Technologizer posts about Mozilla

From Mozilla, news that makes me say “whew”:

We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.

“Under this multi-year agreement, Google Search will continue to be the default search provider for hundreds of millions of Firefox users around the world,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla.

The money that funds Firefox comes principally from all the clicks by Firefox users who use Google in the browser. Until this renewal deal was signed, people wondered about a disastrous scenario in which the Firefox product was essentially defunded. Now we know that won’t happen.

In its 2010 fiscal year, by the way, Mozilla made $123 million, mostly from search revenues from Google and other partners. That makes it a rather well-funded non-profit. Fodder for further discussion: How well is it translating that money into a better Firefox (and other products), better Web technologies, and a better Web, period?

 

 

Posted by Harry at 11:39 am

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Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko”: The Anti-Chrome OS

By  |  Posted at 4:13 pm on Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, has announced plans to get into the mobile operating system game with a project called “Boot to Gecko.”

The goal is to create a web-based operating system that includes all the core functions of a smartphone, including phone calls, text messages and photos. For now, Mozilla plans to build the OS from a low-level chunk of Android, but apps that run on the phone would ultimately be available in any web browser.

In typical Mozilla fashion, the company is laying out its intentions even as the project is in its rudimentary stages.

“We will do this work in the open, we will release the source in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of that process,” Mozilla wrote on its Boot to Gecko wiki. “We aren’t trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we’re trying to have them run on the web.”

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Speaking of glimpses of major software upgrades to come, Conceivably Tech has some stuff on Firefox 5.

Posted by Harry at 9:24 am

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The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg reviews Firefox 4–favorably so, but it’s not a rave.

Posted by Harry at 8:52 am

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Firefox for Android: Desktop-Like Browsing for Your Phone

By  |  Posted at 11:53 am on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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For all the rapid improvement that both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have seen, one thing about both mobile operating systems hasn’t changed much at all: their browsers. True, their technical underpinnings have been refined. But featurewise, they haven’t evolved at anywhere near the pace of their counterparts on PCs, where the competition among browsers is never-ending.

That’s one reason why I’m in favor of browser competition being as healthy on smartphones and tablets as it is on computers. On iOS, that’s not going to happen anytime soon–Apple doesn’t permit full-blown browsers with their own rendering engines in the App Store. (Ones that use the Safari engine, such as the excellent Atomic Web Browser, are permissible; so is Opera Mini, which does most of its work on Opera’s servers, not on your phone.) On Android, however, there’s nothing stopping other companies from competing with the OS’s built-in browser. Opera announced new versions of both Opera Mini and Opera Mobile for Android a couple of weeks ago. And now Mozilla has released the final version of Firefox 4 for Android.

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Showdown: Chrome (Beta) vs. Firefox 4.0

By  |  Posted at 7:06 am on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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With new versions scheduled to be released for these two popular web browsers, many of us are rethinking where our loyalties lie. Should we go with the Google Chrome (Beta) or Mozilla Firefox 4.0? Is it worth the upgrade, or is it time to try something new? Here’s a list of the new and upgraded features to make your decision easier.

Release Date:

Google Chrome (Beta): Beta version available; Those using Chrome will be updated soon.

Mozilla Firefox 4.0: Web and mobile browser expected mid-to-late March. [NOTE: A beta version is available.]

Point Goes To: Chrome. It’s available now, and we all know what happens with tentative dates.

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In Bits and Pieces, Mozilla Shows Off Web Apps Project

By  |  Posted at 12:53 pm on Friday, March 4, 2011

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Mozilla is taking its first significant steps toward building an ecosystem of web apps.

The Firefox maker has announced the first developer release for the Mozilla Web Apps Project. Unlike Google’s Chrome Web Store, which launched in December with apps from big names like the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and NPR, Mozilla’s project is off to a modest start, with a series of disparate parts that will eventually coalesce into a full-blown platform.

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Mozilla Chromeless Aims for Build-Your-Own Browsers

By  |  Posted at 12:50 pm on Friday, October 22, 2010

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User interface is among the most important parts of any web browser, but lately they’re all starting to look the same.

Mozilla Labs’ solution? Chromeless, an experiment that will let people with knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript create their own browser interfaces.

Introducing the idea, Mozilla developer Marcio Galli asks, “What kinds of wild-eyed experimentation would we see if a new conception of browser UI could be prototyped in about the same time it takes to write a web page?” To illustrate his point, Galli posted a simple example that uses page screenshot thumbnails instead of tabs (pictured here).

I really like the idea of Chromeless. While browser interfaces have become highly-evolved, trimming unused menu space and consolidating clutter is not the same as introducing revolutionary new features. If the web browser has any more major leaps in store — something on par with tabs and omnibars — their chances of being discovered will greatly improve if lots of people can easily make their own prototypes. I doubt that any one remix would become popular on its own, but successful experiments could certainly find their way into major browser releases.

Chromeless is still in pre-alpha, and over the next few months, Mozilla will add APIs, security features, and eventually a software development kit for putting together genuine browser remixes. I’m excited to see what people come up with.



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No Firefox for iPhone? I Would Have Settled for “Firefox.”

By  |  Posted at 2:24 pm on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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Mozilla has published a blog post on its plans for the iPhone platform. Basically, they involve (A) focusing on Firefox Home, an app that provides access to Firefox bookmarks, tabs, and history on the iPhone; (B) not doing a full-blown version of Firefox for iPhone; and (C) not letting Firefox Home evolve into something so fancy that it feels like Firefox for the iPhone.

Why no Firefox for iPhone? The Mozilla post doesn’t explain in much detail:

People have asked about adding more browser-like features to Firefox Home, but there are technical and logistical restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to build the full Firefox browser for the iPhone.

The challenges for a real full Firefox on iOS are obvious: As far as I know, Apple’s recent loosening of its App Store guidelines still don’t permit third-party browser companies to write the comprehensive rendering/JavaScript engine that would be required for Mozilla to write a browser from scratch. But as a Firefox fan and an iPhone user, I would have cheerfully settled for a “Firefox” that involved Firefox Home’s features plus more interface functionality but used Apple’s WebKit engine for page rendering.

Atomic Web Browser, which seems to be the work of one guy, is really Safari with a new skin; it’s terrific. I don’t see why Mozilla couldn’t evolve Firefox Home into something similar, and similarly useful–or how doing so wouldn’t be a boon to Firefox aficionados.



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If you care about the future of Firefox–and browsers in general–Matt Buchanan’s interview at Gizmodo with Mozilla Director of Developer Relations Christopher Blizzard is a great read.

Posted by Harry at 11:11 am

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Google Chrome to Integrate Flash

By  |  Posted at 11:27 am on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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What if Flash felt less like a browser plugin and more like a browser feature? Google and Adobe intend to try and answer that question. They’ve announced that future versions of the Chrome browser will come with an integrated version of Flash. Download Chrome, and you’ll get a preinstalled, ready-to-go copy of Flash; update Chrome, and you’ll get any available Flash updates.

I know that some folks reading this post will have an instinctive negative reaction to this idea–there are definitely those who dislike Flash enough that they want nothing to do with it. But ardent Flash avoiders are a tiny minority, judging from the fact that the vast majority of the world’s PCs and Macs have Flash installed. (They’ll be able to disable the preinstalled Flash if they want.)

Conceptually, I like the idea–but only if it makes Flash more or less transparent. Over the years, I’ve wasted a fair amount of time reinstalling and updating Flash, dealing with odd errors (like demands for more storage), and recovering from Flash crashes. If the integrated version results in a Flash that’s just there, it’ll be a good thing. And it would help make Flash more palatable in a world in which it’ll compete with open, browser-native HTML5 technologies–which is presumably part of the idea.

In related news, both Adobe and Google are working with Mozilla and other players in the browser community to build a new API for plugins–one which will allow for better integration than existing techniques. Again, good idea if it helps us forget we’re running plugins at all…



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The browser wars have been one of the best things that ever happened to computer users–but so far, they haven’t spilled over from the desktop onto phones. (Yes, there are multiple browsers available for many phone OSes, but there tends to be one 800-pound gorilla and a bunch of obscure alternatives.) So I’m glad to hear that Mozilla says it hopes to have Firefox up and running on Android by the end of the year

Posted by Harry at 12:22 pm

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Would You Pay For Firefox Extensions?

By  |  Posted at 5:49 pm on Thursday, July 16, 2009

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Firefox ContributionsFirefox is the happy result of untold hours of unpaid effort by the Mozilla community. But Mozilla is announcing a pilot program called Firefox Add-On Contributions, with the aim of helping Firefox extension developers make a buck from their hard work. It’s a platform for requesting and receiving payments for extensions, with PayPal handling the exchange of money. It is, of course, optional.

I kind of like the idea–I try to pay for the shareware I use, and the iPhone App Store has shown the power of selling a lot of copies of something small and useful for just a little money. (I’m assuming that the contribution price for a typical Firefox add-on isn’t going to be more than a few dollars.)

So if you’re asked to chip in for extensions you use and like…will you?



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5Words for Monday, June 22nd 2009

By  |  Posted at 12:50 pm on Monday, June 22, 2009

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5wordsAre you using Firefox 3.5?

Firefox 3.5 is almost done.

AT&T and Apple’s closed Web.

How not to use Twitter.

3.0? On most iPhones, no.

Your ringtone is a performance.

Two Engadgeteers review Nokia’s N97.

Fake Steve Jobs has returned.

FCC to target blogger freebies?

Google works on machine vision.



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