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back to article Top Mozillans dream of quarterly Firefox OS updates ... and users, too

Mozilla hopes to pump out a new version of its smartphone Firefox OS every three months - and wants to lock mobile networks to this roadmap of updates. As well as the quarterly upgrades, the non-profit software developer announced security updates to the two trailing versions of the operating system will be produced every six …

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They're kidding right?

Some manufactures and telcos consider their phones fire and forget. Maybe if you're lucky the'll get thrown an update here and there. Unless the phones are unlocked it's hard to see this happening.

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Big Brother

Re: They're kidding right?

Some manufactures and telcos consider their phones fire and forget.

"Some" manufacturers and telcos?

Just "some", you say?

Hahahahahahahahahah.

Seriously though, I've always thought this is one of the best chances for Firefox OS at differentiation: Mozilla's commitment to quality leading them to step on how many toes it takes to ensure ecosystem-wide updates. Google, despite noises to the contrary, is happy to let makers have their own way about it, as long as they lead more customers to the Collective their services.

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Re: They're kidding right?

I think Mozilla is in for some culture shock. Physical devices are inherently commercial and present substantial barriers to open sourcing, so they're going to have to deal with large enterprise to get this venture off the ground. I'm not sure the guys calling the shots in the foundation remember what that looks like anymore.

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Ru
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Re: They're kidding right?

Some manufactures and telcos consider their phones fire and forget. Maybe if you're lucky the'll get thrown an update here and there

The recent brouhaha regarding android package signing suggests that the days of fire and forget may be behind the mobile vendors and telcos. Two year phone contracts without any guarantee of OS updates in that time looks downright negligent these days. I wonder if it exposes the vendors to liability, and if not yet whether it may soon.

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@Ru Re: They're kidding right?

"The recent brouhaha regarding android package signing " doesn't exist to the 99.99999% of android users who do not visit tech sites like the Reg.

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Ru
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Meh

Re: @Ru They're kidding right?

"The recent brouhaha regarding android package signing " doesn't exist to the 99.99999% of android users who do not visit tech sites like the Reg.

This isn't about average users, or even experts.

The operating system manufacturer who owns the branding cares, because in the event of a serious and widespread exploit they'll be the ones who get it in the shorts regardless of whether or not it is their fault. The phone manufacturers and telcos will care if they fail to provide timely patches to deal with critical security issues, and end up exposing themselves to liabilities.

These things are externalities now, but they are not likely to remain that way forever. If this isn't enforced by the upstream vendor, the risk is that it will eventually be enforced by a bunch of lawyers, class action lawsuits and ultimately folk like the EU probably making a slightly misguided effort to deal with the problem.

The users won't care til their online banking apps turn out to be trojans.

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I use Firefox on both my PCs and my phone. I like open source. And I wish the Mozilla Foundation well. Firefox OS however leaves important questions unanswered.

Why would people buy a Firefox phone rather than an iphone or android? They're both past the "immature OS" stage, with it's inherent problems, and both have a well stocked app stores. What does Firefox OS bring to the table which none of the others can do?

The only answer that I can find is that Firefox could offer better security and allow the user better control over their privacy but even then, given the popularity of facebook and similar, I don't think there are sufficient people who care enough to give Firefox a user base.

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In the words of Mel Gibson...

FREEDOM!

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Trollface

Re: Also In the words of Mel Gibson...

"What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe because Android isn't as open as it used to be and is controlled by a giant company who like to make money? Android is not quite the "open source" friendly community OS people think it is?

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"What does Firefox OS bring to the table which none of the others can do?"

It's cheaper.

Specifically it is designed for low spec phones for developing markets, where even "land-fill android" is prohibitively expensive for most people. It's not attempting to challenge the market leaders in the developed world.

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Why buy an iphone instead of Android? What does iphone do that no other phone does? Why did people buy Android or iphone when they were in their immature stage?

New platforms don't appear overnight - they start small, and grow gradually over time (only Android really had massive growth, and even there, it was a lot smaller in its immature stage).

And most people don't even care or know about an "operating system". They buy phones. The real struggle therefore will be getting hardware manufacturers to support it.

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Anonymous Coward

There are already lots of good phones ion that space like the Nokia Asha range. http://www.nokia.com/gb-en/phones/asha/

I cant see that Firefox has even a remote chance of gaining market share. It's not delivering anything new - its just another square icon interface - and Mozilla simply cant compete with the marketing budget of existing players.

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APIs

What about having the system divided into two parts?

The manufacturer part which provided a software interface (i.e all the drivers) and the main OS, which would be common.

Then at least the main part would be updated regularly.

(Like a PC BIOS and MS DOS)

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Re: APIs

> What about having the system divided into two parts?

As I understand it, this is exactly how Firefox OS is designed. The core, hardware-interfacing part is the same as Android - which is well understood by handset manufacturers. The parts on top are Firefox-specific, and can indeed be updated independently from the core.

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Anonymous Coward

What they need to do is separate the application layer from the lower network and radio layers.

I believe most phones already do this and the radio layer is what causes all the problems with the networks.

Why on earth the networks block the updating of application layer stuff until they have tested it I don't know?

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I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, if the firefox browser is anything to go by, each update will break at least one app.

I don't know what their obsession is with rapid releases but developers will tire quickly of updating their apps to work with the updates

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Sneaking a PC into the Mobile Phone market... been waiting for that...

If you look at their planned spec, then you know this isn't to outcheap anyone, its to give you a pocketable Linux computer.

4GB Ram, 128GB storage.

Hook up some wearable display tech to it, and you have a computer.

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