back to article Mozilla officially kills Firefox OS for smartphones in favour of 'Connected Devices'

Mozilla's Head of Core Contributors, George Roter, has announced the end of development of Firefox OS for smartphones. Competing with Android and iOS is simply too hard, says Roter: We made an awesome push and created an impressive platform in Firefox OS. However, as we announced in December, the circumstances of multiple …

  1. Mage Silver badge

    This is a distraction!

    What about making Firefox, Thunderbird better and a Calendar/Scheduling etc stuff?

    P.S. BUGS and FUNCTIONALITY. Stop messing up the GUI!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. GrumpenKraut

        Re: This is a distraction!

        > ...but we need a decent browser now.

        Don't we have a whole bunch of them? Otherwise, can you elaborate what is wrong or missing?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: This is a distraction!

          I only read The Reg because there is no browser in existence that correctly renders the website that I really want to visit.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. GrumpenKraut

            Re: This is a distraction!

            Allow me to reply later (tomorrow), it is past beer o'clock here.

            1. GrumpenKraut

              Re: This is a distraction!

              Holy guacamoly, I got the downvotes...

              > ... modern web browsers seem to be a playground for wannabe, newbie programmers ...

              The firefox disease, yes.

              > ... tweak a whole load of obscure settings ..

              Indeed. Still about every singly program I use more than occasionally need tweaking. I speculate both of us are in the camp where the programs have to do exactly what we want them to do, otherwise thermonuclear rage fit.

              > ... I added #tabbrowser-tabs{display:none !important;} to my userChrome.css file. How user friendly is that?

              I need/use tons of such adjustments for about every single program. Identify them once, document them, done.

              > Can you still disable Javascript and image loading? How easy is it to disable, 'plug-ins'?

              Takes me less than 30 secs to find and tweak. Not that I enjoy doing this.

              > So, regarding FireFox, by the time I'd tweaked about:config to stop automatic updates, ...

              Automatic updates? I must have disabled that some 15 years ago. Wasn't even aware such a thing exists. Caveat: I am using iceweasel, so that may be why.

              > ..., they just like the pretty GUI that changes with each release.

              Hard to argue that one.

              > ... some of the options are set to TRUE to disable them, some of them are set to FALSE to disable them, ...

              Both of us are old and ugly enough to RTFM, OK? Hence I set feck_me to FALSE and hug_me to TRUE without any changes in blood pressure.

              > Chrome and Chromium have well known privacy issues, ...

              Agreed. I avoid those as well.

              > ... Midori ..., the development is all done via IRC!? No mailing list??

              I have the same issue with a piece of software I am using. Yes, amazingly stupid.

              > ... Xombrero, ... it's too out of date now, stuck on the original WebKit, and not WebKit-2. ...

              OK, you have done more research than I assumed.

              > Have I sufficiently elaborated on what's wrong or missing, or shall I continue?

              Yes, and no. Thanks. ;-)

              Btw. links2 is my choice for "fuck shiny".

              > ①⑨⑧✇s_coder


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                1. GrumpenKraut

                  Re: This is a distraction!

                  I agree with everything you say here. Especially that FireFox should have a decent documentation.

                  > But the web has evolved to the point where compliance with modern standards is now much harder and more involved.

                  I am the only one finding that these "modern" standards are one unholy mess? Seem deliberately complicated, hence causing security issues.

          2. Mage Silver badge

            Re: This is a distraction!

            Firefox (and Thunderbird to a lesser extent) need add-in/ons now to be actually usable, Classic Theme restorer allows most nonsense to be fixed. You STILL have to edit About:config to fix the stupid "Awesome bar" to be a sensible URL entry and the search box to be usable. An application should use the styles, themes etc of GUI the OS I've chosen and configured, not some half baked Kool-aid version.


            Sorry, but what the HELL to Mozilla know about designing an OS? Or is it like Android, a variation of Linux (Android adds a Google Binary blob (if you want Playstore Access), Davik instead of Java VM and Android GUI to what is mostly Linux).

            We have Linux (with a variation for TVs, OpenWRT or DDwrt for Routers etc), Android, iOS, the child of Fingerworks + OS X (derived from BSD). QNX (used in loads of non-phone embedded stuff before RIM bought it), VX Works

            Moribund: Palm, Blackberry, Symbian

            Various flavours of non-desktop Windows, based on DOS/Win3.1, Win CE and Win NT.

            Even variations of CP/M, Forth, DR MultiDos etc.


            What exact market need or problem other than Mozilla ego is a "Firefox" branded Embedded OS supposed to solve?

            1. Teiwaz

              Re: This is a distraction!

              "Sorry, but what the HELL to Mozilla know about designing an OS?"

              Sorry, but what the HELL do Microsoft know about designing an OS?

              - They've been doing it for several decades and still garner more criticism than acclaim...

          3. b0hem1us

            I know what you need


          4. Ali Um Bongo

            Re: This is a distraction!

            *"...Firstly, many modern web browsers seem to be a playground for wannabe, newbie programmers to try out different ideas with oblivion. FireFox is a prime example of this..."*

            Ain't that the truth!

            Only this very day i went to do a quick 'view source' on a web page to find that item [apparently!] vanished from its customary menu. However i did find a new menu item inviting me to 'Start a Chat' [or such-like]. Opening said menu revealing that, at some point during one of Firefox's seemingly daily updates, it has acquired video-calling over internet capabilities.

            The words "bloat" and "pointless" spring to mind.

            [Actually, to be fair, said update also seems to have brought Firefox's Dev Tools up to a par with Chrome's, by adding responsive design testing options.]

        3. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Bunch of Browsers?

          Err ... hardly any now! Three only in actual development getting new releases:

          MS has two today, one is going to be phased out. Edge is to replace IE

          Opera is gone, they are now using WebKit engine, as does Chrome and Safari. Chrome is simply Google's spyware version of Webkit, I think made open source by Apple?

          Firefox, Iceweasel, Seamonkey, AFAIK are all based on Mozilla's development of Netscape.

          They are all inspired by Mosaic (I have a version, maybe 2 .x, here somewhere on floppy).

          It's news to me if there is any other usefully functional graphical browser actually out of alpha, that does CSS, never mind HTML5?

          1. Teiwaz

            Re: Bunch of Browsers?

            "Webkit, I think made open source by Apple?"

            - Originally forked from KHTML (Kde). Apple did add a lot and abstracted away all the QT and KDE elements. I believe KDE is to switch to webkit (or a fork, or a fork of a fork of it).

            Ubuntu's basic webkit browser designed for the phone works quite well, if only some sites wouldn't 'assume' so much and tell me off for using a 'version of Safari that is no longer supported'.

        4. John Sanders

          Re: This is a distraction!

          """can you elaborate what is wrong or missing?"""

          Yes, respect for the end user, attention to detail, and bug fixes, lots of them, starting with CPU and memory usage.

          Stop obsessing with new standards that nobody is asking for right now, concentrate on making what we have now solid so we can rely on it.

          As it is now Mozilla is like a burning plane in the sky... it is on fire, there goes engine one (GUI), there goes engine two (plugins break all the time), there goes part of the tail (Granular cookie support), there goes part of the cabin (thunderbird) etc.

          Mozilla is hell bent on a mission; stopping everybody from using their products.

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    2. Fatman
      Thumb Up

      Re: This is a distraction!

      I wish I could UP VOTE you a THOUSAND times!!!!

  2. Teiwaz


    Not even mention of Ubuntu phone?

    There's a tablet coming out in March, and maybe another phone model (hopefully), and already three phones out since last year.

    Ok, it's not exactly feature perfect or has parity with android yet, but if your focus is an open platform, it's at least one that hasn't thrown in the towel to play in the garden only with the IOT fairies just yet.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Wut? Ubuntu?

      Ubuntu was once the great hope for a desktop alternative to Mac OS X and Windows. But they lost the plot. TOTALLY!. Copied all the WORST GUI ideas of Vista and OS X. Why do you think so many people now recommending Mint + Mate Desktop (or even GTK or Cinammon)?

      I've wondered are the same folks contributing to Firefox and Ubuntu / Gnome 3? They should read every Nielsen Group UX article of the last 15 years, use Apple OS 9, Risc OS, Win 98 and NT 4.0. Then repent!

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: Wut? Ubuntu?

        Yeah, I hear a lot of people saying they are moving to Mint, but next article are still moaning about Windows.

        Matte and Cinnamon etc. are all fine desktops, I've used almost all desktops at least for a short time, and most window managers, but no one could possibly think they will be usable on a phone or tablet, some changes were necessary. Do I think Unity is perfect or that Ubuntu made ALL the right decisions? Hell no.

        Seems to me, most people look at desktops like buying a car, something they are going to be operating every time they move from one place to another. I pick whichever one I feel like, or most suitable for what I want to do. Unity is great for casual use, and that also fits across phone and tablet.If I am doing something serious on a desktop, I go for i3wm, xmonad or herbstluftwm (Plasma if I want to impress windows users or not freak them out with the austerity of a tiler).

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Desktop Vs Phone

          MS Mistake 1

          Putting Win95 style GUI on a PDA/Phone

          MS Mistake 2

          Inflicting Zune derived Phone GUI (pretty good for a phone vs Win CE!) on Desktop at 8.x


          1) Phone / small tablet

          2) Large (10") Tablet, Laptop, Desk top. (if it can't 100% work without touch and 100% only with touch then two separate GUIs)

          3) TV type interface, screen at least 1.2m / 4' away and only Sky style remote.

          Servers and Embedded need a flexible array of interfaces with GUI option, low bandwidth text remote and ability to script/automate everything, depending on deployment. Embedded might be LCD text panel on a CNC tool, screen + keypad on ATM, cash register keyboard & multiple format screens, or whatever.

          Touch screen cash registers and ATM are niche applications.

          N0-ONE EVER is going to be able to make a GUI or an app framework suitable for desktop and phone. Phone suitable apps are like widgets on a laptop etc. A full feature productive application taking advantage of a desktop is IMPOSSIBLE to use on a sub 6" phone screen. MS and Ubuntu are moronic even to promote it. For YEARS we have been able to write a Java App for phone and desktop. You can make the SAME code work on both. But it's pointless. Proper desktop Java applications simply don't have enough screen on a phone and phone /PDA/Tablet centric applications on a desktop are either like tray widgets or poor cut down versions of real desktop applications.

          Unity is madness. MS's thing formerly Metro Apps is POINTLESS on a desktop. They are both deluded.

          I'm no Apple fan, but they did the right thing chopping up OS X to make iOS and sticking Fingerworks derived GUI on phone and mostly leaving desktop OS X GUI as it was (they have degraded OS X desktop usuability, but not for same reasons as bonkers Ubuntu Unity and MS Win 8.x).

          1. Teiwaz

            Re: Desktop Vs Phone

            "N0-ONE EVER is going to be able to make a GUI or an app framework suitable for desktop and phone"

            That's a brave assertion, I imagine certain 'knowledgeable' pundits expressed similar sentiments before flight, fission and a whole lot of accomplishments.

            We may not have hit the nail on the head quite yet, but clearly the days of dominance of desktop are numbered. Skilled tech will not have issue, but general users of the near future will have little patience for the traditional desktop, they'll only be familiar with phone uis and phone apps.

            The ideal should be applications that present cut down interfaces on phone, expanded for tablet and resizaable with extra desktop elements on desktop interfaces. If the concept can be expressed, and therefore imagined, it can be brought into being. The Ubuntut ui design guide encourages thiis concept.

            1. the Jim bloke
              Thumb Up

              Re: Desktop Vs Phone

              "We may not have hit the nail on the head quite yet, ".... but, by god we've smashed a lot of thumbs.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I knew it

    It's dead, dead, dead.

    As for Ubuntu phones, I had a nightmare about that 3-4 years ago. Walked into a Verizon store in a mall, agonized over the crappy choices, walked out with a dim, grainy, cheap feeling Ubuphone that made me want to cry. Seemed implausible in the heady days of 2012 but now, sadly prescient.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: I knew it

      "dim, grainy, cheap feeling Ubuphone that made me want to cry."

      What about a relatively inexpensive tablet with (optimistically) good speakers and fairly good resolution?

      Some of the phones aren't too bad either, mostly still repurposed androids - the OS is still not quite ready for even a partial mass market. Between ios and android, the choice will always be crappy.

  4. x 7

    "Senior VP Ari Jaaksi"

    Is that pronounced 'airy jacksy"?

    poor bastard

    1. David Roberts

      airy jacksy?

      The archetypal hairy arsed engineer?

  5. JLV

    > we can make the biggest impact in IoT.


    My smart connected lightbulb will now need 1 GB of RAM

    : (

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: > we can make the biggest impact in IoT.

      Mozilla OS - that's one way to nip the IoT in the bud!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ari Jaaksi - he's got form, you know

    At Nokia, responsible for Maemo/MeeGO.

    Then upped and left for HP, responsible for WebOS.

    Moved to Mozilla, responsible for Firefox OS.

    I wonder where he'll end up next? Hopefully Microsoft... responsible for Windows Phone.

    Please make it happen - the blokes a serial OS killer!

    1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: Ari Jaaksi - he's got form, you know

      ... but apparently no staying power.

  7. StripeyMiata

    I'm currently using a FirefoxOS phone

    I have a LG Fx0 that I got cheap from eBay -

    Hardware is pretty cool, it's the only phone I have had since the very first iPhone I got on launch day that people have asked me about.

    The OS at first glance is nice to use and fast, but the Marketplace is an empty shell. Hardly any official apps, there are 3rd party ones for WhatsApp and Instagram that get me by. It doesn't have cut and paste which is a glaring omission for 2016. And the camera has hardly any options and is buggy if using flash in bad lighting it can take up to 20 seconds to take a picture. When it does take a picture the quality isn't that great. I am stuck on 2.1 though, 2.6 might fix some of those issues but it isn't 100% ready yet for this device.

    I have been using it as a daily driver and the call quality is excellent, however there is no turn by turn navigation, not a problem now but will be in the summer so will probably sell it on then.

  8. emente

    It's already over.

    Leave early adopters and developers of FFOS in the rain by quickly deprecating the first few hardware platforms (like ZTE Open and so on) that those people bought in good faith to help the cause.

    I don't have to comment on the Firefox insanity.

    Mozilla has already jumped the shark.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. GrapeBunch

    Fire Foxos, the Final Fork

    Does that mean anybody could step in and take over? In other words, is the work they've done now free software? For goose, for gander, same sauce is?

    As to Firefox itself, I still use it, but maybe I should be glad that I don't ask much of it. Also use Vivaldi and Opera. Have never used MSIE, except in extremis. Gradually became disenchanted with Google Chrome and erased it from all my machines. Yes, I know that Vivaldi and Opera are based on the Chromium engine.

    As to Firefox, a couple of years ago I noted that the author of the best Firefox extensions I ever encountered, quit Mozilla code writing stone cold. It had something to do with the bureaucracy surrounding each new FF release, and ~qualifying~ your extension to work on it. So yes, I have an old install of Firefox in reserve, just as I have Opera 12.17 for its "create follower tab" feature, thereafter discontinued.

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