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Mozilla OS - what the f...?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So it used to be a time when iOS was the only mobile app platform to develop for, than came Android, than finally Microsoft gave their best shot and BlackBerry (used to be RIM) joined the party. It’s been discussed and beat till death - who is winning and who is losing, different metrics, different perspectives.


Now when you think it’s enough of a battle already, when you think it’s extremely competitive and extreme enough here comes...Mozilla! I don’t think I would find different word than Walt Mossberg said in this video and so watch :-) http://allthingsd.com/20130415/firefox-os-wtf/


Honestly - will you develop for Mozilla? Do you see potential, have resources, funds for it? What does your gut feeling tell you about it?

post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artyom Diogtev View Post

Now when you think it’s enough of a battle already, when you think it’s extremely competitive and extreme enough here comes...Mozilla! I don’t think I would find different word than Walt Mossberg said in this video

The following video makes a lot more sense:

http://allthingsd.com/20130416/hands-on-with-mozilla-firefox-os-video/

It's a lot like Chrome OS. Remember iOS was originally developed to be web apps only too. By having apps built that way, they can run very efficiently and the mentioned target audience is for the very low-end phones that might struggle to run the Android and iOS systems.

They can run games with WebGL. It also indexes inside apps as they are essentially web pages.

In terms of development effort, it's not that big of a problem. Web apps should port over ok, certainly everything that works on Chrome OS.

It might not take off in a big way but phone manufacturers have to pay for Android just now:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/sep/28/samsung-microsoft-android-licensing-dispute

If they can sell entry level devices even more cheaply, it's a plus. My initial reaction would have been that it would be a futile effort against iOS and Android but they can take over Symbian customers in the very low-end phone markets that Android wouldn't. The OS can also work for printers, media boxes etc much like Palm's Web OS was supposed to.
post #3 of 6

I think it's the future, but that the HTML5 ecosystem isn't 100% mature.  

 

Chrome OS has laid a great foundation, especially with Google's NaCl runtime (can run native compiled apps in browser).  Firefox OS doesn't have that native runtime, but HTML5 is more than fast enough for native-performance.  It's up to the app makers to come through, but Firefox OS does have the ability to cache web apps for offline usage.  

 

I think Firefox OS, with the right developer support, can be a very usable alternative, but right now, there's simply not enough web apps.  

 

Try this demo though:  https://developer.mozilla.org/en/demos/detail/bananabread

After you try it, convince yourself that WebGL and HTML5 aren't the future...  (it's a full-on, impressive 3D game built entirely on open web technology)

post #4 of 6

Would also like to add, I'd consider buying a developer device if the price is right.  If I can buy one for 100-200 bucks outright, I'd give it a shot.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post

After you try it, convince yourself that WebGL and HTML5 aren't the future...  (it's a full-on, impressive 3D game built entirely on open web technology)

I don't think so. The NaCl feature in Chrome OS helps bring web technology closer to native but Mozilla is against that because it tries to put proprietary code onto the web just like ActiveX and Flash did. The open source nature of the technology makes it better but still limited. Bytecode can be reverse engineered so not good for valuable software.

When you do something like video editing, you can easily have 20GB+ of footage. Unless you give your browser filesystem access, you can't edit that footage. Same goes for photography. Not everyone wants to upload their personal files onto a server either regardless of how much they trust the company running the server.

When it comes to games, something with low amounts of geometry, low res textures and repeated textures is viable but take the recent Tomb Raider game. It's about an 8-9GB download because of all the levels, textures, character models, audio, game engine etc. Games can be streamed easily now so that's an option but web platforms take away the ability to play natively.

No matter how good a web platform becomes, you will always be able to do more with a full operating system so why choose a limited platform? The only reason to go with the limited platform is for limited hardware or because it's a limited-use device like an iPod Nano.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I don't think so. The NaCl feature in Chrome OS helps bring web technology closer to native but Mozilla is against that because it tries to put proprietary code onto the web just like ActiveX and Flash did. The open source nature of the technology makes it better but still limited. Bytecode can be reverse engineered so not good for valuable software.

When you do something like video editing, you can easily have 20GB+ of footage. Unless you give your browser filesystem access, you can't edit that footage. Same goes for photography. Not everyone wants to upload their personal files onto a server either regardless of how much they trust the company running the server.

When it comes to games, something with low amounts of geometry, low res textures and repeated textures is viable but take the recent Tomb Raider game. It's about an 8-9GB download because of all the levels, textures, character models, audio, game engine etc. Games can be streamed easily now so that's an option but web platforms take away the ability to play natively.

No matter how good a web platform becomes, you will always be able to do more with a full operating system so why choose a limited platform? The only reason to go with the limited platform is for limited hardware or because it's a limited-use device like an iPod Nano.

 

A limited platform has many advantages - ease of maintenance and updating, security, and speed.  Chrome OS is a great example, it's proven to be pretty much unhackable.  

 

For developers concerned about proprietary code, a trick many web developers use is to keep the application logic on the server, and simply pass messages to the browser client.  Piracy is a problem with compiled binaries, in many ways web services are better, especially if you're smart about things.  

 

Your video editing example is a good one, but I've seen web apps which allow you to interact with local files without uploading them (a fun 'DJ' app I have on Chrome for example).

 

As for native games, Chrome's Native Client allows this, it caches the whole game on your computer, though for portability sake I don't think it uses the most recent OpenGL stack...  And although Mozilla is against native apps on the web, I think they'll lose this battle.  Opera is following Chromium, and native apps on the web are simply too compelling for developers (no more Javascript will make alot of people happy).  

 

I won't argue that web platforms are *there*, yet, but they will be, in the not too distant future. 

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