Firefox OS/Connected Devices Announcement

Well, very sad news and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to express my disappointment with the recent moves from Mozilla regarding FirefoxOS.

I’ve been a long time user of FxOS, since it first appeared in version 1.0 with the ZTE Open. I’ve upgraded it to 1.2 some months later, then used it with a Geeksphone Keon, and nowadays I’m using it on a Flame with version 2.6pre, which coincidentally updated via OTA two or three weeks ago.

Now that the platform was appearing as a mature product with a more polished interface and performance, it’s sad it will get no more support from the organization in spite of their previous communications about keeping it alive via the foxfooding program. And as I see it, leaving the project orphaned from support will end with it’s disappearance sooner or later.

Also their statements about empowering the people in emerging countries, where they could not afford decent smartphones, well, seems like not much is left of it.

I can realize that not having the support from Telefonica has left the project with a lot less workforce, but I would like to know what was first, Telefonica leaving FxOS because Mozilla was not clear about its future, or Mozilla leaving FirefoxOS because Telefonica changed its mind and turned to Cyanogen (If you ask me, I’d say it was the first, otherwise if I were Mozilla I would have stated clearly that it needed help from the community to recover all the workforce lost from Telefonica before dropping it, and the community would have jumped in, I have no doubt about it)

Now, about their turn to IoT and smart TVs and whatever, they are the new boys in town, and look so sexy that everyone wants to have something to do with them. But I don’t get why it needs that Sony Z3C for these IoT things, as by the specs I don’t know (sensor wise) how it is any different than their very own Flame (CPU and memory capacity apart), or any other device capable of running FxOS via foxfooding. Even not having their own mobile platform to talk to these devices and push for open standards puts Mozilla ill positioned since the beginning, as both Google and Apple have a lot of advantage with Android and IOS, pushing their closed platforms to interact with every device.

I’ve been watching several bugs in Bugzilla and I’m wondering if Mozilla kept a good eye on the real needs of FirefoxOS, at least from my point of view. For example, not having been able in three years to come up with a synchronization system to move contacts using something like CardDAV, even having partial implementations available in the market that could have been absorbed into the platform and improved, draws a clear picture of lack of focus. Discussing about creating a platform to synchronize contacts with every Firefox(OS) device and storing them inside Mozilla servers is OK, but first some basics need to be covered before expanding the reach, or else all the energy will vanish when you try to create an architecture much bigger than what is initially needed.

All in all, I wish good luck to Mozilla in their new endeavors, but I don’t think you’ll count me in, at least from the beginning, because the way FirefoxOS has been treated in only three years, not giving it the time to succeed, has left me a bitter taste that will need time to dissolve. And also I’m not sure if I’d dedicate my time to your new toy as it may not last more than these three years. As harsh as it might sound, but is the real truth.

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I am sorry David but I am not at all interested in just testing sensors or voice recognition. You surely know the Sony device has many more interesting features than those!!! It’s a complete and fantastic smartphone, not just a sensor testing device or a voice recognition one!!!

I worked hard to help in 2 very interesting Firefox OS QA projects involving a feature I love, and organizing testdays in Spanish for Spain and LATAM. Both meant a lot to me, now they are completely ruined!

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Can you share/post on the wiki the filled Lean Canvas for the 3 projects: SmartTV, MozVR and FlyWeb please.

I am VERY curious to see the “market” half of those canvas… specially since Ari stated on his blog post that his decision (I am assuming this was a top-down personal decision to destroy the promising free as in freedom, mature smartphone OS) was “the circumstances were not there for Mozilla to win in the commercial smartphone game” (see https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2016/02/04/firefox-os-smartphones-and-2-6/ )

I am amused to see Mozilla turning into this market driven startup (as opposed to a non-profit that offers users freedom and choice on the web) and very skeptical about the future of this “startup”.

Does Ari thinks he can win in the commercial IoT game? And if so, does he thinks Mozilla will be able to “win” anything by continuing pissing of it’s contributors?

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I blogged about this today, as I would hate to vent on Telegram without expressing my opinions in a more structured way. So here we go:

http://elioqoshi.me/en/2016/02/firefox-os-dies-with-strings-attached/

(sorry @nukeador , I know I told you I’d resist blogging for a few days)

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Dear Friends,

I’ve created a new topic about some potential new process for this type of stuff and would welcome your thoughts and feedback. That topic is not specific about Firefox OS but it was triggered by the recent events and thats why I am posting here.

https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/an-idea-about-shadowing/6928

Please give me your two foxcents on this one! :smiley:

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I can understand that it’s hard to get involved without having well documented contribution opportunities. Nevertheless we might be at a point here, where we might want to let contributors figure out on how they could get involved by themselves. Or at least opening this up could lead to other ideas for similar projects.

Thanks for the update. Those 3 projects are well documented and provide valuable opportunities!

I guess the other two would be FoxLink and Vaani for now as we announced in the blog post that they passed Gate 0. A lot of us have probably already seen the video about Vaani that is also linked from the blog post. Apart from that I fail to find any up to date documentation on it though. Pretty sure that there are contribution opportunities there since this is not a project from scratch. Of course there are bugs on bugzilla, but which of those are actually still relevant for the new direction? What is the new direction for Vaani?

On the other hand we have FoxLink, which was mentioned in the blog post with “(a personal Web of Things)” but no further info given. It leaves a pretty bad taste with me when we announce exploration projects without actually giving any valuable info about them.
Back in December, there was a wiki page about something along “linked” (is it the same?) a few weeks ago, but this is now saying “moved to mana page”. This has been shared on the dev-fxos mailinglist, but now leaves contributors wondering what that could have been (if they don’t know about the history wiki button).

Sponsored trips and free swag won’t keep contributors motivated for eternity, You have crossed the line already

That was the nail. I wonder even right now how well we will do if this is taken away.

Like a lot of people here, I’ve been using Firefox OS for a long time. I bought a flame and used it as my primary phone in July 2014. I have no technical skills, but I did whatever I could, reporting bugs, helping fix them. When the support for Z3C was announced, I was very happy : a high end phone was good news. I received one at mozfest and it was a giant leap from the flame.
During these 18 months using Firefox OS, there were good and bad points…
Good:

  • I felt free from google or apple
  • I learnt to get rid of some useless apps.
  • I learnt a lot of technical skills (flashing a phone for example)
  • I learnt about some alternatives to softwares I used

Bad:

  • Let’s be honest: I missed some apps
  • Missing key features: contact sync for example
  • The browser is very basic (Firefox mobile is so much better)

When the shift to IoT was announced in Orlando, I believed that the smartphone is also part of the IoT. Then it was moved to Tier 3 (I discovered then what Tier 3 is), I understood that something was going very wrong. Then it was announced “No new feature. Only bug fixes”, ok so there would never be a contact sync and browser will never get better. And then “No smartphone support anymore” and suddenly my shiny Z3C feels like a useless piece of junk. Like a shiny sport car with pedals instead of a motor.

I am usually very optimistic, but right now, I can’t… I feel like we’ve gone through the famous 5 stages of grief:

  • Denial: “No Firefox OS can’t be dead”
  • Anger: “Why would you kill it? It’s awesome!”
  • Bargaining: mozilla “We’re not killing it, just moving it to IoT, and Tier3. And stopping the smartphone support. But it’s open source, anyone can build it”
  • Depression: lot of us are reaching this state. Why bother? IoT? Yeah but why invest time, if mozilla decides in 6 months that it’s not worth it?
  • Acceptance: I’m there.

What I feel right now: Firefox OS is dead (at least to me). I will soon stop using it as my daily phone. Most probably moving to an android phone to get a decent Firefox with sync features, even stumbler (if it’s still useful). At least contacts will be synced. Maybe a 2nd hand phone, I haven’t decided yet
For IoT, I will wait until there are real, running, interesting projects.

As for my contribution to mozilla, it won’t really be affected. For me, mozilla is so much more than Firefox OS. During the 12 years (and counting), I’ve been contributing to mozilla, I’ve seen great things and failures. I strongly hope that there will be more success than failures in the future. Let’s see what 2016 will bring us.

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What about if do we make a crowdfounding campaign in order to maintain Mozilla software live?
Mozilla is the only software house that takes care of privacy and freedom on the web. Instead of silently shut down several services as Firefox OS, Personas and Thunderbird, what about making a crowdfunding campaign every year as done by Wikipedia for maintaining their wonderful
enciclopedia.
For instance, Mozilla can make the following estimate:

  • Firefox OS: FX developers required, FY other stuff required. Total amount to go on for one year is FM money.

  • Persona: PX developers required, PY other stuff required. Total amount to go on for one year is PM money.

  • Thunderbird: TX developers required, TY other stuff required. Total amount to go on for one year is TM money.

Then Mozilla can open a campaign directly into its website and see what will happen. I think that free and open source community together with normal people are willing to make donation to maintain you go ahead without taking money from bad source or stopping the projects.
Let me know if I can help you in some way.
Best Regards
Salvatore

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That announcement for me is an example of what is the community of volunteer for Mozilla, a “fan base” that help in promotion and development but that have no chance to join the decisions.
I started with Firefox OS but actually there are my 3 years as a developer and speaker also as recruiter that became junk with all the phones that I have.

I am moving to other projects in Mozilla but I do not put the same passion because there are no idea when they can died.
Mozilla have to work to improve the communication between the users, volunteers and the world about their decisions.

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I am passionate about Firefox OS and I know what Firefox OS meant for folks living in Africa where I come from. I have interacted with some of the people who have bought Firefox OS phones during product launches with Mobile Service Providers and I can say Mozilla is throwing away a real opportunity here to make a difference and to empower people on the web. People are happy because of the pricing point and what they get in return from their phones. Localizers in my locale worked 24/7 to ensure that we shipped FXOS 2.0 Swahili by the launch. It really breaks my heart to learn that all that effort will just be that. I didn’t see this coming and I doubt I would put as much energy in another project since I don’t know when it will be shut down too.

I see this IoT stuff as the Fear Of Missing Out rather than a real opportunity for Mozilla to make a difference like it has done severally in the past.

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By a financial point of view, maybe Mozilla thought that it couldn’t compete with the current market giants. Maybe it’s the best choice to avoid wasting money and thus I could understand the reasons for the burial of the phone, even though the entire Web is buzzing about this death, it could have a very bad PR effect on Mozilla. Scratch that, it totally does.

But I want to bring attention to our mission and to the Manifest : as @wanjaustev said, Firefox OS is “a real opportunity here to make a difference and to empower people on the web”. Africa was a huge success.

As a Free/Open community, the Mozilla communities and volunteers can take care of Firefox OS as an operating system, but we will have a problem with hardware : how to spread the OS once it’s back on its feet ? How to keep up with Android, iOS and WP spreading everywhere with their low-end smart phones ?

So many questions, but hey, even though the IoT path that Mozilla decided to take is seemingly unclear, I want to keep trusting them for now.

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I realize this was written with my guts and is not detailed enough. It misses the strategic decisions I found wrong, it also misses suggestions. I’ve gathered all of that in this blog entry.

Perhaps, these are already discussed thoughts, but I would like writing them down here instead of keeping them on my mind…

I have never expected Firefox OS to be a successful project, by many reasons

  • Partners: competing in the mobile devices sector is not only a matter of software, but many other partners (device manufacturers, telco operators, etc.). And Mozilla has been driven by many of its partners strategy desires
  • Short term strategy: how long does it take Firefox to become or be considered a successful project? And it is not the same to develop a web browser and a whole mobile platform
  • Organization management changes has had some impact in Firefox OS path, for sure

Added to these, there have been many NDA, conversations covered by secret, etc, etc… Is that we (as a community) expect from an “open” organization?

On the other hand, I have always understood that Firefox OS wouldn’t be a success for Mozilla (in terms of $$$ revenue) but a success for the Web.

I have always believed on the Web, just the open, standard and secure Web. That should be Mozilla vision and Mozilla should take its community into account for it. We want the Web as the platform for accessible, and universal apps. Mozilla doesn’t develop hardware (keep focus on what you do best: software and community). Technology should help the vision, not to be the vision.

Everything should be open shared, transparent, … No more under NDA or secret development. Everything should go public, because it is in the public space where community helps, cooperate and contribute. The more Mozilla behaves as a close corporation, with classes and groups (you are inside the under NDA group or not?), the more it will generate a gap between it and the community they need to build on.

That’s my recap about some of my feelings about late news about Firefox OS and the flame around…

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Hi Michael,

I know that Vaani team is thinking about the next steps and I’m pretty sure they will raise some proposals for contributions. As we’ve said, these projects are in very early stages and all the info will be shared in the wiki. However, if you have any specific ideas/proposals, maybe I can check with Vaani’s team.

Yes, afaik Linked is the former name for FoxLink. I guess the team will share info in the wiki as soon as it will be ready.

At this point I and i think i can say almost every other contributor believe this was a horrible decision on mozilla’s part. This was a decision that I believe will result in the loss of many contributors, support, and mozilla may come to regret. But also i belive this is the point were us as mozillian’s decide to take firefox os and make it our own. If mozilla will no long support and develop it then we should take it upon ourselves to take what we have worked so hard on and keep going with or without mozilla. At this point we do have a chance to do something we want to. Up until this point all the things that have been developed and made of firefox os was not decided by us as a community but by the higher up. now we can take and form it into what we want it to be. I think if we as a community can decide where we want to go, we can keep firefox OS alive and take it to the next level. I honestly would like to see us do this, if you want to do this, lets do this.

I’ve seen a lot of people get angry, is normal to have this discomfort, many of us had faith in this project, there were people working in projects related to Firefox OS. But someone has opened a bug asking for keeps smartphone support or pass the development to the community?

I hope to be wrong, but I think the answer is no, we all want Mozilla does it or someone else does it. I would like developers who have sufficient knowledge of the project support us with the task of maintaining support for smartphones, if the foundation does not want to do then let’s do it ourselves.

We can not allow that a commercial decision will be above our values and principles, we can not allow projects to be discontinued without prior consultation, we can not allow volunteers and employees should be forced to work on something else or leave the community.

We are a family and if we are here is because we believe in the values of this family, we believe in free, open and secure web, we believe that Firefox OS represents everything we expect from a mobile operating system, we do not care if FxOS sell more than Android or iOS, we are interested to be an alternative that respects the user, which is easy to learn for new developers and an alternative that awake the creativity of them making new APIs, new libraries, new functions previously only seen in technologies outside the web, people making a better web.

I’m not calling for a boycott of Connected Devices, in fact quite the opposite, I feel that Mozilla has room for both of them and cooperate between us to achieve the goals we want. Let’s do it better, no more secrets, no more NDA, back to being an open community that were before involved in commercial agreements with hardware manufacturers, we are not a company, we are a non-profit Foundation.

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Hi Flore, I completely agree with all your points!

After 8 years and counting, Mozilla is much more than Firefox OS for me too, not withstanding my great disappointment regarding this announcement!!!

I had been working hard for 2 very interesting projects related to Firefox OS to be done during the first part 2016… Now I feel my efforts have gone to the rubbish!!!

Hi all,

John and I have just shared a follow-up note here, which includes announcing an Ask Me Anything with Ari Jaaksi this Friday.

Here’s the note:
https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/ask-me-anything-with-ari-jaaksi-and-other-connected-devices-follow-up/7016

Regards,
George

Exactly Flore, you wrote like i feel!

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