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.


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]

Firefox 64-bit development for Windows gets 'turned off' by Mozilla

Looking to browse with the full weight of your 64-bit hardware? Well, if you're a Firefox and Windows user, you're going to have to look elsewhere, as Mozilla has announced it's closing the development of Firefox for the bigger computer architecture. Mozilla manager, Benjamin Smedberg outlined several reasons for the decision, including limited access to 64-bit plugins, a higher propensity for the browser to hang when using available plug-ins and difficulty distinguishing between 32- and 64-bit versions when dealing with stability complaints. After posting the announcement at Bugzilla, it riled plenty of nightly testers, with one Mozilla dev suggesting that around half of them were currently using the now defunct 64-bit version -- presumably due to the fact that an official release never made it out of the gates. What are the options then, if you need your browsing 64-bit? You could return to Internet Explorer or give Opera a try -- both offer a higher bit version, or make a switch to either OS X or Linux, both of which have fully-fleshed versions of the 64-bit web browser. Check out some of the (surprisingly vigorous) debate 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]

Mozilla Persona sign-in launches in beta, skips the social networking ball and chain

We all know those web pages where the only alternative to a site-specific login is a social networking account. That's not very reassuring for anyone skittish about linking their commentary to a Facebook account relatives might see, if they're even willing to join a social network in the first place. Mozilla has been aware of that hesitation long enough to have just released its long-in-development Persona sign-in service as a beta. Although it has the same kind of simple approach to a login as a Facebook or Twitter pop-up window, Persona's emphasis is on privacy: it stops paying attention the moment credentials go through, keeping any diatribes or subscription details from landing in social streams or central databases. Users don't have to play a rousing game of guess-the-username, either, as they just need to sign in with one or more familiar e-mail addresses and a single password. Persona faces an uphill battle in getting web developer adoption when the establishment sign-in services are open to hundreds of millions of internet citizens, but it does have The Times' online crossword section, OpenPhoto and Voost as early poster children -- and anything that lets the privacy-minded join the party has our vote.

[Source: Engadget]

Mozilla to launch Firefox 3 on June 17

Mozilla has announced that it intend to release the full version of Firefox 3 on Tuesday, June 17. This had been my browser of choice for a long time, before slipping into Camino mode, but this new release will see me going back to Firefox full-time.
Help Mozilla celebrate this event, either by holding a party, or by pledging to download the new browser on launch day. They are trying to break the Guiness World Record for the most software downloads in a 24 hour period. If you want a sneak peak, the latest release candidate (RC3) is available here.