I'm Ari Jaaksi, SVP of Connected Devices. AMA


I’m Ari Jaaksi, SVP of Connected Devices. Ask me anything. I’ll be taking your questions Friday Feb 12, 2016 from 16h00 to 17h00 UTC.


Hello Mozillians,

Ask me anything with Ari is now open for questions and it will be open for the next hour.
I’ll be helping moderating the conversation today and moving over top questions mozillians have been voting during last week at mozmoderator.

Thank you!

Question from mozmoderator

Why wasn’t there an open process where community was consulted? Is that how MoCo should be operating? What’s the volunteers role now?


Hi everybody. This is how I see this thing. The business situation and user feedback was very clear. Unfortunately, we had no traction. So business wise decisions were easy and clear. We had major problems. Our challenges has been discussed throughout the year. The final decisions were the output of this all that happened during last year.
But what I’d also say that going forward we must have better transparency. We will improve that going forward. But business decisions are done by Mozilla, influenced by our discussions with partners, consumers, participants.

Also, let me add to volunteer participation and role. I mean hugely important. We have a few things that make Mozilla unique and totally different form most other “companies”. And that is our volunteers. So we will, going forward, strengthen the role and inclusion.


Question from mozmoderator

It felt like the plan for smartphones changed after Mozlando, what caused this? Can you go into detail into how this decision was reached?

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It seems like there is really unclear communication coming out around Firefox OS and connected devices:

At Orlando we were told what was no longer going to happen - a commercial partnership with a carrier to sell phones - but it wasn’t until 2 days later that we were told what was going to happen - the pivot to connected devices. This definitely allowed the rumor mill to run wild and misinformation to spread.

I saw the same issues with the announcement here last week. In the same announcement we were told Firefox OS was being shuttered, but that the Foxfooding program is still ongoing and that smartphones are great devices for developing for other connected devices.

So could you unambiguously clear up what exactly is happening with smartphones and connected devices? Is it the end of a brand, but not the end of the code?

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Yes, You are right. In Mozlando we said no more carrier channel. Now we sunset the whole program. We wanted to use time after Orlando to do a final push to see if there was any way to change the trajectory. We looked into various proposals and ideas. But we concluded that we really did not see any other possible outcome. So after Mozlando “one final consideration” was done … and decisions then was made.

“…business decisions are done by Mozilla…”

Obviously the community hasn’t been part of this decision. I am sure you are aware of that. Mozilla prides itself of being inclusive and decentralized, yet the Firefox OS decision has been taken as if we would be a company, not a non profit. Sometimes you cannot cater to both users and contributors, and this has happened several times in the past. Are you aware that Mozilla is losing a great amount of volunteer manpower by working in closed environments like this? We obviously have stepped on our own toes.


A bit of a more abstract question: Can you describe the Mozilla Community and its mission in your own words?


Let me try to clarify. So we sunset the smartphone program. No more smartphone and smartphone OS from Mozilla.

B2G is an open source project that we aim at using in Smart TV and most probably in new exploration initiatives – at least parts of it.

Firefox OS brand will be used in the context of TVs. Where else – don’t know yet.

We would love to transition as many of the current Foxfooders as possible to the new connected device initiatives as they become available for testing. The initial phase will likely be surveys and questionnaires, which will help us make some decisions on the potential interest in these ideas. Eventually, we’d like to see our Foxfooders testing on devices once again. Raspberry Pi seems to be one place we could start. Stay tuned!

But Ari is new, we shouldn’t challenge him on issues of culture. If he thinks that’s how we do things it’s because he’s been told that, not because he had any hand in creating that policy.

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Hello Ari, thanks for taking the time to do this!

The main issues here are about: communication and the future.

  1. As soon as the Mozlando announcement was made, the writing was on the wall, developers started looking for alternatives. People don’t need to be spelled out directly, uncertainty created apprehension and that killed all the zeal and ethos at continuing.

  2. Firefox OS is eating into valuable resources and that has come to threaten the entire organization. Everyone here wants what’s best for Mozilla. People are only concerned with the perception that decisions are made in secret and without consulting the community. Mozilla is three things: a foundation, a corporation and a community!

  3. If Firefox OS is killed, it should be given a chance to continue as a community project. For that, there has to be a consultation project that details: how to make contributions easier, how to transfer knowledge from people who will leave the project, how to maintain a build, CI and other secondary infrastructure (which may not cost much).

Well, when I joined Mozilla for the first time I created an impression of the community around me. If that was correct, or if it changed after time is subjective and not up for a debate. I’m asking to understand an additional perspective.

What about development?, What hardware is recommended ?, I have understood that the concept of Open Web Apps will no longer exist, what comes next and how I can develop for IoT?

Community is an integral part of Mozilla. This is a unique differentiation, as I already said, compared to many other companies and projects. Community is the way we work, we influence, and we are relevant.

However, transparency and decision making are different things :slight_smile:

Hello, I am from Bangladesh a developing country. I see CD as an opportunity for us to be used as tool for Development in Agriculture, Education, Public Services and many more. In our country the number of mobile subscribers is now 121+ millions. We see this a saturation point. Connected Devices could be a start from scratch in our country; there’s almost no activity in here, except handful of students and hobbyist. Engaging / exploring within that demography would yield slow and micro results. I believe CD would be a success for us if we can have a controlled boost in some region. So, my question to the SVP, “is there any possibility or plan to partner or work with the Government agencies in a large scale with Connected Devices.”


I see Raspberry Pi an interesting HW platform going forward. I would tinker with it now, get a few sensors, learn IoT protocols, technologies, and in a few weeks I hope I can be moe concrete. We are making directions more clear and technologies more concrete very soon … I also want to hear from you!

We are continuing to push web to be strong in mobile with progressive Web Apps. Strong effort with Google and Opera. Making web strong on TV is important including a strong content portfolio. These are in works at the moment.

If volunteers are just coworkers without salary, not involved in decisions. I think we need to found something new. A community of mozillians an CoMo instead of MoCo to get the balance right.

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