Indeed, perhaps "holding the web back" is a good thing if it means websites will be more accessible overall, to even less common browsers like NetSurf, Dillo, and all the other text-based ones. IMHO the "feature war/race" between the major browser vendors has had an overall negative effect, as if all sites somehow need to turn into ridiculously bloated web apps instead of the simple and far more accessible hyperlinked collection of pages they once were. Keeping the browser choices diverse is a good thing, even if it means they will all display things slightly differently --- just find the lowest-common-denominator and emphasise the content, the stuff that people visiting sites really care about.
There's been some other related discussion on this topic recently:
Oh get off my lawn! Anyone to complains about Chrome vs. FF Quantum vs MS Edge doesn't know or remember the dark of days of IE 5 and IE 6. The lowest common denominator these days is exponentially better than it has ever been.
Slight tangent, but I was happy to see the other day the Google hangouts works on Firefox again (I don't know if that is coincidence or related to the Quantum release or if Google finally decided to support WebRTC).
I remember that when IE6 was first released it was the fastest, most reliable, most standards compliant and feature rich browser. That's why it took over the corporate world. It was the Chrome of its day, if you will. How did that work out?
The web kept on moving after IE6 was released - XHR, jQuery, and later on HTML5 and CSS3. Being a browser entirely developed and maintained by a private corporation subject to the shareholders priorities more than the Acid3 test results, Microsoft decided to ignore the calls to adhere to the new standards for as long as it could, and started developing its own internal awful standards to patch the lack of adherence to the W3C standards (ActiveX, VBScript, Silverlight...).
When Microsoft realized that a privately held company alone couldn't win a fight on your-own-propretary-standards Vs. what the rest of the world wants, it was too late. IE had become an unmaintainable patched monolith that had seen its market share drop from 90% to 20%, losing to the new rivals. They had to basically trash the old code and start from scratch with Edge to still be vaguely competitive.
Microsoft's story taught us that you can't push for your own standards while ignoring what the community wants and expect to survive for a long time. Google seems to have learned that lesson over these years (that's why Chrome still dominates the market), but if they start favoring their internal corporate priorities over the most pristine standard adherence, they might drift into the Microsoft case ad well.
Ditto for DOM Storage --- before the W3C, IE5 had userData.
Most companies run Windows by default, that's why IE took over the corporate world.
Netscape's plan was to so totally abstract the underlying OS that it didn't matter what it was.
I'm not sure why content creators are feeling the need to go multi-media - perhaps it's getting harder and harder to tell who your audience is, or segment your audience, or maybe the "smearing" of society is causing an audience for a given topic (ES6 development, say) to have so many different desires it's impossible to create content on the subject without annoying some portion of them (either by having plain HTML and CSS for your blog post with no helpful GIFs, or a bunch of GIFs that piss off people in text browsers or slow connections).
I was around for BBSes and the early public internet, and I do appreciate text interfaces... that said, I've always felt there was something quite magical about graphics and audio. The web allows the author quite a bit of freedom in this regard, so it ends up pretty chaotic and uneven.
I find that graphics help to get a point across quickly, even for folks who are very comfortable with tons of text (most people in the world really aren't, and the language you prefer is likely not their first anyway so it's quite a bit of work for them)
It can be misused just like anything else, and tastes can be subjective. It's nice, then, that web browsers being at their core agents for the user, you can also get a fair bit of control on what you want to block by default, or have animations be click-to-play, and so on, which override the author's design.
I think we should probably expect the Cable News Network to traffic heavily in video, yes?
About how whenever game devs got a new toy to play with (faster CPU, better audio, etc etc) for years the games released would be heavy on bling and lite on content.
I suspect something similar happens in other parts of the computing world, and the web has long since hit its tech equivalent of "eternal september". Meaning that these days there are so many new "toys" coming into the web world that people can't help include them into whatever they are making, even if it makes little to no sense to do so in the long run.
in short, let's keep the learning curve shallow for web development--that's what made it great in the first place.
We're trying. Grid (also Flexbox, but mainly grid) should be a large part of the solution, as it significantly reduces the need for divs that are just there for layout purposes. display:content should also help disconnecting your markup needs from your styling needs somewhat (go shout at browsers if it's not coming fast enough). We've also recently decided to add multiple borders, so that you don't need to add a bunch of nested divs just to have nested borders.
The last piece of the puzzle would probably be to be able create boxes (or trees of boxes) without markup, and inject content from the DOM into these boxes. That would be fantastically useful, and has been explored before, but it turns out it is a really hard problem. The first attempt at this is css-regions, which ended up being rejected, in part by Google (because they thought the complexity needed for the implementation was excessive), in part by Mozilla (because they thought the design didn't fit well with how everything else works and would break in too many cases. Also, complexity).
A more modest attempt has been outlined here https://drafts.csswg.org/css-overflow-4/#fragmentation but it is still only an early draft, and solving that isn't trivial either.
There’s absolutely no reason why HTML5 shouldn’t reinvent something similar. Make it much simpler, just reuse the existing Web Template spec, which simply defines new elements with slots and selectors.
[ was super long so I moved it: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmQUszZRdHfdVUZwvQL2tK12XrW54TdJJqXEkm1... ]
There are in fact many optimizations possible with this scheme. You could mark some regions that share a template as shadow DOM etc.
You can also provide polyfill for this TODAY using Service Workers. It’s not that crazy.
Can you describe a concrete solution that is less complex than flexbox while still managing to achieve its goals?
Not to mention more accessible to people with disabilities. A forum like wc3 needs to make sure that new features works for everyone and all use cases. Call me judgmental, but I doubt that Chrome developers have the will or ability to foresee all such cases when whipping up cool new features.
I mean... at least in it's prototypical form new kinds of multimedia content, previously unavailable, can continue to be unavailable without degrading the existing content. To the degree that blind people, for example, want to enjoy VRML2020 it's not unreasonable to wait a few release cycles for specialized support and have that content ignored until such a time.
General accessibility of content, ie a preference for flash over HTML, is a content provider issue, not a browser issue.
Also: the Chrome team builds the browser that runs most of the web clients on the world (and soon in history)... it's been a leader in accessibility and standardization for years. Judge as we will, they're better positioned than most to analyze consequences and the market, and have a notable track record.
I will say that the DOM is one of the better-specified areas of the Web platform. CSS 2.1, for example, is significantly worse. And the table layout specifications are in a miserable state (one of the reasons why it drives me crazy when people suggest going back to table layout for "simplicity").
About 90% of all users worldwide use a WebKit(/Blink/KHTML) based browser on all platforms (and mobile is a lot bigger than desktop).
Firefox/Servo, M$ IE/Edge, Dillo, Link, etc are minor browsers, I hope sites will continue to work almost okay with them too.
For traditional enterprise the new IE6 is IE11, it's still going strong in Win7-Win10. You can thank M$ that they forked IE11 trident engine and named it Edge instead of IE12. And IE11 is supported until at least 2020.
Well, clearly this person doesn't have much experience with web development... The webengine in iOS is the biggest pile of crap I've ever worked with since IE6.
"Oh? You want to click this? OK, let's wait for 300 ms just in case you want to double tap to scroll!"
"We finally fixed it, no more delay on clicks! Yo Apple, the delay is still there if it runs as standalone, good job..!"
"OK, you've added the page to the home screen, now, if you click another URL on the same domain you definitely want it opened in the browser, right? Good guess Apple, that's why I added it.."
"Wait, are you saying that if you switch to another app and back again to the standalone site you don't want us to reload the URL that's added to the home screen? You would prefer us to let you continue where you left off, what!?!?"
"Oh, so you think momentum scrolling is a good idea? Too bad, we don't support it on elements that overflow, but we do have it elsewhere, have fun! PS we do have an experimental flag to enable it, but then I sure hope you're not using animations with gpu acceleration, cause then we have som nice race condition bugs in store for you, so who knows if scroll will work or not.."
Seriously, iOS is the worst of them. Sure Firefox and Chrome often has experimental features with bugs, but both of them are much more "solid" when it comes to features you'll actually use in production.
Safari on iOS is the IE6 of today.
They are forcing many developers to create native apps instead by locking down iOS and not allowing any decent web engines. Why? Then all payments would have to go through Apple so they can take a cut. Developers must also purchase hardware from Apple to create and test it.
Apple is a real asshole! "We have users, and if you want to make an app for our users then you have to purchase a MacBook, an iPhone, license to publish and allow us to take x% of all income."
And those who does this helps apple sell more hardware and make the problem bigger.
Sure, this might not be the reason even though it adds a lot of income to Apple.
The only other possible reason is that the people working on the web engine for iOS are useless people compared to all other teams working on browsers.
Long ago we had messages to those who used IE6. What we need now are messages that tell people to throw their iPhone in the thrash, cause it's not like they can use a proper browser...
WebKit is a core part of iOS; lots of APIs use it for lots of things. You just can't swap it out for something else without breaking things.
Lets not forget the security and power usage issues as well; the last thing iPhone users would want is a rendering engine that wasn't optimized for the hardware and software draining their batteries.
WebKit is used by several Apple apps—Mail, iTunes, App Store, Calendar, etc—and thousands of 3rd party apps.
Microsoft ended up with 'n' version of xp, which had all shortcuts to IE hidden, and a prompt asking you which browser you want to install and use after installation.
You must be new around here. ;-)
Microsoft used their natural monopoly in operating systems (Windows has 95% marketshare) to force OEMs (HP, Compaq, etc.) to bundle IE with their machines and not Netscape Navigator. Microsoft threaten to cancel their Windows licenses.
And later, it decided, against its decent decree with the US government, to bundle IE with Windows, claiming Windows wouldn't function without IE, which was a lie.
Perhaps you're not aware that natural monopolies are themselves not illegal; it's using that monopoly to force the market to do things it ordinarily wouldn't in some other area.
So… no, there are no antitrust issues regarding web engines on iOS. And of course, Google, Mozilla and others have browsers on the App Store that use WebKit anyway, so it would be hard to make the case they're being harmed…
Though, afaik, Apple does not stoop to the levels of Amazon, who removed the Twitch app from Roku platform for absolutely no reason other than to line their pockets with more cash.
1) the free market doesn’t work because it is too hard for competition to enter an existing market or for existing competition to dethrone a market leader.
2) the big player(s) take (too much) advantage of their position by engaging in ‘anti-consumer’ practices.
Given the existence of Android, Apple isn’t in position 1. So, do you think (2) alone is sufficient for taking legal action? The common thinking is that the market will take care of it by by bankrupting the company doing it.
Apple has a monopoly on OSes that run iOS apps, OSes that run on iPhones, phones that run iOS and on App Stores that can install iOS apps.
They abuse all of them (e.g. the Webkit-only issue for iOS, monopoly pricing on iPhones, censorship in App Store).
Conversely e.g. Google has none of these monopolies except for the monopoly in running perfectly apps that require Google Play Services.
You could also say that Samsung has a monopoly of smartphones with "SAMSUNG" printed on them.
2) Apple has legitimate technical reasons for not allowing other browser engines (well specifically the JS part). Intent matters.
Oh please... source?
2) Apple’s App Store policies disallow the user from executing arbitrary code
I think you can figure this out yourself.
Its quality really went downhill. I really loved the "it just works" stuff of Apple Past. And I loved the intuitive, skeumorphic interfaces.
Now it's all crap and HIDDEN MODES - something Apple always spoke against in its UX manuals. It's sad day that Google and Microsoft have better design than Apple now, and Apple copied them.
Steve Jobs would have never let this happen. He would have a whole department funded with several billion dollars just to make Apple products the most user friendly on the planet. And he would have Siri be a Star-Trek-like voice platform by now.
And the worst: Endless "back" button/swiping on the News app.
Apple's problem is simpler as they own the code, and bugs are likely to come from understaffed engineering.
I am curious about the qualities an operating system needs to be deemed "modern".
Off the top of my head -
A. Slow development cycles on Safari (they're getting better, but still) while simultaneously blocking competitors on iOS
B. A number of embarrassing security failures on macOS recently
C. A lack of focus on macOS (Probably the cause of B)
Do we really need to discuss exact m/s before you're willing to push harder on the frickin gas?
Not least most of what you mention (other than the 300ms delay) is OS level anyhow.
When IE6 came out it was kind of a breath of fresh air... it allowed for a lot of things, and the v4 browsers finally fell off the map. IE 5.0.0 had some hideous bugs on stamped CDs (Office 2000, Windows 2000) that I had to work around for a couple years. IE6 corrected many of them.
Now as things progressed, IE6 became a boat anchor for a long time.. and IE7/8/9 though relatively current at release fell behind very quickly. IE10-11 were also rans in my opinion, and I'm glad most people get to ignore them now.
Nothing compares to dealing with IE4 + NN4 issues... it was truly painful and I'll take what we have today over either. Most people aren't dealing with most of the newer browser features... but for those that are, it can be bad. Safari is the worst actor in the bunch, and they are emphatically not rock solid on that front.
At least the early IE vs NN stuff was fast to change and interesting. IE6 issues were the exact opposite :(
It was entirely due to MS’s negligence, not just XP.
I agree that iOS home screen apps are in a pretty bad state, but Google is also discontinuing Chrome Apps and that doesn't make Chrome a worse HTML renderer.
I think users would be expecting Apple to curtail your ability to crash or hang the browser.
What I really hate is that when safari shits itself the message to the user is “there was a problem with the web page so it was reloaded” so we get old iphone users complaining to us when their lame browser crashed.
That and iframes getting resized to full height ignoring css directives completely... we have a lot of our codebase that are workaround just for ios
I'm also impressed at how many of my job's internal websites don't work. This doesn't bug me as much, but it's obvious the devs who created them didn't even do a sanity check in Firefox.
No other platform has policies like this and it greatly impacts the web platform and changes the dynamic of web standards in a way no other browser developer could.
MS has a similar restriction on their App Store. Browsers are only allowed to use the MS rendering engine.
Also plenty of feature phones only allow use of the integrated browser. You might think that’s an unrelated issue, but it’s not. From a regulatory perspective, how do you differentiate between those, feature phones that allow a limited range of installable apps, games consoles with game offerings controlled by the console vendor, and the App Stores? There are even children’s educational toys with downloadable apps.
Vendor control of software access on their platform is actualy everywhere and some platforms like games consoles are defined by the concept so completely we often don’t even notice it. Dont like the games offered by Sony? Buy a Switch or an XBox. Don’t like the software offered by Apple? Buy an Android. But you don’t get to tell people which of these platforms they can or can’t choose.
What do I change the browser being managed by ChromeOS?
When it comes to an alternative engine, Firefox on Android is Gecko-based rather than being based on Chromium. You can install this on a Chromebook. If you need any more help understanding, please let me know.
1. Today we have 4 browser implementors. Only one of them doesn't also own an operating system (FF). We lost opera year or two ago. I would argue that a significant factor in this shrinking landscape is the fact that Apple has locked away ~10% of the market forever (and this 10% is not a random sampling - it includes many high value customers). Sure implementing a browser is technically challenging - my argument is that Apple's policy has altered the environment in such a way that there is no longer any reward for overcoming that challenge unless you have an operating system or some other large interest that requires you to make a browser. This will have effects on the web as a platform for years to come.
Looking at the facts I cannot help but come to the conclusion that Apple's policies and actions are hurting the web in a way the no other browser implementor could.
With ios you cannot do anything, you're just stuck with safari.
You are wrong. I get you’re making a political argument because you have something against Apple, but what you’re suggesting is just wrong on the merits.
Apple’s global iPhone marketshare is around 15%; it’s 35-40% in the US.
When the W3C was going to shove XHTML 2 down our throats, where you had to have perfectly conforming XML markup to have a valid webpage, Apple helped form with Mozilla and Opera, the WHATWG that lead to HTML5 and web standards that made sense.
It was Apple that said no to shipping Flash on the iPhone, which was the beginning of the end for proprietary media plugins.
You seemed to forget about the ecosystem of open source developers that have lead the charge on implementing new open standards; Igalia was obviously able to work with Apple (and Google) to implement CSS Grid: https://blogs.igalia.com/mrego/2017/03/16/css-grid-layout-is...
Much of the variable font spec is based on Apple’s TrueType GX technology from the 1990s: https://atadistance.net/2016/09/20/truetype-gx-model-lives-o...
Sure, they were behind on several important technologies, but they’ve made a ton of progress this past year or so. I created a Service Worker in the latest Safari Tech Preview that shipped two days ago: https://webkit.org/blog/8042/release-notes-for-safari-techno...
You also might want to check the feature list; you might be surprised: https://webkit.org/status/
Apple is a convenient target for a lot of things; I get that, but I can’t see how anything you’ve said holds up when we take an objective look at things.
As I mentioned previously (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15985884) WebKit is a core part of the iOS operating system and is tied into a bunch of things, including Apple’s brand.
In addition to all of the technical, security and privacy issues, there’s also user experience, especially with something as core as the browser on a mobile platform.
We’ve already seen that Google can’t be trusted on iOS--it was fined $22.5 million by the FTC for essentially bypassing Apple’s iOS platform privacy features not that long ago: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/08/googl...
90% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, so why would Apple and its users want Google’s browser to have low-level access to its operating system?
If Google could run Chrome natively on iOS (instead of using WebKit), would it be free to disregard Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature (https://webkit.org/blog/7675/intelligent-tracking-prevention...), which uses machine learning to stop cross-site tracking via 3rd-party cookies?
Everything is a trade-off when it comes to technology; I’m fine with Google and some of the other companies deciding which privacy features they will or won’t use.
BTW, my new favorite iOS browser is Brave (https://itunes.apple.com/app/brave-web-browser/id1052879175?...), which by default blocks all ads, trackers and fingerprinting methods by default. Not loading all of that crap makes it run really fast.
And if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to pay content creators with the Basic Attention Token (BAT), based on Ethereum’s ERC20 token standard, in 3-6 months.
If this catches on, it could impact Google; lets see if they allow it on the Play store, especially after payments are implemented.
Clearly there can be browser innovation without giving in to companies like Google who don’t respect users’ privacy.
The Windows store has the same policy and by proxy all Windows S machines.
Platform owners' interests and public rationalizations aside, is this in the best interest of the web and its users?
Wow, that's quite a stretch. I monitor web standards pretty closely and I haven't found this to be the case.
I have seen many threads on Github and mailing lists with Google, Apple, Mozilla and Microsoft actually communicating with each other on how to implement web standards in a cross-browser way.
Here's a good example: https://github.com/w3c/csswg-drafts/pull/1817
It’s not consistent though. Usually switching to Safari is what works but sometimes I must use Firefox. On one government site it seemed the only working combo was to use an iPad, as no desktop browser worked on my Mac.
My latest gripe has to be log-in screens though (Google is guilty): forms are as old as the web and I resent that I can’t even log in anymore because your Unnecessarily Fancy Form just doesn’t work on all browsers!?
Its also handy to get efficient video from sites stil serving flash to desktops.
Did you try using IE? I find some state government sites still work best on IE10/IE11
I really don't agree at all with this, Safari is the new Internet explorer ...
Chrome ships new features fast, and some of them are very cool. Because of course! "Embrace, extend, extinguish" doesn't work unless the "extend" part is full of shiny, delicious candy. And platform makers can make lots and lots of shiny candy when freed from pesky things like standards.
It's hard to believe we're having this discussion again. Did we learn nothing from Internet Explorer 6? IE6 damn near ruined the web because it had 95% market share, was objectively terrible, and it encouraged lock-in with its nonstandard behavior and "convenient" proprietary features.
Now, of course Chrome isn't terrible like IE6. And that's both good and dangerous ...because Microsoft might have "won" if IE6 was any good at all. Luckily, IE6 was so terrible that Mozilla was able to win back a sizeable enough portion of the web with a far superior product, and FF's market share was big enough that people had to start paying attention to web standards again.
No such savior in the form of a "far superior product" is likely to exist this time around. Chrome's pretty darn nice, and as long as it doesn't suck as bad as IE6, we'll never see a direct competitor that eclipses Chrome in the way that FF1.0 surpassed the god-awful IE6.
That means we, the developers, are the only thing between an open web and a dangerous Google monoculture. Support web standards, not proprietary lock-in. Develop for the web, not for Chrome. Stick to the standards and it's pretty easy. And fun.
They blatantly ignore standards, the most obvious of which is their treatment of autocomplete=off in forms. They broke the ability to disable autocomplete, and since then have been intentionally breaking workarounds people find to actually turn off autocomplete. This has been a major pain in the butt at work.
Before you yell at me about password managers or whatever, we don't use this on our login form: We make an app that collects some sensitive data that it is very pointless to autocomplete, and we've had user complaints about this very issue, but there's nothing we can do about it because Google unilaterally decided they know better than us.
: https://stackoverflow.com/a/22694173 (make sure to read the comments!)
My solution to that is simple. I have a microservice that tells my services how to get autocomplete=off automatically. This microservice determines the required values and ids by scraping the search box on google.com every hour, and extracting the values of the tag matching input[name=q].
That way I can fully automate autocomplete=off, and ensure it works.
And this was the only way I could figure out that would guarantee that it would be disabled, even after browser updates.
Seems pretty clear to me. The only exception I see is:
> "A user agent may allow the user to override an element's autofill field name, e.g. to change it from "off" to "on" to allow values to be remembered and prefilled despite the page author's objections, or to always "off", never remembering values."
But that's user-initiated action, not something the browser should do for every field just because it feels like it.
Also, both Chrome OS and iOS, both have integrated their browser into their OS and don't allow competition from other browsers on their platforms.
Is that a fair assessment?
And it's right to be wary of Apple. They have many of the same negative incentives as Microsoft had: if the web outshines their proprietary app platforms, then what good are those platforms?
However, out of the two behaviors ("embrace and extend" versus "slow standards adoption") I think that Chrome's "embrace and extend" is the one that's actually a threat - and to me, that's what really made IE dangerous: it was a threat to the web.
Safari's pace of standards adoption is merely annoying. I'm a developer too; I get it -- I want to use the cool new shit! But Safari's not going to break the web in the way that propietary browser lock-in could break it.
But if your client only runs iOS for their entire business, you can't even complain about Chrome to them. And if their browser doesn't support something as simple as offline html5 features properly, and you need this, across multiple platforms (cause they have a few laptops too). Then you can't use a browser based platform. Or if you do, you have to live with many compromises.
This is how I see Apple working. If the market didn't force them to upgrade Safari, I think they never would. They'd just say "browsers are for html, and the Apple App Store is for everything else".
But my client just wanted their stupid form to work offline. At least Chrome can do this, their adding of extra stuff doesn't _limit_ what is possible.
And I don't think many of these features are "new and shiny", I think they are fundamental to the web now. If they were new and shiny only, then Firefox would have had it's ass handed to it by the big-boys. But instead, we see MS and Apple falling behind a simple non-profit in the web standards support area.
Remember, Apple has more money in the bank than any company ever in the history of the world. It's a choice they are making not keeping up with web standards.
So the question has to be asked, what benefit does Apple get from keeping web standards very low on it's locked down platform? (any answer besides forcing devs into their store?)
You might want to check the WebKit status page; you might be pleasantly surprised: https://webkit.org/status/.
When Safari has complete support for PWAs in 2018, you guys will have to come up with a new Apple conspiracy against the web. ;-)
Until just last month, Firefox was pretty damn slow compared to Safari and Chrome but they got a pass from the HN crowd.
I suspect Tim Cook isn’t losing sleep about PWAs vs. native apps. It’s win-win for Apple either way.
When do you suppose this will end up in the Safari in iOS 10? I suspect never. Since my clients literally have thousands (maybe 10s of thousands) invested in devices that will never get any updates past iOS 10, they are forced into a hardware upgrade because Apple won't allow 3rd party browsers on their devices, and tie their browser version to their OS version.
If you see another way around this, I'd really like to know.
I obviously don't know your situation, but the newest iPad where iOS 10.x is its last operating system is the 4th gen iPad, which was introduced October 2012 and was discontinued October 2014. It shipped with iOS 6, so it's been through 4 major upgrades.
You make not like it, but that's about the general lifetime of computing devices today regarding their upgradeability. It's not like there are 5-year old Android tablets running the latest operating systems from Google either.
Apple’s modus operandi has been the same for the 10 years of iOS devices: all of the new features go into the latest version; the previous version only gets security updates and they don’t back-port those features to the previous operating system.
Mobile Safari 11 uses APIs and frameworks (like the machine learning for Intelligent Tracking Prevention) that only exist in iOS 11, which is why it won’t be ported to iOS 10.
In most mainstream work/production environments, 3-4 years is the useful lifetime for computers and the iPad is a computer. I did this for a living at MIT; I dealt with these exact issues for 14 years.
I get that it's convenient to blame Apple for not allowing 3rd-party web engines on iOS, but that's really the cover story, right?
The key issue here: iOS 10 was the last version to run on 32-bit A6 processors, which is what your iPads have. iPhones and iPads with 64-bit A7s (and newer) can run iOS 11. Unfortunately, you got caught in this hardware transition.
If these iPads are mission-critical for something, then there should have been some device lifecycle planning when the project started so you wouldn’t end up in a situation like the one you’re in.
BTW, both Google and Firefox stopped supporting 32-bit operating systems years ago, so even if iOS allowed 3rd-party browsers, you still wouldn’t have the option of running something that had today’s latest features like Service Worker anyway…
Yah, you have a point with the hardware being old and 32bit, I am not an Apple guy by nature, so I have older hardware.
My issue is not with the OS, it's that I am blocked from installing specific software on that OS. Imagine if Windows didn't allow Chrome to be installed, everyone would be up in arms.
Why is Apple getting a pass in their regard?
No pun intended, but this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison—you can’t compare a desktop operating system to one that runs on phones and tablets.
I’m a web developer—I have the release, beta and canary (nightly) of Chrome and Firefox in addition to Safari and Safari Tech Preview on my iMac, which is no big deal on macOS or any other desktop operating system.
It’s very different on phones and tablets, which are closer to embedded operating systems.
This also enables Apple and others to lockdown security in ways which would be unacceptable for a desktop operating system. Given the unrelenting hacking from the kid down the street to nation states—China, N. Korea, Russia, Iran—more security isn’t a bad thing.
Apple isn’t getting a pass—at least not from normals.
It’s the supposedly aggrieved and paranoid libertarian techies’ narrative that Apple is getting away with something and their rights are being impinged upon.
Can you offer a valid explanation on why it's technically not possible for a real Firefox browser to work in iOS, but works fine on Android?
It’s also not accurate to say Firefox and Chrome are just “skins” over Safari. Sure, they have to use WebKit via various system APIs but they also add their own features, some of which Safari doesn’t have like support for Google Assistant and a built-in QR code scanner for starters.
Heck, Google Chrome on iOS supports the Payment Request API while Safari doesn’t, which means there are web platform features Google implemented that WebKit doesn’t have. Why are you complaining again? ;-)
Same for Brave, which does lots of things Safari doesn’t.
Remember, Chrome and WebKit share a common ancestral codebase; the vast majority of a site’s HTML and CSS renders exactly the same anyway, so it’s not like Google or users like you are actually missing out on anything of substance other than some misplaced sense of being restricted from shooting yourselves in the foot because you can’t use a browser engine that’s slower and consumes more power than what Apple ships—ditto for Mozilla.
For the overwhelming majority of the browsing anyone does, it makes no difference. It’s just a manufactured grevence of a vocal minority of Apple critics.
In fact, MS actually did this with IE vs Netscape. Maybe you are too young to know or remember this. It's just astonishing that anyone could ignore the parralels.
Also, I asked if there was any "technical reasons" Apple couldn't allow real Firefox in iOS, and you ignored that. I suspect because you know the answer is "no". So, then it's purely for marketing reasons.
Please explain how it's better for end users to have only one choice of browser? If you want to say they already do, then you do not understand how browsers work. And if you want, I can do some googling for you to show you why FF and Chrome on iOS are _not_ any different at the core level than mobile Safari.
I was doing IT at MIT when the Microsoft/Netscape thing went down—I’m not new to any of this.
This post sums it up for me : I think this thread is full of people who want Apple be considered a monopoly more than care about whether they actually are.
I think you are dodging the central claim against Apple, they prohibit competition on their platform. If Microsoft or Google did this, they'd be accused of anticompetitive behavoir, or being a monopoloy.
Again, this is an ideological argument, not a technical or legal argument.
They aren’t prohibiting competition——there are over two million apps on the App Store, including ones by every company that is considered a competitor like Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and others.
But here is a legal position: there’s nothing illegal about determining what they will and will not allow in their App Store and what they will and will not allow on their platform, especially when the companies agree to it when they sign the contract with Apple.
It’s only tech ideologues and free software zealots that think that their rights are being violated because Apple doesn’t permit other web rendering engines other than WebKit. There’s no legitimate technical or legal argument that can be made that users are somehow suffering due to this.
If that’s your deal, that’s fine; but don’t act like it’s the same thing as Microsoft/Netscape because it’s not.
Please read the history of that case on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Cor....
I wrote about why this isn’t like Microsoft, IE and Netscape in the thread .
Here’s the simplest way to make this plain:
* Microsoft had 95% of the desktop operating system market back in the day. Apple has around 20% of the global cell phone market
* Microsoft was accused (after signing a decent decree with the US government saying it wouldn’t do this) of using its natural monopoly in operating systems to affect emerging markets, such as the browser market
* Apple doesn’t have a monopoly——natural or otherwise; it hasn’t been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice——Microsoft was
* Apple has direct competitors on the App Store in every category it has apps and services for: maps, music players and services, camera, file sharing
* Google makes more money from iOS than it does from Android ,
Last thing: like it or not, Safari is the fastest and most energy efficient browser engine that could exist on iOS because unless you’re Apple, there’s no way for a 3rd party to have the information of the firmware, custom processors, GPUs, etc. that would be required to do what Apple is already doing with WebKit.
There might be some there there if Google and Mozilla boycotted iOS because they weren’t allowed to use their rendering engines and otherwise made a big deal about this. Because they must be on the most profitable mobile platform in the world, they’re admitting that they’re okay with the situation as it is, even if you guys are not.
So in reality, your issue is with Mozilla and Google, who’ve left you guys hanging and don’t have your back on this.
Time to let it go.
Does Firefox suck up battery so bad on Android that it couldn't possibly be written to run on iOS properly? (technical issue, not ideology) Your arguments are not technically sound. I never mentioned "rights", you did. I merely pointed out that if others copied Apple, they'd be accused of violating rights. (not an issue for me personally)
You present red herrings and twisted some of my comments, but you are right, it's not worth continuing, as neither of us can change anything.
Microsoft's hardline "screw the open web, and buy a Windows and Office license every n years while we ensure we have no competitors by any means necessary" modus operandi in the 1990s was just so blatantly unfriendly.
Google's course is more... stealthy.
IE literally refused to implement standards, rendered broken dom elements, allowed for proprietary native extensions and had many different apis for them. They had 90% of the market share and no other viable platforms. This meant developers built things which exploited these broken features causing huge compatibility issues when they aren’t (every other browser).
A simple lack of features didn’t make IE... IE. Safari is a pain in the ass but it sure as fuck ain’t no internet explorer.
I think Chrome is propagating lazy developers who think everyone uses their browser. Which means things only work in Chrome and no where else. It’s not as bad as the IE situation yet and hopefully it won’t be with Firefox kicking ass again.
IE was harmful because it had such incredible market share and could do what it wanted with that.
Chrome doesn’t implement asm.js (EDIT: I had previously written WebAssembly, but that was a typo), concurrent JS, or autocomplete=off, or the GeoLocation API via HTTP, etc.
> allowed for proprietary native extensions and had many different apis
NaCl, PNaCl. Try running http://earth.google.com/ in a browser other than Chrome. Or the Google Hangouts Video Chat.
> They had 90% of the market share and no other viable platforms
Chrome has reached > 67% of the global market
> This meant developers built things which exploited these broken features causing huge compatibility issues when they aren’t (every other browser).
See above mentioned Google Earth, Google Hangouts, the early releases of Google Inbox, Google Allo, and WhatsApp Web, as well as the early releases of Signal Web.
> It’s not as bad as the IE situation yet
See above why it is just as bad as the IE situation.
Oh, and "IE was preinstalled" – Chrome runs malicious, misleading advertisements everywhere to get users to install Chrome, and when that wasn’t enough, they started paying companies to secretly install Chrome with their installer (same as what the Ask Toolbar, or BonzaiBuddy did – except, now it’s Google offering 30 million EUR to VLC to include it, and that project denying it and publishing that info).
It does, and both of which are being deprecated and removed in favor of WebAssembly.
At least your point about Google using underhanded tricks to get Chrome in the hands of users is accurate.
It was as cool experiment by Mozilla for sure, but it's in the same boat as the cool experiments by Chrome: not picked up by other browsers.
Service workers is one of the most egregious failures on their part. And I believe it's been done on purpose. With service workers you get full control over building your JS based app, something Apple does not want, they want everyone to got through their store.
Considering that the only way (moving forward) to create an offline JS app now is through service workers, and Apple is just starting to get it working, _maybe_ for the next version of Safari.
As far as I know, iOS and Safari are knitted together like MS did to Windows and IE. Try and get a new version of Safari that doesn't match with the version of iOS you are running.
I could go on about the state of local storage and other HTML5 debacles on Safari, but it's total loser and I am only going to make myself upset.
And you know what it's like trying to use a feature even when 70% of users can take advantage of it, it's still a no-go. So Apple totally blew it on this one.
MS Edge appears to be further along than Apple...
I’m pretty sure I’ll be running PWAs on my iPhone 5s the first half of 2018.
IE literally refused to implement standards, rendered broken dom elements, allowed for proprietary native extensions and had many different apis for them. They had 90% of the market share and no other viable platforms.
All of those things are true of iOS Safari as well, except that on iOS you literally can't use any other engine so 100% of the browsers on Apple phones and tablets are restricted by whatever limitations or flaws Safari brings.
The moral of the story, which I think the article highlighted very well, is that the web platform is based on standards. Build to the standards. If you don't like the standards, advocate for new ones! It's hard work but it's how we got where we are and how we will continue to have a web 100 years from now.
Virtually all new major browser features are built according to standards, proposals, or explicit extensions platforms. See https://www.w3.org/TR/, where it's very easy to map recent browser features to standards or healthy proposals. Your proselytizing would be more appropriate in Redmond, Washington in 2007.
I'm not sure what gives you the impression that successful standards are developed in a vacuum. You're right that some are, but most of those are terrible technologies that were designed by the "hard work" you think got us where we are today.
The rest -- the good ones -- are battle-tested through gradual deployment and iterative improvement, eventually emerging nearly unrecognizable from their original vision, but genuinely useful and usable.
Only then does the "hard work" of advocacy begin.
The point is that U2F on Google logins only works in Chrome. Firefox supports U2F, but Google's implementation only works with Chrome.
Sort of. It's true that Firefox doesn't enable U2F by default (yet), but that's actually unrelated to the reasons that it doesn't work on Google domains. The real reason that Google's U2F only works in Chrome is that they rely on non-standard implementation details: https://twitter.com/ManishEarth/status/931534674224062464
For contrast, you can use U2F on Fastmail and Github in Firefox, because they don't rely on non-standard behavior.
I believe this now works on FF, according to an HN post yesterday.
>If you don't like the standards, advocate for new ones!
I think the problem with this is it means that I can't provide something useful until the standards body updates, which could be a cadence of years. In that timeframe, a competitor will break the standard.
This would really help me switch.
Chrome, Firefox, and Edge have Native Messaging. Safari's extensions platform uses "native APIs and familiar web technologies."
Yes, like ActiveX.
Now, if they did submit to a standards body, and it got approved, it would be standardized. Therefore, it doesn't count as breaking standards.
No major browser vendor (in the modern era, at least) wants to break interoperability -- that's the bright line that separates innovation from fragmentation -- and you'll find that each works hard to stay on the right side of that line, often slowing their rate of innovation to do so.
(And no, saying extensions platforms don't count isn't just language-lawyering, as I think you're trying to suggest. Most extensions platforms, particularly ActiveX and old-style Firefox add-ons, are deeply dependent on the host OS or the specific user agent's implementation, or else they operate in contexts that just don't make sense in the web's origin-based security model. I wouldn't go so far as to say it would be impossible to standardize an extensions platform, but standardizing one would necessarily give rise to a separate platform (the extension to the extensions platform) that was host-OS-specific or user-agent-specific. As I said earlier, there are legitimate needs to get stuff done that can't and shouldn't be done on the web, but that don't require abandoning all web technologies. Maybe you're right that the intent of ActiveX was to kill the web. That doesn't mean that it didn't also solve real problems that the web couldn't solve at the time and still can't today.)
Yes, in terms of performance, user interface preferences, features like bookmark syncing, and so on.
But visiting any page should work in any browser. If proprietary extensions get used, then the pages are no longer able to interoperate. You now have a proprietary ecosystem.
If these proprietary extensions catch on, now you're back to the bad old "best viewed in IE6" days.
People don't sit back, put their needs on hold, and wait for the web platform to develop and implement new standards. They use available tools. Would you advise them to leave the web ecosystem entirely? Or use the lesser evil of extensions platforms, thereby solving their urgent problems and indirectly providing long-term direction to the web platform's evolution?
1) Browsers start the standardization process immediately. There's no proprietary extensions, and things remain interoperable.
2) Browsers add proprietary extensions. Nobody uses them, and they burn money on engineering time.
3) Browsers add proprietary extensions. These extensions get used. Interoperability goes out the window.
> Would you advise them to leave the web ecosystem entirely?
Yes, I think so.
I don’t know anybody on the Safari team but I suspect that they prioritize very differently than the Chrome team does. One is all about impressing web developers with the latest and greatest where the other is more interested in having resource efficient implementations.
Also seems it's been supported for a while?
I have no horse in this race, since I like Safari when I'm on Apple products and I will happily use Chrome or Firefox or IE/Edge depending on what's available, but I agree with the author of the primary article here; we shouldn't put one browser up on a pedestal just because of release cycles or cool projects it does and let it dictate how the web should look and behave.
And let's not forget that WebKit started as a fork of KHTML and KJS.
IndexedDB was broken so badly it literally wouldn't work, flexbox is much better now, but I wouldn't have called it "supported" by safari for a while, and now while their WebRTC APIs work, they are really flakey and have a lot of extra "restrictions" tacked on that aren't really explained anywhere (like they won't work in a WebView, or if the page is bookmarked on the homescreen).
I like what they are trying to do, and I absolutely think there is a place for a browser that is fast, low resource usage, and more stable, even if it means it's single platform, slower to add features, and doesn't have as many customization options. But Safari is falling short of their goals while still having those downsides and on one platform is the only browser that is allowed.
None of the browsers now are anything like that.
Apple's approach with Safari is exactly what the author of the linked article said; they are slower to implement standards. When they do, I usually have no problems with them at all.
By virture of sheer popularity, Chrome is the de facto standard. And if they have provided anything that becomes useful or popular, then by virtue of popularity of that feature in what is already the post popular browser, makes that feature part of the de facto standard.
The post is just pedantic whining about how something isn't according to the written word in some document written some years ago by a bunch of people that the average user of the standard does not even know.
I understand the value of standardization. Everything should be standardized. But what the standard should be is completely another question. I would say that all enhancements/popular features should be standard. At least that way, we'll have more people happier, rather than follow the least common denominator approach where there is a compromise that leaves no one happy.
A "de facto standard" of "what browsers implement" is no standard at all. This is why standards matter. "What the actually existing software implements" is what you have when you _don't have standards_.
The vendor-dominated, standard-changes-every-day WHATWG "living standard" is relevant to the situation here, I think, even if you'd rather it not be. If it's a living standard that's always changing, and it's specifically changing based on _what software does_... then Chrome doing something seems like as much of a standard as anything. It may or may not be added to the standard the next day, but the standard seems to encourage people to use things that aren't in it yet.
The WHATWG process, if I understand it right, specifically requires (at least) two browser vendors to implement a thing _before_ it's added to the standard. Yes, two is more than one. But not a lot more. :)
Igalia implemented CSS Grid for both Blink and WebKit: https://blogs.igalia.com/mrego/2017/03/16/css-grid-layout-is...
And remember, Blink is a fork of WebKit, so they're not very different. So it can be done and we need more of this.
They're also working on some other stuff for Apple and Google. Never say never.
I'd tell you why you're so spectacularly wrong, but since we've already lived through the nightmare you're currently endorsing... instead I'll simply refer you to the 1990s and early 2000s.
You don't want that.
Germany for example uses 38.22% Chrome and 31.11% Firefox on Desktops. No way you can speak about a de facto standard here.
I, as an end user, don't know about industry standards for screws, magnet strips or pipelines either, but that doesn't make them less important.
We already tried giving a commercial company free reign in this regard, with Microsoft and it's Internet Explorer, and it did not end well. I see no reason to try this again.
Standards also just make it easier for new players to enter the browser market, instead of having to reverse engineer how Google does stuff, so Standards even help with competition.
I will happily discuss current shortcomings of the W3C and standardization process in general, but we shouldn't repeat the past.
The problem with IE was that it was a shitty bloated browser. And to be honest, nothing shook its dominance before Chrome. Not even Firefox.
That is a dominating position making it the de facto standard, even if not absolute.
The "Progressive" in Progressive Web Application means that web sites progressively become more app-like as they use certain APIs like Service Workers, but it also means that PWAs progressively become more app-like on browsers that support those APIs.
A site can go all-in on the PWA-related APIs and cause absolutely no degradation in experience on browsers like Safari. Safari doesn't support Service Workers, ignores parts of the manifest, doesn't allow PWA installation? It's fine, your app is just a normal website on Safari.
Which is part of why the "Safari is holding back the web b/c no PWA!" response perplexes me. Even independent of the fact that they were in fact getting there – just not as fast as people wanted! – progressive enhancement is still a thing.
I've personally had meetings with teams would would love to adopt PWAs over their existing native apps, but can't due to Safari. I'm excited that it looks like that will change very soon!
I'm not saying that I like one company controlling the web, but when you're a small company developing software for the web, Chrome IS the standard.
This is natural. Whether it is urban architecture to medical practice, someone’s idea dominated the rest, and we use the dominant one as reference and as a tool for comparison.
This is called competition.
I think people forgive Google for more because they like them. IE did exactly the same thing before Chrome and was roundly (and rightly) admonished for it.
In fairness, Chrome's proposals do seem to be designed with the open web in mind - at least insofar as being items that other projects could reasonably be expected to implement in their engines if they chose to do so.
There's nothing so egregious as IE's DirectX-filters-embedded-in-CSS nonsense - or shudder ActiveX - but it's still not great for the open web as a whole.
I wasn't a fan of NaCl, and WebAssembly (for example) is a much better fit for an open web, but it was at least platform agnostic (if support was provided by the vendor) and ran in a reasonably strict sandbox. ActiveX was neither of these things.
All that said, having any one browser be the standard is as terrible for the open web now as it was in IE's heyday. Just because Chrome is less awful doesn't solve the single-vendor problem.
Lots of people here additionally are up in arms their incredibly specific workflow was upheaveled by a movement to webextensions planned like 2 years in advance. Browser engines don’t have the luxury of being vim and supporting every environment and config.
They're up in arms because of an upheaval which prevents anyone from restoring their workflow: the new extensions API simply does not allow the extensibility the new extensions API allowed. Some of the changes are arbitrary (e.g. it's not possible to rebind C-n).
The move to Quantum is awesome, but the permanent loss of functionality is not.
Likewise, the security reversion in the Sync protocol is another unforced error.
The change to the Sync security model happened in response to years of user feedback about the usability of the system as it was.
They should have improved default usability while still preserving their previously-unmatched security level. Yes, the old system didn't do what novices expected, and yes they should have gotten a default system which would. But experts should still be able to use a truly-secure system.
Then what the hell did I donate money to them for? I thought their whole thing was they were for "people, not profit." I don't want my technology to make money off of me in any way I'm not aware of.
If you rule out Firefox, there's hardly any viable option for a modern, feature-complete and freedom-respecting browser. Chromium is OK, but those suspicious blobs don't look very appealing.
For me the most shocking part is that the FSF has a Firefox ESR fork, IceCat, which is hardly maintained and goes 2 versions behind mainline. They don't even bother patching CVEs...
Maybe their incredibly specific workflow involves a piece of multi-million dollar equipment and updating to a new API involves reflashing its firmware for some crazy reason. (alternately, 100 $200 pieces of equipment in hard-to-reach places that must be manually reflashed.)
2 years may be roughly the maximum attention span of a software project, but 5 years seems like a better number for bedrock systems like web browser.
I don't mean to trivialize what goes into Firefox, just that backwards compatibility is a big deal and most software companies don't take it seriously enough.
Really, the point of WebExtensions is to establish a well-defined, maintainable API set that can be kept backwards-compatible going forward. Swaths of legacy extensions were already breaking with every release as internal APIs changed. The old system made the e10s (multiprocess) roll-out inordinately more painful and slower than it would have been with WebExtensions, for example.
So it is naive to hold a Non-Profit to their foundational mission statement and goal? Their Manfeisto?
Mozilla is not, or rather used to not be, just a For-Profit Software firm making a browser. They were a Non-Profit Foundation started to advance ideological and philosophical ideas, namely Open Web Standards and Access for all.
It seems like you are perfectly find with Losing the Mozilla Foundation, and replacing it with Mozilla Corporation the software developers that make a commercial browser.
Maybe FireFox 60 should just go closed source and charge $40 a download
And I suspect this is where we completely differ - because while Mozilla has made some mistakes, I am not nearly as enraged as some of the other commenters I've seen have been.
I think Mozilla has been doing a great job, with a few notable hiccups.
This is yet again a too-simplistic view of things that seems very common with Americans.
Some big companies do unethical things, and you translate that to "all big companies hate consumers and want to eat their children"
Safari is pretty good at privacy protection. Apple doesn't really have an interest in collecting your data and they have a history of implementing features improving privacy (cross-site tracking protection, build-in adblock API, etc.).
The problem is that Safari is only available to the wealthiest in the world.
WebKit is a cross-platform web browser engine. On iOS and macOS, it powers Safari, Mail, iBooks, and many other applications.
Midori is also based on WebKit: http://midori-browser.org
AFAIK Safari does not provide more privacy protections than WebKit.
“””In the recent history of management ideas, few have had a more profound — or pernicious — effect than the one that says corporations should be run in a manner that “maximizes shareholder value.””””
At this point Mozilla has to prove to us that they are worthy of our usage
Are all these people sticking with Chrome because Mozilla is not holding up to its values really think Google is better at taking care of our freedom?!
I would also argue that "just being better than X" was shown not to be effective in the last US Presidential election.
They're missteps, not trust breakers. Quantum was a massive step in the right direction. The Mr. Robot Easter Egg was non-malicious poor execution. I don't think it's a free pass to just contextualize how small their missteps have been in the grand scheme of things.
The reason the response seems outsized is because of the breach of trust involved, much more so than the technical impacts.
Quantum is great, and I just like a lot of the UX decisions Firefox makes. But a major reason for my support of Mozilla is their stated mission. And regularly making bumbling moves that overtly compromise that stated mission makes you start to question their commitment to it. Is it really their mission, or is it just a thing it is good for them to keep saying? POSIWID and all that.
> Not only are these experiments enabled by default, but updates have been known to re-enable it if you turn it off.
Chrome has some troubling defaults but Google never decided to flip the default search engine or turn on any phone-home feature once it has been turned off. Even though they had/have the power to do so, they know people won't trust Chrome if they ever tried to do that. In my book that's more trustworthy than a vendor that decides to use updates to surreptitiously enable features that users disabled.
And for some dissidents or researchers those defaults could be life or career ending.
I also had the Shield stuff turned off (my choice), and it hasn't been reverted, nor did the Mr. Robot extension ever show up. I agree, though, that that was a Bad Idea.
Having a Mozilla option is good, but when Mozilla screws up it needs to get a clear indication that it did. I think folks saying "down with Mozilla" do not really mean this 100%; but they do want Mozilla to know that it seriously screwed up in their view. And we should not treat it as a shrinking violet -- it is not a tiny startup; it is a large corporation with funding in hundreds of millions.
> It only needs to be better than Google.
This, IMO, is setting the bar way too low. It should aim to do what the users want and consumer technology easily allows. If there is a big gap between those we should encourage new entrants, not entrench Mozilla as "the" alternative to pick-your-evil. My 2c.
If you don't like Google, you can always use Chromium or Brave. I trust them not to run marketing campaigns inside my browser.
Do you also trust them not to listen to your mic? I think debian had to have a discussion with them about that.
Mozilla became a shady character. It engages in "it depends on a meaning of the word 'is'" speak.
Here's how Mozilla can get back into my graces - it needs to publicly FIRE whoever approved it and whoever advocated for this project.
You do? Okay, I don't. Please, show me exactly how Google uses data they collect from their users. Every usage. Not just a few. And no "but they say they can use it for whatever they want!" - then we can talk about transparency.
Mozilla is pretending to be a health store. But we are starting to see that they are also peddling drugs. Not Google drugs - drugs with security and drugs with delivery system and drugs that we are pretty sure how they work - but some other drugs, from shady producers using shady means.
Google tells me - "Dude, for providing me your information you get gooodieeeees!"
Mozilla tells me - "We respect your privacy. "
In a micro-font : "except when we do things that you should not be concerned about"
The really annoying ads which auto-play videos, block content, etc., tend to be served by companies who aren't taking the long view --- which is why Chrome is going to be adding adblocking for those ads that are ultra-annyoing early next year.
There's a pretty big difference between "using your information for marketing", and "marketing your information to advertisers". The second implies that your private information is getting divulged for a price, and that's simply not true.
If I narrowly target an ad and then I know you saw it, I now know all those things about you.
So, yes, they do not literally sell your information, there is one level of indirection there. And the amount of information that data brokers get their hands on tells me that it is very likely people are exporting this information regularly.
and what other uses?
A third party company (funded by venture capital) created something called "Pocket", which allowed you to save any article you were reading to their service. Pocket had an extension that you could choose to download & enable on your Firefox browser.
For apparently no reason at all, in June 2015, Mozilla integrated the proprietary Pocket into their open source browser, not just as an optional extension but as part of the default installation. The only way to disable Pocket was to go into "about:config", as the option was not available in the "Extensions" toolbar. (Later, Mozilla Corporation purchased the company Pocket, though at the time Pocket was introduced as an inextricable part of Firefox, Pocket was a separate company.)
The Mr. Robot addon had some similarities with the Pocket fiasco:
1. it was pushed to users without their knowledge or consent
2. it was integration of a plugin for a private company into an open-source project
3. it was a decision by marketing, and not development
I am not quite sure how or when we can begin to trust Mozilla Firefox, and what they would need to do to regain that trust.
This isn't exactly correct. The Pocket integration did absolutely nothing at all until and unless you tried to use it. So by "disabling" it from about:config all you did was to remove the icon.
Buying Pocket signalled that if you can take the right Mozillan to lunch, you can get an early exit. That did not solve the problem.
It's still impossible to remove Pocket.
And it's on about:blank just like when Chrome started capping up the blank page. I had to install a script to load an actual blank HTML page because about:blank isn't blank.
It's very chatty, annoyingly. Captive portal check on all requests that has to be disabled in about:config and a laundry list more. That config is scarily full of remote and telemetry based URLs also, but at least they are co figurable I guess.
An open source browser that just does what you want and no more seems like a dying hope.
they solved the privacy concern in a very awkward manner (via acquisition) but not the user choice concern. it is impossible to believe that pocket is so integrated into the codebase that it cannot live as a removable addon. it was an addonafter all. fwiw, firefox sync should also be a removable addon.
i am fine with mozilla installing these as removable addons at major version upgrades. i am not fine with silently side-loading and permanent non-removable integration. i need my tools to be secure, reliable and predictable.
Regarding the I robot thing, I must be living under a rock, had not heard of it before today. Storm in a glass of water.
Mozilla acquired Pocket in February: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/02/27/mozilla-acquires-po...
All you had to do was remove it from the toolbar. Pocket is/was lazily loaded, it doesn't do anything if you're not using it.
So I think the project is relatively healthy, and in any case, still miles and miles ahead in terms of worthiness than every other major browser out there.
When people say the Mr. Robot thing was a violation of privacy, I believe this is ultimately where they are coming from.
Pocket and Looking Glass should have been regular add-ons available for people who want them (I’m an avid Pocket user and have had a paid sub with them in the past). Even with the Yahoo search deal, it would have been nice to have the first start go through a wizard that lets you choose Yahoo (as a default option), Google, Bing, or whatever else...though I guess they likely wouldn’t have been able to score as much funding from that arrangement (but that’s just an assumption).
I’m very happy that Mozilla exists and have some friends who have worked there, but I can’t say that 100% of their decisions value users and privacy above all else.
Its ironic seeing a company making questionable decisions being reported by someone getting paid for questionable reporting.
Mozilla has a very unique problem. It's most ardent and loyal users are technically savvy. They expect a high quality, privacy-respecting, ad-free product.
But, here's the catch, they will not pay for it. How does Mozilla survive?
Google finances Chrome through its Search/Ad business. Safari and IE costs are bundled in the cost of the devices/OS they are on.
How should Mozilla survive? Should they go the shareware route and have a paid copy for 20$ ?
They have to make money somehow.
Software freedom (the freedom to run, inspect, share, and modify published computer software) means we don't need to trust Mozilla's free software because we have permission to inspect the code to see what the software does, change the code if we don't like what the software does, distribute the improved software (or a verbatim copy at our choice) even commercially, and run the software anytime we wish for any reason. These principles place us in control of our computers to the extent we're willing and able to put in the work. We can even hire other people to do this work if we don't do the work ourselves.
Lunduke complained about incorporation and non-profit status but never articulated an argument explaining how these things are a problem. Around 7m53s he said this "doesn't make them [Mozilla] untrustworthy" leaving me wondering why this was brought up in the first place. He consistently mispronounced the word "Mozilla" as "Motzilla" (there's no "t" in their name), and directly contradicted his own thesis (around 6m30s) in neighboring sentences: "This is not an opinion on my part. I guess that my opinion is that they're not trustworthy based on these facts...". He did that again in his own ignorance of the terms "foundation" and "corporation" around 7m where he seemed to have a problem with the difference between what he read into the terms he didn't define versus what he described to be the case (thus vaguely complaining that Mozilla made money and published free software for hire). I think it comes down to not having a good argument to raise in the first place but feeling a need to say something about a situation he found irksome. But I think his disorganized view built on a non-issue is typical of the published reaction to this situation.
This entire kerfuffle comes off to me as manufacturing a controversy out of very little. The main beneficiaries of this indignance are the software proprietors -- organizations that make nonfree browsers you can't trust because you never really know what they're doing when those programs run.
It's telling that vanishingly little of the commentary on this situation brings people to understand what software freedom is or how its practical consequences read directly on this situation by explaining how the other programs to do the same job (mostly nonfree user-subjugating programs) are not alternatives at all because they don't respect a user's software freedom. It's not clear how this issue with Looking Glass (the Firefox add-on in question) rises to something more serious than a bungled PR effort and poor communication from Mozilla. Source code analysis shows that Looking Glass did nothing unless activated and that add-on was off by default; hardly something to get so worked up over and largely a purposefully-missed opportunity to teach people about software freedom.
There's no reason to limit this examination to web browsers. Justifying use of any nonfree browser in light of security problems hinges on trusting the proprietor (which you should never do) precisely because those programs are nonfree. Users don't have other information on which to make an informed decision and the information they have is inadequate to make an informed decision. These browsers are also published by known NSA partners. There's no good reason to defend switching to any nonfree program to do any job, particularly if you're going to have a discussion centered on privacy and security.
I see the lacking discussion on this topic as a consequence of pushing for "open source" instead of insisting on software freedom. Open source development methodology was founded to separate the ethics-based principles on which the free software movement is based (the free software movement is a social movement) from the practical outcome of software freedom -- lots of useful software -- while talking chiefly to businesses about the gratis programming labor those businesses can use. This approach purposefully skips past an ethical understanding of how to treat people with regard to computers. This approach requires talking at length about this situation without drawing users' attention to what software freedom is or how it matters. But there's no substance in that approach so proponents raise ill-formed non-issues (with a heavy dose of entitlement ("Mozilla has to prove to us that they are worthy of our usage") to make it seem like Mozilla has become a persistent problem instead of seeing a long-time free software publisher make a relatively minor communication mistake that posed no threat to Firefox users. Quite the contrary is the case: we can and should continue to run and build new programs on Mozilla's free software just as we do with any other free software. Thanking them for their work and not taking an entitled attitude is also right and proper.
When quantum came out I switched to dev edition to try it out, but I've had nothing but trouble. Page loads of local unbuilt code are 2-3x slower than chrome. Tabs crash with alarming regularity, especially after the most recent update. There is still no way to inspect websocket frames. Form inputs are black text on dark background with the dark theme of developer edition.
At least I can get CSS source maps working, which seems to be impossible in chrome these days. But really that's the only plus for a lot of negatives. I'd love to be using firefox instead of chrome, but after this most recent update I get several tab crashes a day and I've finally given up as it's become a hindrance to productivity. I wish it weren't so.
Something similar that noone has complained about are the Android version names which are promotional tie-ins: Kit Kat and Oreo. Mozilla's biggest screw up IMO was failing to disclose properly what was going on.
From what I recall, it wasn't paid-for either.
> we developed an unpaid collaboration to engage our users and viewers of the show in a new way
It was absolutely the wrong thing to do, but it's not like they stood nothing to gain from it.
Hackers gonna hack. In the “let’s build cool stuff because we can” way.
That was not the only issue
1. Failure to Disclose it before distribution
2. Failure to Properly name or provide any support context to the Add In.
3. Using the "Studies" System designed to improve the technology and advance the web browser for this Adware "Easter egg" not really an Easter egg addin
4. Failure to Publicly Comment about it until a full 72 hours after concerns were raised
5. Deleting and Hiding Bug Reports about the Addin in Bugzilla
6. Failure to adequately respond, apologize, or explain why and how the Studies system was used to distribute this Adware, There blog post so far is woefully inadequate.
7. Failure to disclose what steps are being taken immediately to ensure the Studies system is not abused in this manner in the future
Should I go on? There were many many many failures here, which are compounded by the many other failures Mozilla has had over the last few years.
Debian had to raise a storm over it and turned into a compile-time only option to not get the microphone listening plugin on your chromium install.
But every one of these things seems like legit issues that I'd like to see made an anomaly, and it's conceivable that if Mozilla isn't able to make it crystal clear that they know how to make things go that way, Chrome might well be the right choice.
I support Mozilla on Ideological grounds and it is said they are dropping their Ideology in favor of a pure commercial company.
Mischievous easter eggs don't really belong in commercial software anymore (with very careful exception) but the allure still exists. I can't fault the dev team too harshly for this lapse of judgement, especially since it sounds from their blog post that they've taken the backlash to heart.
It was just weird and it freaked me out until I heard everyone else was losing their mind over it. I just really don't get what they were thinking.