Mozilla revives Mozilla Labs
Veteran Firefox users may have fond memories of Mozilla Labs, an experimental platform for all things Firefox.
Projects like the Firefox Sync, the excellent Ubiquity or Prospector, Persona, Test Pilot, or Firefox Share were developed under the Mozilla Labs umbrella. Not all projects found their way into Firefox natively or were maintained after release; still, Mozilla Labs played an important part in Firefox development.
Mozilla ended support for Mozilla Labs in 2014; no new projects were released and the website was turned into an archive.
Fast forward to 2018. Mozilla relaunched Mozilla Labs, a place to "create, test, innovate, repeat". Point your browser to https://labs.mozilla.org to open the new Mozilla Labs website on the Internet. Mozilla made the decision to establish the reinstated Mozilla Labs on a new domain instead of resurrecting the now-archived copy of the old Mozilla Labs.
Interested users can browse the list of current projects on the "Explore" page. Projects focus on virtual reality, speech and voice, and the Internet of Things currently:
- Firefox Reality -- A version of the Firefox web browser made specifically for virtual reality environments.
- Firefox Listen -- A listen technology that is integrated in Pocket already; it turns text into speech when activated by the user.
- Common Voice -- A "voice donation" project to improve virtual assistants.
- Hubs by Mozilla -- Hubs by Mozilla is a Virtual Reality chatroom that is compatible with any VR headset and web browser. Users may join chatrooms or create custom ones.
- Project Things -- A Framework -- Things Framework -- that developers may use through the Web Thing API.
- WebXR Viewer -- An augmented reality viewer for the Web. It is available for Apple's iOS operating system only at this point in time.
- Spoke by Mozilla -- A tool to create virtual scenes by using 3D content from google Poly, Sketchfab and other sources.
The new Mozilla Labs focuses on projects in areas that go beyond the web browser. While some have Firefox in their name, only one of the projects is currently related to Firefox (Firefox Reality).
It appears that Mozilla reestablished Mozilla Labs for projects that are not Firefox-based. The organization uses Test Pilot projects to test new features that may find their way into the browser.
From the looks of it, Mozilla Labs is a place for non-Firefox based projects for the most part.
Now You: Should Mozilla focus on Firefox development? (via SÃ¶ren Hentzschel)
> Now You: Should Mozilla focus on Firefox development?
Wellâ€¦ I don’t think that’s the right question for this topic. ;-) Of course Mozilla should have *one* focus on the Firefox browser butâ€¦
1. Firefox is not a single product, Firefox is a brand: Firefox, Firefox Lite, Firefox for Fire TV, Firefox for Echo Show, Firefox Reality, Firefox ScreenshotGo, Firefox Screenshots, Firefox Send, Firefox Notes, Firefox Lockbox, Firefox Listen and more – that’s all Firefox and I am sure there will be more “Firefox”‘s in the future.
2. Different people work on different products. Working on these Labs projects doesn’t mean at all that there is no focus on the Firefox browser. To be honest, there is no relation at all between this new Labs website and the focus on the Firefox browser as product. Maybe the Firefox browser will benefit of one Labs project, but the Firefox browser won’t have any disadvantage because of the existence of these Labs projects.
3. Don’t forget that Mozilla is not only the developer of a browser, Mozilla is much more and Mozilla plays an important role for the web. The IoT, speech and reality markets are big and important markets in the future. Mozilla HAS to be a big player in these markets if you don’t want that companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Google control the future of the web. That’s why it’s so important that Mozilla does a lot in these areas. It doesn’t mean that today’s Firefox browser is not important. But Mozilla has to invest in these technologies today to be still relevant in a few years.
@Martin Brinkmann: Can you review Bedrock Linux and make guide on how to install, configure and use it on Ubuntu/Mint? so Ubuntu/Mint can have access to cutting-edge packages in Arch repos and AUR.
This is just a hunch on my part, but Bedrock Linux looks like it might be a potential can of worms — for non-expert Linux users at least — while it’s still in its early development stages.
Nothing will save them. They should have listened to the power users.
Picasso said one day “I don’t search, I find”.
My opinion is that a ‘Research & Development’ tank is not fitted for a browser unless to consider a browser expandable to far beyond its native purpose : if the idea of connecting a coffee machine to the computer via USB is pertinent then why not consider a browser as a secondary OS and fill it with all one’s imagination.
I’d rather consider Picasso’s approach when it comes to how developers intend to improve their browser. Picasso listened to life and found accordingly; in the same way developers listening to users, their needs for a browser’s fundamentals better fit, better accessible, improving those fundamentals and limiting their imagination to ‘better’ rather than to ‘more’, all in harmony with good sense rather than sensationalism .. seems to me the right way.
Mozilla Labs is more in the trend of “what could we possibly invent to take advantage of the latest technologies” and I perceive it accordingly : a gadget factory.
@Tom Hawach: you wrote “…..why not consider a browser as a secondary OS and fill it with all oneâ€™s imagination.”
Isn’t that what Google did with Chrome and the Chromebook?
No! ….It seems to me that Google filled it with the crushed privacy rights of all of humanity.
And the broken scarred souls of freedom lovers like me..LoL
You know like Microsoft, & Facebook.
“DO no Smarm!”
@Tom Hawack: “why not consider a browser as a secondary OS and fill it with all oneâ€™s imagination.”
They (along with all of the other major browser developers) are intentionally moving browsers in this very direction. Look at PWAs, Chromebooks, etc.
Personally, I strongly disagree that this is a desirable direction to take the web, but that’s certainly the direction they’re taking it.
“Mozilla HAS to be a big player in these markets if you donâ€™t want that companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Google control the future of the web.”
Big player! Surely you jest, more like a predictable minor irritant.
As long as the current’ ‘leaders’ are in place Mozilla is doomed.
One can only laugh at Baker and Beard preaching this victimhood crap when IN FACT they are bankrolled by one of the evil companies they’re so afraid of.
That would be GOOGLE.
The mozilla leadership celebrates it’s victim position and now that users are leaving their logic becomes “It is our human right to be successful… because only we save the world, everyone else is evil”
They forget one simple thing… People use products for the benefit they provide, not because of a political statement. Create an excellent product, and it stands for itself. Without a product, a company has no purpose, no matter what marketing says.
I guess you could say moz://a lost all their browser market relevance in a … wait for it … Blink ;)
Ahahahah And now they seek new business opportunities. Selling bananas would probably fit them. Wait, no, I would not buy a moz://a branded banana. Just like their browser comes with forced updates and telemetry, and all the useful features getting removed, the banana would probably not come with its peel, it would come in a box, locked, with a code, which you obtain by signing up for Pocket, completing a survey, after watching a couple of ads, to eat your paid banana. By the time you reach at it the damned thing’s expired!
@Yuliya: I am puzzled by you. You often make sensible comments, sometimes give good advice, but you also regularly criticise Mozilla heavily in regards of Firefox, but you continue to use the browser. Why not ditch Firefox? There are plenty of browsers for a myriad of users’ tastes out there
After 5 years of using Firefox, moz://a screwed it up in less than a year. They made it complete garbage, and borderline malware. I think it is however my duty to let people know what kind of company moz://a became, and what to expect from Firefox, which was once a decent product. And these are not things which you can see at a first sight, if it was not for CCleane I would have not noticed the presence of forced telemetry addons or how aggressively moz://a was pushing that crap on my PC. I would have been completely unaware of it, and many people probably still are unaware of these shady practices exhibited by this company. It was a complete incident that I opened CCleaner that day, I rarely open that program.
I stopped using Firefox with v63 being unable to disable updates. I uninstalled it from my computer. I have ESR52 portable used strictly, and rarely, for DownThemAll!. Otherwise I use Chromium.
Could you elaborate what role CCleaner played? Also, CCleaner was once a great program, but after Avast bought it, it has since went downhill, so I would hesitate to download CCleaner.
CKing123, in CCleaner there is a tab which shows you all the browser plugins and extensions. I opened that one and saw two new extensions in Fx, which Fx itself was not showing: “[email protected]” and “[email protected]”.
I am aware of how shady CCleaner became after Avast got their claws on Piriform. Initially I ran it in a VM, running LTSB2016, with no internet access, and the Fx installed there had those two extensions. After that I checked the host OS too, Windows 7, and ofcourse, those two addons were present here as well. I have no idea what they sent, and for how long they were there, I don’t try CCleaner every day, I mostly use it to clean stuff like clipboard, DNS cache, thumbnail cache before backup, etc; and they were stored in a folder called “features” which I was not including in my monthly manual backup of my profile folder, I always assumed that folder was empty and I was removing it. As soon as I was starting Fx, it would fetch those two pieces of malware first before even the UI would load up completely, or my one extension installed, uB0. Really nasty, since I can’t tell for sure how long this has been happening for, I’ll have to assume it has been the case since february 2018 when I switched to Fx 58 from ESR 52, hell knows what moz://a has stolen from me in that timeframe, at least I stopped using logins in Fx about a year and a half ago, so my passwords are safe.
Linux is not always more difficult…..I was using FFx 52ESR on my set-up & I
did not want it to update past 52.9….
99.9% of prgs in Linux go thru the Update manager
As does FFx….
So my answer to keeping 52ESR was to open Apt-Get & tell it to Not Update Firefox…
The hardest part was finding out what to do.
Who to ask..LoL
PS I replied to your Linux Qs in the Linux Mint Article.
“I think it is however my duty to let people know what kind of company moz://a became, and what to expect from Firefox”
My duty as well, Yuliya my beloved! That banana analogy is genius! /kiss/kiss
Lets celebrate the downfall of shady moz://a in advance! Hooray~~
wow. soooo @CHEF-KOCH how is dnscrpyt going?
DownThemAll also still works in:
(1) The latest version of Pale Moon. (Pale Moon is still my default browser because it still runs most of the extensions I love, whether as Firefox originals or Pale-Moon-hosted forks or workalikes. Unfortunately, an increasing number of sites no longer work in Pale Moon. I know nothing about Web design, but my hunch is that a whole bunch of Web designers are now coding exclusively for Google Chrome. Mozilla is playing catch-up to the extent it can and modern Firefox is mostly compatible with Chrome, and Microsoft finally threw in the towel and just “embraced” the Chrome engine. Whether the “extend and extinguish” part will follow is anyone’s guess. But for users of classic, highly customizable, highly extensible, user-controllable browsers, it’s *tough titty*. The dominant player has dictated the standards and all others must follow.)
(2) The latest version of Waterfox — or at least the extension installs and the toolbar buttons are present. (I installed Waterfox and loaded it up with as many of my favorite extensions as worked in it, but I’ve never taken it out for a sustained browsing session, so I don’t know whether it runs into as many non-working sites as Pale Moon does — or whether DownThemAll actually *works*, for that matter. For now, it’s just there as a fallback in case so many sites stop working in Pale Moon that sticking with it becomes nonviable.)
(3) The last pre-Quantum version of Tor Browser. (I have both that version and the current Quantum version of Tor Browser on my system.)
I still have the last pre-Quantum version of Firefox installed, too, with its own profile, but I never use it. And of course, I’ve done my best to sabotage automatic updating in my old Firefox and my old Tor Browser.
SIDEBAR: Recently, I asked myself when, exactly, computers started becoming less fun and more of a PITA. For me, it was when (1) Google began introducing dumbed-down, “new” versions of its services; (2) Microsoft introduced Windows 8; and (3) Firefox moved to the Australis interface. Quantum and WebExtensions were the coup de grÃ¢ce.
All the browsers your mentioned are using old Firefox engine(pre-Quantum). Pale Moon is using much more ancient engine(FF 28?). Web is always evolving but the engine stuck in the past, that’s the reason Pale Moon can’t open many websites now.
Well, it’s not entirely accurate to say that Pale Moon’s engine is ancient. Goanna forked from Gecko a while back, and it’s been independently developed and updated since then. (But yes, I believe it’s based on a pre-Australis Gecko engine and is being developed by a small team that cannot tackle the range of issues that a big and well-funded team like Mozilla’s can.)
The pertinent question to my mind is not whether Pale Moon’s engine is “ancient,” but what, or rather *who*, is driving the evolution of the Web? Where are new standards and protocols coming from? Are they imposed by Google and Facebook, with advisory input from Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix and no one else? I read a piece by the Electronic Frontier Foundation a while back that suggested *exactly that*, and that deplored that the more democratic and inclusive standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium were being supplanted.
Anyway, regardless of how it’s come about, I resent being pressured (and ultimately, I suspect, forced) to switch to a browser that’s not very customizable and extensible and (*especially*) whose tracking, data-mining, and profiling features are tedious, difficult, or impossible to defeat. And for what it’s worth, I view every single “new” version of Google’s various services that I’ve tried (Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Maps, etc.) as a distinct step *down* in speed and usability from the “old” versions. The difference is, the new versions won’t run (or run well) in “ancient” browsers, just in Google Chrome and its various emulators. There are even grumblings on the Net that Google is copying Microsoft’s playbook from when it was trying to crush Lotus 1-2-3. (“We’re not done till Lotus won’t run.”) If the grumblings are right, Google’s version would be, “We’re not done till Google won’t run [on other browsers].”
you can disable firefox updates.
you can disable firefox telemetry.
google tracks you in ways you can’t disable in chrome.
Realist, that’s the usual reply by Mozilla “fans”. Yes, you can if you go through about config, something your average user is unlikely to know exists and even less likely to know which flags to change or want to try after seeing the warning screen. For a company that pretends to be all about privacy that’s not how you should be doing it. Neither are all the other opt-outs and hidden privacy options.
a_realist, that’s absolutely false, my dear just CANNOT disable them. Did
you listen to her voice carefully?
Cinikal, you don’t have any idea on who I am do you? I am a *King*! here is just another tip of the iceberg about me! You’d better read it thrice!
@Chef-Koch I been around enough to know that you are no doubt many things however a king you are not. Am curious if you ever got around to try any of those online troll test I suggested a while back?!? Consensus does seem to point in that direction. Good luck to ya.
Cinikal, GAFA is not worse (probably better), they are too big too fail. I (and my love) just don’t trust the shady moz://a who pretends to be all about privacy and ask us for alms like a godamn fake beggar, which is so UGLY!!
Mozilla are fast becoming an irrelevance and these little experiments aren’t going to change that. The sad thing is that their downfall is mainly down to their dumb decisions and also doing the opposite of what they preach and pretend to care about. Some people still think of the Mozilla as the company of old who really did care about their users and their privacy. That Mozilla’s long dead.
You get the point, crambie dude! It should be only GAFA who really do care about users and their privacy at least for profit! They are immortal!
Mozilla should have listened to their loyal users instead of trying to turn Firefox into a Chrome-clone.
@slumbergod: a Chrome-clone? Please explain how Chrome’s customisation possibilities are on a par with Firefox.
“Please explain how Chromeâ€™s customisation possibilities are on a par with Firefox”
That’s easy, the Chrome Store.
A veritable Supermarket compared to the AMO corner store. (AllMostOut?)
@Stan: you are comparing apples with bananas, i.e. about:config with extensions. So, you have not answered the question.
AMO has very few useful Extensions and one can’t even preview those useless ill fitting skins anymore, copying Vivaldi’s theming option’s the best they’ve come up with.
Where’s the daily New Extension section? That’s right there isn’t one, I wonder why.
Jeez how many users want to fart about with, or even need to know of about:Config, less than 1%?
Fear not, sometime soon your heroic Cult will be nuking the last thing that gives users any choice, dissent will not be tolerated, they want complete CONTROL.
It’ll be a ‘security issue’.
Look up Context Graph, no doubt the name has been changed but, that’s what they’re up to.
@Stan: you can twist and turn the narrative whichever way you like, the fact remains that comparing apples with bananas, i.e. about:config settings with extensions, is NOT answering the question.
“AMO has very few useful Extensions …” is your opinion, not a statement of fact.
“… how many users want to fart about with, or even need to know of about:Config, less than 1%”
That %-age is your figure, but even if it is right, so what? The fact is that the configurability of Firefox through about:config is far superior to Chrome’s – Chrome does not offer that kind of detail.
As for your “sometime soon …” prediction, well that’s just what it is: a prediction.
In conclusion then, you have not answered my question to slumbergod. And you have not presented any facts to back up your subjective statements, which you are entitled to of course, but which you cannot present as facts because they simply aren’t.
Mozilla seems like a Google front, where google sends the most lazy devs. Firefox on mobile is getting chained to Google in every possible way. Thunderbird, Seamonkey are left stagnant. Mozilla Labs reopens and some tricky VR project fills the worktime of lazy devs, not good enough to be into Google Labs.
Mozilla Corporation doesn’t deserve its Open Source legacy.
Somebody fork firefox already, please!
There’s already a proper fork, Pale Moon and its younger brother, Basilisk.
I’m finding that a lot of the sites that no longer work for me in Pale Moon — maybe even *all* of them — *do* work in Basilisk. Unfortunately, Basilisk uses the Australis GUI and doesn’t support some of my favorite classic extensions. At least it seems to support more of them (or forks thereof) than Waterfox does. (This isn’t a shot at Waterfox. Basilisk seems to support more of *my* favorite extensions. It’s perfectly possible that Waterfox supports more classic extensions in the aggregate than Basilisk does — just not more of *mine*.)
Waterfox is great for compatibility on various systems.
Palemoon is great (even if devs go around blocking distros to include it in repositories)
…Basilisk, K-meleon, MyPal…
It’s true that Pale Moon’s developers don’t have an unblemished track record of “working and playing well with others,” including distro and repository packagers.
However, it’s in the default repositories of:
* Puppy Linux
* Gentoo Overlays
* TinyCore Linux
There are also two privately maintained supplemental Pale Moon repositories for both Debian and Ubuntu (I have no idea which is “better”), and one privately maintained supplemental Pale Moon repository for Fedora and CentOS. I’m going to guess that the Pale Moon packages in these repositories *probably* work fine in most distros based on those parent distros. (For example, the Ubuntu repositories probably work for regular Linux Mint, and the Debian repositories probably work for Linux Mint Debian Edition.)
And if the versions of Pale Moon in the repositories don’t work well for you or are too old, there’s a manual installation procedure outlined on Pale Moon’s site. Once that’s done, Pale Moon can be updated internally, same as in Windows (Pale Moon > Help > About Pale Moon > Check for Updates > proceed from there).
Although a significant and increasing number of websites/webpages no longer work in Pale Moon, it’s still too bad that it isn’t actively maintained in the default repositories of more distros. That said, installing and (especially) updating Pale Moon in Linux is easier and more convenient than what you have to do to get and maintain the most recent version of, e.g., FreeFileSync.
No, stop messing with Firefox and focus (get it? yeah, bad) on other stuff. There are enough fools out there screaming at giant hockey pucks and messing up their HVAC online because they can that Mozilla can come up with brand new ways to capitalize on connectivity.
No, they can’t, all the crap so called Tech companies are screwing with has been done over and over in different forms for a long time, it’s just bigger now. Tech romance days are done, consumer stuff has been commoditized or made trivial. Advertisers drive the “free” portion of the industry; that model’s too shallow for innovation. It’s comfy in the warm bubble. I haven’t seen anything new in at least a decade, just refinements of existing things.
For ideas, Mozilla should talk to people who don’t have, don’t care much about or at least don’t desperately depend on the internet. Find some willing nomads. Saamiware! Imagine a group of Mozillians inside the Arctic Circle. LOL!
Apparently, it is a) hosted on Heroku and b) broken. Heroku application error on /.
More useless garbage worth nothing. Instead of wasting money on useless REAL bloat, Mozilla should take that wasted money and put all their efforts in creating as many Webextension API to make Firefox again at least almost equally customizable again like it was possible with XUL extensions. Or even better, include advanced customization again inside the browser like it was possible between Firefox 20-28.
That the user has the option again for a real status bar, that it is possible to modify the UI layout the way the user wants it. Quantum offers only a limited amount of possibility. It is not even possible to make a navigation toolbar clone at the bottom of the browser window or join url field and tabs.
Firefox never lived from feature parity/feature closeness compared to Chrome, it lived from massive customization/choice. Something which Firefox Australis only offered partly anymore and Quantum almost is missing as a whole.
Nothing more to be said.
|| make Firefox again at least almost equally customizable again like it was possible with XUL extensions || Nothing more to be said.||
not really.. don’t stop to be different ! visit my Styled+ for Firefox project > https://byfrankell.webnode.com/
Thank you. Now make Ubiquity work in the new Firefox and we can be friends again and I can stop using awful-ass Chrome. Jaya Aza Raskin ki fookin’ Jaya!
Jesus that font looks terrible. It’s almost as ugly as Product/Google Sans