Mozilla boss quits after gay marriage storm

Mozilla - Brendan EichYou may recall that earlier this week that OkCupid the dating website started displaying a message to their users who were accessing the site via the Firefox web browser. The message brought to the attention of users the fact that Mozilla’s CEO was an opponent of Gay Marriage which OkCupid stated was something they couldn’t support as the company was dedicated to bringing people together regardless of sexual orientation. The full statement reads:

Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience. Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company.

OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.

However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid:

[Google Chrome] [Internet Exploder] [Opera] [Safari]

Thank you,


Mozilla responded saying that they pride themselves on being held to a different standard and appologised that they hadn’t lived up to it on this occasion. They went on to apologize for not moving forward fast enough once the controversy started.

Fast forward a couple of days and we can confirm that Brendan Eich has resigned from Mozilla with immediate effect. Mr Eich, who co-founded Mozilla and was also known for being the creator of the JavaScript scripting language, made a $1,000 (£600) donation back in 2008 in support of California's Proposition 8 anti-gay law. Although this was originally passed it was overturned by the US Supreme court in 2013.

The appointment of Mr Eich was publically announced on 24 March and was met with much criticism on Twitter and other social networks but it wasn’t until OkCupid stepped in that things started heat up.

Mozilla has been losing users to other browsers over the years particularly since the launch of Google Chrome and is having a tough time trying to hold onto it’s users so this recent blow to the company certainly won’t be doing them any favors. With all but the most loyal fans and developers choosing Google Chrome, Mozilla really needs to up it’s game and avoid PR disasters like this one.

Do you still use Firefox or have you moved over to Chrome or one of the other browsers? Personally the only time I use Firefox now is when I’m doing cross browser testing and with UserAgent switchers improving in the Chrome WebStore this may become a thing of the past too. As usual we would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.


Mozilla abandons Firefox Metro version

Windows 8’s controversial Metro interface has received another blow today as Mozilla has revealed that after 2 years worth of development and testing that it is shelving the Metro based version of Firefox. Microsoft launched Windows 8 with a new Metro start screen 2 years ago and developer interest in the platform has been slow. The latest snub from Mozilla is not likely to help matters either. Microsoft have been trying to entice developers to write touch friendly apps for it’s new touch interface but so far the interest has been minimal.

Recently Microsoft announced details for Windows 8.1 update 1 which gives users the ability to boot straight to the desktop and bypass the Metro interface all together. Along with this update there will be an option to run metro based applications on the desktop and use the taskbar to switch between them. It seems even Microsoft isn’t sure what it want’s in regards to Windows 8 either. So it comes as no surprise that Mozilla decided it just wasn’t worth their while working on a Metro version of their browser.

In a blog post the vice president of Firefox said, "On any given day, we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop, but we've never seen more than 1,000 active daily users in the Metro environment." The blog post goes on to explain that with so few people interested in this version that bug testing would take far too long as there were not enough people actively using the software to properly test it and squash bugs.

With such a big software developer giving a ‘vote of no confidence’ on Microsoft’s new interface you have to wonder what the future holds for Windows and how Microsoft will move on from this. The idea behind Metro was supposed to be to carry the Windows PC power into the tablet market, a very different strategy from Google and Apple’s approach, which expanded their smaller screen smartphone OSes to tablets. If software developers don't adopt to Metro, though, and stick only with the older "desktop" interface, it undermines Microsoft's strategy.


Firefox OS phone launches Tuesday in Spain at $3 a month

It's not every day that a new mobile operating system arrives, but Tuesday will be one of them as Telefonica begins selling the inexpensive ZTE Open with Mozilla's Firefox OS in Spain.

The move marks the commercial beginning of an effort by phone makers and network operators to use Mozilla's open-source, browser-based operating system to reclaim power in the mobile market lost to Apple and Google.

The phone itself costs 69 euros ($90), including 30 euros ($39) of pay-as-you-go credit -- or for those who sign up for a two-year contract, for 2.38 euros ($3.10) per month. That's a lot cheaper than most of the new Android and iOS smartphones on the market today that consumers have flocked to and that Firefox OS is competing with.

The ZTE Open won't impress smartphone power users who want more than its 3.5-inch 480x320-pixel touchscreen, 3.2MP camera, 256MB RAM, and 512MB flash memory that's boosted with an included 4GB microSD card. But it's not designed to win them over; it's more for new and cost-conscious smartphone buyers, Yotam Benami, Telefonica's digital director of open Web devices, said in an interview...

Read the full story here. Source: CNET

Firefox 20 for Mac Adds Download Manager and New Private Browsing Features

Mozilla has today launched Firefox 20, adding a number of significant improvements to the browser. Users are now able to initiate private browsing without the need to open a new window or close a current browsing session. 

There is a new function in place that allows users to close a hanging plugin without the need to shut down the entire browser, and the update also includes a new download manager in the Firefox toolbar. 

The download manager can be accessed by clicking on the down arrow button on the right side of the search bar. When clicked, the arrow will show the drop down file manager, displaying all downloads and providing a progress bar for files that are in the process of downloading. Tools allow users to pause/resume downloads, cancel, go to the download page, and open the downloads folder. 

Firefox version 20 also includes several bug fixes, performance improvements, and new tools for developers. This version of Firefox comes approximately six weeks after the release of Firefox 19

[Source: MacRumors]

Mozilla: Forget Firefox for iOS

Mozilla launched Firefox Home for iOS back in July 2010, but it wasn’t a full featured browser experience that Mozilla was particularly proud of, especially because it was limited to only providing access to Firefox desktop history, bookmarks and open tabs. Mozilla recently commented on that release, which was yanked in September, and said that because Apple is so limiting on its app store controls it won’t launch a full fledged browser for the platform.

Still, somehow Google has managed to keep a relatively decent experience on its Chrome for iOS browser, so we’re not entirely sure why Mozilla is limited where Google is not. To clarify a bit, Mozilla’s vice president of product Jay Sullivan told CNET that it’s about an inability to add the JavaScript and rendering enhancements that it wants to provide. Meanwhile,.Firefox offers a full browser on Android because Google allows the company much more control over the experience, but it faces steep competition from Chrome and Dolphin among other third-party browsers.

Perhaps the real story is that Mozilla doesn’t think it can compete effectively enough against Safari and Chrome on iOS. Still, it’s not the first company to complain about Apple’s limiting approval policy.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Mozilla reveals Firefox OS Developer Preview Phone

Mozilla said it won't be launching its own hardware to run the in-development Firefox OS when it's finished, but the company has just announced a "Developer Preview Phone" for putting the OS through its paces. It's not quite the same as the mystery device we saw sporting Firefox OS at CES, but its specs seem almost as basic. The handset will feature a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen and 3-megapixel camera on the outside, with a 1GHz Snapdragon S1 CPU, half a gig of RAM, 4GB of microSD-expandable storage and WiFi, 2G and 3G antennae inside. Sure, that processor isn't a beast, but an 800MHz S1 does just fine in the Lumia 610. A 1580mAh battery will keep the carrier-unlocked phone running, and Mozilla is promising OTA updates to Firefox OS to keep devs, well, up to date. At the moment, we have no idea how much the phone will cost, but the first units are expected to be available next month.

The developer handset is called the Keon, according to creator Geekphone's website, and while not mentioned in the Mozilla Hacks blog post, it appears to have a more powerful cousin called the Peak. It's got a 4.3-inch qHD screen, 8-megapixel back-facing camera (with flash) and 2-megapixel shooter round the front. A 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU and larger 1800mAh battery are within, but storage, RAM and connectivity specs are the same as the smaller Keon. Mozilla may not be formally promoting this as its own dev handset, but it was still included in the picture which accompanied the announcement (see above: the Keon is in orange, the Peak in white). We're getting in contact with Mozilla to clarify, and will update you when we hear back.

[Source: Engadget]

Facebook Messenger for Firefox arrives in finished form, keeps us in the loop without an extra tab

Mozilla kicked off the fall with beta Facebook Messenger support for Firefox that flexed the muscle of its Social API. Now that the snowfall is here in earnest, so too is a polished version of the conversation-driven add-on. Those running the latest version of the browser now just have to enable Messenger for Firefox from its Facebook page, at which point it's an always-on (if thankfully optional) companion to any web explorations: along with keeping chats alive without an extra tab, the resulting sidebar will ping for less urgent events such as post comments or photo tags.

[Source: Engadget]

Firefox 17 heads out of beta, officially drops support for OS X 10.5

We've just seen an update to Firefox for Android, but that's not the only revision that Mozilla has had in the works. Today also sees the release of version 17 of the desktop browser, which brings with it a number of changes and one noticeable omission. The latter is a lack of support for Mac OS X 10.5 (a.k.a. Leopard), which Mozilla first announced last month -- those on Leopard can of course continue to use Firefox 16, they just won't receive any updates. Otherwise, you can expect a new "Awesome Bar" with larger icons, more than 20 promised performance improvements and a new click-to-play functionality for dealing with outdated or potentially vulnerable plug-ins. Also receiving the bump to version 17 is the Extended Support Release (or ESR) version of the browser, which disables the automatic updating to cause less headaches for those dealing with mass deployments. You can find the full change log at the source link below.

[Source: Engadget]

Firefox browser add-on lets us try Firefox OS in an all-Mozilla universe

We've had the chance to experiment with early versions of Firefox OS for awhile -- just not in Firefox the browser, where you'd nearly expect it to have shown first. At least one person appreciates that seemingly natural fit. A new Firefox OS simulator add-on, r2d2b2g, lets us try Mozilla's upcoming mobile platform from within the company's own browser for everything that doesn't depend on native hardware, including the browser and Firefox Marketplace. The goal is ostensibly to let developers test truly optimized web apps, although the simulator is also a good excuse for the curious to try Firefox OS without the hassle of a dedicated client or a real smartphone. If you can get by the early state of the simulator and the Xzibit jokes that come with putting Firefox on your Firefox, the extension is already providing a glimpse of a web-focused mobile future to Linux, Mac and Windows users at the source below.

[Source: Engadget]

Mozilla opens Firefox Marketplace for Aurora builds of Android, gives mobile a taste of web apps

Mozilla's love of web apps is more than obvious; we just haven't had a real chance to try the Firefox Marketplace that represents a large part of the company's app strategy. The doors are at last open for a peek, although Mozilla has chosen the unusual path of giving mobile users the first crack: Android users willing to live on the bleeding edge of an Aurora build of Firefox can browse and run those web apps in Mozilla's store. Everyone else willing to venture into the Marketplace will have to wait until their own Firefox builds receive a matching update, including that rare group with access to Firefox OS. We're not quite in a rush to try a first wave of apps in an alpha-grade browser. Should you be the sort who thinks that even beta releases are too sluggish, however, your gateway to the Marketplace awaits at the source links.

[Source: Engadget]

Firefox 16 final launches with Reader on Android, VoiceOver on Macs and web app support

Mozilla knows how to keep on the fast track. Just weeks after the Firefox 16 beta first showed, the finished version is ready and waiting. Surprises are few if you were an early adopter, although the update still has some welcome changes for the right audiences. Mozilla is most keen to talk about preliminary web app support for the Mozilla Marketplace, but you'll also find device-specific additions like a Reader Mode for the Android flock and VoiceOver support automatically switched on for Macs. More responsive JavaScript and on-by-default Opus audio playback give existing surfers extra reasons to upgrade. Firefox 16 is immediately available through all the usual channels, so hit the relevant source link if you're ready to live on the not-quite-bleeding edge.

[Source: Engadget]