Thoughts on Mozilla
back to all thoughts
Most people at Mozilla are remote so each quarter we sync up face to face as a group for an all-hands meeting. There are over 600 employees! We of course sync up in smaller groups more frequently but this is a chance to see what's going on across the entire Mozilla horizon.
So what's happening at Mozilla? We're on the cusp of a huge shift towards an open web platform. That is, something more than a web browser -- something you can run "native" apps on. There's a lot of work left to do, of course. Here is a random dump of interesting projects in the works...
The release of Google Plus presents a unique opportunity to open up the social web. Why? Because it's a compelling product -- it's intuitive and fun with innovative features like circles, hangouts, sparks, etc. In many ways it's a clone of Facebook but that's just a reinforcement of what Facebook (and before that, Friendster) got right. If Plus continues to succeed then the optimist in me envisions this as a golden opportunity! ...
When I got my first Android "smart phone" it felt like a slow, hard-to-use computer
on dial-up Internet. Now I use an Android G2 (HTC Vision) which
I'd call a pretty snappy, easier-to-use computer. I can't say I do much on it
besides calls, texting, and Twitter but I'm excited that
Firefox Mobile has just been released. You'll need a newer Android phone (arm v7)
to install it and it's going to eat up a whopping 14MB (plus caching)
but, hey, Firefox is now mobile! ...
Firefox 4 has launched! If you want to watch the whole planet
upgrade in realtime head over to
glow.mozilla.org (built by @potch, @jeffbalogh, and others!).
If you haven't already downloaded Firefox 4 then what are you waiting for?
After that, join the twitter party by using the #fx4 hashtag in
Firefox 4 is about to ship! And it contains a massive amount of
these hot new features and how important Firefox is to the international
community but first, this.
In the next week millions of people will begin upgrading to
Firefox 4. A large number of them will be upgrading from Firefox 3 so
they'll be disappointed to learn that when you type a name or phrase into the
Awesome Bar it no longer takes you directly to the website you are looking
for. Technically this feature was called Browse By Name but most people
probably understand it as performing a "feeling lucky" search in Google. The
forums and support site are already filling up with complaints.
Don't worry! The feature was just disabled, it wasn't removed entirely...
The Internet was invented so that data could be decentralized and liberated.
Well, so much for that idea.
With the rise of services such as Facebook and Twitter we are back to the
original mainframe problem: everything is stored and controlled by a central
authority. Ironically, today's "to the cloud" meme is making us depend
on central authorities even more.
So what about data privacy? In this centralized
model we go about our online lives constantly posting data to all these different
servers that we trust...
Firefox 4 is near the end of its beta cycle but what is so special about this
release? Why not see for yourself on the new demo site, the Web of Wonder
(requires Firefox 4 beta but some demos do work in Chrome and Safari).
I'll be honest, as a web developer, the new power of HTML5, CSS3, SVG, WebGL, etc
totally blows my mind...
Whenever I'd hear about someone from the Python community getting hired by Mozilla I'd get really excited because I knew they'd continue to share and collaborate in the open source world that I was a part of. So here I am about a month into joining Mozilla myself to work with the WebDev team. Everything Mozilla does is right out in the open: ideas are posted on blogs, code is committed to public repositories--free to use, free to fork, etc. They take a firm stance that everything you do on the web should be free and open even to the point where the new Firefox 4 audio API (which is amazing) doesn't even support the patented, closed MP3 format despite its ubiquity.
This transparent approach to technology is really powerful...