Mozilla, Gecko Archive

Yahoo starts prompting Chrome users to “upgrade” to Firefox

If you're visiting any Yahoo property today, chances are you'll see an "Upgrade to the new Firefox" link in the top-right corner of your browser window. The prompt also appears if you're using Internet Explorer, Opera and even the new Yandex browser. However, the prompt is missing from Safari, which will surely prompt a new round of speculation about Apple's rumored switch to Yahoo as its default search engine.

Given that Firefox now uses Yahoo as its default search engine, this move doesn't come as a huge surprise. Yahoo clearly wants as many people as possible to use Firefox - and with it its search engine (which is powered by Microsoft Bing).

A good deal for Firefox, but one has to wonder - how many people actually visit Yahoo properties who would also "upgrade" their browser?

Firefox to switch to Yahoo by default for US users

Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004. Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.

US users will now get Yahoo as the default search engine in Firefox. The question here is this: did Google decide that it was no longer worth it to keep Mozilla afloat financially, or did Mozilla decide to cut the agreement?

Mozilla: DRM and the challenge of serving users

Despite our dislike of DRM, we have come to believe Firefox needs to provide a mechanism for people to watch DRM-controlled content. We will do so in a way that protects the interests of individual users as much as possible, given what the rest of the industry has already put into place. We have selected Adobe to provide the key functionality. Adobe has been doing this in Flash for some time, and Adobe has been building the necessary relationships with the content owners. We believe that Adobe is uniquely able to bring new value to the setting.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. Don't include DRM, and see your userbase erode further. Do include DRM, and you go against your organisation's core values. If you go for the former, and your userbase erodes, you run the risk of not being able to express your core values at all.

Firefox 29 released, sports new user interface

Firefox 29 has been released, and the most prominent new feature is an entirely new user interface. It's smoother and less angular, and has clearly been designed to somewhat resemble Google Chrome. Hence, I personally think it's a major step forward - except for Firefox' version of the Chrome menu, which uses a grid of icons instead of a list (?!) - but I'm nearly 100% convinced many Firefox users will not like it. It's change, after all.

Luckily, Firefox is customisable to the point of insanity, so I'm pretty sure you can revert to the old look with the right themes and extensions.

Brendan Eich steps down as Mozilla CEO

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves.

We didn’t act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better.

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He's made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

The only sensible move.

The new Mozilla CEO’s political past is imperiling his present

For the Internet community, the principles of free speech and equal rights are foundational. But in recent days, those issues are clashing at Mozilla, the nonprofit foundation and tech company behind the Firefox browser.

At issue is Brendan Eich, a co-founder of Mozilla, inventor of the much used Javascript programming language and the newly appointed CEO of the company. Eich made a $1,000 donation to the campaign for California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. The donation had come to light in 2012, but fizzled.

Opposing same-sex marriage is no different than opposing interracial marriage. As a Dutchman, it baffles me that an organisation like Mozilla appointed a man with such medieval ideas.

Firefox ceases development on its Metro version

In late 2012, when I started up the Firefox for Metro team (I know that's not what Microsoft calls it anymore, but it remains how we talk about it in Mozilla), it looked like the next battleground for the Web. Windows is a massive ecosystem and Microsoft pushes its new platforms hard. At first, it looked like we would be locked out completely. We eventually broke open Metro (though never the RT line of ARM-based products) and we got to work.

In the months since, as the team built and tested and refined the product, we've been watching Metro's adoption. From what we can see, it's pretty flat. On any given day we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop, but we've never seen more than 1000 active daily users in the Metro environment.

Makes sense.

Mozilla to build anti-surveillance code verification system

Mozilla plans to establish an automated process which would verify that binaries contain only the code found in the official source repositories, and not spyware secretly added during the build process at the behest of government intelligence agencies. In a blog post entitled Trust but Verify, CTO Brendan Eich and R&D VP Andreas Gal note that governments "may force service operators to enable surveillance (something that seems to have happened in the Lavabit case)" and pledge to develop systems which will make Firefox resistant to this form of tampering.

ZTE Open: Firefox OS gets modest but promising start

Whether or not the Open fits your needs, one thing is clear: Mozilla needs more capable hardware to demonstrate Firefox OS' potential. The Open is good for someone whose alternative would be a basic flip phone, but the camera quality, connectivity, display and performance don't do full justice to the software.

A promising start, but clearly better hardware is needed. I'm really hoping Firefox OS gets a fair shot.

Foxconn, Mozilla collaborating to develop 5 devices

"Mozilla and Foxconn have officially announced a partnership and confirmed that the two firms are developing at least 5 new devices, including a tablet computer. At a press conference today at Computex 2013 in Taipei, Li Gong, CEO of Mozilla Taiwan, and Young Liu, General Manager of Foxconn innovation Digital System Business Group, unveiled a new tablet prototype model designed for an unnamed OEM."

Geeksphone’s Firefox OS smartphones go on sale tomorrow

Geeksphone will be launching the first Firefox OS devices tomorrow. "With the startup shipping worldwide and pricing the devices reasonably low, you can bet that many developers who've been eager to start building apps for Firefox OS will be tempted by Geeksphone's offering and not interested in waiting for the majors to come to market. Geeksphone can theoretically manufacture up to roughly 5000 devices per day, but that all depends on if there's enough demand down the line. Either way, we've confirmed that Geeksphone will start shipping the first ordered phones by the end of this week."

Mozilla, Samsung collaborate on new browser engine

Big news from Mozilla and Samsung today: the two have been working on a new browsing engine together, developed from the ground-up to be completely new, and it's written entirely in Rust, a new safe systems language developed by Mozilla. "Rust, which today reached v0.6, has been in development for several years and is rapidly approaching stability. It is intended to fill many of the same niches that C++ has over the past decades, with efficient high-level, multi-paradigm abstractions, and offers precise control over hardware resources. But beyond that, it is safe by default, preventing entire classes of memory management errors that lead to crashes and security vulnerabilities. Rust also features lightweight concurrency primitives that make it easy for programmers to leverage the power of the many CPU cores available on current and future computing platforms." The work is on-going, but of course, all code is out there right now.