If you're not already talking to your web browser, you may soon be doing so. Just last week, we covered Google's new "OK Google" voice search features in the Chrome browser, which lets you execute searches with spoken words. Now, Mozilla has announced a partnership with TokBox to build WebRTC-based communications features right into its browser. The features could let users exchange real-time data, audio and video between their browsers.
Though it's difficult to compare two operating systems that are targeted at different users, Mozilla's Firefox OS still feels half-baked compared to what Ubuntu offers. While Canonical is focused on making a full-fledged mobile OS that goes head-to-head against Android and iOS, Firefox's approach is towards making smartphones more affordable. Initial reviews of Firefox OS have been really underwhelming so it will take about a year for us to see both operating systems in the hands of its end users. Finally, it would be a great idea to wait till both operating systems get enough exposure and that would be somewhere around April 2015 where both Ubuntu and Firefox would have (hopefully) reached enough stability to be used on a broader scale.
As you may know, Pale Moon is an open-source, cross-platform browser based on Mozilla Firefox, being up to 25% faster then the original. The latest version available is Pale Moon 24.5.0, which has been recently released, coming with a bunch of optimizations, better support for third party extensions from Mozilla, and some bug-fixes.
To standardize the design, development, and testing of Firefox OS, Mozilla has partnered with a company called T2Mobile to manufacture, distribute, and update a Firefox OS reference phone called the Flame. Until now, there has been no “reference device” and the options for getting something through retail were limited.
In 2013, the Mozilla Foundation commissioned Erik Spiekermann, a famous typographer, to work on a free, open source font family called Fira Sans (initially called Feura Sans).
Recently, the typeface was updated to version 3.1, getting 12 different weights (bringing the weights number to 16), all accompanied by italic styles, a huge character map and extensive language supports. There's also a monospaced variant: Fira Mono which includes 2 weights (regular and bold).
Porteus 3.1 (Kiosk Edition) is based on Slackware 14.0 and relies on Linux kernel 3.12.20 and Firefox 24.0. It's a 32-bit system, which is entirely locked down to prevent tampering with any of the components (including the browser).
“This distribution release includes bug fixes, software updates and new features. At a mere 50 megabytes, the Porteus Kiosk Edition ISO includes just the libraries and utilities required to run Firefox in a secure environment, making this a perfect fit for kiosks and other web terminals.”
The publishing industry would give anything to have the option to impose DRM on all online text in the same way that the film industry has for video. Indeed, publishers were so desperate to add DRM to ebooks that many of them adopted Amazon's DRM system without thinking it through. By effectively making Amazon's system the de facto DRM standard, the publishing industry has handed control of the ebook system to the retailer - read this excellent post by Charlie Stross for a full explanation of what happened and what it means.
That experience, I think, is why the publishing industry has not so far pushed for DRM on the Web: it needed a completely neutral DRM standard that would not give control to any one entity. The new HTML5 DRM framework provides publishers with exactly what they need: power over users, but independence from any one DRM supplier.
DRM for video is simply a Trojan Horse for all the copyright industries. Once all the main browsers have adopted it for video, the publishing (and music) industry will be able to point out that extending it to their media will be a small step now that the basic plumbing is in place. By acquiescing in this move, Mozilla makes it even more certain that this will happen.
Mozilla recently decided to add DRM in Firefox even if Mozilla hates it. Almost all video streaming websites use some kind of DRM and as Microsoft, Apple and Google has already implemented DRM in their browsers, Mozilla thinks not adding the DRM in Firefox would make it useless as a product as the user will have to switch to other browser everytime a user visits a website with DRM.
Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox for Windows and Linux, but it doesn't come down to a silly theming fork or other basic changes. The fundamental differences between upstream Firefox and Pale Moon is that they will not be implementing HTML5 DRM/EME support, they are sticking with the original Firefox interface rather than the new Australis UI, and they will not be accepting sponsored ad pages / tiles.
In the old science fiction story, To Serve Man (which later was adapted for the The Twilight Zone), aliens come to earth and freely share various technological advances, and offer free visits to the alien world. Eventually, the narrator, who remains skeptical, begins translating one of their books. The title is innocuous, and even well-meaning: To Serve Man. Only too late does the narrator realize that the book isn't about service to mankind, but rather — a cookbook.
It's in the same spirit that Baker seeks to serve Firefox's users up on a platter to the MPAA, the RIAA, and like-minded wealthy for-profit corporations. Baker's only defense appears to be that other browser vendors have done the same, and cites specifically for-profit companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft.