back to article Mozilla throws 'freedom' at Microsoft, Google, Apple tanks

The Mozilla Foundation is coming to the rescue of Tim Berners-Lee's sanity. The Firefox shop is this year throwing itself at walled gardens from Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft: armed with a device-neutral and API-neutral app store and a "web platform". Mozilla's building a Marketplace for Apps that will open in June and …


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  1. Pat 11

    AOL, Compuserve, where are they now?

    I suspect all these walled gardens will have their day. AOL etc were successful only until the majority became internet-aware, and realised they were being kept from a lot of other interesting content. Currently we have a similar mass of relatively new smartphone/tablet users who may eventually get peed off at the manufacturer telling them where they can shop. I wish Mozilla well.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Don't be so sure

      Aol and others failed because the wall was obvious and their selection was much worse by comparison. Both the Android and iOS stores are already more mature, and more importantly so is the audience. Until something game changing comes along I expect the walled gardens to stay.

      In fact walled gardens on the net have existed far longer than the free Internet.

      Just because there is freedom on the web doesn't make it intrinsically superior to the walled gardens - as long as both meet users evolving needs.

      Don't assume the free web will win just because you feel it should. The average user doesn't give a toss so long as their needs are met. The Internet just follows the same rules area the rest of our social institutions 5% lead and as long as they are content 95% follow.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time and place for everything

    Why are the Web and platform-dependent apps pitched as being mutually exclusive? Surely there is a place for both to co-exist? I use either, depending on circumstances. The idea that the existence or growth of one necessitates the death of the other sounds like FUD.

    The issue is clouded by hackneyed phrases like "walled garden" and "open web". The former was previously called "quality control", which seems infinitely more meaningful to me. The web has no quality control - anything and everything is chucked onto it, which can be variously fascinating, irritating, or dangerous (think malware, not content). I particularly like apps on phones - I want my phone to behave like an appliance that gives quick, safe responses. I don't want to invest time or effort guarding it, wading through URLs, or trying to understand the author's quirky version of a user-interface.

    The web is also (currently) a difficult medium for creatives who try to make a living from their works. Most people equate "open" with "free", i.e. if it's on the web, it should be free. The only workable model involves advertising (or paywalls, in which case your "open web" goes down the drain anyway). Apps and specific platforms bring back a relationship between seller and purchaser. I know others are perfectly happy with embedded advertising as a means of payment, but I much to simply pay for something and enjoy it without the extra clutter and interruption that marketers foist on us.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Ralph 5 - Your pledge for walled gardens as a mean of quality control

      warms my heart. I never realized all of this is done for our own good because we're too stupid and we might get hurt.

      Now if we can get back to earth, can you please point to us how do you feel when somebody makes all the choices for you ? How do you prevent, heck! how do you even know when the relation between seller and purchaser becomes one between farmer and his livestock ?

      I don't know how it is for you, but I like to chose if I go into a store or not as opposed to being locked into a store and forced to eat whatever they have, especially in the name of quality control (and I know what I'm talking about because some communist regime did it to me for the first half of my life).

      Honestly, I find your ideas quite scary, like those coming from a media cartel executive or even worse, like those of a marketing drone working for one of these popular social networking sites.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 18:44

        That's why having both curated apps AND the open, wild, web is good. You have a choice AND even if you get it wrong there's little chance of getting burned.

        What's your problem with that exactly? Sounds more like it's just the trauma talking.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          re @AC18:44

          To further your point, don't all the openistas bang on about choice? In which case, surely one choice they must accept is closed an proprietary? Or is it, as per usual, a zero sum game?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Quality is a good choice

        @AC: "Your pledge for walled gardens as a mean of quality control... can you please point to us how do you feel when somebody makes all the choices for you ?"

        Once again, it's the "all or nothing" attitude - the world isn't black and white like that. Do I want others to make decisions for me? There isn't a yes/no answer. Sometimes, the answer is "yes". If I buy an appliance, I don't want the freedom to electrocute myself during normal use. I don't want the freedom to accidentally select options that will cause the appliance to melt down and set the house on fire. I expect the appliance to conform to regulations that protect life/health/property etc.

        When we're talking about a "walled garden", the discussion is almost invariably about the iPhone.It's a *phone* - an *appliance*. If I tap on an app to check the weather, I don't expect it to rack up expensive call charges by making secret calls. I don't want to worry that this might even be possible. So Apple checks that apps are up to scratch - they do what they say, don't fall apart, don't do anything underhanded. Big deal. I don't want the option to buy malware, or to trawl through screeds of apps that don't work, or to have to work out which apps are wasting power/bandwidth/memory.

        And what are these fabulous choices I'm missing out on by using an iPhone? It's a phone, for crying out loud! It's a basic communication/entertainment/media device. If I want a general-purpose computer, I turn to my MacBook Pro. No walled garden there, and I expect to have to be more careful in my use too. There's a place for apps. There's a place for general-purpose computers. There's a place for the web. These things are all great, and they're all used in a different context. Why should we shoehorn everyone and everything into one category?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          sanity at last

          @Ralph 5. Thank you for saving me the effort of having to say that myself.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apologies for being ignorant and lazy

    I like the idea, just yesterday, I uninstalled several "news site shells" myself from my android phone and decided to rely on rss and mobile sites.

    Speaking of, the basic excuse is gone. There is offline database support both for android and apple default browsers and opera mobile. Location? They support it too. Video? Perfectly supported even including embedded.

    The lazy and ignorance part? I am doing these and typing this message on opera mobile for android. Why? Firefox elites doesn't support android devices with 256m RAM. Even if I had 512m, there is no guarantee that one day, same elitist gang doesn't say "dual core only".

    Even Microsoft started to add down to earth features like compression to next ie mobile while Mozilla, supposed to be open source answer say "512 mb or more RAM"

    Don't blame that poor African on edge connection for downloading bbc mobile app instead of browsing the mobile site, YOU are the ones not supporting him at first place.

    So, leave web apps lecture talks to opera and google. At least they try to support non Starbucks show off devices.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Web markets don't imply "freedom"

    It implies "money and revenue" instead, and we all know that companies will do anything they have to in order to protect that revenue so they can secure their income.

    Quite frankly I think the customers and home-developers will be far worse off should all major companies decide to work together and come up with one single marketplace "to rule them all". Because the moment the competition is out of the way (either by destruction or co-existence) then there's little reason left for the players to try and make sure they remain as appealing as possible.

    After all; one way or the other you would then need to utilize 'the Marketplace' if you want to develop for one of the products, so your money will eventually find its way into their "marketplace pact" no matter what!

    First its the marketplace, then its trying to lock down certain features by moving them out of the freely available services and into "subscription based services".

    Don't forget; in the end companies don't care about freedom and all that stuff,in the end the survival of said company comes before everything else. Which means that they need to secure a steady income.

    And as long as there is some competition around its only good for us.

    To give an example, ask yourself this: Would a company like Microsoft (which is known for its heavy pricetag on certain software components) ever have considered to make some of their key products available for free (IIS and SQL -Express servers for example) when it wasn't for the competition in the likes of Linux and companies such as MySQL and PostgreSQL which are doing the same ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ShelLuser - Quite contrary, my friend!

      Corporations and markets really care about freedom, that is precisely why they are doing every thing in their power to suppress it. In the eyes of corporate sales and marketing teams there is nothing worse that a customer who has the freedom of choice. Remember when Steve Ballmer had to go himself to Munich and persuade the City council to stay with Windows ? Can you imagine what were his thoughts about freedom at that particular moment ?

  5. Gordon Fecyk

    "Freedom" vs "Just Works"

    What happened to, "don't get in your own way?"

    Being someone who has to work with this daily, I'm forced to choose between something that works and something that sort-of-works-but-resists-oppression. I don't get paid enough to support altrustic causes at work.

    The Mozilla Foundation better have more than "freedom" as a selling point. Their stuff needs to Just Work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Gordon Fecyk - With all due respect to you

      freedom can not be bought and can not be sold. I don't get the purpose of using quotes around the word freedom.

      1. Gordon Fecyk

        Okay, how about Freedom[tm]?

        If you don't believe freedom can be bought, just look at the legal industry.

        That aside, the Mozilla Foundation is using this as a selling point for their business. I argue that it is not enough for a strong business model. Their products need to Work, or guest what? No one will buy them.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The problem to Mozilla's open crusade, however, might well come in the fine print." - there are also developing problems concerning the Non Disclosure Agreements Mozzila has been making with, for example, Certificate Authorities, over just who has and who hasn't issued and justified and NDA'd MITM man-in-the-middle sub-root wildcard SSL certificates?

    Freedom is definitely fading if not completely squashed

  7. Robin


    I don't even care what an 'IonMonkey' is, I want one!

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: IonMonkey

      Go for it! Just don't buy 200 cheap ones...

  8. Derek Currie

    Security Security Security!

    Where is there ANY security in the Mozilla Marketplace?

    The #1 criticism of the plethora of Android app stores is that there is no security. Google only last week decided to at least run malware scans on its Android store, which of course stops no one from uploading malware or reuploading an altered version after the previous version has been flagged.

    The #1 reason Apple iDevices are making huge headway into the Enterprise is app security. Apple provide a walled garden with no malware. There have been hacker app developers who have snuck in dangerous code for compromising users, pointing out the lack of perfection in this walled garden. But one can't help but compare the record so far of zero iDevice malware versus well over 100 Google admitted malware for Android.

    IOW: No way am I interested in jailbreaking my iDevices for the sake of so called 'freedom' and the ability to be PWNed. It makes no sense. Create actual security and I'll care.

    1. DJV Silver badge


      Well, your email address is probably no longer safe in the security sense if you keep posting it around the net!

      IOW? Ha ha. I thought you meant the Isle of Wight for a little while there!

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