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Mozilla Firefox Operating Systems Build

Firefox OS Coming To Raspberry Pi 88

ControlsGeek writes Mozilla plans to build a version of its Firefox OS for use in the Raspberry Pi. Plans are afoot to build a version capable of (1) being run on the Pi hardware and (2) eventually achieving parity with Raspbian and (3) enable easy development for robotics.
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Firefox OS Coming To Raspberry Pi

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  • What is the point? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @08:56PM (#48247207)
    What is the point of FirefoxOS? It seems like an exercise in just trying to cram it in everywhere rather than creating a proper solution to an existing problem in one place. The goal here is to eventually "achieve parity with Raspbian" ... well shouldn't the goal be to solve some actual problem? It's the same as with FFOS on smartphones, it doesn't really solve any problem, even at the low end of the market Android has dirt cheap phones pretty well covered with a proven and already well-established OS.
    • What is the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by asa ( 33102 ) <asa@mozilla.com> on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:20PM (#48247381) Homepage

      What was the point of Firefox? IE was free and was a proven and already well-established browser. By your logic, we never should have built Firefox and the Web should have stalled with IE6 in 2002.

      The world needs a truly open mobile OS as much as it needed a truly open browser a decade ago. Android is open in name only and Google is hurriedly moving its most lucrative components into closed proprietary services and apps that aren't a part of open source Android. iOS is as closed as everything Apple does. Windows is getting some nice HTML5 support for apps, but not nearly enough. There's clearly an opportunity for HTML5 apps to compete on mobile if someone can build a solid alternative platform to the monopolies and silos we're all stuck with today.

      • What was the point of Firefox? IE was free and was a proven and already well-established browser.

        IE was a crap browser, Firefox solved the problem of being stuck with a proprietary, closed-source, crappy browser by being a better browser.

        The world needs a truly open mobile OS as much as it needed a truly open browser a decade ago.

        For what? That's what I'm asking, what can you do with it that you can't accomplish with open AOSP? And assuming there is something then that should be the focus, not spreading resources thin doing things like getting it on to raspberry pi.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > What was the point of Firefox? IE was free and was a proven and already well-established browser.

        You have that the wrong way around. Before IE there were several good browsers including Netscape's. Netscape founded Mozilla and released its source code so Firefox has origins that were _before_ IE. In fact Netscape's went back to Mosaic, the first browser.

        Mosaic/Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox was a proven and established series of browsers so what was the point of IE ?

        The answer to that is to drive Netscape ou

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Asa, how the hell is Firefox OS considered a "truly open mobile OS"?

        We, the community, have just as little say with regard to its direction and development as we do with Android, or iOS, or BlackBerry OS.

        To us, Mozilla is just another large, unaccountable organization that does what it wants, regardless of what we desire. It's really no different than Google, or Apple, or BlackBerry, or Microsoft.

        Don't even bother trying to claim that Firefox OS is open because it uses various "standards". Most of these so-

        • Open source means the source code is available in full. Whether the creators/inner contributors run the project like the wild old days of Wikipedia or whether they are autocratic is up to them. e.g. I can't just tell Linus to put my code in the Linux kernel.

          But if I have the motivation I can take the source and put in my changes myself. Perhaps it will gain traction, perhaps not. But I have the option.

          Also, there is the little matter of transparency which only open source provides.

          So in these ways Firefox i

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        I think that the slightly sad part of this story is that a source-level port of IE6 to, say, pango/cairo running on a frame buffer, would be much faster than Firefox when it comes to rendering basic web. Of course its JS completely sucked both performance- and functionality-wise.

      • It sounds like you're saying that the free software world suddenly decided to invent Firefox as a competition for IE. Firefox was Netscape freeing the source code for the Netscape browser so the open source community could improve it, and people continuing to improve it over the years. IE was Microsoft's attempt to kill Netscape and particularly to kill browser standardization, because the increasing move to HTML as a universal user interface for applications was threatening to make the operating system i

    • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @11:27PM (#48247973)

      ...It's the same as with FFOS on smartphones, it doesn't really solve any problem, even at the low end of the market Android has dirt cheap phones pretty well covered with a proven and already well-established OS.

      If FFOS turns out to be any good in any reasonable time frame, (and I too have my doubts about that), then it will solve a big problem for me. I have an Android phone, of whose capabilities I only use about 10%. Why? Because I don't use Google cloud services - I don't trust them as far as I can throw one of their server farms. Because Android apps are security-hole-ridden nightmares whose permissions I have little control over even on my rooted device. Because Google added that POS called MTP and took away the simplicity of USB mass storage.

      If FFOS puts some power and control back into my hands, then I'll call it a win even if it's not as powerful or featureful as Android. I'm sick and tired of Google's plans for world domination.

      • You have all that power already, Android is open source and you can enable mass storage if you want to use that rather than MTP and you can strip out anything you don't want to use. Take a look at CyanogenMod or Paranoid Android [paranoidandroid.co], with Android you're not beholden to Google anymore than you would be beholden to Mozilla if you used FirefoxOS.
        • Thanks for the tips. I haven't installed CyanogenMod because it doesn't support some of my phone's hardware features, but I'll choose my next phone more carefully. Paranoid seems to have an even narrower range of hardware that it supports. I could possibly do some tinkering with either of these to make them work on hardware not already supported. But as with my desktop computer, I'm past the stage where I want to put a lot of effort into that kind of thing - I'm more focused on what I can do WITH my devices

          • Also, as far as I've been able to tell, (please correct me if I'm wrong), using Cyanogen or Paranoid still won't address many of the app permissions problems, as many apps won't work when certain permissions are denied, even when those permissions are absolutely not needed for the app to do its job.

            Does FFOS address those problems? Maybe it does but I haven't seen it.

            As for enabling mass storage and stripping out stuff myself, I've not done very much programming, and learning how to program just so I can have a secure and useful phone seems a bit much.

            Fair enough, but Android had mass storage at the start too, just because FFOS has it now doesn't mean they won't switch to an MTB type of model. What I'm saying is that the "openness" of FFOS isn't an advantage over Android and if you're not utilising that then you're just as beholden to Mozilla with FF as you are to Google with Android.

    • by narcc ( 412956 )

      Well, Android isn't very good as-is, and it only gets worse on low-end hardware. Android development is a also complete nightmare. (Really, let's be honest here.) Then there's the issue of trust, which I'm sure a lot of users hear can agree is a pretty serious problem. In short, Android kinda sucks.

      FFOS is not Android. That's a big win, in my book.

      • Well, Android isn't very good as-is, and it only gets worse on low-end hardware. Android development is a also complete nightmare. (Really, let's be honest here.) Then there's the issue of trust, which I'm sure a lot of users hear can agree is a pretty serious problem. In short, Android kinda sucks.

        Does FF solve those problems though? Having a look at the low end FFOS devices the performance is awful with just the OS, adding HTML5 applications makes it even worse. The real problem is FFOS isn't any better than the incumbents to end users, that's the same reaso Linux isn't broadly adopted on the desktop and why Windows Phone isn't broadly adopted on mobile, it's not that either is bad, it's just not disruptive ... and neither is Firefox OS. But again, what is the point of Firefox OS on Raspberry PI?

        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          ? Having a look at the low end FFOS devices the performance is awful with just the OS

          I disagree. I have a ZTE Open, and the performance isn't nearly as bad as the reviewers suggest. On the Cloud FX, the one for India, I've seen enough video reviews to call the Ars article that started that meme a flat-out lie.

          The real problem is FFOS isn't any better than the incumbents to end users

          It doesn't need to be in order to be successful. But that's not really the point, is it? We need FireFoxOS for the same ideological reasons we needed FireFox in the days of IE6.

          what is the point of Firefox OS on Raspberry PI?

          On the PI? Who knows. It's neat, I guess. I'd rather see it on the desktop, competing with ChromeOS.

          • It doesn't need to be in order to be successful.

            Of course it does, if you're a late me-too entrant to an established market you can't be successful without being disruptive.

            But that's not really the point, is it? We need FireFoxOS for the same ideological reasons we needed FireFox in the days of IE6.

            No, back then we needed competition, these days there is more competition in the mobile space than you can poke a stick at. FFOS is no more "open" than AOSP and you can already get many non-Google Android phones anyway. I fail to see why we need FFOS for ideological reasons when we already have AOSP and all the other niche open systems like Tizen, webOS and Meego. All these players ha

            • by narcc ( 412956 )

              I fail to see why we need FFOS for ideological reasons when we already have AOSP

              Sorry to hear that.

              these days there is more competition in the mobile space than you can poke a stick at.

              Not really. Just look at your examples: webOS has been all but dead since HP killed it, LG doesn't seem interested in using it on mobiles. Meego is REALLY dead, as in it was terminated in favor of other projects. Tizen, might be someday, maybe. How many years has it taken to appear on a device? Oh, and it just managed to show up on one brand of smartwatch. That's not exactly competition.

              You're also ignoring one of the biggest benefits of FFOS -- Open Web Apps. Mozilla and, by extensi

              • Sorry to hear that.

                Reason is it doesn't exist, if you think it does then explain why.

                Not really. Just look at your examples

                Yes they are all open source mobile operating systems, that's what you said we need but clearly that isn't the case at all.

                webOS has been all but dead since HP killed it, LG doesn't seem interested in using it on mobiles.

                It's open source, but nobody wanted or needed yet another mobile operating system.

                Meego is REALLY dead, as in it was terminated in favor of other projects.

                Again, open source but nobody wanted or needed yet another mobile OS.

                Tizen, might be someday, maybe. How many years has it taken to appear on a device?

                Well now you're moving the goalposts, first you said we need an open source mobile OS but we have already had plenty of those.

                You're also ignoring one of the biggest benefits of FFOS -- Open Web Apps.

                We can already to that on every single platfor

                • by narcc ( 412956 )

                  We can already to that on every single platform, but the experience is poor and the "standard" is so mixed with different implementations and browser-specific extensions which is why even though we can do it nobody does it.

                  Okay, reality isn't your thing. That's fine.

                  • Okay, reality isn't your thing. That's fine.

                    No, you have it backwards. Obviously you're unaware that this has been tried a number of times before and failed because it is an inferior experience, not to mention you can already do open web apps for existing mobile devices and again nobody does it because the experience is poor.

                    • by narcc ( 412956 )

                      Obviously you're unaware that this has been tried a number of times before and failed because it is an inferior experience

                      Okay, now you're talking about web apps, right? Where did it fail? WebOS? No, that was HP's fault. You'll also find that the "experience" on those old Palm smartphones was near universally lauded. iOS? Not only did they not support packaged apps, or offer developers anything to leverage their fledgling platform before offering native apps, they *still* don't have a half-decent browser. When did they enable WebGL? Oh, last month... Web apps on Android, BlackBerry, and FireFox OS have been fantastic,

                    • Okay, now you're talking about web apps, right? Where did it fail? WebOS? No, that was HP's fault.

                      WebOS was released as open source, anybody could and still can pick it up and use it if it were worth using. Same with Meego and Tizen but it isn't about having an open source mobile OS at all as there are already plenty of those.

                      iOS? Not only did they not support packaged apps, or offer developers anything to leverage their fledgling platform before offering native apps, they *still* don't have a half-decent browser. When did they enable WebGL? Oh, last month...

                      WebGL isn't required for web apps and the vendor doesn't have to offer anything to developers, that is the whole point of "breaking the walled gardens".

                      Web apps on Android, BlackBerry, and FireFox OS have been fantastic, and offer a fantastic user experience.

                      Like what? What ones offer a comparatively good experience to native ones?

                      See, that's just delusional. Tons of people are developing web apps for desktop and mobile. It's the hot-new-trend, after all.

                      Oh well if everybody is doing it that must mean it's goo

  • Mozilla recently stopped doing builds for Android, despite builds of CM11 being actively developed by the androidarmv6.org community.

    AFAIK, Firefox OS currently only supports the armv7 architecture as found in later Qualcomm SoCs.

  • That is the result of building an OS where everything is HTML: Many developers don't bother to build installable apps, rely on installable hosted webpages.
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