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Lessons from Firefox 3… A good read.

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A must read on lessons learnt from Firefox 3…

Firefox demonstrates the importance of having platforms that people are allowed to customize. That’s considered normal in desktop computers and servers, and few companies would dare to release a system that placed limits on the types of applications that could be installed. That isn’t the case, however, in cell phones. Google is trying to change that through its Android initiative and the pressure it has put on the FCC to force telcos to allow any phone to connect into their networks. Pushing the other direction is Apple, which though boasting the sexiest phone in existence, also backs a model where Jobs and company controls what is officially allowed onto their Apple-logoed creation (and given the money he gets from telcos for the privelege of shipping an iPhone, is likely to bar things like VoIP clients). As a developer, that’s something that concerns me.

Firefox shows that the open source community can challenge even pre-included (and undermines demands for less pre-inclusion among fans of antitrust, but that’s a discussion for another day). Firefox is fast approaching the level of Adobe’s PDF reader, something that few people get as part of a Windows machine, but practically everyone at some point downloads. Granted, there isn’t the “hook” that comes from the fact that you can’t read a PDF until you download that plugin, but if you notice the amount of coverage Firefox’s record download figures are getting across major news sites, it sure seems like Firefox doesn’t need that hook. It makes me wonder what the community could achieve if one Instant Messaging project could focus the energies of like-minded developers the way Firefox has.

Firefox also shows, at least to me, that the future does not lie in protocols unique to your products that you don’t tell anyone else about. The future, in my opinion, lies in companies that understand that computing is so ubiquitous that it demands open protocols. Products that do a good job of being reliable stewards of that principle end up building the key infrastructure that meets with explosive success upon release. Those that build closed systems, particularly those made by platform companies, end up ignored.

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Written by gooddealz

June 19, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Posted in News Only

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