Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Aug 2018 22:23 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones

With the latest Firefox experiment, Advance, you can explore more of the web efficiently, with real-time recommendations based on your current page and your most recent web history.

With Advance we're taking you back to our Firefox roots and the experience that started everyone surfing the web. That time when the World Wide Web was uncharted territory and we could freely discover new topics and ideas online. The Internet was a different place.

I get what Mozilla is trying to do here, and they obviously have rightfully earned the trust of many over the years, but is this kind of functionality really something people who choose to use Firefox are looking for, or even tolerate? This seems like something that doesn't align with the average Firefox user at all.

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v Eh
by piratepuppy on Wed 8th Aug 2018 22:52 UTC
RE: Eh
by CaptainN- on Thu 9th Aug 2018 16:45 UTC in reply to "Eh"
CaptainN- Member since:

I don't know if it's just nostalgia. Most of use drink the internet through the Google fire hose (and maybe Facebook/Twitter). This looks like an attempt to pry control of our discovery away from those large corporations, even if it is cloaked in nostalgic framing.

Reply Score: 4

Well if someone has to do it...
by rlees on Wed 8th Aug 2018 23:02 UTC
Member since:

So I don't see myself signing up for this but...

Given that we're seeing increasing disruption to culture and politics due to questionable algorithmically driven news and info curation (ie. keeping you in your box) I can't really complain about someone that I trust taking a swing at how to do this fairly and effectively.

Maybe it will be noticeably better than what you get from Facebook etc. and if nothing else it will punctuate the deficiencies of those sources?

Reply Score: 3

by Athlander on Wed 8th Aug 2018 23:06 UTC
Member since:

I like that Mozilla have clearly presented what data is being sent to Laserlike. Points there.

Laserlike, though, comes across as the typical tech start up. There's absolutely nothing on their website about what their plans are (other than making the web a better place). Of course, the aim is probably to sell their technology for big money to anyone interested in data mining and search. Or they could share data with "trusted partners", sell data to clients, or insert sponsored results.

As to whether Firefox users would be interested in this feature, I have to wonder. It may be useful to students researching for an essay, but for most people it may appear to be nothing more than a focused Taboola/Outbrain.

Reply Score: 2

Mozilla walks a fine line
by supercompman on Wed 8th Aug 2018 23:11 UTC
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Mozilla has to walk a really fine line. You may be right that this isn't functionality that most Firefox users want, but they need to get NEW Firefox users. They need to find a good way to grow their user base and bring features that new users like while not alienating current users. As long as this is functionality that the user can turn off, I don't think this will be a big issue. I like the current versions of Firefox a lot, but Mozilla is trying desperately to show both the development community and users that you can bring modern "features" (site suggestions, ads, etc) to an application while still respecting a user's privacy. The problem that I see is that users don't really seem to care, even when they know that their data is being harvested, so it's a tough sell.

The number one thing that I've seen users care about is speed at which they can do what they want to do. Users want whatever is fastest. The only thing that I've seen users trade for speed is easiness. Not that the users are wrong for wanting these things. Time is valuable, and easiness means you can start making some kind of progress toward your desired goals more quickly.

From what I can see, the only way I see Firefox winning new users in any substantial quantity is by being much faster than the competition or being substantially easier (whatever that means to the user for their context). They have already lost the ease of use - too many people have bought into the Google infrastructure in Android, Google Docs, etc... Chrome is an easy, obvious fit here. The only chance they have is by winning the speed race, but I honestly doubt that will be enough.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Mozilla walks a fine line
by laffer1 on Thu 9th Aug 2018 02:24 UTC in reply to "Mozilla walks a fine line"
laffer1 Member since:

They could also follow Netscape era rules or old Opera and be portable. Netscape ran on many UNIX operating systems in addition to windows and mac. Since firefox is open source, they could target many systems if only they would chill out on branding and the extreme hoops to get a port in.

Firefox should be available everywhere. They could win that war. Google has no interest in it.

Firefox and Chrome are available on:
windows, mac, linux, android. Firefox has flirted with iOS but missed the mark twice.

Look at all the missing operating systems. There's kinda of support for freebsd and openbsd. Sometimes netbsd. Other systems are out in the cold. Many linux distros are too due to their crazy brand requirements.

The latest version for ArcaOS/Ecomstation/OS/2 is years old. (like esr 32)

Get it working better on Haiku, ReactOS, etc. Push 64bit build where available.

Their insistence on Rust further limits the portability in the future. This is the wrong direction.

Put out official builds for ARM platforms on linux & windows. Put out freebsd binaries like Opera once did. Be open for a change.

Embrace side projects like thunderbird. Make it available on other platforms like android and iOS. Make it sync profiles and configuration with desktops. Due the same for the browser.

Help the seamonkey team get it working on 4k displays properly.

Build GOOD WILL in the open source community instead of pissing us all off. That builds word of mouth.

Many power users dislike that chrome has hidden everything including the settings. Copying that design like Opera has also done isn't working. Balance power and ease of use like they once did. Help extension makers port their stuff to the newer platform.

Fix the syncing problem. They've tried several times and it's never as good as google's implementation.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Mozilla walks a fine line
by cb88 on Thu 9th Aug 2018 03:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Mozilla walks a fine line"
cb88 Member since:

This exactly...

ReactOS is stuck at FF 48 (Mostly ReactOS's fault otherwise they'd be at 52 just like XP).
Haiku (which is beta quality) is stick at FF2 ish
FireFox / Sparc arguably a good architecture to maintain as it requires aligned accesses (which bus fault on Sparc but cause minor slowdowns on other platforms). usually 5-10 versions behind and Rust is making it harder yet as it doesn't have as broad of compatibility as C does yet.
Failing that getting Firefox running on RiscV would be a huge plus for open source people.

Currently Firefox's UI is flexible enough again that I'd call it decent.

Personally I also find it quite troubling how many projects are dropping 32bit support without good reason, that's literally one more smoke test you aren't running. Instead of dropping 32bit they should be working toward making it easier to maintain 32bit/64bit compatible software... it should be just a checkbox not a conscious effort on the part of the developer in most cases.

Edited 2018-08-09 03:05 UTC

Reply Score: 0

supercompman Member since:

The only platform listed that has any substantial number of end-users is iOS, and on that platform, Apple won't let Mozilla bring their rendering engine over. For all intents and purposes, Firefox on iOS is a completely separate product from Firefox on desktop or Android. The only useful things that Firefox can provide users on iOS is Firefox Sync and a little more privacy than average. It's not enough for most users to care.

Adding support for all of the other platforms you listed would be a tremendous amount of developer effort for very little gain. FreeBSD has a few desktop users, but Haiku isn't even ready for any end users in a serious environment. ArcaOS is just life support for OS/2 and is not really gaining users other than people already well embedded in OS/2. ReactOS should be Windows compatible if it worked properly, but it is FAR from production ready. Most ARM platforms will be running a Linux distro where Firefox is already packaged and available, or Android where Firefox is also available.

I feel that Rust is one of the few really positive developments from Mozilla and I applaud the use of it in Firefox. The language completely eliminates whole classes of security issues while providing an easier way to write reliable concurrent code. Both of these are things that current languages (and browsers written in those languages) had a very difficult time providing, but both are critical especially for code running in an untrusted environment (any networked application) and for an application to make the best use of modern hardware which is growing more parallel all of the time.

In regard to extensions, Mozilla has already worked for quite a long time with those developers to get the most commonly used extensions running properly on the latest versions of Firefox. Mozilla has also accepted feedback, and actually implemented, infrastructure to allow other extensions that couldn't be ported before to be brought to the new extension architecture. Most other extensions have been abandoned by their original developers... I'm not really sure what more you'd like to see Mozilla do here.

As for "pissing us all off" in the open source community... have they? Mozilla has certainly had their missteps, but are they actively burning bridges and/or not contributing to the community as a whole? I like to consider myself part of the community, and I'm certainly not pissed off. Most (but not all) of their decisions are logical, reasonable decisions that have to be made in an organization the size of Mozilla, running a project the size of Firefox, looking out for what's in the best interest of end users and the long-term health of the project, all while working with finite resources. Do they make some poor choices at times? Of course, but the majority of them seem pretty reasonable when the big picture is taken into consideration.

Reply Score: 3

They must be low on money and thatâs bad
by Poseidon on Thu 9th Aug 2018 00:19 UTC
Member since:

They’re probably running low on cash, and that’s bad for everyone.

It’s due to them that the web doesn’t suck, and the way google is going, if Mozilla goes down there’s going to be eithervavstagnation on standards or a rise in proprietary standards breaking compatibility in order to maximize revenue via lock in.

Reply Score: 1

kwan_e Member since:

They’re probably running low on cash, and that’s bad for everyone.

Maybe they should just replace every unnecessary feature with a "Donate" button. And that opens up a dialog that details exactly, and in real time, the financial and personnel situation (and maybe even a bug report count) of the foundation.

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:

They’re probably running low on cash

That should be fairly easy to check; isn't virtually all that Mozilla do public?
As for the new feature ...this will play badly with my OCD. ;) ;)

Reply Score: 2

v Comment by jigzat
by jigzat on Thu 9th Aug 2018 05:24 UTC
Comment by grub
by grub on Thu 9th Aug 2018 07:59 UTC
Member since:

What is "average Firefox user"?

Reply Score: 1

building bigger echo chambers ?
by Galor on Thu 9th Aug 2018 08:43 UTC
Member since:

and even that, do I really want to give more technocrats the ability to control what people see? even horses get the blinders removed once in a while..

Reply Score: 0

Great Idea!
by Brendan on Thu 9th Aug 2018 11:20 UTC
Member since:


There's far too much bad porn on the web (low resolution, poor acting, shaking camera, bad plot). Porn that's been recommended by Firefox would be a huge time saver for a lot of people.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 6

Comment by JPisini
by JPisini on Thu 9th Aug 2018 11:45 UTC
Member since:

I have been using Firefox since it was sold in stores as Netscape but some of the choices lately have me using other browsers more and more. I want to control what I see on the web not have things pushed on me.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by JPisini
by grub on Thu 9th Aug 2018 11:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by JPisini"
grub Member since:

I want to control what I see on the web not have things pushed on me.

That is exactly why I left Facebook.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by JPisini
by woegjiub on Thu 9th Aug 2018 13:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by JPisini"
woegjiub Member since:

Unfortunately the only alternatives are chrome, edge, safari, or a community browser that wraps one of those engines.

While there are a lot of great browsers (like qutebrowser, epiphany, etc.) based on webkit and blink, they don't have the resources of mozilla so they're left piggybacking off of google and apple.

As an NPO whose purpose is ensuring the web is free and open, Mozilla are still vitally necessary.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by JPisini
by JPisini on Sat 11th Aug 2018 11:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by JPisini"
JPisini Member since:

Not that I want to but if i have to I can go back to using lynx or elink and surf the web through a text based browser. I would rather give up graphics than freedom.

Reply Score: 1

v Spotify
by Nit.0 on Thu 9th Aug 2018 14:50 UTC
by darknexus on Thu 9th Aug 2018 20:22 UTC
Member since:

Mozilla don't have my trust anymore. They did, even after the Pocket integration, but then came Firefox studies, which would randomly turn itself back on. Then came sponsored content in new tab pages. Now comes the "voluntary" submission of your data to a third party, one whose trustworthiness is unknown. And how long before "voluntary" becomes "opt out" the way the sponsored content is, and then becomes integrated permanently? Once this affiliate has your data, they can do whatever the heck they want with it, and Mozilla have plausible deniability should the worst happen. How convenient... for someone.

Reply Score: 0