Gillmor Gang: Deep Bench

Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Dan Farber, Kevin Marks, Semil Shah, Robert Scoble, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor — Heartbleed security hole, changing landscape of Twitter notifications, Brendan Eich’s exit from Mozilla, politically charged and leadership compromised, Condoleezza Rice heading to the Dropbox Board of Directors? Dropbox, OneNote, Evernote, Box. Office on the iPad decidedly hot. Mobile’s… Read More


Mozilla Cancels Firefox For Metro, Cites Fewer Than 1,000 Daily Active Users

Mozilla today announced that it will halt development of its Firefox for Windows 8 Metro browser after about a year-and-a-half of development. According to Mozilla’s Firefox VP Jonathan Nightingale, the organization has never seen more than 1,000 active daily users for the Metro app, so in order to free up resources for products that have traction, Mozilla has decided to pull the plug on… Read More


The Geeksphone Revolution Goes On Sale, Letting You Dual-Boot To Android And Firefox OS

revolutionThe mobile market may still essentially be a two horse race, with Android and iOS enjoying a significant lead, but there are lots of upstarts trying to make inroads, too. One of those is Firefox OS, Mozilla’s attempt to bring a web-first focus to smartphones. Geeksphone has been an early Firefox OS hardware supporter, and now it has put the Revolution up for sale, a higher-end device than its earlier efforts, complete with the ability to dual-boot to both Android and Firefox OS out of the box. If you’re used to working in a corporate environment but also being cool during evenings and weekends, then you might be familiar with dual-booting: I’ve been known to have my Macs run Windows on a Boot Camp partition for when I need to pierce the veil and travel to the Microsoft realm. It’s actually a pretty common scenario in desktop computing, and there are a number of products including virtualization software designed to facilitate it. But is there the same kind of utility in the mobile world? Firefox OS is definitely still an outlier when it comes to the mobile platform landscape, and as such, there’s very little in terms of pressing reasons to have it as an option. That said, the eternally curious and those who sympathize with Mozilla’s approach to software, open source and the web will probably find plenty to love about Firefox OS on a device with decent mid-range specs (it appears mostly on lower-end hardware, in keeping with Mozilla’s target market for the OS). Specs for the phone include a dual-core Intel Atom processor at 1.6GHz, as well as HSDPA cellular support, and an 8 megapixel rear camera with a 1.3 megapixel front shooter. The Revolution retails for €222, and is sold direct from the Geeksphone website. Shipments start going out March 4, so eager shoppers won’t have to wait long before they start acting like mobile chameleons.


Panasonic Teams Up With Mozilla For Firefox OS-Powered Smart TVs & Open Standards Push

Firefox OS — The Adaptive Phone — Great Smartphone Features, Apps and More — Mozilla-1Hours after LG unveiled its webOS-powered smart TV interface at CES, Panasonic has spilled the beans on its own mobile-inspired TV plans — announcing a partnership with Mozilla to use the latter’s Firefox OS (FFOS) and open Web standards ethos to open up the living room’s primary screen. Firefox OS can currently be found cooling its heels on some low-end phone hardware — mostly in Europe and developing markets in South America. The HTML5-based mobile OS has a mountain to climb in competing with the dominance — and reach — of Google’s Android OS. So Mozilla seeking to push it beyond mobile hardware to expand the ecosystem’s reach makes some sense. Whether the FFOS interface is going to be compelling enough to bag Panasonic smart TV buyers at the expense of other offerings, or for developers to rally behind an open platform banner for building TV apps and integration remains to be seen. “Mozilla and Panasonic will work together to promote Firefox OS and its open ecosystem,”  the pair said in a press release today. ”This development aims to deliver more expansive access into smart TVs by leveraging the HTML5 and Web technologies already prevalent on PCs, smartphones and tablets, to offer consumers more personalized and optimized access to Web and broadcasting content and Web services.” Yuki Kusumi, Director of the TV Business Division of the AVC Networks Company of Panasonic, added in a statement that the partnership with Mozilla will be aimed at ramping up the interactivity and connectivity of its smart TVs — “both inside and outside of the home”. “Panasonic had been expanding content and services dedicated for Panasonic TVs on our own portal site and our collaboration with Mozilla on Firefox OS will further accelerate various innovations and encourage many new services,” he added. The forthcoming FFOS-powered Panasonic smart TVs will make use of Mozilla WebAPIs for hardware control and operation — meaning they will also be capable of monitoring and operating other devices, such as smart home appliances. At the time of writing, Mozilla was unable to provide any screen shots of the FFOS TV interface but the pair talked up the potential offered by cross-leveraging Internet, cloud services and broadcast content, and using HTML5 to write native TV functions instead of having to create embedded programs. With the launch of this new open platform, next generation smart TVs will gain full compatibility with Web technologies and HTML5 standards used



Mozilla’s Asm.js Gets Another Step Closer To Native Performance

aurora_rocketMozilla’s asm.js is a strict subset of JavaScript that Firefox can run significantly faster than regular JavaScript code. Thanks to the so-called OdinMonkey module for Firefox’s built-in JavaScript engine, asm.js code was running at about 2x native speed in March and this week, the organization announced that it’s now running most benchmarks at just 1.5x slower than native or better. While Google is betting on Native Client to allow web apps to execute native compiled code in the browser, Mozilla is betting on its ability to run JavaScript at near-native speeds, too. While they approach this problem from very different angles, both Google, through Native Client, and Mozilla, through its Emscripten LLVM-to-JavaScript compiler, allow developers to write their code in C or C++ and then run it in the browser. Given that most game engines are written in C or C++, the focus for asm.js has mostly been on gaming too. Indeed, one of the first public asm.js demos Mozilla showed was Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 running natively in the browser. As Mozilla’s Alon Zakai and Robert Nyman note in the most recent announcement, the team manged to get to 1.5x performance through a number of small, incremental changes to both asm.js and the Emscripten compiler. The team, however, also profited from some general improvements to Firefox’s JavaScript engine. Specifically,  Zakai and Nyman note, the fact that Firefox has now been optimized for some floating-point operations resulted in “substantial speedups.” Mozilla measures asm.js performance by compiling the code natively (using clang and gcc) and comparing the results to running the same code through Emscripten and asm.js. Here are the most current results: For the time being, asm.js remains a Mozilla project. While Google’s Chrome team is clearly aware of it and recently added it to its Octane benchmark, it seems unlikely that Chrome will support it natively anytime soon. It’s worth noting, though, that asm.js code will run in any current JavaScript engine – it just won’t run as fast as on Firefox.


Mozilla Launches Preview Of Firefox For Windows 8 Tablets

2013-09-19-15-34-55-595617Mozilla’s long-delayed Firefox for Windows 8 tablets has finally made its first public appearance outside of the relatively obscure and unstable Nightly development channel. As Mozilla announced today, the chrome-less tablet version of Firefox that runs in Windows 8′s Metro/Modern UI mode is now available in the Aurora release channel. From there, it will slowly make its way to the beta and then stable channel. It’s not expected to arrive in the stable version before late January 2014.


Bugcrowd Raises $1.6 Million To Expand Bug Bounty Marketplace

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 8.09.29 PMCrowdsourced bug bounty marketplace Bugcrowd has raised $1.6 million from investors to grow its community of 3,000 vetted security penetration testers who can find vulnerabilities and weaknesses in a new feature or application. The Australian startup is hoping to democratise the models commercialised by Facebook and Google, who have paid out millions of dollars to ethical hackers who find and report bugs in their software — before those vulnerabilities are exposed publicly.