Open Ballot: Does Mozilla think desktop Linux is dead?

Podcast

According to Internet News, Mozilla isn't including Linux in the platforms that will get initial support for their new web applications features. The reason given by some Mozilla developers: they need to focus on the platforms which provide the bulk of their users, which are Windows and Mac OS X.

The question is, if even Mozilla no longer see it as worth their while to support desktop Linux as a first class platform, is it finally time we give up on the dream of desktop Linux succeeding? Tell us what you think in the comments, and we'll discuss the responses in our infamous open ballot.

You should follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter


Your comments

Are Their Market Share Figures Correct?

I wonder where they get their market figures from - I'm only conjecturing, but roughly speaking Linux isn't that far behind OS/X (if you look at the conservative figures for Linux usage) and I'd think that a decent proportion of OS/X users use Safari, rather than FireFox. I'd also think a greater proportion of Linux users would use Firefox, so this may well make Linux usage comparable, if not greater than OS/X usage, surely?
Also, of those who don't, I'd think you'd be more likely to be able to tempt Linux away from a browser they had switched to (assuming Firefox is quite often selected as the default installed browser) than than you'd be able to tempt OS/X users away from Safari, which is (as far as I know) the default OS/X browser?

They should support Linux

Well, most distributions have Firefox as the default browser, so supporting it would be stupid, imo. Also, Linux users report a lot of bugs and patches for them, so I don't see why Mozilla shouldn't support Linux Desktop.

At least in the country where I live I've seen more people using Linux Desktop than OS X. And as the earlier commentator said, most OS X users use Safari. So what is the point for not supporting Linux Desktop?

Doesn't Mozilla believe in "Open source world" anymore?

Stating the Obvious

Chrome is now the number one browser. Internet Exploder is right behind and Firefox is lagging up the rear. Chrome is developed as quickly for Linux as the other platforms, so what gives with Mozilla?

Also, I have had Macs since February 16th of 1984 and I would never consider using Safari. There are several very important web sites that I use for commerce, banking, etc which are totally incompatible with Safari. Only people who are afraid they will break their precious Mac if they use a different browser are the ones using Safari.

Dangerous

I understand the cost of software development and how it can sky rocket when you talk cross-platform but, leaving Linux behind can be very dangerous to Mozilla. Firefox is my number one browser choice in Linux and Windows. Even if you develop for Windows, one of the best survival practices is to use a virtual machine for that. Linux Desktop is, today, by far, the best platform for software developers (of any platform).

I think they will find the right support at the right time.

Success?

How do we define the success of Linux on the Desktop? Microsoft pretty much has a monopoly on the OEMs, so I'm not holding my breath for Linux on everyone's desktop by default. However, Linux already has some very good adoption in many academic, government, and educational institutions.

Will Linux be the number one choice of the average-joe home user? Well, no, because the average-joe doesn't choose; they just accept what they're given, and they're keen to avoid anything exotic, because they don't have an IT department to help if it goes wrong. However, awareness of Linux is steadily increasing; I reckon you'd be hard-pressed to find someone under 35 with a more than average interest in technology that hasn't at least heard of Linux. Many would be interested in trying it, but aren't sure how to go about it.

Linux isn't going anywhere. For now, it'll probably remain a step or two behind Windows and MacOS when it comes to the home user's expectations. For anyone looking for something with a little more flexibility or tinkering power, though, Linux seems to be gaining plenty of interest.

And because Linux belongs to everyone, it's never going away, so it will always get better. Hurrah!

I don't care

I don't really care what other people think. I like using Linux on my desktop. I suppose the danger is that we would no longer have a web browser that is up to date enough to do things like internet shopping and banking, but fortunately there are enough people using Linux to make sure that will happen.

What else?

What open OS are we going to use on the desktop if not Linux? :S Windows and Apple aren't really any alternatives.

This is crazy

But I think Mozilla is trying to save some "bulk of their users" since they have a lot of problems compared with Chrome. I am still using Firefox on Linux and Windows because some applications are not updated and only Firefox is still supporting them, but as soon as I update them Firefox will be just another option sitting there in my desktop or maybe not.

Mozilla should start fixing those memory leak issues first then start talking BS. Ubuntu has Firefox as default browser I think with this hopefully next version switches to Chrome or something else.

I started to hate Firefox since 2010 , so yeah.. we will see how it goes focusing on windows users since Mac users don't even download it.

Adobe Flash stop developing for Linux and look at them, they are about to start crying with HTML5.

Maybe not the best thing to do...

As said in the previous comments, the Firefox's Linux user share shouldn't be that much different than the Mac User share (most of them use Safari?), so this might not be a step in the right direction.

But I still think that Mozilla & Firefox are one of the most open FOSS projects out there (Chrome is not so much about open-source and community, is more like an 'available-source' project).

But if they're working on a Linux version and it's release doesn't get out much later than the Windows and Mac versions, I guess that's OK.

I hope Mozilla doesn't quit on Linux, especially because we will see an increase in it's user base, as Mac and Windows get more and more 'iOS-ified' and many people won't like to live on such a wall gardened ecosystem.

Regarding Flash on Linux, as long as they maintain the current version, that's OK. It is getting more and more irrelevant...

Calm down dears!

The article doesn't say that Mozilla is back-pedalling on Firefox on Linux. What it actually says is that us Linux folks aren't going to get web apps store initially.

Personally I don't see that as being a big deal, I want FF to get smaller, faster and more secure - and fancy web apps are a great way (imho) of making the browser slower, fatter and more crackable.

That said, granted Apple has a larger share of the desktop in the US than it does here in the UK, (where I'm willing to bet that there's a lot more Linuxers than OS/X brethren), but globally I would have guessed OS/X to be more niche than Linux.

Perhaps this announcement has more to do with the perception that Linux users (like Android ones) won't pay for apps, so can be regarded as a poor sales prospect for a web app store. Windows, and more especially Mac, users are obviously swimming in spare cash! ;)

the BIG picture

I think the bigger issue is that desktop computing is slowly dying in favour of mobile computing with all the phones, tablets, ultrabooks, netbooks, notebooks, etc. in the market.

Power users cling to desktops because of the performance and flexibility. If Mozilla and others feel that targeting Android, Windows and iOS is better for them, then so be it. Desktop Linux is becoming even more niche than mobile Linux. I love Firefox but their 6 week dev cycle is crap and they STILL don't have tabs running separate processes.

Mozilla has lost its way and that's the sad part...

New enemy

Mozilla just made a very powerful enemy. The Linux users.

Is this

I have the feeling Mozilla moved away from being a group of enthusiastic developers into a giant "We-want-to-do-money-with-this-thing" cooperate. Seeing there crazy release cycles and recent decisions all points towards a big change in management, resp. in management strategies.

Unfortunately, it seems that this is a plague for many open source software projects. Java, Mozilla, Openoffice...

Interestingly, it seems that projects which gain a lot of attention in the MS Windows / OSX world seem to be compromised much faster. At one point or the other some of these "uebersmart" business people appear and claim they can make money out of what was a project of fun and joy before.

It's a bit like those projects went to deep into the dark side and finally got undermined buy the dark forces....

Well don't dance with the devil

mozilla is in trouble

mozilla is in trouble (Пиз№№№:?**!!!)

It's all about money

The bottom line is "How can we make a buck out of this?" In business terms you have put your resources into what will make the best return for your investment. That's the capitalist view. For me, I will use whatever is convenient and available. Firefox is still the business for me, but for how long?

Mozilla are losing their fight

A few years back it looked like FF would take the top spot in the browser wars eventually. Now it looks like they'll always be at least second. Chrome will be the big boy on the block and they might just feel they need to focus on the OSes that take the lion's share of the users.

I know it's not fair or nice, but it is a business after all. They have people to employ.

Mozilla just made a very powerful enemy. The Linux users.

I can't think of any pleasant or quasi-intelligent way to say this but I will try my best. Moronic statements like that is what makes people assume that Linux users are fanatics whom you should not care about. Stop making moronic statements, especially when both here and in the comments on the linked article people have stated that it is being worked on. It makes us all seem like an asinine group of circle jerks with our heads so far up our asses that we cant see whats going on around us.

Realistic view of the future

I don't know where do they get the numbers from.

For me it is clear since a long time that there won't be the year of the Linux Desktop. It will be a smooth transition because users use what those bring to them, who usually are called to fix their computer problems (being it family members, friends, children, ...). As those do migrate in masses and with caution (because migration effort depends on the applications the user used. The classic home user does not plan application usage in long-term. I started to continously migrate to open source and platform agnostic applications in 2005 or even earlier. When I finally switched operating system it was basically just switching the base and the new applications I was already using before on Windows.

I can see a step-by-step transission in application usage and also in operating system usage. Whoever I ask from my IT friends who know Linux, they tell me that there is less support required if they give Linux to their relatives and friends.

In any case - even with the increasing amount of Macs that are in use - requirements for platform independent solutions are rising. People and companies more and more desire independence from platforms (as they won't need to worry about the future) and so I am pretty sure those focus on platform agnostic browsers. If Mozilla cuts down supported platforms they will cut down themselves.

Que Sera Sera...

I don't really see the point discussing something like this that may or may not happen. And even if it does. So what? Isn't Firefox open source? Aside from the icons and brand-name (if I am not mistaken) everything else can be used by the community. Can't the geniuses from Mozilla learn from the mistakes of others? All they have to do is look at what happened to OpenOffice. Debian already uses the code under the name Iceweasel. How long do you thing that will take for the community to make a fork?
Also. Many of the Windows users dual-boot to one or more Linux distros along with their Windows installation. So having a cross platform browser is essential in order to have some constancy. If that is taken out of the equation then they will look somewhere else. I know I will.

Shades of Skype?

To be fair, I wouldn't know a web app if it bit me on the bus, so it doesn't directly affect me - at least not yet. However, when I see a project allowing their Linux version to slip behind the other platform versions, I'm reminded of the various proprietary apps that have gone the same way - and in my experience, the Linux version tended to remain a poor relation for a long time afterwards.

It would be a shame if Mozilla slipped down that slope, but as long as other browsers are being maintained, it needn't be a disaster. It would only become a disaster if there were no up-to-date browsers for Linux.

As for Linux on the desktop, I agree that it is a dream, or rather runs like one, and as far as I can tell it's been a roaring success for well over a decade. If Mozilla doesn't agree, then they'll have a few less users, fewer still disgruntled ex-users, and the world will still turn.

A push to Chrome

Sounds like somebody at Mozilla had a meeting and asked, "How can we push more users onto Chrome?"

First, insist on monthly releases with minimal improvement.

Second, break compatibility with add-ons in the monthly releases.

Third, who are these Linux-people, anyway?

Success - by what criteria ?

If the question is "is it finally time we give up on the dream of desktop Linux succeeding?" then I ask what is the criteria for 'success'.

Linux desktops may not be gaining in overall market share, but I believe that Linux desktops are still growing in absolute numbers.

Linux desktops may remain a niche market that appeals primarily to developers and power users, but so long as there is growth in absolute numbers of end users I consider it successful and healthy.

Enjoying the 'dream'. HDP

simplistic question

I'm a Linux user who depends upon Firefox at present, so Mozilla's commitment to Linux is a matter of concern to me.

... but really, does it mean that 'Mozilla think Desktop Linux is dead' just because Linux is not included in an initial release of certain new features?

It is possible, but I think there is no point jumping to such black conclusions about their possible motives. It would not surprise me if a fair number of Mozilla devs use Linux ...

What concerns me far more about Firefox nowadays is the speed of its release cycle, and the way in which it appears to be trying to compete with Chrome in certain respects.

Are they crazy?

According to mozilla's website, "The Mozilla project is a global community of people who believe that openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet. We have worked together since 1998 to ensure that the Internet is developed in a way that benefits everyone. We are best known for creating the Mozilla Firefox web browser." Linux is the only open operating system that along with FreeBSD has a large user community, many lines of code and IT'S OPEN! Mozilla says that they are "a global community of people who believe that openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet." If they stop supporting one of their platforms and act like linux is dead, then firefox is not and shouldn't be considered as open source and software which is FSF compilant. Linux users were believing in firefox's power. If Mozilla stops supporting them, then they will lose a large amount of users. LINUX IS NOT DEAD. Yes, Mozilla DESKTOP LINUX IS NOT DEAD. LINUX IS ALIVE.

Who Cares?

While the artical is a bit exaggerated the Firefox is already dying, there are plenty of faster browsers out there. The only thing I use Firefox for is the download Chromium. There are plenty more free software internet browsers. I don't think we need Firefox anymore.

Love Firefox

I think Mozilla is giving up way to soon on Linux. I want a traditional desktop with menus. That means when the time comes I will not be going to Windows 8. I had played with Linux years ago, and understood it was not ready for the causal user.

I have now loaded Zorin 5.2 core on my newest XP computer and it is great. Faster than Windows, uses less resources and has all the software you want already loaded. I only had to use the command line once, and that was to set a root password (an Ubuntu derivative, so root is locked). Everything else can be done from the desktop. I like the fact I have a lot of choices of OS and desktops. Vector is next on my older XP machine.

I can find a replacement for Firefox, there are many, but I would be disappointed. Watch for Microsoft and Apple to go back to their "locked in" vendor ways, and that will kill firefox once and for all. That will be to bad, it is still a great browser.

Abandon Mozilla then ! Linux is the future !

Abandon Mozilla then ! Linux is the future !
We dont need mozilla after all its browser isn't the best , i prefer chromium on linux.
They say they want to focus on windows and macosx ???
Try open 100 tabs on windows firefox and try the same on linux.
They suck ! Only their plugins are worthy , i hope chromium and opera create some plugins ( example: for accelerated download manager as downthemall)

Adobe and Mozilla should be ashamed

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
We can't accept links (unless you obfuscate them). You also need to negotiate the following CAPTCHA...

Username:   Password:
Create Account | About TuxRadar