Firefox OS/Connected Devices Announcement

Well, I am sure you had good reasons which I would really like to hear more since that was an important technology that properly marketed could become extremely popular with devs. Just cue how much work is going on Electron and similar tools. Without XULRunner and WebRT we have nothing on that front. Can you elaborate on why you decided for the removal?!topic/firefox-dev/WV2XkVN3sWQ

Thanks George,

Myk, I read the thread. Completely understand your pain there. WebRT could be soooo great. Isn’t it the case of fighting internally for more resources?

Can contributors that received Z3C phones flash custom Firefox OS builds and hack on Gaia now? It will be necessary anyways in order to transition to this connected devices future, so can we start with it right away?

I proposed to disable the runtimes, and then decided to do so, in this firefox-dev thread. And there was a bit more discussion about the decision afterward in this Mozillians thread.

I refrained from making such comments in public in the past because I still had hopes I could join Mozilla, a place that felt like home with so many old friends there, a place that felt like Netscape-2016 to me. Since that hope is now gone (for reasons I do not fully understand), maybe it’s time to say something important I have kept under the radar for too long : except for major corporate deals “à la” Google, Mozilla’s global strategy has been deeply sucking for years and its positive image in the community is now a fraction of what it used to be. Even its technical strategy (I really mean the lower-level technical details here) is not exempt of serious mistakes or missed opportunities.

I can list dozens of strategic decisions announced to the general public or “discussed” with the community that never made any sense. I can list so many technical choices (or sometimes even lacks of choices!), implemented, that were certainly not in line with the ecosystem’s expectations. Even better, the community members who expressed disagreement were too often bashed in public in return. I can also list so many decisions deeply impacting the ecosystem that were never really discussed with it. No wonder why embedders are fleeing…

I don’t exactly know why, but I suspect this is related to the fact Mozilla became an almost “normal” company, where people join and leave faster than inside an OSS community. “Managing” is one thing, having a vision is a very different one… I also suspect this is related to a dilution of strategic decisions into the technostructure and some games of thrones.

I read above the following: “we’re entering this exciting, fragmented space to ensure users have choice through interoperable, open solutions, and for us to act as their advocates for data privacy and security”. Could we please stop that corporate bullshit that has no dignity? You’re Mozilla, for God’s sake, and I wish you could stop speaking like a Coca-Cola executive announcing they’re closing a soda plant. Mozilla’s moving to IoT because FirefoxOS for phones seems to slow and buggy, keeping focus on it costs too much and can’t trigger both a revenue stream and market share gains for Gecko, period. FWIW, these are exactly the arguments I heard Jim Hamerly report when he came back from the infamous “Netscape 6.0” meeting in Dulles… And Gecko’s still here.
In december, we were told FirefoxOS for phones was staying around. I did not believe it at all but many around me did. A month and a half later, this is reversed. Superb.

Can we please have more strategy from people having a vision instead of letting people tell us on year Y that they’re going to change the world, and on year Y+3 that they failed because Mozilla started too late (does it ring a bell…) ?


There is no way the community alone could sustain FxOS. That’s all. Actually not after these last few years where the community shrank so much (Mozilla’s fault).

Actually @agarzia is so much right: we had everything before everyone. Think about node: we had xpcshell waaay before. Think about electron, we had gecko-based app a loooong time before them. Mozilla community had so much awesome idea that could have make it rule everything today, but management dropped them one after the other, changing strategy every 2-3 years… Sad.


I think like you. It’s very disappointing and SUSPICIOUS this ABSOLUTE CLOSING of resources for a project which just now is more mature than never… i can imagine who would feel happy to see dissapear FXOS.

If Mozilla weren’t be pressed for this, they would REDUCE the dedicated resources, leaving a minimum of people/resources dedicated to continue the project. But the written above clearly denotes a one paradoxically hopeful sadness… I really feel now someone USED me :frowning:

100% agree.

Yes, it’s possible for Mozilla employees like myself (and volunteers, for that matter) to “fight” for organization resources. And the runtimes have had a variety of supporters across the organization, not only the members of the original runtime engineering team, and engineers on other teams, but also product, project, and people managers, and business development folks.

Ultimately, however, that base of support was not enough to convince the organization to invest in the runtimes. And while I understand what you think about it, and I too think that the runtimes have significant untapped potential, are you absolutely sure that the organization made the wrong decision?

Mozilla is a small organization with huge ambitions and limited resources, both in engineering and in all the other disciplines that are required to successfully ship software products. And focus is one of its rarest and most precious resources of all.

I’m personally very disappointed to be disabling the runtimes, and I wish the organization had invested more effort in them, and sustained that effort for a longer period of time, to give us an opportunity to get market validation (i.e. to see if the runtimes were useful enough to enough users to be worth continuing to enhance and maintain).

But I still can’t be certain that the organization made the wrong decision, given all its other projects and priorities.


Flaki, a community effort is not exactly been killed. B2G is an open source project. There are still people working on it and I hope people will continue. If enough people are interested in keeping it going, and have the skills to do so, we can do that.

The TCP was not Mozilla pulling resources. That was an example of the partner pulling out and leaving us with no upgrade path. I know this is frustrating and especially so for those of us who went through the tablet program/mess. We’re going to work through this over the next few months and we should emerge a more open and participatory project than we’ve been before with Firefox OS.

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tfe, it was SeaMonkey moving out of core Mozilla to an all-volunteer project that allowed Mozilla staff to focus on creating Firefox which was Mozilla’s first big success. We’ve never had the resources to do everything and so we pick our battles. It’s dissappointing and frustrating, I know, but it’s necessary. I’m sure glad we didn’t keep trying to force Seamonkey to be successful. Firefox was a much better bet and I’m sure most agree.

Having a technology and having a product are not the same thing. Mozilla wins when large numbers of people use its products. When that happens, the industry has to respond by adopting Mozilla values and everyone wins. But taking a technology and turning it into a successful product is years of work and we cannot do that for every technology in every area. It took us 5 years to go from “We have XUL” to “Firefox 1.0” and we had big failures along the way.

We’re not killing the technology – b2g is an open source project that can live on if enough capable and interested people want it to. What we’re killing is the product that wasn’t working – just like we ended development of the Mozilla Application Suite when it wasn’t working. And perhaps like that, where the community took over the project, renamed it to Seamonkey, and are keeping it alive to this day, so can we keep b2g technology moving forward. Perhaps, if enough people with the skills to work on it care, that is.


Have you tried the Firefox OS Installer extension for Firefox? It’s on gihub and should get a release soon. You install the extension on Firefox, plug your phone into the computer’s USB port, and if it’s one of our recognized supported ports (there are half a dozen or more right now) then the extension does a “blob free” install where it re-uses the blobs on the phone so we don’t have a distribution rights problem.

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This isn’t necessarily true. When we transitioned from the Mozilla Application Suite to Firefox (a move I think most people are glad for) the community that loved the MAS kept it alive. I helped them transition it from a Mozilla-operated project to a completely community operated project and it’s still alive today and called Seamonkey.

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This would be against the terms of the foxfooding program would it not? (Talking about the Z3C given to contributors)

You’re right Yousef … we’re going to work through this over the next little while to propose a solution.

Foxfooding will evolve. Let’s work together to figure out what we can and cannot do instead of assuming. The installer knows the Z3C and can update it. That’s a good start, IMO.

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It makes me sad reading all this, having spent so much time and effort as a volunteer, truly sad.

But I’d like to look forward and try to imagine what the next steps would be. Some thoughts:

  • above people mentioned why people would buy stuff they can’t control with their Android/iOS; well I guess that’s the whole idea of “the web is the platform” and as long as the CD has an IP-address every device with a browser should be able to access it.

  • what stuff Mozilla builds will be out there? Will they build actual devices like routers, sticks, Rpi-like, or is it only the platform with API’s for different interfaces?

  • how is Mozilla getting attention in this shattered world? Why would a developer use it’s platform? Why would a user choose it’s platform (if there is a way to choose at all in IOT). This way Mozilla doesn’t seem to deliver the goods (privacy, security, etc.) for the people, but only stuff for the IOT-business.

  • what I really miss, is the feeling that “we” (contributors) are really collaborating with “the organization” (Mozilla) to build stuff “we” and our neighbors and friends are using like we do with Firefox. Right now when a contributor puts stuff into the repositories, after a few weeks it is actually in a product everyone can use. For IOT you will have to wait until a manufacturer thinks it might be suitable for one of his products. It is not clear where a developer puts his efforts in in this shattered world (and only 3 projects chosen).

There are still things boiling in my head, but I leave it to this for now.
Let’s get this back on track. As @asa mentioned, there have been made failures and we’ve overcome…


I would by lying if I said I’m not sad to hear that…

People like me worked very hard to spread the word about Firefox OS, especially these last month because of the launch of the v2.5 which brings the plugin support. That was the first step in innovating on mobile applications, because Firefox OS had nothing more than Android. And the plugin support was the new thing that would need a lot of focus because it is such a powerful feature that no one had before on mobile OS.

And a few months ago the foxfooding system was born and was a very cool opportunity to bring Firefox OS on a smartphone that not belong to the low cost range, bringing with it the capability to help reporting bug information and stuff like that.

If Mozilla stop developing Firefox OS, you can’t just say “Yeah but it may be well anyway and code is open source everyone can develop on it”, because you are removing employee that worked all day on it, and contributors don’t have that time, so Firefox OS development will slow down, until it stops completely, because it will lacks more and more things in front of IOS and Android.

You say that these decisions “are being made to ensure you are focusing your energies and resources on bringing the power of the web to IoT”. But what I understand is that you have spent years of energies, and you throw them away for not working on 1 system (smartphone), but on a wide range of product that represents IoT (smart watches, smart TVs, etc…). In what will you have more energy for working on multiple different devices than smartphone?

I think you should reconsider your options. Firefox OS have now the possibility the stand up in front of Android and IOS, because it have now all the feature a “normal” customer would like to have on a phone. It is the best moment for everyone to spread the word about this formidable and open source project. I think Mozilla volunteer like me won’t be able to support Mozilla in all their actions if we know that a project that asked so much effort is thrown away because of a marketing decision. It may not be because of that, but Mozilla’s communication lets us hear things like that.

A lot of things you said were not very clear, and that suppose Mozilla is not sure about what to do now (leaving Firefox OS for projects that don’t even passed Gate 0???), it would be nice if we had a lot more information about what is planning. ^^