DRM and the Challenge of Serving Users

mitchell

Today at Mozilla we find ourselves at a difficult spot. We face a choice between a feature our users want and the degree to which that feature can be built to embody user control and privacy. Here’s why.

People want to watch video, including movies and TV shows. Browsers must provide the ability to watch video or the browser becomes less and less the tool users need. A number of content owners (in particular film and TV studios) require technical mechanisms to reduce the ways in which people can use that content, such as preventing people from making copies.  This technical mechanism is generally called “DRM” for “digital rights management.”  Browsers must implement DRM in a way that makes the content owners comfortable. Otherwise they won’t allow their content to be viewed through that browser.

The industry is on the cusp of a new mechanism for deploying DRM. (Until now, browsers have enabled DRM indirectly via Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight products.) The new version of DRM uses the acronyms “EME” and “CDM.” At Mozilla we think this new implementation contains the same deep flaws as the old system. It doesn’t strike the correct balance between protecting individual people and protecting digital content. The content providers require that a key part of the system be closed source, something that goes against Mozilla’s fundamental approach.

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América Móvil Launches Firefox OS Smartphones

Mozilla
Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire with Firefox OS launches in Mexico with América Móvil

Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire with Firefox OS launches in Mexico with América Móvil

We are excited to announce that América Móvil has become the fifth major operator to release Firefox OS smartphones. América Móvil Alcatel ONETOUCH FIRE devices are now available throughout Mexico through Telcel.  Mexico is the first country where América Móvil launches a Firefox OS device.

“With this launch, we will offer our users a new way of experiencing the possibilities that a smartphone has to offer, with affordable pricing and the experience of a Firefox OS operating system.  We are certain that this partnership with ALCATEL ONETOUCH and Mozilla will continue delivering more options to our users throughout the continent,” said Marco Quatorze, Director of Value Added Services, América Móvil – Telcel.

“We are pleased América Móvil is joining the Firefox OS ecosystem with this initial launch,” added Andreas Gal, Chief Technology Officer at Mozilla. “This partnership greatly expands the reach of Firefox OS and will help us bring an amazing experience to even more first time smartphone buyers.”

Available in 15 markets around the world, Firefox OS delivers performance, personalization and price to entry-level and midrange smartphones.  Firefox OS has all the things you need from a smartphone as well as the things you want like built-in social integration with Facebook and Twitter, HERE Maps with offline capabilities, much-loved features like the Firefox Web browser, the Firefox Marketplace and much more.

Firefox OS offers two ways to discover and utilize apps and content – the Firefox Marketplace and an adaptive app search that enables discovery and access to apps that users can instantly use once or download to keep. This innovative approach helps maximize data and storage usage.  The Firefox Marketplace includes popular apps such as Cut the Rope, Pinterest, TimeOut and YouTube, and relevant local and regional apps like Chilango, CNN Expansión, CNN Mexico, Despegar.com, Easytaxi, El Universal, M3, Media Tiempo and Quien.

For more information:

Love the open web? Now you can teach other people to love it too.

Erica Sackin

At Mozilla, we talk a lot about why the open web is important. We build open technology, and even advocate for certain policies that help keep the web open, interoperable, and ours.

But at a certain point we have to ask — if not enough people understand the way the web works, or why keeping it open is important, are we doing all that we can?

That’s why starting today, Mozilla is offering a series of four online courses designed to help everyone from formal educators to enthusiastic engineers learn how to teach the basic mechanics, culture and citizenship of the web.

The courses are peer-powered by P2PU, and are free, online, and open to anyone who wants to participate. You can sign up for one or take them all, and you can go at your own pace. It involves making things using Webmaker tools and connecting and learning with others. Much of the activity takes place in an online discussion forum, and we’ll also host weekly video hangouts and community calls for real-time networking and support.

Webmaker Training -- How to get involved

The courses cover:

  • basics of the web ecosystem;
  • developing educational resources;
  • open and participatory learning; and
  • how to connect with and leverage similar communities around the world.

The courses are designed to lead into Mozilla’s Maker Party — our annual campaign, from July to September, during which volunteers from all around the world throw parties to celebrate and teach basic web literacy skills. Last year there were over 1700 events in 331 cities around the world.

Web literacy is a focus on understanding the web from a holistic perspective, and includes more than just the basics of code. Things like understanding what a URL is, how a browser works, what online privacy and security mean, how to protect your data, how to work in the open and collaborate with others, etc. create a broader frame within which we can educate and empower more people to help protect the web as our largest publicly shared resource.

How does it work?

  • Mix and match. There are four different Webmaker Training modules to chose from. Each is a mini-course designed to help people teach and learn different aspects of Web Literacy. Take one, or take them all.
  • Hosted by our friendly Mozilla Webmaker training team. With help from our global community of mentors, Peer 2 Peer University, and a new platform.
  • Join live activities and get-togethers each week. Including a video session broadcast live on HOMAGO and archived on YouTube, and an open conference call to discuss the content and concepts.

Read the step-by-step details on how to participate.

Get involved:

ZTE Starts Sales of Open C Firefox OS Phone on eBay

Mozilla

OPEN C_eBAY_FINAL

ZTE announced today that sales of the ZTE Open C Firefox OS phone have started on eBay. Targeted at first time smartphone users and early adopters wanting to try out Firefox OS, the Open C offers a 3MP camera and 4-inch WVGA screen, and is the first commercially available phone running the latest version of Firefox OS.

Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies and offer all the things users expect from a smartphone like SMS, MMS, music, apps, maps with offline capabilities, social integration, and much-loved features like the Firefox Web browser.

The ZTE Open C will be the first phone with the latest update to Firefox OS, offering many new features including direct music player access from the lock screen or notifications bar and advanced Bluetooth sharing, allowing multiple files to be transferred simultaneously. Users can now navigate the phone quicker with smart folders which automatically arrange apps or app searches into categories, enhanced scrolling performance and faster system app (e.g. calendar, address book, camera) startup times.

The ZTE Open C Firefox OS smartphone, priced at US$99.99, is now available to eBay users in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, and many European countries. The phones won’t come preinstalled with any network specific apps or services and are unlocked global variants targeted at first time smartphone users and early adopters.

“We are pleased that ZTE is delivering another Firefox OS device, building on the success of the ZTE Open,” said Dr. Li Gong, Mozilla Chief Operating Officer. “The ZTE Open C is an amazing experience for first time smartphone buyers.”

“We’re excited that ZTE has again decided on debut its OPEN C on eBay,” said John Lin, CEO of eBay Greater China, “eBay, with its 145 million active buyers around the world, is uniquely positioned to help Chinese brands such as ZTE reach global consumers directly and expand worldwide.”

More information:

Mozilla Introduces the Most Customizable Firefox Ever with an Elegant New Design

Mozilla

Mozilla is a non-profit organization driven by the mission of promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. We work as a global community to build products like Firefox that embody the values of our mission and create more user control, flexibility and innovation on the Web.

In the nearly 10 years since we first launched Firefox, it has grown to be the trusted and most customizable browser of choice for half a billion people worldwide.

We reimagined and redesigned Firefox to reflect how you use the Web today and we are excited to introduce many features including an elegant and fun design, new menu, customization mode and an enhanced Firefox Sync service powered by Firefox Accounts.

The first thing you’ll notice in Firefox is the beautiful new design that makes it easy to focus on your Web content. The tabs are sleek and smooth to help you navigate the Web faster. It’s easy to see what tab you’re currently visiting and the other tabs fade into the background to be less of a distraction when you’re not using them.

The Firefox menu has moved to the right corner of the toolbar and puts all your browser controls in one place. The menu includes a “Customize” tool that transforms Firefox into a powerful customization mode where you can add or move any feature, service or add-on. This level of Firefox customization puts you in control of your Web experience and is unmatched by any other browser.

The new Firefox Sync service is a safe and easy way to take your Firefox everywhere. Firefox Sync gives you access to Awesome Bar browsing history, saved passwords, bookmarks, open tabs and form data across your computers and mobile Android devices. It is powered by Firefox Accounts and simplifies the setup and device syncing process.

We looked at every piece of Firefox and made everything more enjoyable and easier to use – even bookmarks. You can create bookmarks with a single click and manage them from the same place.

bookmark Check out just some of the new features below, and have fun making Firefox yours.

What’s New in Firefox:

  • Elegant New Design: Sleek new tabs and an overall modern look that makes it easier to experience the Web the way you want.
  • Customization Mode: Makes it easy for you to personalize your Web experience to access the features you use the most. You can easily drag and drop your favorite feature, tool or add-on in the menu or toolbar.
  • Firefox Menu: Includes popular browser controls, features and add-ons in one place to make it easier and faster to access them. The menu is completely customizable so you can edit or add features you use most.
  • Fun and Simple Bookmarks: You can create bookmarks with a single click and manage them from the same place.
  • Easy Access to Add-ons Manager: Firefox includes an Add-ons Manager you can access directly from the menu to help easily discover and install add-ons.
  • Enhanced Firefox Sync Powered by Firefox Accounts: Just create a Firefox Account and our sync feature makes it even easier to setup and add multiple devices with end-to-end encryption. Firefox Sync gives you access to Awesome Bar history, saved passwords, bookmarks, open tabs and form data across your computers and mobile Android devices.

Web Platform and Developer Tools:

  • WebRTC: Firefox supports WebRTC, which enables video calls and file sharing between browsers.
  • WebAPIs: There are now more than 30 Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs, which unlock more functionality and features in the Web platform.
  • asm.js and Emscripten: asm.js is a Mozilla-pioneered subset of JavaScript that can run at near-native speed for games and other performance-intensive applications. Specific asm.js optimizations in Firefox mean it currently runs asm.js-style code faster than any other browser. Using asm.js and Emscripten, we helped Epic Games and Unity add the Web as another export option to their hugely popular game engines without the need for plugins.
  • Web Audio API: With Web Audio API, developers can now build robust audio engines capable of new features like positional audio and support for effects such as reverb, which can create immersive audio experiences on the Web, which is especially important for game developers.
  • CSS Flexbox: The integration of CSS Flexbox in Firefox makes it easier for developers to build user interfaces that adapt to the size of the browser window or to create elastic layouts which adapt themselves to the font size. This is helpful when developers are trying to create a consistent user interface to their Website or Web app across desktop and mobile.
  • App Manager: Brings the Firefox Web developer tools to mobile app developers, simplifying mobile Web app development with live prototyping and debugging of apps on Firefox OS phones directly from the desktop.
  • Extension APIs: Developers using the Add-on SDK can now use the new button and toolbar APIs to easily integrate their add-on with Firefox’s new customizable toolbar.

For more information:

Firefox for Android is More Customizable Than Ever

Mozilla

Firefox for Android is now even more customizable with new home screen and sharing features that make it easier to get to your favorite Web content faster.

We’re introducing Firefox Accounts to power the enhanced Firefox Sync, so you can take your Firefox everywhere. Firefox Sync is easy to use and helps you quickly and safely synchronize all of your data including passwords, open tabs, form data, history and bookmarks between your computers and Android phones and tablets.

Firefox for Android - Sync

You can customize the swipeable History, Top Sites, Bookmarks and Reading List menu of home screen pages and choose which one appears as your default. Your chosen home screen page appears automatically when you open a new tab or start a new browsing session so you can get to your favorite sites faster. You can also hide the pages you don’t use regularly or hide them all for a completely clean new tab experience.

Firefox for Android - start page

Firefox for Android makes it easy to personalize and prioritize sharing content like articles, videos and images to the social sites you use most. Colorful icons now appear on the menu bar for your two top sharing services including Facebook, Twitter and your email to make it faster for you to share content with your friends and family.

Firefox for Android is now available in more than 30 languages with new languages coming soon.

More Information:

Mozilla CTO: Andreas Gal

Chris Beard

At Mozilla, our mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web and we do this by building trustworthy products and technology that give people more control over their online lives. Having a strong voice in the technology that underlies the Web platform and provides the foundation upon which the world builds products and services to bring that mission to life is critical.

Today, I am announcing the appointment of Andreas Gal as Mozilla’s new Chief Technology Officer.

Andreas is widely recognized as an authority on web technology and as a strong technical leader. He joined Mozilla over six years ago to apply his Ph.D. research to significantly advance the Javascript engine that powers Firefox with just-in-time compilation and since then has played key roles in virtually all of our major technology initiatives, including Firefox OS, Rust, Servo, pdf.js and Shumway.

Andreas will have responsibility for leading technical decision making, representing Mozilla externally on technology, and managing our R&D programs.  He will also continue to serve as VP Mobile as we continue to focus our efforts on delivering and scaling Firefox OS.

As our CTO, Andreas’ passion for technical excellence will help advance our mission and strengthen the open Web, and I look forward to working with him closely in his new role.

Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund Awards $134,000 to Eight Grantees Across Chattanooga and Kansas City

Mozilla

Today, Mozilla announced the eight projects in Chattanooga and Kansas City that will receive funds from the first round of the Gigabit Community Fund. The Fund, supported by NSF and part of the broader US Ignite initiative, is investing in organizations and projects that utilize gigabit technology to serve educational systems, support educators in and out of the classroom, and impact student learning. Grantees across the two cities will receive a total of $134,600 for a 12-week pilot period beginning Monday.

Grantees will utilize the awarded funds to build and pilot gigabit-enabled applications and associated curricula that have immediate, measurable impact on classrooms and informal learning organizations in Chattanooga and Kansas City. Through these pilot projects, Chattanooga and Kansas City will become living laboratories in which to study how these next-generation networks can impact education and workforce development.

“A web with unlimited connectivity has unlimited potential—and can mean digital access, inclusion, education and workforce opportunity for an entire city,” said Chris Lawrence, Senior Director of Mozilla Webmaker Community and Hive Learning Networks. “As the leading gigabit economies in the US, Kansas City and Chattanooga are uniquely positioned to explore these possibilities. We’re excited to see what the grantees create.”

Gigabit Community Fund Grantees

The following projects received grants between $5,000 and $30,000:

Chattanooga

  • Remote Audio Mixing / Chattanooga Music Resource Center–for a collaborative, cloud-based music education app to be piloted with the Chattanooga Public Library and with Barger Academy of Fine Arts, a local public elementary school.
  • Hyperlocal Hyperaudio / Hyperaudio–for a content remixing curriculum that uses locally produced content from partners including the Chattanooga Public Library, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Public Education Foundation, and the Chattanooga History Center.
  • Viditor / GeonCode–to pilot the launch of a new online video editor with digital art and design classes at Baylor School and at the Chattanooga Public Library’s teen center.

Kansas City

  • Gigabots / Big Bang–to bring connected devices to robotics and into classrooms to teach kids how to share innovation in collaborative ways.
  • 3D Multi-School Learning / aSTEAM Village–to utilize next gen telepresence technology to teach computer programming and video game design to students in a multi-school setting.
  • Project Bright Spots / The Lean Lab–to use the gig as a collaboration tool, by enabling community dialogue around specific experiences that highlight local innovation in education.
  • Augmented Reality / Bonner Springs Fire Dept.–for a specialized training system that equips first response trainees with Google Glass to share live video and real-time information during training and simulation scenarios.
  • Gigabit Cafe / Reconciliation Services–to deploy the first public test of the “Software Lending Library” to bring gigabit internet connectivity to Reconciliation Services’ clients and neighbors.

You can read more about these projects at the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund Website. These 12-week pilot programs will run from April 28 to July 18. The application period for the next round of Gigabit Community Fund grants begins on May 12, for projects that will run from July 7 to September 26.

Cultivating Hive Learning Communities

Grantees of the Gigabit Community Fund will also become founding members of Gigabit Hive Learning Communities in both cities. These local communities of practice will function as “living laboratories,” working and learning together around community-driven goals. They also join a growing global Hive network that includes New York City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto among others.

Members of the Gigabit Hive Learning Communities will participate in regular meet-ups and online forums, and through an openly networked approach, will share their planning, progress, lessons learned and best practices throughout and following the initial pilot period.

How to get involved:

Mozilla Moving Forward

mitchell

Mozilla finds itself in the midst of an unexpected leadership transition. Along with my fellow board members Reid Hoffman and Katharina Borchert, I am pleased to announce the next step in this transition: the appointment of Chris Beard to the Mozilla Corporation Board of Directors, and as our interim CEO.

We began exploring the idea of Chris joining the Board of Directors some months ago. Chris has been a Mozillian longer than most. He’s been actively involved with Mozilla since before we shipped Firefox 1.0, he’s guided and directed many of our innovative projects, and his vision and sense of Mozilla is equal to anyone’s. I have relied on his judgement and advice for nearly a decade. This is an excellent time for Chris to bring his understanding of Mozilla to the Board.

We have also appointed Chris as interim CEO. In this time of transition there is no better person to lead us. Chris has one of the clearest visions of how to take the Mozilla mission and turn it into programs and activities and product ideas that I have ever seen. In the early years at Mozilla he was responsible for leading the Mozilla product, marketing and innovation teams. More recently, Chris was our CMO, leading user, developer and community engagement activities globally, including the initial launches of Firefox on Android and Firefox OS at MWC. Chris is the right person to lead us through this time and he is a strong candidate for CEO.

Mozilla needs to act quickly and decisively. This is key for any leader at Mozilla, including our CEO, whether interim or otherwise. Chris’ experience and insight is highly aligned with our goals. We will continue to deliver Firefox OS to additional markets and form factors in 2014 as we demonstrate the unique user experiences that only the open Web can provide. We will continue to bring the richness and flexibility of the Web to Firefox users and will further integrate our services offerings.

The open Web and Mozilla are facing challenges that are very similar to those we faced when we first started Mozilla — centralized business models and technology with barriers to interoperability and new entrants. Today, online life is feature-rich, highly centralized and focused on a few giant organizations that exert control over almost all aspects of the experience. In this environment, there is a deep and urgent need for an open, exciting alternative that shows what the open Web brings to this setting.

Mozilla is building these kinds of alternatives for the world. It’s why we’re here. It’s why we gather together to focus on our shared mission and goals. We intend to use recent events as a catalyst to develop and expand Mozilla’s leadership. Appointing Chris as our interim CEO is a first step in this process. Next steps include a long-term plan for the CEO role, adding board members who can help Mozilla succeed and continuing our efforts to actively support each Mozillian to reach his or her full potential as a leader.

Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman

Firefox OS and Medic Mobile use the Web to Connect the World to Healthcare

Mozilla

At Mozilla, we are dedicated to putting the power of the Web in people’s hands in support of our mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. We’re pleased to announce today that we’re partnering with Medic Mobile, a leader in mHealth solutions for developing countries, to take that mission to the world’s most remote and underserved communities.

medic mobileMedic Mobile pioneered the use of feature phones and text messaging to connect remote communities to health care. Their technology tracks outbreaks, schedules maternal health visits, monitors medicine stock, and connects villages with hospitals. The organization works in 20 countries spanning Africa, Asia and Latin America, and supports Community Health Workers overseeing 5 million people.  Medic Mobile’s Hope Phones campaign, a cellphone recycling initiative, is one of many ways that the organization raises funds for new technology needed in the field.

Medic Mobile is the first community health app for Firefox OS and is now available in Firefox Marketplace. This early version allows health workers to document measles outbreaks from their phones, and more features will be added with future updates.

“We see harnessing the Web as our next big step, bringing location data, images, visualizations and analytics to the fingertips of Community Health Workers. Firefox OS is device-agnostic and provides a Web-based, low-cost platform for the developing world,” said Josh Nesbit, CEO of Medic Mobile.

“We look forward to expanding Medic Mobile’s reach through Firefox OS, and will continue pursuing regionalized and localized community apps like Medic Mobile that make the Web even more useful and relevant to people,” added Mary Ellen Muckerman, VP of Brand Strategy and Services at Mozilla.

We’re proud to partner with Medic Mobile, aligning our non-profit missions of using technology to change people’s lives.

For more information: