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Where Is Firefox OS? 288

Posted by timothy
from the there's-no-pleasing-some-people dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Microsoft's very simple yet graceful concept raises a very big question. The way Microsoft is planning out Windows 8, developers will be able to write one HTML 5 app which will run across every Windows 8 form factor, from desktops to laptops, to ARM netbooks and tablets. Given the concept, if you remove the operating system — or at least make it transparent enough that the browser becomes the platform — then suddenly every piece of software works across every piece of hardware which raises the question that why Mozilla hasn't considered a Firefox OS?"
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Where Is Firefox OS?

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  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:08PM (#36507028) Homepage

    A: Because it's a dumb idea.

  • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:12PM (#36507068) Homepage Journal

    The 'browser as an OS' concept is still stupid.

    I could draw it out and make it sound pretty, but its stupid nonetheless. Once you've made the browser so big that it encompasses all possible generic operating system needs, it is too bloated and someone else makes a smaller faster better browser.

    Operating systems and browsers are two different things.

    Now as a work environment, say a desktop interface, browsers have potential, and that's what most people mean, but even there, the security problems of dividing up what is local data and what is remote, what should be executable and what shouldn't becomes a nightmare that is easier to handle when avoided completely.

    HTML5 isn't the best way to write any application; that's why almost everyone else who's made an HTML based platform has moved to a native one after the fact. Does HTML need the features necessary to write generic applications? Certainly not. The overloading of protocols (everything as HTTP) and formats (everything as HTML/CSS) is just short sighted laziness.

    Please make it stop.

  • Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:21PM (#36507198)

    Just install a very lightweight linux distro. Install firefox on it. Set it to full screen mode.

    Done. No need to reinvent the wheel.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:30PM (#36507286) Homepage

    It's like using a desktop computer just so you can remotely eject the CD tray and knock over a cup of water to water your plants while you're on vacation.

    Yes, you COULD do that, but it's wasteful and unnecessary. And last I checked, wasteful and unnecessary weren't the hallmarks of a "simple" design.

  • by Windwraith (932426) on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:37PM (#36507364)

    Am I the only one who just wants a browser?
    Sure, I like stuff like javascript games (I am a game dev so the topic inherently catches my attention) and some webapps, but I am certainly not willing to give my browser that much importance.
    For me the centerpiece of the OS is the file manager and the tools to do my tasks. I don't want to have to depend on just a browser or webapps that don't have local code to run from your physical computer. We know the cloud is not 100% reliable (sure, it's not 100% unreliable either, but until there's no choice but to use it, I want to use that choice).

  • HTML? Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:40PM (#36507390)
    MS is really talking about using HTML as the best way to port code between the different versions of Windows 8? That is at least 4 different kinds of fail.
  • by fermion (181285) on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:49PM (#36507476) Homepage Journal
    IMHO, Mozilla was created to leverage the assets of Netscape to prevent a world in which proprietary MS protocals controlled the web. There was no business model in which Mozilla had to be the market share leader. There was no need to play games in which users had to be lured to give up personal data. A cross platform browser allowed users freedom to choose a machine that suited them and then run an appropriate Mozilla variant. I myself use Camino.

    MS needs a browser based OS to maintain market share in the world of sub-$500 internet devices. We have seen these fail, and everyone is saying lack of mobile broadband is going to kill them, but these are going to be targeted at home user with WiFi that want inexpensive machines that can move around the house. The benefit is going to be reliability, and MS want to take users away from Apple in this lucrative market and return them to MS.

    Likewise Google has to have a mobile OS to continue to collect information. The mobile OS is prefect for Google because everything a user does is recorded, track, mined, and sold. Google already has significant market share, so, as we see, the internet devices are being sold at a healthy profit, and the benefit to the user are free applications after the fact. This gives MS hope as it can often intimidate manufacturers to sell at a less healthy profit in return for marketing support that will create the volume that MS wants.

    So we have one company that wants a WebOS to keep it office franchise alive, another that wants to keep the advertising money flowing. Where would mozzila be? They have no market share concerns, they have no free apps, and there is no open hardware platform for a table or internet computer. So one can buy an expensive laptop, pay the internet tax, and then install this great Mozilla OS. We have seen how well this works for Linux. Or one can buy the allegedly open Android or Chrome tablet and install Mozilla. What is the point? Chrome is not a bad OS.

    As we have seen on the iPhone, software developers don't want to develop for the web browser. They want native Apps. The machine needs to do both, unless one is in the business of locking in users like MS or Google.

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:07PM (#36508102)

    The 'browser as an OS' concept is still stupid.

    [...] Once you've made the browser so big that it encompasses all possible generic operating system needs, it is too bloated and someone else makes a smaller faster better browser.

    The whole point of the "browser is an OS" is not to "encompass all possible generic operating system needs". The idea is that most of those needs will be handled by a "the cloud". Most of the time, when Microsoft or an IT manager talks about it, that doesn't mean anything sensible. However, when Google talks about it, it really means

    • You aren't going to have to do file storage because your named objects are going to be stored in the cloud server and just cached locally
    • You aren't going to have to do much computing because most of that will be handled by Google's servers
    • You aren't going to have to think about application security because that will be handled by Google's
    • You aren't going to have to control privacy and data flow because Google will do it for you.
    • You aren't going to have to handle user management because Google will do that for you.
    • You aren't going to have to handle setting up a file server/ file sharing because that will be done already, by Google
    • etc.

    If that list scares you, then it should. Basically what you are saying here is that when you move to a "Browser is the OS set up" what you are actually moving to is a "Google is your administrator and your system and all applications are controlled by them set up". You had better hope they are nice http://www.theregister.co.uk/odds/bofh/ [slashdot.org]>operators

    Operating systems and browsers are two different things.

    You are answering the wrong question here. The question isn't "should I build these things separately". The question is, "should the user have any understanding of the underlying operating system, and if so, do I need any more interface to it than a web browser can provide?" The Google answer is "no". Fundamentally, you as a naive user, surrender everything to Google. Your so the OS is still there, just the user doesn't have to worry about what it does or how it works.

    HTML5 isn't the best way to write any application; that's why almost everyone else who's made an HTML based platform has moved to a native one after the fact.

    Given that nobody has fully implemented it ye very few of the people who used HTML used HTML 5, so that comparison isn't yet made. Probably we should come back to that ten years from now to get the proper empirical data. However, every potential alternative platform has problems:

    Windows binary
    no simple way to install applications; user need to download, install, approve etc. Many different incompatible versions and bad multi-version support
    Linux binary
    not widely enough installed; users are resistant to learning; several different versions
    OS/X binary
    both disadvantages of Windows and Linux at once!
    Java "binary"
    horribly variable platform versions; users are resistant; inconsistent user interface; ugly
    Flash "binary"
    partly incomplete platform access; horrible security model; horribly s.low and unstable; at serious risk of elimination in the next couple of years
    HTML5 / AJAX
    incomplete platform access; slow.

    Does HTML need the features necessary to write generic applications? Certainly not.

    Again it's the wrong question. The question is: "does it make sense for the people writing the HTML 5 standard to make generic applications possible". The answer is "unfortunately yes". They see a gap in the market and they are closest to filling it. Let's be clear what the gap is:

    • Cross platform (Windows XP -> Windows 2008 / OS/X / Linux + Mobile )
    • Dynamically installable (you don't need t
  • by woolpert (1442969) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:19PM (#36508182)

    For me the centerpiece of the OS is the file manager and the tools to do my tasks

    This is an argument against the browser as OS and gets +4 insightful? The mind boggles.

    1 - File manager as centerpiece of OS:
    A - A file manager is an app (of my choosing) which runs on top of my OS.
    B - As we have already seen browser (IE / Konqueror) is hard to distinguish from a file manager (Explorer / Konqueror) and so if we accept your argument that the file manager is the centerpiece of an OS there is evidence aplenty that a browser is said centerpiece.

    2 - "The tools to do my tasks" as co-centerpiece of an OS.
    If ever there was a classic definition of "applications" it was "the tools to do my tasks". The OS is the tool to do the application's tasks. If we're going to zoom out and take such a broad view of what an OS is (it sounds to me like you're describing a desktop environment ) how are current browsers not inches away from that already?

    We know the cloud is not 100% reliable

    Where in the concept of "browser as OS" is "no off-line content" made explicit?

/earth: file system full.

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