off of all this code stuff and hardware designs is by
selling telephones and maybe a tablet or lightweight laptop.

Re:The Otoro phone ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41424875)

but the real money is made from all of them with anything
except ownership of the pipes and right of way to prevent
competition and just selling bits down a tube.

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