Tag Archives | Mozilla

No Firefox for iPhone? I Would Have Settled for “Firefox.”

Mozilla has published a blog post on its plans for the iPhone platform. Basically, they involve (A) focusing on Firefox Home, an app that provides access to Firefox bookmarks, tabs, and history on the iPhone; (B) not doing a full-blown version of Firefox for iPhone; and (C) not letting Firefox Home evolve into something so fancy that it feels like Firefox for the iPhone.

Why no Firefox for iPhone? The Mozilla post doesn’t explain in much detail:

People have asked about adding more browser-like features to Firefox Home, but there are technical and logistical restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to build the full Firefox browser for the iPhone.

The challenges for a real full Firefox on iOS are obvious: As far as I know, Apple’s recent loosening of its App Store guidelines still don’t permit third-party browser companies to write the comprehensive rendering/JavaScript engine that would be required for Mozilla to write a browser from scratch. But as a Firefox fan and an iPhone user, I would have cheerfully settled for a “Firefox” that involved Firefox Home’s features plus more interface functionality but used Apple’s WebKit engine for page rendering.

Atomic Web Browser, which seems to be the work of one guy, is really Safari with a new skin; it’s terrific. I don’t see why Mozilla couldn’t evolve Firefox Home into something similar, and similarly useful–or how doing so wouldn’t be a boon to Firefox aficionados.


Google Chrome to Integrate Flash

What if Flash felt less like a browser plugin and more like a browser feature? Google and Adobe intend to try and answer that question. They’ve announced that future versions of the Chrome browser will come with an integrated version of Flash. Download Chrome, and you’ll get a preinstalled, ready-to-go copy of Flash; update Chrome, and you’ll get any available Flash updates.

I know that some folks reading this post will have an instinctive negative reaction to this idea–there are definitely those who dislike Flash enough that they want nothing to do with it. But ardent Flash avoiders are a tiny minority, judging from the fact that the vast majority of the world’s PCs and Macs have Flash installed. (They’ll be able to disable the preinstalled Flash if they want.)

Conceptually, I like the idea–but only if it makes Flash more or less transparent. Over the years, I’ve wasted a fair amount of time reinstalling and updating Flash, dealing with odd errors (like demands for more storage), and recovering from Flash crashes. If the integrated version results in a Flash that’s just there, it’ll be a good thing. And it would help make Flash more palatable in a world in which it’ll compete with open, browser-native HTML5 technologies–which is presumably part of the idea.

In related news, both Adobe and Google are working with Mozilla and other players in the browser community to build a new API for plugins–one which will allow for better integration than existing techniques. Again, good idea if it helps us forget we’re running plugins at all…


Firefox on Android: Coming Soonish?

The browser wars have been one of the best things that ever happened to computer users–but so far, they haven’t spilled over from the desktop onto phones. (Yes, there are multiple browsers available for many phone OSes, but there tends to be one 800-pound gorilla and a bunch of obscure alternatives.) So I’m glad to hear that Mozilla says it hopes to have Firefox up and running on Android by the end of the year

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Would You Pay For Firefox Extensions?

Firefox ContributionsFirefox is the happy result of untold hours of unpaid effort by the Mozilla community. But Mozilla is announcing a pilot program called Firefox Add-On Contributions, with the aim of helping Firefox extension developers make a buck from their hard work. It’s a platform for requesting and receiving payments for extensions, with PayPal handling the exchange of money. It is, of course, optional.

I kind of like the idea–I try to pay for the shareware I use, and the iPhone App Store has shown the power of selling a lot of copies of something small and useful for just a little money. (I’m assuming that the contribution price for a typical Firefox add-on isn’t going to be more than a few dollars.)

So if you’re asked to chip in for extensions you use and like…will you?


5Words for Monday, June 22nd 2009

5wordsAre you using Firefox 3.5?

Firefox 3.5 is almost done.

AT&T and Apple’s closed Web.

How not to use Twitter.

3.0? On most iPhones, no.

Your ringtone is a performance.

Two Engadgeteers review Nokia’s N97.

Fake Steve Jobs has returned.

FCC to target blogger freebies?

Google works on machine vision.

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Google Makes Chrome Speed Boost Boast. Who’s Next?

chromelogo5Google is boasting that an update to Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine and Webkit browsing component has yielded a significant improvement in performance. Yippee. Now, who’s next?

The renewed browser war resembles more of a game of leapfrog than the big-bang releases of the 1990’s when one version of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator could change the balance of power in the browser wars overnight. Google says that Chrome is now 30% faster with today’s upgrade. That matches a performance claim made by Opera in about its new “Presto” rendering engine.

Two months ago, the Mozilla Foundation was bragging about how much snappier Firefox 3.5 will be over its predecessor. Apple, and many recent benchmarks conclude that Safari 4 is the title holder of ‘world’s fastest browser,’ and Microsoft has introduced Internet Explorer 8 by performing benchmarks of its own.

Irrespective of how many fewer milliseconds one of these browsers might take to render JavaScript, they are all getting better, in terms of standards support and performance. The real world implication is that each browser runs AJAX Web apps better than they did a year ago, and pages are being rendered with greater consistency.

Many of them have already have adopted parts of the upcoming HTML 5 specification–the lingua franca of the Web–even though it is far from being finalized. The working group responsible for it is open to breaking it up into smaller pieces.

For the first time in years, there is major innovation happening in the browsers due to increased competition. Opera has longo liked to play the role of innovator; now it’s matching wits against Apple and Google. Mozilla Firefox, the first browser to dent Microsoft’s seemingly immovable market share, is not longer the cock of the walk.

Not too long ago, it seemed as if browsers were maturing. All I can say, is that this latest round of competition is a very good thing for people who use (and create) Web apps, and those who care about standards.

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5Words for May 21st, 2009

5wordsApple tablet rumors: gettin’ boring!

Analyst thinks Apple tablet coming.

Google, beta: no longer synonymous?

Jetpack: Mozilla’s new add-on framework.

Are your deleted photos deleted?

Is Kumo search already behind?

Twitter: more popular. MySpace, not.

Conficker hasn’t gone away yet.

Got 400 movies on Blu-Ray?

Cablevision to launch remote DVR.

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5Words for March 25th, 2009

5wordsNo history-making news today:

The White House’s Digg clone.

Yahoo closes FareChase travel site.

Guy Kawasaki provides Twitter tips.

Mozilla plans 3D graphcs Web.

Canon DSLR does 1080p video.

Sprint details WiMax rollout plans.

HD radio: a progress report.

Finally! Castle Wolfenstein for iPhone.

PCMag likes Wacom’s latest tablet.

This Eee PC’s a keyboard.

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5Words for March 12th, 2009

5wordsToday’s big news: Google Voice:

David Pogue reviews Google Voice.

Google Voice: privacy is over?

Will Google Voice change telecommunications?

March Madness on your iPhone.

Hulu adds social networking features.

Sirius XM plans iPhone application.

Third-party iPhone Shuffle earbuds.

Microsoft figures out netbook market.

Mozilla preps for Chrome era.

Microsoft speed tests: IE’s OK

First fix for Windows 7 glitch.

Apple patents Wii-like controller.

Dell’s multitouch desktop: Japan only!

U2: goodbye Apple, hello BlackBerry.

Coming soon: bigger Web ads.

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