Mozilla announced today that it has stopped the commercial development of the organization’s Firefox OS operating system at the end of July 2016.
The organization revealed in December 2015 that it made the decision to stop Firefox OS smartphone development and to concentrate on developing Firefox OS for connected devices instead.
Today’s announcement puts the brakes on that as well. The announcement recaps what transpired after Mozilla made the announcement back in December:
- Firefox OS development for smartphones was stopped, and the organization made the decision to look at opportunities to use Firefox OS “in the world of connected devices”.
- Firefox OS was moved to the Tier 3 platform at Mozilla. This meant that Firefox OS would be supported solely by other contributors and not Mozilla Platform Engineering resources. This is the same tier that Mozilla Thunderbird was moved to when Mozilla made the decision to de-prioritize it.
- Development on Firefox OS 2.6 continued for the time being largely because of Mozilla’s plans to explore other venues, and to provide commercial partners with a stable release.
- A Firefox OS Transition Project was launched to bring the B2G code to a stable end state to pass it on to the community as an open source project.
The Connected Devices team looked at Firefox OS, and came to the conclusion that its use was limited when the effort to maintain the project was taken into consideration. Also, Firefox OS TV was better suited to be run by a commercial partner and not by a Mozilla led team.
This meas that Firefox OS 2.6 was the last release of Firefox OS by Mozilla.
In the spring and summer of 2016 the Connected Devices team dug deeper into opportunities for Firefox OS. They concluded that Firefox OS TV was a project to be run by our commercial partner and not a project to be led by Mozilla. Further, Firefox OS was determined to not be sufficiently useful for ongoing Connected Devices work to justify the effort to maintain it. This meant that development of the Firefox OS stack was no longer a part of Connected Devices, or Mozilla at all. Firefox OS 2.6 would be the last release from Mozilla.
Mozilla is working on removing B2G-related code from mozilla-central. This has an impact on the Firefox OS community project as the community needs to maintain a fork of Gecko and use its own branch for development.
It remains to be seen if a community led project can maintain Firefox OS and develop it further.
Now You: Good decision or bad? What’s your take on the end of Firefox OS as a Mozilla driven project?