Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 11th Feb 2013 15:22 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones "'But how is it going to beat Android or iOS?' That's the reaction many people have when I tell them that I am working on Firefox OS, the new mobile operating system from Mozilla. It is a logical reaction. After all, we live in times where every major software company and its mother is releasing a mobile platform, struggling to lure developers into their new proprietary environment, APIs, libraries, etc. And indeed, many of these companies barely make it or don’t make it at all. But Firefox OS will not be directly battling against other mobile platforms. Its main objective is to change the way the world develops mobile apps, and even in the unlikely event that Firefox OS itself disappears in the process, if web-apps become mainstream, it will have succeeded."
Thread beginning with comment 552145
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by Sodki
by Sodki on Mon 11th Feb 2013 16:46 UTC
Member since:

I've played a bit with Firefox OS last week in FOSDEM and I was quite interested in it, in a strange way. My understanding, like the article states, is that Firefox OS is not meant to compete with Android nor iOS, at least not as a direct competitor. So what niche is it trying to carve? Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see, but if it succeeds in giving us a cheap, open device, I'll buy it for sure.

One thing that was not clear in the article is that Firefox OS can run local web applications, with no need for an permanent Internet connection. For example, the calculator is still a web application, but it's running on your Firefox OS device, not online.

Oh, I also wanted to state that the Mozilla brand is more than Firefox or Thunderbird. There was a concrete initial objective in the Mozilla project, "freeing the web", and that did happen. Chrome may have surpassed Firefox in terms of popularity, but I don't think Chrome would exist without all the previous work done by Mozilla and its users.

Edited 2013-02-11 16:50 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Comment by Sodki
by Bishi on Mon 11th Feb 2013 18:20 in reply to "Comment by Sodki"
Bishi Member since:

Apps within Firefox OS are webapps. The main launcher is a webapp, the phone app is a webapp, the lockscreen is a webapp... All the functionality is provided via JavaScript libraries that implement open standards. Some of those standards are already in use in browsers (local storage, geolocation, touch API...), and some others are being developed now, like the phone API.

There are 3 key benefits to this:

1.- Easy customization and openness. The HTML, CSS and JS that drives the phone is there. Change it and the functionality changes.

2.- Simplicity. The only thing you need to make a phone that works is to run a web runtime. A web runtime is a complicated program, yes, but it's *just one* program. This is similar to what Android does, but Firefox OS is much smaller and easier for phone makers.

And the important one:

3.- Freedom. Webapps run everywhere. Right now, everyone of us is tied to a mobile OS. It would hurt me to move away from Android, because I'd lose all the apps I bought. With webapps, I can buy Angry Birds to play it on my Firefox OS phone, then move to Android and keep playing. This is possible because the appropriate runtime is available on Android too (Firefox for Android supports webapps in the same way Firefox OS does, but someday Android will support all the standards required by default). After using Android, I could move to my computer and keep using Firefox OS apps, given I have a browser installed.

The webapp distribution model is similar to Android's. You can install or buy the apps through an app store, everyone can set up their own store, or you can distribute the app in any other way you want (you can point people to the URL of the app, or you can distribute the folder containing it)

Edited 2013-02-11 18:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Sodki
by judgen on Mon 11th Feb 2013 19:05 in reply to "RE: Comment by Sodki"
judgen Member since:

I love your carbot Zergling avatar btw.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Sodki
by Chris_G on Mon 11th Feb 2013 20:36 in reply to "RE: Comment by Sodki"
Chris_G Member since:

The nomenclature needs work. I think we need to draw a strict line between local apps that just happen to be written in HTML5/CSS/JS/DOM, and apps that are just fancy bookmarks to sites written in HTML5/CSS/JS/DOM.

Oh, yes, I agree completely with your point about benefits of the cross-platform nature of web technologies. As an OS nerd, I'm excited by the prospect that one day hobby OSes will only have to port WebKit/V8 to be able to run everyone's favourite programs.

Edited 2013-02-11 20:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5