But wait, there’s more. If Mozilla is really backpedaling on dumping Thunderbird, it needs to do much more than this timid come-back. It needs to do something about Groupware. It needs to port Thunderbird (or develop an email client) for Android. Or Firefox OS. In comparison of the kind of investments Mozilla does in other areas (Firefox OS, Webmaker…) Thunderbird cannot possibly be that demanding. Instead of witnessing this -or am I too impatient?- we still have to deal with the constant half-hearted, nose-blocked attempt at maintaining Thunderbird. I wish we could go beyond this. I wish Mozilla could be clearer. Very few FOSS projects have the knowledge and expertise to derive a product out of their code: Mozilla did this Firefox, and is doing it with Firefox OS, both of them brilliantly. Why it won’t do this with Thunderbird is mind-boggling. But enough wasting everybody’s time with my rant: I’ll go back tinkering with my mails on Emacs.
So why does that matter? After all, there are lots of ways of accessing email, so why should we care whether Thunderbird has been semi-abandoned or not? As I wrote at the end of 2013, the world has changed dramatically in the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks about massive surveillance of our online activities. That makes using encryption crucial, and that, in its turn, gives Thunderbird a renewed importance, because it is currently one of the most popular ways for using GNU Privacy Guard, the free software version of the core PGP technology, via Enigmail. Indeed, it's fascinating to see from the Thunderbird blog post on "Active Daily Installations" that privacy-loving Germany headed the list with 1.7 million out of a total of 9.3 million (UK could only manage a rather feeble 254,000.)
Orange announced a $40 “Klif” Firefox OS phone for Africa, and Mozilla says it’s working with Verizon Wireless and others on Firefox OS feature phones.
There’s still no evidence that Mozilla’s HTML-focused Firefox OS has made much of a dent in the world smartphone market, where it has been focused on low-end devices sold primarily to emerging markets. Yet, Firefox OS still leads the way among upstart, Linux-based mobile operating systems, and will soon be available in more than 40 markets, this year, on a total of 17 smartphones, according to its latest stats. Meanwhile, the very first Tizen (Samsung Z1) and Ubuntu (BQ Aquaris E4.5) phones have only just shipped, and Jolla’s Sailfish OS based Jolla phones are still mostly limited to Europe.
Only ten days from today, on February 24, Mozilla will upgrade its ever-popular Firefox web browser to version 36.0, a release that won't bring the highly anticipated native HTML5 playback on YouTube, according to a recent discussion on the Mozilla bug tracker, but will finally allow users to sync their new tab page’s pinned tiles across all of their devices where Mozilla Firefox is installed.
The Firefox OS-based “Matchstick” media player has been delayed a half year to August, and will receive an overhaul to move to a quad-core SoC and add DRM.
The Matchstick was one of the biggest Kickstarter success stories of 2014, finishing its funding run in October with $470,310, almost five times Mathstick.tv’s $100,000 goal. The developer edition of the $25, open-spec HDMI stick — and the first Firefox OS media player — appears to have shipped, and the device was set to go out this month to the other backers, who paid as little as $18.
A new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available for download and the hands behind it are calling it ‘the most beautiful’ release ever.
Jan Holesovsky, leader of the LibreOffice design team, says “LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX and design love, and in my opinion is the most beautiful ever.”
The productivity suite, which was spun out of the slow moving OpenOffice project back in 2010, has certainly upped its game in the design department over the past few years, with each release of the 4.x series adding finesse.
GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0. https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/
On November 11, 2014 Mozilla announced the Polaris Privacy Initiative. One key part of the initiative is us supporting the tor network by deploying tor middle relay nodes. On January 15, 2015 our first proof of concept (POC) went live.