Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 11th Oct 2012 01:44 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Mozilla & Gecko clones "Just under a month ago I wrote a personal post about my thoughts on Firefox OS and why I think there is something 'magical' about what it stands for and the possibilities it brings to the table. This post is a follow-up that aims to cover much of the same ground but with extra detail and more of a technical focus."
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Shane
Member since:
2005-07-06

When the answer to "why?" is "because HTML5", I know that this happened because engineering was looking for a problem to match an existing solution.

HTML5 is great, and somewhat immature, tech. However, HTML5 in and of itself does not make a great phone.

It's also pointless to compare the speed at which a HTML5 app runs in Firefox OS with the speed with which the app runs in a Webkit browser on Android. How about comparing Gekko with Dalvik instead?

Also, let's stop with this "magical" business already. Steve Jobs could barely pull it off. People, we are not Steve Jobs. OK?

Reply Score: 4

RichterKuato Member since:
2010-05-14

Where do they state "because HTML5" as the reason for Firefox OS?

I think there is legitimate concern about Mozilla zealous touting of Web apps being the future of app development. I myself wonder if they can prove it's viability for low-end devices but it sounds like you're creating a strawman.

Reply Score: 2

Mrokii Member since:
2011-01-04

The article states "because it's possible", which isn't much better.

As much as I like the idea of a truly open Phone-OS I am not quite convinced that it will be as open as Mozilla wants it to be, due to the other players they have to deal with.

I also can't follow the "not being locked in"-argument. For one, that depends on how the data you use is saved and how easy it is to transfer/convert it to something/somewhere else. As history has shown, Open Source is no guarantee that you can take your data with you everywhere you go. While it's possible in theory, even if the data is "open", it is usually rather difficult for the casual user to transfer their data from one software to another, because so many still use their own format or database-fields and usually there are no converters available.

And in the case of Mozilla OS, of course people will be locked in, as there will be APIs specific to the OS. And as long as they're only available on Mozilla OS, people can't use any of the apps on anything else.

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

"As much as I like the idea of a truly open Phone-OS I am not quite convinced that it will be as open as Mozilla wants it to be, due to the other players they have to deal with."

This is why they are doing it, to prevent it from becoming even less open.

They are working on making every API available as a W3C standard. You want to have access to the webcam from Firefox OS ? You do that the same way any normal webpage/browser would do it. Because there is a W3C standard for that. I believe it is called: getUserMedia

And it is available on Chrome, Opera and Firefox.

Edited 2012-10-11 10:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Mrokii Member since:
2011-01-04

I wonder if they'll succeed with that. And even if, how long it will take until all these "standards" are really working reliable in other browsers/OSs. I just fail to see what iOS or Android would gain from implementing them, as they already have enough native apps.

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Webkit, the open source project includes it I think.

The Safari and Chromium/Chrome developers will (or have already) made it work on the desktop/laptop.

Why would the for example the iOS developers not enable it ?

I assume the library for getting the stream is the same on iOS as on the Mac OS X desktop/laptop.

They have not prevented something from available on Safari on iOS before.

They however did limit the number of HTTP-connections a hybrid application (HTML5 application with native wrapper -> aka webview) can make. I'm not sure why.

The replacement rate of the feature phones was about 2 years, for smartphones this is a little longer.

So in a couple of years many will.

Also getUserMedia is also used for: webrtc. Which allows webdevelopers and app developers to quickly build video/voice chat applications and is almost 1 to 1 compatible with VoIP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebRTC

To allow this it will also add P2P support to the HTML5-stack (yes browser to browser encrypted connections which support audio, video and data which could also be files).

There is a lot of interrest from the Telco's in webrtc, because they think it is a way to prevent OTT (over the top) providers like Whatsapp.

And the developers of Skype/Lync (Microsoft) and Google Talk seem to have a lot of interrest in using it too.

The audio quality is better than what is currently available on all the others because a new and better codec has been developed.

Many apps are also build as hybrid apps to allow easy crossplatform app building.

And I've not seen Apple or Google close their appstore to developers to prevent people from uploading even more apps ;-)

Reply Score: 2

Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

When the answer to "why?" is "because HTML5", I know that this happened because engineering was looking for a problem to match an existing solution.

FirefoxOS's use of HTML5 is not a solution looking for a problem, it is a solution to a known problem: HTML5 webpages/webapps are slow in iOS and Android browser. They are sub-par compared to native apps.

And I thought it would always be the case, whatever double-core A6 and 22-nm Exynos processor we would throw behind, until FirefoxOS came and proved this belief was wrong. A barebones OS with a good rendering engine on top can do the trick.

And am rather glad the Mozilla Foudation is doing it and pushing it seriously.

Reply Score: 4

crystall Member since:
2007-02-06

FirefoxOS's use of HTML5 is not a solution looking for a problem, it is a solution to a known problem: HTML5 webpages/webapps are slow in iOS and Android browser. They are sub-par compared to native apps.


I'm working on the project and I must say that one of its biggest upsides is that it puts a lot of pressure on delivering top-notch performance from fairly limited hardware.

The large optimization and tuning effort required will deliver within Firefox too (the codebase is shared) and generally should raise the bar on what kind of responsiveness and performance users will expect from web pages in general.

Reply Score: 5

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Here's hoping it does translate into performance increases in mobile versions of Firefox. Right now, it's about the slowest app on my phone (Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro); even Google Earth is smoother.

Firefox has been getting better/smoother with each release. But it's still not up to par with Opera Mobile on a single-core 1 GHz CPU with two-year-old GPU.

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

one of its biggest upsides is that it puts a lot of pressure on delivering top-notch performance from fairly limited hardware.

The large optimization and tuning effort required will deliver within Firefox too (the codebase is shared) and generally should raise the bar on what kind of responsiveness and performance users will expect from web pages in general.

Funny, this coming from Mozilla, which aborted two earlier mobile efforts while essentially saying "we'll just wait for more powerful hardware" - meanwhile, Webkit & Opera took over mobile (when they deliver more than enough perf, or better than FF in the experience of me and many; for other "more HTML5-like" stuff, there are apps)

Reply Score: 2

Shane Member since:
2005-07-06

FirefoxOS's use of HTML5 is not a solution looking for a problem, it is a solution to a known problem: HTML5 webpages/webapps are slow in iOS and Android browser. They are sub-par compared to native apps.


But you see, the goal of these other mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.) is not to enable great HTML5 apps. The goal is simply to enable great apps.

Edited 2012-10-11 12:36 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Mrokii Member since:
2011-01-04

Exactly. I don't see why they'd even want to implement all these Html5-abilities, simply because it would bring regular Webapps closer to their native apps.

Reply Score: 2

dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

If the only result of FFOS would be sufficient and validated in a real world set of JS APIs that are standard and that Apple and Google must implement (preserving FFOS performance) then the project can be considered a success.

I see an unobvious ally to what FF guys are trying to do: Microsoft.
Having an web view engine that is order of magnitude faster that competition would prompt web devs to finally give the platform some love.

Reply Score: 2

Mrokii Member since:
2011-01-04

If the only result of FFOS would be sufficient and validated in a real world set of JS APIs that are standard and that Apple and Google must implement (preserving FFOS performance) then the project can be considered a success.


Which isn't going to happen, imho. They can't be forced to do that.

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

What would you expect from a blog whose owner is the author of Foundation HTML5 Canvas?

Reply Score: 2

I dunno ...
by WorknMan on Thu 11th Oct 2012 04:54 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

If Javascript is so great, why are there so many wrapper languages (or whatever you call them) like Coffeescript, that allow web developers to NOT have to code in Javascript?

Reply Score: 2

RE: I dunno ...
by Mrokii on Thu 11th Oct 2012 10:41 UTC in reply to "I dunno ..."
Mrokii Member since:
2011-01-04

I think the problem in that case isn't JavaScript as such (although it do seem to have its problems), but the whole package of Html, CSS and JavaScript, which I have always thought of being a pita to work with. To me it seems that many of the extensions deal with this problem by offering shortcuts to otherwise over-complicated tasks.
Speaking of that, one thing I absolutely *don't* like about Mozilla OS is that it is just another form of lock in, being that one seems to be forced to use that hellish combination of Html, CSS and JavaScript (okay,that's overly dramatic, but I am really not a fan of these technologies, though mainly because of the less-than-intuitive way to use CSS).

Reply Score: 2

RE: I dunno ...
by Lennie on Thu 11th Oct 2012 10:53 UTC in reply to "I dunno ..."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

The problem with Javascript was that it could not easily get rid of all of it's original design flaws because it had to stay compatible with IE6, IE7, IE8.

Because the "compiler" is in the browser.

IE6 and IE7 are now almost dead. Although it looks like there might be more users on IE6 than IE7 soon.

Maybe even IE9 needs to die before we get really new stuff in Javascript. IE10 has a modern Javascript engine.

But IE9 is not gonna die anytime soon, Microsoft won't release a IE10 for Windows 7.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I dunno ...
by Spiron on Thu 11th Oct 2012 15:14 UTC in reply to "RE: I dunno ..."
Spiron Member since:
2011-03-08

But IE9 is not gonna die anytime soon, Microsoft won't release a IE10 for Windows 7.


I don't think that would be right. While it's true they haven't said anything about it, they've been trying to keep their mouths shit about almost everything recently. My bet is Win 7 will see a release soon after the windows 8 launch

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I dunno ...
by Lennie on Thu 11th Oct 2012 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I dunno ..."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I thought they wouldn't but it looks like it might still happen:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/ieitprocurrentver/thr...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I dunno ...
by znby on Thu 11th Oct 2012 15:28 UTC in reply to "RE: I dunno ..."
znby Member since:
2012-02-03

"But IE9 is not gonna die anytime soon, Microsoft won't release a IE10 for Windows 7."

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ie/hh673549(v=vs.85).aspx

"Internet Explorer 10 is available for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, and is expected to be released for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2."

We'll see, I guess.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I dunno ...
by Lennie on Thu 11th Oct 2012 15:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I dunno ..."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Yeah, I had now also found more recent information. It looked like they wouldn't do it before, but it seems they'll eventually do it after the Windows 8 release.

Sorry about the confusion

Reply Score: 2

Comment by gloucestershrubhill
by gloucestershrubhill on Thu 11th Oct 2012 14:46 UTC
gloucestershrubhill
Member since:
2010-08-10

It just seems like a duplication of functionality. PhoneGap works well enough, and webOS and Chrome OS are essentially "Boot to WebKit". And then there's Mer/Tizen/Mee-whataver. It's charming Mozilla are so dedicated to Gecko, but the market doesn't give a toss about rendering engines. The smartphone-for-featurephone-money idea has legs, but the OS is more me-too than me-go.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by gloucestershrubhill
by Mrokii on Thu 11th Oct 2012 15:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by gloucestershrubhill"
Mrokii Member since:
2011-01-04

I guess it depends if they actually manage to get official hardware pre-installed with Mozilla OS. As long as they don't, the OS could just as well be non existant for regular users, just as it is with Web OS or even more obscure choices.

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

They will, they have at least some telco's as their partners.

But even that does not give any garantees others will too ;-)

Reply Score: 2

Interpreted Language for a GUI?
by tuaris on Sat 13th Oct 2012 04:31 UTC
tuaris
Member since:
2007-08-05

I like Firefox and stand by it. The only thing I dislike is that it's GUI is written in a non-compiled scripted language.

Seems to be the "fad" these days, GNOME Shell, Firefox OS, Metro, etc...

Why?

All this is doing is taxing the CPU, using more power, and making such interfaces unusable on older hardware and even modern hardware.

The simple yet pretty GUI that would run just fine on a 486 CPU now needs a Quad Core CPU running at 4GHZ with massive fans, Multi Core GPU's, Gigabytes of RAM, and 800 watt power supplies.

Imagine how great it would be to run a good old fashion pre-compiled will designed high performance GUI on such hardware.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Interpreted Language for a GUI?
by zima on Sun 14th Oct 2012 15:27 UTC in reply to "Interpreted Language for a GUI?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Not really Metro itself, I think ...and anyway, from the current crop of smartphone operating systems, Metro might even be the smoothest when run on modest hardware - if anything, Metro is a "well designed high performance GUI" (but not "old fashion" - and luckily: because, in the past, adequate performance often meant nasty hacks, wasting lots of resources on them and asm). And it runs fine on netbook-class CPU, as does GNOME, don't exaggerate.

But yeah, it is a bit funny when coming from Mozilla, with how they had at least two abortive mobile attempts - and after each saying "we'll just wait for more powerful hardware" basically (in the meantime, Webkit and Opera took over)

Reply Score: 2