Mozilla: The Web is the Platform

I know this is REALLY late. But here it is either way. A couple of weeks ago, I’ve published a post containing our pictures after the MozTour and I promised to write an update about the things discussed during the seminar. So let’s start shall we?

Mozilla Persona

Now, this thing is really cool. It shares some of its goals with some similar authentication systems like OpenID or Facebook Connect, but it is different in several ways:

1. It uses email addresses as identifiers;

2. It is more focused on privacy; and,

3. Is intended to be fully integrated in the browser.

Simply put, Persona kind of acts like your key to all the sites that you have signed up. Instead of creating accounts for each website you visit regularly, all you have to do is to type in your email address and you’re good to go. No more “Forgotten Password/Username”s which is really annoying.

Some notable websites that feature Persona are Trovebox, The Times Crossword, and Voost.

If you’re interested in implementing Persona to your own site, you can visit this link and follow the step-by-step process.

However, I’m sorry if I can’t give you my own experience with Persona because I’m not that much of a visitor of those sites. I’ll try it if I got some free time, anyway.

Firefox OS

Next up is the one I’m most interested in. I love it when Mr. Robert Reyes (the speaker) said that they [Mozilla] are not competing with other mobile OSes. Instead they are giving us [the end users] an option.

I definitely agree with him by that statement given today’s OS wars among Google, Apple, Microsoft and Blackberry, the complaints from the customers just outweighs the compliments. I know there are haters and all those fanboys but they wouldn’t be around if they’re satisfied, right? I’m not saying that Firefox OS has it all either, what with its very young age I bet it’ll go through lots of criticisms about apps (Windows Phone, I’m looking at you.) and laggy-ness (*cough* Android *cough*). Giving us a choice is just a step towards the right direction.

Talking about Firefox OS, it is a Linux-based open source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers being developed by Mozilla. During Mr. Reyes’ talk with us, he said that the OS is based on HTML5 which had me thinking that the whole OS is just a browser. Haha. I was so intrigued by that thought, I even asked my good friend Wikipedia and finally had my doubts answered.

“It is designed to allow HTML5 applications to communicate directly with the device’s hardware using JavaScript.” –Wikipedia

I guess the blame’s on me for not listening intently. Haha Well, I’m new to programming so I think it’s okay to have misconceptions and stuff.

Another thing that Mr. Reyes said, which kind of surprised me, is the minimum clockspeed of a smartphone’s CPU running on Firefox OS is 800Mhz (N900 and N9 come to mind). I was expecting for some power-hungry beast but when he pulled out a phone (yes, he has a demo unit and it’s from ZTE) and showed it to us the UI is so fluid I didn’t notice any lag. I wish I have asked for a hands-on but my shy-ness caught me before I could even think about it. The minimum RAM is also set to 512MB. No word has been said about the apps especially the numbers available but I’ve read somewhere that Firefox OS has an emulator built in or Mozilla is porting apps from Android(?). I don’t know, but it would be cool if my memory is right.

Gecko, Gonk and Gaia

Now, I haven’t absorb much information on these three as I was busy taking pictures with my friends so don’t laugh at me if I got it wrong. From what I understand, these three are the layers that make up the whole Firefox Operating System. Gonk takes care of the hardware, like firing up the camera or turning the GPS on. I’d like to think of Gonk as a chef in a restaurant cooking and adjusting the flame on the dishes he’s working on. Gaia on the other hand, is the one that accepts input from the user, much like a cashier if you ask me. Gaia is the one on screen that takes orders and communicate all of them to Gonk through Gecko which is like the messenger of the two. Gecko implements the open standards for HTML, CSS and JavaScript. And combining the three, you’ll get a system which is the Firefox OS.

Keon, the world’s first Firefox OS device

Talking about devices, Mr. Reyes told us that Firefox devices would cost almost ten times cheaper than an iPhone. This is because manufacturers will be free of licencing fees (which is the case between Google and Samsung and other OEMs). But I still doubt it to be that cheap with the hardware from well-known brands getting more and more sophisticated these days. He also told us to expect Firefox enabled device sometime in “July”.

Localization

It is the translation of the OS’ language which is English by default to other languages like Filipino in our case. We were introduced on how to get involved in this project and how to help the OS grow by submitting word suggestions and the like. If you want to get involved, click here.

Thimble

Thimble is Mozilla’s approach in teaching and at the same time helping coders, especially newbies like me, in creating websites. It is much like Notepad++ with an additional frame that shows what you’re doing. When you visit Thimble, you’ll be greeted with a welcome page and two buttons: “Start from Scratch” and “Pick a Project”. These two are pretty much self-explanatory so I won’t give you an in-depth explanation as my thumb is already aching from typing. Yeah, I’m blogging from my trusty N5130. ๐Ÿ˜€

So, when you click either of the two buttons, you’ll see two panels on your screen. The one on the left is where you type in the codes while the right side shows what you typed would look like in a browser. The only difference between the two is that on “Start from Scratch”, you’ll be staring at two blank boxes until you type in some code. “Pick a Project” lets you choose predefined pages and have it edited as you desire. I, personally prefer starting from scratch, though because I always have a hard time learning the way a web page is written so I decided that it’s better if I write it myself. The pain of coding a website! Haha. I have a site built from the ground up, anyway. In case you want to see it just click, here. *Spoiler Alert: It’s not finished yet.

Student Reps and ReMo

These are basically about volunteering in spreading the word about Mozilla and its missions. We were told on how to be a Representative and meet people behind the Mozilla foundation. In you’re interested (and you must!) click here and fill up the form to join the list of trainees. Yep. You’ve read that right. For you to become an official Mozilla Representative, you’ll need to undergoe training for a year. Note that if you are a student, you only have to train for six months because your studies are prioritized here.

So, I think that’s all I have to say to you guys. Thanks for dropping by!

The Speakers

Mr. Robert Reyes (ReMo)
Facebook:ย https://www.facebook.com/robertdcreyes
Twitter:ย https://twitter.com/bobreyes
Mr. Kemuel Joseph Domanog (ReMo)
Twitter:ย https://twitter.com/kidium
Website:ย http://www.kjdomanog.com
Mr. Melchor Compendio (ReMo)
Facebook:ย https://www.facebook.com/mcompendio
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