It's interesting to hear Mozilla taking this stance, because, after a series of kerfuffles with the Internet Advertising Bureau, the company is moving ahead with multiple initiatives that will put ads in front of Firefox browser users, including "directory tiles."
It was back in August of 2013 that The Internet Advertising Bureau started firing off screed after screed against Mozilla for its plans to block advertising cookies in the Firefox browser by default. The bureau even took out newspaper ads claiming that Mozilla's claims that it had a right to help users protect their privacy was basically hogwash.
Three new smartphones have been launched in India and one in Bangladesh over the last few weeks, offering not only more affordable choice but the advent of a brand new ultra low-cost category.
Firefox OS is now available in Central America through Telefónica with launches in El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and Deutsche Telekom launched the first Firefox OS devices in the Czech Republic and Macedonia.
As my post last week indicated, I'm increasingly sceptical of Mozilla's role as the key defender of the open Web, largely because of its decision to embrace DRM. Even as a purveyor of fine Web browsers, things don't look so rosy. Two years ago, its global market share was fairly stable around 20%; a year ago, that slipped to around 19%; today, it's slumped to 14%. Meanwhile, Google's Chrome has overtaken Firefox as the number two browser, and holds around 21% of the market. Obviously, these figures are to be taken with a serious grain of salt, but I think the trend is real. So, given these developments, the obvious question that needs to be answered is: where exactly does Mozilla's future lie?
Hey! You there! You've got it pretty good, you know that? While you're sitting there using your Internet-enabled device to read about some other Internet-enabled device, it's easy to forget that the majority of people doesn't have any access to the Internet at all. The "World Wide" Web is actually not that worldwide—only about one-third of the population is online. That's 4.8 billion people out there with no way to get to the Internet.
Bridging this digital divide will be one of the tech industry's biggest challenges—and growth opportunities—over the coming years. As all-encompassing as the Internet feels now, the user base has the potential to triple in size. So as of late, we've started to see Internet companies take an interest in getting more of the disconnected world online. Facebook launched Internet.org, and Google has a ton of projects that aim to provide Internet by fiber, balloon, and drone for example.
The first Firefox OS based media player has arrived on Kickstarter, in the form of a $25 open-spec HDMI stick that supports Chromecast-like content casting.
The Matchstick, which has already zoomed past its Kickstarter campaign’s $100,000 funding goal, with 28 days still remaining, was teased back in June by Mozilla developer evangelist Christian Heilmann. The unnamed prototype was billed as an open source HDMI stick that runs Mozilla’s Linux-based Firefox OS and offers casting capabilities. Few details were revealed at the time except that the device used the same DIAL (DIscovery And Launch) media-casting protocol created by Netflix and popularized by Google’s Chromecast.
Again, I think this is absolutely correct. But what it fails to recognise is that one of the key ways of making the Web medium "less free and open" is the use of legally-protected DRM. DRM is the very antithesis of openness and of sharing. And yet, sadly, as I reported back in May, Mozilla has decided to back adding DRM to the Web, starting first with video (but it won't end there...) This means Mozilla's Firefox is itself is a vector of attack against openness and sharing, and undermines its own lofty goals in the Open Web Fellows programme.
The streaming stick market is apparently heating up. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all have entrants in this space, and if a new Kickstarter appeal succeeds, there will soon be a Firefox OS stick getting in on the action.
Inspired by the Chromecast, the Matchstick will plug into your TV using HDMI, connect to devices locally using Wi-Fi, and be used as a streaming media platform. Unlike Chromecast, however, Matchstick will use the open source Firefox OS as its base, making it readily accessible to developers who will be able to build HTML apps for Matchstick that leverage open Web technologies.
Tor, which is capable of of all that and more, crucially blocks websites from learning any identifying information about you and circumvents censorship. It also stymies eavesdroppers from discovering what you’re doing on the Web. For those reasons, it would be a powerful addition to the arsenal of privacy tools Firefox already possesses.
The Tor Browser is already a modified version of Firefox, developed over the last decade with close communication between the Tor developers and Mozilla on issues such as security and usability.
Much of the good stuff about Pale Moon is under the hood. Taken together, all of it contributes to a more efficient performance. For example, Pale Moon is optimized for modern processors such as SSE2. A lot of the built-in bloat of the Firefox code is removed. That gets rid of things like accessibility features and WebRTC. The social API code is disabled by default.