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Firefox vision statement

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Jay Sullivan

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Jun 24, 2011, 1:16:33 PM6/24/11
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Over the last year and through Q1, we focused on building and shipping
Firefox 4 to deliver major improvements to peoples' online experience.
In Q2 we revamped our development and release model so that we can
increase the pace of innovation. Now that we have a solid base to work
from, and greatly improved agility, it's a good time to look at the
quickly-evolving landscape and chart our path forward.

To that end, I've tried to synthesize and distill countless
discussions and ideas I've heard from throughout the Mozilla community
over the last few years about where we should go with our products to
further the Mozilla mission.

I've posted a draft vision statement document here:

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/VisionStatement

Ideally, the vision statement would become something we can use to
guide priorities and roadmaps, and something we can rally around to
grow our global community to advance the Web.

Please post or send me any feedback you have!

David Illsley

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Jun 26, 2011, 5:17:14 AM6/26/11
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Well written, interesting, timely, forward looking. I like it a lot.
It feels right.

I do think it could do with some discussion of how to bring forward
all this innovation while dealing with the mass-market of current
Firefox users. There's clearly a tension between doing innovative,
risky new things and shipping to hundreds of millions of people and
keeping them "comfortable" and feeling like they're getting an
experience "on your own terms".

David

Allen Wirfs-Brock

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Jun 27, 2011, 11:08:45 AM6/27/11
to Jay Sullivan, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
Jay,

I think this is an excellent draft for a vision statement. It is quite consistent with my personal vision of the future of the web. I do have a few thoughts on possible refinements.

The "Future of the Web" captures fairly well the likely near term evolution of the browser in a way that is subtle, non-scary, and easily digestible by our user community. However, I wonder if it is explicit enough as a vision to drive our internal evolution. The more blunt statement is that PC style applications such as web browsers are going to become increasingly irrelevant over the next few years as the the attention of users shift from PC-based computing to an ambient computing experience based upon a ride variety of devices. The "browser" will disappear as a distinct application category but live on as the universal applicaiton platform based upon web app technologies and a suite of user level services. As an organization we must rapidly shift our focus from the browser as an application to the browser as a platform and services.

I have written a few articles the expand on this perspective that may contain useful material:
"The Third Era of Computing" http://www.wirfs-brock.com/allen/posts/74
"The Browser is a Transitional Technology" http://www.wirfs-brock.com/allen/posts/115
and a slide deck: http://www.slideshare.net/allenwb/is-the-browser-a-transitional-technology

"Discover, Connect, Experience"
I like the Discover and Connect portions of the vision as a description of how the user-facing elements of the classic browser can evolve in to a set of high level services that are pervasively available in the ambient computing environment. However, I think the importance of our role in driving the open evolution of the web applicaiton platform is somewhat lost in the Experience section. It is important to us and to our open web principles that the browser application platform firmly establishes itself as the dominant platform for the emerging device-based ambient computing era. If it does not, the likely alternative is the emergence and monopolist domination of some not really open proprietary platform (see "Why Mozilla", http://www.wirfs-brock.com/allen/posts/210 ). The specific work areas described under "Experience" are all important and contribute to the improvement of the web applicaiton platform. However, the section just doesn't seem to capture the how significant the open web app platform is to us. We should state explicitly that our mission and vision includes ensuring the dominance of the open web app platform. To whatever extend proves necessary we should be willing to take ownership of ensuring that this happens.

"On Your Own Terms" and "Everywhere"
The items under these heading feel more like a tactical roadmap for the next few years rather than a vision statement. I don't have any problem real problems with this roadmap but I guess I would like to see a stronger tie-in explaining why these items are so key to realizing the overall vision.

At the end of a document of this length I think it would be useful to reemphasize "Why Mozilla" and "why we can win".

So, overall pretty good. But I want the vision statement to be something I can really cheer about. This is probably the most exciting time to be in the computing industry since the early to mid 1980's. We are in the midst of an inflection point that is drastically changing the role of computing in society. I would like our vision statement to capture more of the excitement and significance of this time and the unique position we are in to really made a difference.

Allen

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Gervase Markham

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Jun 28, 2011, 7:32:12 AM6/28/11
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Hi Jay :-)

On 24/06/11 18:16, Jay Sullivan wrote:
> I've posted a draft vision statement document here:
>
> https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/VisionStatement

The complete statement, for reference, is:

"Discover, experience and connect with apps, websites and people on your
own terms, everywhere."

My question: what about this vision is distinct from our competition?
Other browsers certainly permit or are trying to permit users to
"Discover, experience and connect with apps, websites and people ...
everywhere."

The answer could be the "on your own terms" bit, but that (and perhaps
this is a problem inherent in trying to reduce things to such a small
bit of text) seems quite vague. A user might ask: what do other browsers
actually stop you doing that you might want to do?

Another thought: is there a social media website or platform out there
which would not fit the strapline "Discover, experience and connect"?

Facebook: discover, experience and connect
Blogger: discover, experience and connect
Foursquare: discover, experience and connect

Thinking about it another way, is it specific enough so that we not only
say "yes" to some ideas because they fit with the vision, but also "no"
to some others because they don't?

I rather liked the line that was being promoted a while back: "Firefox
answers to no-one but you." Perhaps that's not quite a vision statement.
But it's certainly an unambiguous statement of how we are and can be
different from, and better than, everyone else.

I hope that's helpful :-)

Gerv

Mike Shaver

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Jun 28, 2011, 8:40:00 AM6/28/11
to Gervase Markham, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 7:32 AM, Gervase Markham <ge...@mozilla.org> wrote:
> I rather liked the line that was being promoted a while back: "Firefox
> answers to no-one but you." Perhaps that's not quite a vision statement.
> But it's certainly an unambiguous statement of how we are and can be
> different from, and better than, everyone else.

I read that as being the same as "on your own terms". Could you
elaborate on how you see the difference? Getting that part right is
quite important, I agree.

Mike

Gervase Markham

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Jun 28, 2011, 8:46:44 AM6/28/11
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On 28/06/11 13:40, Mike Shaver wrote:
> I read that as being the same as "on your own terms". Could you
> elaborate on how you see the difference? Getting that part right is
> quite important, I agree.

Here's a (poor) attempt to articulate the difference:

"Answers to no-one but you" is an exclusive-style statement against
which I can imagining measuring features. ("Does this feature to count
the number of users in Firefox meet the standard embodied and implied
here?") I feel that much less about doing things "on your own terms".
Everyone might have different terms. What if my term is "I want a
browser which stays the same and doesn't confuse me with UI changes"?

"On your own terms" feels like either it would be utterly stifling for
Mozilla in terms of the amount of change we could have, or it would lead
to loads of contradictory requirements, or it would be interpreted
loosely enough to have not much bite.

Gerv

Axel Hecht

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Jun 28, 2011, 8:48:41 AM6/28/11
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Am 24.06.11 19:16, schrieb Jay Sullivan:

Can you make the timeframe for that vision statement more precise? My
experience with previous roadmap-ish documents is that they stay around
for longer than planned, and get read in a then-different context.

On a different note, what's the take on multi-lingual/global web? To
give some concrete example questions:

- how does the vision apply to the web in Africa?
- ... China?
- ... emerging markets like Brasil or India?
- I expect the planet to get smaller still, with more multi-lingual
content coming up, and more content in more foreign languages, and more
minority languages.


Axel

Boris Zbarsky

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Jun 28, 2011, 10:33:30 AM6/28/11
to

From my point of view "Firefox answers to no one but you." is simple,
direct, and contains nothing but the message.

"Connect, etc etc on your own terms, etc etc" hides the message in the
middle of a sentence with lots of other verbiage of precisely the kind
that at least I tend to gloss over entirely when reading. I missed the
"on your own terms" clause entirely the first time I read that sentence....

-Boris

Ben Bucksch

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Jun 28, 2011, 11:40:17 AM6/28/11
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On 28.06.2011 16:33, Boris Zbarsky wrote:
> From my point of view "Firefox answers to no one but you." is simple,
> direct, and contains nothing but the message.

+1

Ben

Robert Kaiser

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Jun 28, 2011, 2:06:46 PM6/28/11
to
Jay Sullivan schrieb:

> I've posted a draft vision statement document here:
>
> https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/VisionStatement

I like it a lot but I find it dangerous to reduce mobile to Android
only. Surely Android is the main player there right now, but we should
care to be cross-platform on mobile just as we are on desktop, and just
like we don't support only Windows on the desktop but also Mac and
Linux, we should support something like MeeGo and WebOS as well. Doesn't
have to be tier-1, but we should not be one-dimensional in the vision
message.

Robert Kaiser

--
Note that any statements of mine - no matter how passionate - are never
meant to be offensive but very often as food for thought or possible
arguments that we as a community should think about. And most of the
time, I even appreciate irony and fun! :)

Asa Dotzler

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Jun 28, 2011, 10:04:08 PM6/28/11
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Axel Hecht wrote:

> Can you make the timeframe for that vision statement more precise? My
> experience with previous roadmap-ish documents is that they stay around
> for longer than planned, and get read in a then-different context.

I don't see this as a roadmap-ish document at all. The roadmap documents
will fall out of this, or be built in support of this. They will have
timeframes and deadlines and schedules and precision that we all crave
but they derive in a big way from this so getting this right I think is
quite important.

- A

Asa Dotzler

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Jun 28, 2011, 10:10:02 PM6/28/11
to Robert Kaiser
Robert Kaiser wrote:
> Jay Sullivan schrieb:
>> I've posted a draft vision statement document here:
>>
>> https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/VisionStatement
>
> I like it a lot but I find it dangerous to reduce mobile to Android
> only. Surely Android is the main player there right now, but we should
> care to be cross-platform on mobile just as we are on desktop, and just
> like we don't support only Windows on the desktop but also Mac and
> Linux, we should support something like MeeGo and WebOS as well. Doesn't
> have to be tier-1, but we should not be one-dimensional in the vision
> message.
>
> Robert Kaiser

I see where you're coming from but I don't think it's right to compare
MeeGo and WebOS to Mac and Linux. They're more like BeOS and Amiga or
something. Our supported (we make sure they work all the time)
platforms should be the ones where users are and where we're allowed to
be and right now that's Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android.

- A

L. David Baron

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Jun 28, 2011, 11:45:25 PM6/28/11
to Jay Sullivan, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org

The section on "The future of the Browser" says:
# Firefox has always been available for major desktop operating
# systems, but for many devices, Firefox in its current form --
# client software with the Gecko Web rendering engine -- will not
# be feasible. Yet the experiences it offers should be available
# everywhere. The future browser will therefore be delivered in
# many ways, sometimes as client software, sometimes as a
# Web-based service.

I'm somewhat concerned about how this downplays the role of Gecko as
part of Firefox.

Power over the full set of protocols and formats used for
interchange of data on the Web is important to Firefox's ability to
advance Mozilla's mission to promote "openness, innovation and
participation on the Internet" (http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/):
it's a key piece of what gives Firefox leverage. We have the
ability to reject changes to these protocols and formats that go
against our mission, and while we don't (and shouldn't) have the
ability to make any addition we want, we can strongly influence
additions.

Imagine, as an extreme example, a world where all Web browsing is
done on WebKit on iOS devices, but the Firefox brand remains as one
of the leading bookmarks/history sync services. The statement
quoted above makes that seem like a possible success condition, but
it seems like a failure to me, since we'd lose our ability to
influence the technology of the Web.

In other words (going back to the quote), I think it's not just the
experience that matters, it's also whether a set of people with our
goals have the power to change and advance the experience.

-David

--
L. David Baron http://dbaron.org/
Mozilla Corporation http://www.mozilla.com/

Alex Faaborg

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Jun 29, 2011, 12:50:20 AM6/29/11
to L. David Baron, Jay Sullivan, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
>
> Imagine, as an extreme example, a world where all Web browsing is
> done on WebKit on iOS devices, but the Firefox brand remains as one
> of the leading bookmarks/history sync services. The statement
> quoted above makes that seem like a possible success condition, but
> it seems like a failure to me, since we'd lose our ability to
> influence the technology of the Web.
>
> In other words (going back to the quote), I think it's not just the
> experience that matters, it's also whether a set of people with our
> goals have the power to change and advance the experience.
>

I really agree with dbaron on this. Overall this is kind of ironic, since
generally speaking the UX team has both fixated on the front end experience
as opposed to the underlying platform, and the UX team has also occasionally
argued in favor of a webkit-based Firefox on iOS which provides a better UI
and sync on top of their rendering engine.

But the reason I agree with dbaron is because ultimately we can only really
improve the user experience of the Web if we control the entire technology
stack. I've recently been giving a lot of thought into platform level
features that can improve the user experience of web applications, and
webkit on iOS has a direct reason not to support these types of new features
(because these features can make mobile web applications more directly
competitive with native mobile applications, and only the later is
monetized).

I'm concerned that eventually offering Firefox as a web-based service ends
up as a failure scenario if enough major operating systems lock down and
prevent the installation of competing platforms. In that scenario, even if
the Web prevails as the universal platform for application development,
Firefox/Gecko can only remain relevant if we create compete with a full
platform, and we start to explore OEM deals.

-Alex


On Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 8:45 PM, L. David Baron <dba...@dbaron.org> wrote:

> On Friday 2011-06-24 10:16 -0700, Jay Sullivan wrote:

David Ascher

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Jun 29, 2011, 1:23:00 AM6/29/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Tue Jun 28 21:50:20 2011, Alex Faaborg wrote:

> I'm concerned that eventually offering Firefox as a web-based service ends
> up as a failure scenario if enough major operating systems lock down and
> prevent the installation of competing platforms. In that scenario, even if
> the Web prevails as the universal platform for application development,
> Firefox/Gecko can only remain relevant if we create compete with a full
> platform, and we start to explore OEM deals.

If the trend to lock down operating systems continues as expected, and
convergence between software, hardware, and telcos keeps on deepening,
I'm concerned that such a narrow definition of success means we have to
take on an incredibly deep stack, which taken to a rhetorical extreme
would go all the way down to hardware, further down to distribution
channels, and further down to cell towers and fiber networks. My
understanding is that the economics of OEM deals don't tend to work in
our favor.

My own interests recently have been further up the stack in areas where
we haven't yet had as much impact as we'd like, including making sure
users' control of their online experience extends to things like their
contact data, social experiences, behavioral data, etc. In that part
of the stack, the specifics of the rendering engine don't matter that
much, but the ubiquity of the delivery vehicle does - in other words,
it's much harder to give users control of their data if that data is
completely inaccessible from our software.

Luckily, I don't think we're in an either-or kind of situation. I do
think there's huge value in avoiding monoculture, _and_ that there are
many ways in which Firefox can present compelling and important value
to users for whom Gecko isn't an option. Yes, this implies tradeoffs,
but I don't yet think they're fundamentally different than any of the
other tradeoffs we make everyday to move the user's agenda forward.

--david

MeLife

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Jun 29, 2011, 1:51:11 AM6/29/11
to
On Jun 24, 1:16 pm, Jay Sullivan <sulli...@mozilla.com> wrote:
> Please post or send me any feedback you have!

Take RockMeIt, join it with Google Wave protocol, give it a natural,
human-friendly interface and you're ready to go.

Steve Fink

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Jun 29, 2011, 3:00:40 AM6/29/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On 06/28/2011 05:40 AM, Mike Shaver wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 7:32 AM, Gervase Markham<ge...@mozilla.org> wrote:
>> I rather liked the line that was being promoted a while back: "Firefox
>> answers to no-one but you." Perhaps that's not quite a vision statement.
>> But it's certainly an unambiguous statement of how we are and can be
>> different from, and better than, everyone else.
> I read that as being the same as "on your own terms". Could you
> elaborate on how you see the difference? Getting that part right is
> quite important, I agree.

"answers to no-one but you" distinguishes us from Chrome and IE, for
example, because Chrome answers to advertisers and IE answers to
stockholders and corporate IT departments. (Please forgive the
ridiculous oversimplifications; a vision statement is no place for
nuances!) "on your own terms" doesn't separate us from either, in my
mind, partly because the phrase has little definite meaning to me. If
Chrome happens to provide the UX that I like, then even as it's sending
every twitch of my mouse and activating my laptop camera to record my
eye movements, it's still sort of on my own terms -- I get to experience
the Web exactly how I want to. If I were to think hard about the
importance of privacy, I might extend my terms to include something that
would reject Chrome, but that feels like a bit of a stretch. "answers to
no-one but you", despite its awkward hyphen, describes a tool that does
only what it needs to in order to satisfy my requests. "on your own
terms" requires me to think up terms (restrictions) that limit what my
willful tool might do.

Maybe that's the short version: "on your own terms" translates (for me)
into "according to the restrictions you select", together with the
implication that Firefox is a dangerous thing that you need to restrict.

I actually don't find it to be that extreme a difference; "on your own
terms" has strong positive connotations and sounds smoother than
"answers to no-one but you". But the above is the best I can do to
describe a real difference in my first impression of each, and I do
prefer "answers to no-one but you". ("answers to nobody but you"?)

Steve Fink

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Jun 29, 2011, 3:08:03 AM6/29/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
The main thing I miss from the vision statement is something about being
an active participant in *creating* the Web. "Experiencing" is still too
close to "consuming", in my mind; it's a crucial part of the Web, but
active contribution to the incredibly complex, shared human creation
that is the Web is more significant -- despite it being a much smaller
percentage of the hours that humanity spends involved with the Web. (And
despite the vast majority of what is created being humdrum or utter
crap; the Web is the product of humanity, after all, and even the
greatest artists produce far more fecal matter than paintings.)

Robert O'Callahan

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Jun 29, 2011, 3:48:00 AM6/29/11
to David Ascher, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM, David Ascher <das...@mozilla.com> wrote:

> On Tue Jun 28 21:50:20 2011, Alex Faaborg wrote:
>
> I'm concerned that eventually offering Firefox as a web-based service ends
>> up as a failure scenario if enough major operating systems lock down and
>> prevent the installation of competing platforms. In that scenario, even
>> if
>> the Web prevails as the universal platform for application development,
>> Firefox/Gecko can only remain relevant if we create compete with a full
>> platform, and we start to explore OEM deals.
>>
>
> If the trend to lock down operating systems continues as expected, and
> convergence between software, hardware, and telcos keeps on deepening, I'm
> concerned that such a narrow definition of success means we have to take on
> an incredibly deep stack, which taken to a rhetorical extreme would go all
> the way down to hardware, further down to distribution channels, and further
> down to cell towers and fiber networks. My understanding is that the
> economics of OEM deals don't tend to work in our favor.
>

If we reach a state where the evolution of the Web platform is controlled by
one or a few vertically integrated mega-corporations, then I will consider
Mozilla to have failed in its mission. I'd feel OK about that as long as we
fought well to the end. I would not be interested in redefining success so
we can carry on.

Rob
--
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in
us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our
sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned,
we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us." [1 John 1:8-10]

Robert O'Callahan

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Jun 29, 2011, 3:52:58 AM6/29/11
to David Ascher, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
Also, I believe we have a part to play in making sure that the locked-down
iOS model doesn't rule the world. For example, by building a truly awesome
Android browser we can show that there are advantages to Android's more open
application model.

If Firefox is awesome enough, some iOS users will want it, and at that point
we can ask Apple outright if they're willing to give users what they want.

To keep that possibility open, I would strongly suggest that we do not call
any browser we ship on iOS "Firefox".

Henri Sivonen

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Jun 29, 2011, 4:54:28 AM6/29/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Wed, 2011-06-29 at 19:52 +1200, Robert O'Callahan wrote:
> Also, I believe we have a part to play in making sure that the locked-down
> iOS model doesn't rule the world. For example, by building a truly awesome
> Android browser we can show that there are advantages to Android's more open
> application model.
>
> If Firefox is awesome enough, some iOS users will want it, and at that point
> we can ask Apple outright if they're willing to give users what they want.
>
> To keep that possibility open, I would strongly suggest that we do not call
> any browser we ship on iOS "Firefox".

I don't have particular insight to add, but I'd like to metoo to what
gerv, dbaron, roc and bz said:

Promising "on your own terms" isn't as good a statement as "answers to
no one but you". In particular, people's terms can vary so much that
"your own terms" can be easily called as untrue.

But more importantly, I worry about downplaying Gecko in order to bring
"Firefox" to iOS. I think Mozilla having a browser engine of its own is
critical for having leverage to make the Web platform evolve in ways
that are positive in the light of Mozilla's mission.

I think it would be bad to brand a shell for an Apple-controlled engine
on iOS (or a MS-controlled engine on Windows Phone) as Firefox. That
seems too close to the Netscape route of eventually becoming a logo that
is squeezed for recognition from the past days of glory. Rather, I think
we should create demand for the real full Firefox (with Gecko) on closed
platforms.

I agree with roc that we shouldn't redefine success in such a way that
bringing "Firefox" branding to Apple-controlled engine is "success". If
the iOS model becomes so pervasive that there is no other option, I
think we should consider it a failure for Mozilla to advance its
mission.

I think roc's suggestion of how to approach iOS makes sense: Showing
awesomeness elsewhere to create user demand.

Another (though way more costly) way to create demand would be this:
1) Port Firefox to iOS
2) Make sure it's truly awesome (drives up the cost, making ultimate
rejection even worse)
3) Let people who are iOS developers install it using the mechanisms
that Apple has to allow for developers to test their self-developed
software.
4) Wait until the people who can use it to create buzz.
5) Beat the drum about Apple blocking awesomeness for regular users.

I think it's sad that we need to consider giving up essential
Firefoxness because a platform that doesn't align with our values has so
many users. It's very sad that Nokia isn't letting Meego fly for real,
since that platform would have been a great match for Firefox. Still,
considering that Firefox already exists for Maemo, I wonder why we are
hiding that platform from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/mobile/ and
giving equal screen estate to Android and iOS when iOS doesn't allow us
to deliver the product we'd want to deliver? Is it so embarrassing to
ship for an also-ran platform that it's better to hide it than to let
people know that there's another open platform that runs Firefox?

--
Henri Sivonen
hsiv...@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/

Henri Sivonen

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Jun 29, 2011, 7:59:04 AM6/29/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Wed, 2011-06-29 at 10:54 +0200, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> Another (though way more costly) way to create demand would be this:
> 1) Port Firefox to iOS
> 2) Make sure it's truly awesome (drives up the cost, making ultimate
> rejection even worse)

I realized this won't work as long as iOS has technical measures that
block JITs.

Chris Hofmann

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Jun 29, 2011, 8:26:35 AM6/29/11
to rob...@ocallahan.org, David Ascher, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On 6/29/11 12:48 AM, Robert O'Callahan wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM, David Ascher<das...@mozilla.com> wrote:
>
>> On Tue Jun 28 21:50:20 2011, Alex Faaborg wrote:
>>
>> I'm concerned that eventually offering Firefox as a web-based service ends
>>> up as a failure scenario if enough major operating systems lock down and
>>> prevent the installation of competing platforms. In that scenario, even
>>> if
>>> the Web prevails as the universal platform for application development,
>>> Firefox/Gecko can only remain relevant if we create compete with a full
>>> platform, and we start to explore OEM deals.
>>>
>> If the trend to lock down operating systems continues as expected, and
>> convergence between software, hardware, and telcos keeps on deepening, I'm
>> concerned that such a narrow definition of success means we have to take on
>> an incredibly deep stack, which taken to a rhetorical extreme would go all
>> the way down to hardware, further down to distribution channels, and further
>> down to cell towers and fiber networks. My understanding is that the
>> economics of OEM deals don't tend to work in our favor.
>>
> If we reach a state where the evolution of the Web platform is controlled by
> one or a few vertically integrated mega-corporations, then I will consider
> Mozilla to have failed in its mission. I'd feel OK about that as long as we
> fought well to the end. I would not be interested in redefining success so
> we can carry on.
>
> Rob

Yeah, we spent a decade working on keeping the browser from being
absorbed into the Operating System (windows). We won!

Now the stakes are even higher with push to absorb the entire stack of
devices, OS, browser, and services all looked in from from single
providers. It is our mission to keep the interoperability vision of
the internet alive.

-chofmann

Ted Mielczarek

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Jun 29, 2011, 8:35:13 AM6/29/11
to Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 7:59 AM, Henri Sivonen <hsiv...@iki.fi> wrote:
> On Wed, 2011-06-29 at 10:54 +0200, Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> Another (though way more costly) way to create demand would be this:
>>  1) Port Firefox to iOS
>>  2) Make sure it's truly awesome (drives up the cost, making ultimate
>> rejection even worse)
>
> I realized this won't work as long as iOS has technical measures that
> block JITs.

The JIT worked fine on iOS 4.0 when I previously ported Firefox, FWIW.
(My port is way out of date, but it's probably not more than a week's
worth of work to get it running again.)

If we really wanted to target iOS we could certainly deliver Firefox
via jailbroken channels, since there are no legal barriers to that
now, AFAIK.

-Ted

Gervase Markham

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 8:57:27 AM6/29/11
to
On 29/06/11 06:23, David Ascher wrote:
> Luckily, I don't think we're in an either-or kind of situation. I do
> think there's huge value in avoiding monoculture, _and_ that there are
> many ways in which Firefox can present compelling and important value to
> users for whom Gecko isn't an option.

"Presenting compelling and important value" is not enough. Facebook
Connect presents compelling and important value - that's why a boatload
of sites and users use it. But we are still kicking off a project to
compete with it (and, ideally, eliminate it and all other vendor-lockin
single-signon solutions).

> Yes, this implies tradeoffs, but
> I don't yet think they're fundamentally different than any of the other
> tradeoffs we make everyday to move the user's agenda forward.

We make engineering tradeoffs - but we don't (I hope) and shouldn't
trade off our principles, or trade off our leverage, because we think
users well benefit in the short term.

Gerv

Robert Kaiser

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 12:20:53 PM6/29/11
to
Asa Dotzler schrieb:

> I see where you're coming from but I don't think it's right to compare
> MeeGo and WebOS to Mac and Linux. They're more like BeOS and Amiga or
> something. Our supported (we make sure they work all the time) platforms
> should be the ones where users are and where we're allowed to be and
> right now that's Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android.

This is a vision, so I'm not talking about the present, but where things
are going in the future. Some more-open-than-Android system will be
larger in market share on mobile in a few years than Mac and Linux are
today on PCs, I'm pretty sure of that.

Note that I'm NOT proposing to even mention an open and innovative
system like MeeGo in the vision. What I'm proposing is to make the
headline say "Firefox on mobile devices", just to not shut the door on
another options beforehand, and continue to pursue Android as the main
focus there right now.

Robert Kaiser

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 12:27:54 PM6/29/11
to
Henri Sivonen schrieb:

> It's very sad that Nokia isn't letting Meego fly for real,
> since that platform would have been a great match for Firefox.

I'm pretty convinced that other vendors will let it fly for real over
the long term, but MeeGo will have substantial offers on tablets
probably way before it does on smartphones (though the Nokia N9 will be
a success, nobody knows yet if it will be the end of the line for Nokia
or some niche market line will continue from it). MeeGo is larger than
Nokia and will have its place with other vendors, but that takes time.

We as Mozilla should not bet on it, but we should not close our doors on
it either.

Robert Kaiser

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 12:30:06 PM6/29/11
to
L. David Baron schrieb:
> # The future browser will therefore be delivered in

> # many ways, sometimes as client software, sometimes as a
> # Web-based service.

The browser today and even more in the future is not a browser any more,
it's a web application runtime. I have a hard time seeing the browser
being a web service, as it runs the web. I see Mozilla doing web
services in addition to web application runtimes, though.

Daniel Veditz

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 12:50:19 PM6/29/11
to Gervase Markham, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On 6/28/11 4:32 AM, Gervase Markham wrote:
> I rather liked the line that was being promoted a while back: "Firefox
> answers to no-one but you." Perhaps that's not quite a vision statement.

That's a mission statement about -us-, the vision statement is about
the product. We have no control over whether websites and apps
"answer to no-one but you", but we can certainly help you surf the
web "on your own terms" by giving you control over that experience.

Could other browsers do that? Sure, it'd be great if they did. Just
as we've succeeded in bringing more choice to the internet even if
the choice isn't always us, wouldn't that be a victory condition?

-Dan Veditz

Mike Shaver

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 12:57:46 PM6/29/11
to Robert Kaiser, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 12:27 PM, Robert Kaiser <ka...@kairo.at> wrote:
> I'm pretty convinced that other vendors will let it fly for real over the
> long term,

Is there an example of other platforms where the originator abandoned
them and they was relevant in the market later on?

I can't think of one, at the moment, but I'm not at my best. When
there is a viable, valuable mobile target for a full-on browser other
than Android, we'll have a meaningfully different context and we
should revisit the vision accordingly. I think the vision document is
useful in directing the areas of investment, exploration and
partnership over the next 3-4 years.

Mike

Robert Kaiser

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 1:15:51 PM6/29/11
to
Mike Shaver schrieb:

> On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 12:27 PM, Robert Kaiser<ka...@kairo.at> wrote:
>> I'm pretty convinced that other vendors will let it fly for real over the
>> long term,
>
> Is there an example of other platforms where the originator abandoned
> them and they was relevant in the market later on?

No idea, I know too little of the platform world and its history - and
then, there's also no precedent for what we achieved with Firefox. :)

> When
> there is a viable, valuable mobile target for a full-on browser other
> than Android, we'll have a meaningfully different context and we
> should revisit the vision accordingly.

As I mentioned in a different place on this thread, I'm absolutely with
focusing on Android in practice right now, but I think we should not
close the door on others prematurely and use "mobile devices" in the
language of a vision statement where we don't need to specifically limit
to Android - even if in execution we're focused on Android, which I
agree we need to (even if I won't touch that system myself if I don't
have to).

Mike Shaver

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 1:54:51 PM6/29/11
to Robert Kaiser, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 1:15 PM, Robert Kaiser <ka...@kairo.at> wrote:
> No idea, I know too little of the platform world and its history - and then,
> there's also no precedent for what we achieved with Firefox. :)

Certainly, but I think it would have been unwise for people to be
building product visions 3 years ahead of Firefox's ascent that
incorporated it.

But you can perhaps understand how it's hard to accept
platform-viability premises on the basis of a lack of strong knowledge
of the platform world and its history!

> I think we should not close
> the door on others prematurely and use "mobile devices" in the language of a
> vision statement where we don't need to specifically limit to Android - even
> if in execution we're focused on Android

I think that one of the most important things that a vision document
can do is exclude things. The vision should be based on the things we
know now, or are willing to base a lot of investment on. When things
around us change (like MeeGo picking up marketshare or HandheldAmigaOS
or whatever) we should look at the vision document and make sure it
still makes sense.

But right now, if we are focused on Android, we should make that clear
so that people know how to contribute most effectively, and where they
should expect to find most of our relevant resources deployed. We
have enough to do without giving "support this new marginal OS!"
implicit support through an over-broad vision.

It is not a permanent document. It doesn't see forward until the end
of time. It takes the set of all things that we could be to all people
and distills them into the things we are planning to be, and to which
people. People are going to point at this vision document to direct
their work, and (let's face it) to demand work from Mozilla. Let's
speak truthfully about our intention given our context, even if we
wish there were things that were different about that context.

Mike

Robert Kaiser

unread,
Jun 29, 2011, 2:06:24 PM6/29/11
to Mike Shaver
Mike Shaver schrieb:

> It is not a permanent document. It doesn't see forward until the end
> of time. It takes the set of all things that we could be to all people
> and distills them into the things we are planning to be, and to which
> people. People are going to point at this vision document to direct
> their work, and (let's face it) to demand work from Mozilla. Let's
> speak truthfully about our intention given our context, even if we
> wish there were things that were different about that context.

I hope it also leave space for experimentation next to it - and
basically, that's all I'm asking for. Note that I'm contracted for
working on areas that are purely reactive to whatever OSes Firefox
actually runs on, so it won't be my work time that's affected anyhow,
and in my free time I can look into what I want, but it feels better if
interests in more open ecosystems are supported philosophically by
Mozilla. ;-)

Gervase Markham

unread,
Jun 30, 2011, 5:49:59 AM6/30/11
to
On 29/06/11 17:50, Daniel Veditz wrote:
> On 6/28/11 4:32 AM, Gervase Markham wrote:
>> I rather liked the line that was being promoted a while back: "Firefox
>> answers to no-one but you." Perhaps that's not quite a vision statement.
>
> That's a mission statement about -us-,

"Us" Mozilla, or "us" the users?

> the vision statement is about
> the product.

"Firefox answers to no-one but you" sounds like it's about Firefox to
me... Perhaps I'm not getting your point?

> We have no control over whether websites and apps
> "answer to no-one but you", but we can certainly help you surf the
> web "on your own terms" by giving you control over that experience.

But what web browser doesn't give you "control over your experience"? No
web browser is yet an automated slideshow viewer.

Having said that, I agree that perhaps "Firefox answers to no-one but
you" is not a perfect fit for "product vision statement"; I gave it as
an example of a statement we made which I liked and which was clear,
un-vague and testable.

Gerv

Curtis Koenig

unread,
Jun 30, 2011, 11:34:14 AM6/30/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
The main thread in planning has gotten long and off the track of what I
would like to discuss so I am forking with my thoughts. If this is not
the right thing to do lets just chalk it up to me being at Moz for 4
months and still stumbling around.

This sort of things is a passion of mine, I am part of a group that
teaches advanced leadership skills to adult leaders for the BSA. These
are not just outdoor camping kinds of things, we have other courses for
that, these are skills leaders need to be successful not just in BSA but
just about anywhere. One of the very first things we teach, and I had
the honor of leading this part of the course last year, is what we call
Values, Vision and Mission. Where we try to impart some wisdom in how
you get groups to move towards a common goal given a common understanding.

As the name implies it starts with a shared set of values, which I think
Mozilla has strongly in its DNA if not always stated in the most clear
fashion, but I am not going to spend time on that as I want to focus on
this particular issue here. Stated simply, values are what we believe in
and how we will behave from that we derive a vision.

For me a vision forms when we think far enough ahead to realize there
will be important challenges that we can prepare for now, perhaps by
doing something simple. And it has some distinct characteristics:
? A vision engages the heart and spirit.
? A vision leads toward a worthwhile goal.
? A vision gives meaning to an effort.
? A vision is simple.
? A vision is attainable.
? A vision can change over time.

I see some of these things in the what has been produced "*Discover,
experience and connect with apps, websites and people on your own terms,
everywhere."*, outside the wordiness of the rest of the document this is
the heart of the matter. If I were to say this in my own words it would
be something like:

* Firefox will be the premier platform for users to discover,
experience, connect with and further the open web on every platform and
on their terms.*

Do what you think is best, at a minimum I think that the vision page is
far too wordy. It should at least start with the vision statement that
meets the criteria I shared above and then if necessary have
descriptions of the efforts (Missions) we are undertaking to make this
vision a reality now and new things we need to drive on as well. The
goal here is to get the fabulous team we have focuses on a common goal
and the tasks needed to achieve it. Right now I think they are spinning
wildly trying to interpret it and while discussion is good if we cant
get on the same target we can't achieve.

My 2�, sorry for being long winded.

_ck

Alex Faaborg

unread,
Jun 30, 2011, 7:32:05 PM6/30/11
to chof...@mozilla.org, David Ascher, rob...@ocallahan.org, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
roc:

> If we reach a state where the evolution of the Web platform is controlled
> by
> one or a few vertically integrated mega-corporations, then I will consider
> Mozilla to have failed in its mission. I'd feel OK about that as long as we
> fought well to the end. I would not be interested in redefining success so
> we can carry on.
>

chofmann:

> It is our mission to keep the interoperability vision of the internet
> alive.
>

For some reason I'm personally far more passionate about building a
universal platform for software development than the other aspects of the
mission (like user control over data). So for me the big question bouncing
around my head is how can we continue to keep the universal nature of the
Web alive.

The position of "Apple won't let us, so we have to give up" seems overly
simplistic. Let's look at exactly what we have to build to compete.

On the desktop Web apps had all of the same hardware access as native
applications (keyboard, mouse, graphics, storage), and the UI widget
limitations weren't much of an issue (it turns out that trees and splitters
weren't actually that important). Give Web apps the advantage of cloud
storage, and it's an easy victory. Broadband made it ok if the UI wasn't
cached locally. Gmail is a better experience than Outlook, etc.

On mobile the Web doesn't have access to as much of the relevant local
hardware (bluetooth, NFC, USB, camera, microphone, accelerometer, light
sensor, hardware buttons). And in addition to this, the software
limitations of accessing mobile UI widgets significantly hurts the user
experience (spinners, menus, lists, fixed tool bars, etc.). The current
cell data networks are slow enough that is simply not ok if an application
doesn't have a locally cached UI. The Gmail web app is inferior to the
Gmail native app.

Here's a more visual way of looking at the pieces the Web is missing as a
software development platform:
http://people.mozilla.com/~faaborg/files/daf/threeStagesOfApps.png

Building out those capabilities on Android should be straightforward for us,
we have all the access we need. But can we provide these capabilities on
iOS using a mixture of a native application that we write and Webkit? The
answer seems to be yes, and companies like Phonegap have already jumped
ahead and made significant progress.

So I believe the dream of the Web as a universal platform for software
development is still very much attainable, even with Apple's current
platform restrictions. It would just require us to start embracing and
extending Webkit instead of Gecko.

Obviously we would all rather use Gecko, but ultimately providing device
access and native widgets to Web apps is considerably more important for the
future of the Web than the more subtle differences between our two rendering
engines.

-Alex

> ______________________________**_________________
> dev-planning mailing list
> dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/**listinfo/dev-planning<https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-planning>
>

Robert O'Callahan

unread,
Jul 1, 2011, 12:28:48 AM7/1/11
to Alex Faaborg, David Ascher, chof...@mozilla.org, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 11:32 AM, Alex Faaborg <faa...@mozilla.com> wrote:

> The position of "Apple won't let us, so we have to give up" seems overly
> simplistic.
>

I don't think anyone's taking that position.

On mobile the Web doesn't have access to as much of the relevant local
> hardware (bluetooth, NFC, USB, camera, microphone, accelerometer, light
> sensor, hardware buttons). And in addition to this, the software
> limitations of accessing mobile UI widgets significantly hurts the user
> experience (spinners, menus, lists, fixed tool bars, etc.). The current
> cell data networks are slow enough that is simply not ok if an application
> doesn't have a locally cached UI. The Gmail web app is inferior to the
> Gmail native app.
>

We can fix most of those issues --- if we have deep control over the Web
engine.

Building out those capabilities on Android should be straightforward for us,
> we have all the access we need. But can we provide these capabilities on
> iOS using a mixture of a native application that we write and Webkit? The
> answer seems to be yes, and companies like Phonegap have already jumped
> ahead and made significant progress.
>
> So I believe the dream of the Web as a universal platform for software
> development is still very much attainable, even with Apple's current
> platform restrictions. It would just require us to start embracing and
> extending Webkit instead of Gecko.
>

Our ability to modify iPhone Webkit is far more limited than our ability to
modify Gecko, and it is totally subject to Apple's control. If Apple decides
extensions to iPhone Webkit are undermining its apps business, they can
disable them anytime to kill that strategy. That is not a very appealing
investment.

They could kill iPhone Firefox anytime too, but at least that project
wouldn't divide our efforts.

Obviously we would all rather use Gecko, but ultimately providing device
> access and native widgets to Web apps is considerably more important for the
> future of the Web than the more subtle differences between our two rendering
> engines.
>

The importance of owning the engine is not about subtle differences. It's
about being able to take a different direction whenever and however we want
to. It's about being able to say "no" to things that don't make sense, as
well as adding extensions and fixing existing stuff that's broken. It's
about ensuring there are multiple implementations of standards so the Web
doesn't de-facto standardize on one engine's bugs.

More importantly, I think your strategy only makes sense if we have
Web-facing features in hand that Apple refuses to support on iOS, or we
think we will, and these features could be implemented PhoneGap-style. Do we
know of any such features yet? I don't know of any.

I sense a fear that Web apps are falling behind native apps, and I
sympathize, but personally I feel we're in a massive new Web API land rush.
We're adding sensor APIs, better JS, faster graphics, new CSS features,
media capture, RTC, and lots more. We have our work cut out just to add
those features to Gecko on desktop and Android. Google will add them to
Webkit, Microsoft will have some of them on WP7. Apple may choose to not
ship them on iPhone Webkit; I say, let them take that risk. I don't think
even Apple can afford to take the position "to protect our app business,
we're not going to ship Web features X, Y and Z that everyone else supports"
for long.

Alex Faaborg

unread,
Jul 1, 2011, 12:49:56 AM7/1/11
to rob...@ocallahan.org, David Ascher, chof...@mozilla.org, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
>
> Our ability to modify iPhone Webkit is far more limited than our ability to
> modify Gecko
>

That's true, but PhoneGap has made a lot of progress with the API land rush
extending Webkit. If we adopt that approach, I think we promote the Web
more directly than hoping that Apple ships new capabilities due to market
competition with other mobile browsers.

I sense a fear that Web apps are falling behind native apps, and I
> sympathize, but personally I feel we're in a massive new Web API land rush.
> We're adding sensor APIs, better JS, faster graphics, new CSS features,
> media capture, RTC, and lots more.


I agree that we are making rapid progress, but I'm concerned that we are
still very far away from feature parity with mobile applications in terms of
device access and user experience. Once we close that gap the Web will
start to win again for all the reasons the Web otherwise wins in the end.

I think your strategy only makes sense if we have Web-facing features in
> hand that Apple refuses to support on iOS
>

I would imagine that Apple wouldn't be very happy with Web applications
exposing native iOS tool bars. For Apple native apps are positioned better
when the Web is just for documents, and ideally those documents are drawn
onto a canvas that isn't sized correctly for the device that they are being
displayed on.

If Apple decides extensions to iPhone Webkit are undermining its apps
> business, they can disable them anytime to kill that strategy. That is not a
> very appealing investment.
>

Yeah, and unfortunately that is how the Web might fracture (and perhaps
again later if "web-powered" native Windows 8 applications become popular).
It's not a very appealing investment, but doing nothing seems worse. Of
course since this thread is public, they can have their rejection letter for
us written ahead of time.

-Alex

Robert O'Callahan

unread,
Jul 1, 2011, 2:31:59 AM7/1/11
to Alex Faaborg, David Ascher, chof...@mozilla.org, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 4:49 PM, Alex Faaborg <faa...@mozilla.com> wrote:

>
> I sense a fear that Web apps are falling behind native apps, and I
>> sympathize, but personally I feel we're in a massive new Web API land rush.
>> We're adding sensor APIs, better JS, faster graphics, new CSS features,
>> media capture, RTC, and lots more.
>
>
> I agree that we are making rapid progress, but I'm concerned that we are
> still very far away from feature parity with mobile applications in terms of
> device access and user experience. Once we close that gap the Web will
> start to win again for all the reasons the Web otherwise wins in the end.


I feel like we've got enough work to do building those features for the
platforms we already support, without adding a raft more work on a hostile
platform where our investment could be destroyed whenever Apple feels like
it.

That's true, but PhoneGap has made a lot of progress with the API land rush
> extending Webkit. If we adopt that approach, I think we promote the Web
> more directly than hoping that Apple ships new capabilities due to market
> competition with other mobile browsers.
>

I think you're wrong, and I think we should at least give the latter a
chance since it doesn't cost us anything.

Henri Sivonen

unread,
Jul 1, 2011, 2:59:23 AM7/1/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Thu, 2011-06-30 at 16:32 -0700, Alex Faaborg wrote:
> So I believe the dream of the Web as a universal platform for software
> development is still very much attainable, even with Apple's current
> platform restrictions. It would just require us to start embracing and
> extending Webkit instead of Gecko.

Can WebKit be extended in useful ways on iOS? Chrome can extend WebKit
on non-iOS platforms, because they compile their own port of WebKit.
Compiling and shipping your own extended flavor of WebKit on iOS is as
restricted as shipping Gecko, AFAICT. (After all, otherwise you could
modify WebKit into Gecko by first deleting all of WebKit and then adding
all of Gecko.)

If Apple doesn't put IndexedDB in their WebKit, could Mozilla deliver
IndexedDB in WebKit for iOS?

Or consider WebRTC. If Apple doesn't implement WebRTC in iOS WebKit or
implements WebRTC with encumbered codecs, could Mozilla deliver WebRTC
with unencumbered codecs on top of the iOS WebKit. If not, the situation
would be pretty terrible not only from a mission point of view but basic
branding expectation point of view: Users couldn't connect with WebRTC
between Firefox and a Mozilla-branded thing running on iOS.

I think PhoneGap isn't the right comparison when considering Mozilla
providing an implementation of the Open Web Platform for iOS. A proper
implementation of the Open Web Platform can load code--that's a pretty
central characteristic and something Apple (reportedly) explicitly bans.
PhoneGap prepackages apps so that they don't load remote code at
runtime.

Benjamin Smedberg

unread,
Jul 1, 2011, 10:44:38 AM7/1/11
to Alex Faaborg, David Ascher, chof...@mozilla.org, rob...@ocallahan.org, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On 6/30/2011 7:32 PM, Alex Faaborg wrote:
> roc:
>
>> If we reach a state where the evolution of the Web platform is controlled
>> by
>> one or a few vertically integrated mega-corporations, then I will consider
>> Mozilla to have failed in its mission. I'd feel OK about that as long as we
>> fought well to the end. I would not be interested in redefining success so
>> we can carry on.
>>
> chofmann:
>
>> It is our mission to keep the interoperability vision of the internet
>> alive.
>>
> For some reason I'm personally far more passionate about building a
> universal platform for software development than the other aspects of the
> mission (like user control over data). So for me the big question bouncing
> around my head is how can we continue to keep the universal nature of the
> Web alive.
I have an almost-opposite sentiment!

I believe that the primary benefits of HTML, and the core things that
Mozilla should preserve, are:

* it provides a permanent format for the exchange of ideas
* in a way where users can use the format in many different ways
(screen/paper sizes, audio presentations, etc)
* in an open format which does not have gatekeepers to publishing

I don't think it's essential to the web or to Mozilla's mission to have
web app development "win" over other platforms. But as long as users can
share and read documents in HTML and preserve the core "save as/modify"
behavior that makes the web great, I don't think it's particularly
important whether apps are written for Windows or iOS or android using
their native platform stack or the open-web stack.

Obviously there are distinct advantages to apps written in open-web
technologies (interoperability across devices and OSes, access from
"anywhere"), and we should make Firefox excel at providing the best
webapp experience and universal development platform.

I do wish the Firefox vision called out compatibility and interopability
explicitly. I think that one of our fundamental values is that documents
written in HTML from 10 years ago are still usable today. The backwards
compatibility of the HTML5 spec is still I think one of the least
understood and yet most valuable parts of that effort.

--BDS

Benjamin Smedberg

unread,
Jul 1, 2011, 12:27:39 PM7/1/11
to Jay Sullivan, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On 6/24/2011 1:16 PM, Jay Sullivan wrote:
> Please post or send me any feedback you have!
One phrase that has me concerned is "It [Firefox] will transition from a
'tool for navigation' to a more active participant in understanding user
intent."

It seems to me that link navigation is a core element of the browsing
experience. I know you're not actually suggesting that we transition
*away* from navigation, but I think the wording could be better:
understanding user intent and being an active participant is a feature
we'd be building on top of the already-successful navigation model that
all browser must necessarily share.

--BDS

Ben Bucksch

unread,
Jul 4, 2011, 9:28:14 PM7/4/11
to
On 29.06.2011 07:23, David Ascher wrote:
> If the trend to lock down operating systems continues as expected, and
> convergence between software, hardware, and telcos keeps on deepening,
> I'm concerned that such a narrow definition of success means we have
> to take on an incredibly deep stack, which taken to a rhetorical
> extreme would go all the way down to hardware, further down to
> distribution channels, and further down to cell towers and fiber networks.

*If* operating systems are being locked down, then yes, the advancement
of the Mozilla Manifesto indeed means to actively and decisively work
against this.

And if you look at Google, they do exactly that. They poke into
browsers, operating systems, and recently even into fiber networks [1].
The latter not as a business, but just as a threat to existing players,
to force them to stay open and advance in ways that Google needs.

In the recent years, we saw ISPs (British Telecom) spying on users for
advertisement, Hardware (Motorola, MotoBlur) forcing users to register,
and operating systems (Android) spying on users for advertisement.

I think our manifesto demands us to *actively* counter developments to
lock down parts of the stack, because such a development would mean that
users are less free, have less open-source, and less privacy than they
do before. If you look at the principles in the manifesto that we want
to advance, pretty much all of them would be affected negatively by such
a lock-down. This is as close as you possibly can get to a case of "The
Mozilla project has to act".

> My own interests recently have been further up the stack in areas
> where we haven't yet had as much impact as we'd like, including making
> sure users' control of their online experience extends to things like
> their contact data, social experiences, behavioral data, etc.

I agree that part is important, too. If we have to be on Facebook to
communicate, we are in serious trouble.

> I do think there's huge value in avoiding monoculture

Agreed.

In fact, if *any* part of the stack is monopolized, or choice reduced so
much that I cannot replace that part with my own component (or at least
let that component do exactly as I want), we're locked in.


[1]
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-big-with-gig-our-experimental.html

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 4, 2011, 9:48:53 PM7/4/11
to
On 29.06.2011 18:57, Mike Shaver wrote:
> Is there an example of other platforms where the originator abandoned
> them and they was relevant in the market later on?

Yes. Mozilla.

Ben

Jay Sullivan

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Jul 6, 2011, 2:30:14 PM7/6/11
to
On Jun 28, 5:48 am, Axel Hecht <l...@mozilla.com> wrote:
> Am 24.06.11 19:16, schrieb Jay Sullivan:

>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > Over the last year and through Q1, we focused on building and shipping
> > Firefox 4 to deliver major improvements to peoples' online experience.
> > In Q2 we revamped our development and release model so that we can
> > increase the pace of innovation. Now that we have a solid base to work
> > from, and greatly improved agility, it's a good time to look at the
> > quickly-evolving landscape and chart our path forward.
>
> > To that end, I've tried to synthesize and distill countless
> > discussions and ideas I've heard from throughout the Mozilla community
> > over the last few years about where we should go with our products to
> > further the Mozilla mission.
>
> > I've posted a draft vision statement document here:
>
> >https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/VisionStatement
>
> > Ideally, the vision statement would become something we can use to
> > guide priorities and roadmaps, and something we can rally around to
> > grow our global community to advance the Web.
>
> > Please post or send me any feedback you have!
>
> Can you make the timeframe for that vision statement more precise? My
> experience with previous roadmap-ish documents is that they stay around
> for longer than planned, and get read in a then-different context.
>
> On a different note, what's the take on multi-lingual/global web? To
> give some concrete example questions:
>
> - how does the vision apply to the web in Africa?
> - ... China?
> - ... emerging markets like Brasil or India?
> - I expect the planet to get smaller still, with more multi-lingual
> content coming up, and more content in more foreign languages, and more
> minority languages.
>
> Axel

Hi Axel, we're in fast-moving times, but I feel that this should be
something that we feel will remain relevant for the next 18-24 months.

There's a lot to do on the question of "where" -- this document
doesn't drill down on that. We need to.

Jay

Jay Sullivan

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Jul 6, 2011, 2:35:01 PM7/6/11