Firefox OS: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

where

相信不少人胡思亂想的時候,都曾問過自己這三個問題。似乎思考了這些問題後,人生就豁然開朗了。而自從參與 Firefox OS 專案以來,無論私下和朋友聊天,或在公開場合向別人介紹,總少不了面對各式各樣的疑問。讓我們以這三個基本問題為切入點,一起深入瞭解 Firefox OS 以及其背後的理念吧!

Firefox OS 是什麼

Firefox OS 是一個基於 Open Web 平台開發的行動作業系統。最初的代號為 “Boot to Gecko”。顧名思義,Firefox OS 使用了 Linux 核心,在裝置開機後執行一個基於 Gecko( Firefox 瀏覽器引擎)的執行環境。而其上的所有應用程式便透過標準的網頁技術來完成,這也代表著應用程式將能夠跨平台運行。

Firefox OS 是一個開放的作業系統,專案的原始碼從第一天起便公開在網路上,任何人都可以免費取得。同時開發過程均透過公開的郵件和 IRC 頻道進行討論,讓所有人都有機會參與專案。就平台本身而言,Firefox OS 提供開發者以更多的管道發佈他們的應用程式。除了可直接透過網址發佈外,開發者也能選擇發佈至 Marketplace。最重要的是,平台允許第三方建立自己的 Marketplace,讓其他廠商,特別是電信商能夠參與整個生態系。這樣開放的特性也是目前 Firefox OS 能夠獲得十多家廠商表態支持,甚至參與開發的原因。對於一般使用者,Firefox OS 的跨平台特性將使應用程式在不同裝置的使用體驗更趨一致,裝置間的資料轉換也不再是問題。

Firefox OS 的目的

2011年,美國行動裝置用戶使用應用程式的時間超越了 Web,顯示了原生應用程式已逐漸成為使用手機的主要媒介,對 Web 而言是一項警訊。相對於 Web 應用程式,原生應用程式不僅運行於封閉平台,其內容也受到特定廠商的層層管控。這些審核機制確實有助於改善平台上的使用者體驗,但因各種不明原因而被下架的應用程式大家也並不陌生。一旦這樣的平台壟斷了市場,我們所能接觸到的資訊將掌握在特定廠商手中。

過去 Mozilla 面對遭 IE 瀏覽器獨佔的網路平台,推出了 Firefox 瀏覽器,旨在提供使用者另一種選擇。有了一定的市佔做為基礎,便能影響市場並打破壟斷的局面。同時 Mozilla 也積極參與開放網路標準的制定,讓瀏覽器有一個共同的平台進行良性競爭。而 Firefox OS 一如當年的 Firefox 瀏覽器,是 Mozilla 面對目前行動裝置市場現況所提出的解決方案。

Firefox OS 的核心概念是”The Web is the platform”。Web 經過多年發展與努力,早已具備了跨平台的能力。而在 HTML5 與各種新興技術的幫助下,Web 平台無論在功能或效能上均取得了長足的進步,這點從網路上日趨複雜的應用來看更是毋庸置疑。推出 Firefox OS 不僅能讓 Web 平台更加健全,使其納入更多硬體相關操作與新技術進入標準,更是 Web 足以作為行動裝置平台的最佳證明。

Firefox OS 的未來?

第一眼見到 Firefox OS 手機的人普遍覺得介面不夠新穎,硬體乏善可陳,運行速度甚至有一點慢。但其實這樣的設定是現階段為了滿足新興市場對於平價智慧型手機的需求,而非 Firefox OS 或者 Web online casino 平台的限制。Firefox OS 的介面使用了網頁技術,使得客制化變得相當容易。而底層使用 Linux 核心,也讓系統易於移植。有了這樣的彈性,不難想像 Firefox OS 以後可能將以不同形式出現在各種裝置上。

無論將來會在什麼樣的裝置上運行,可以肯定的是,Firefox OS 將會持續改進,未來會有更多的功能和更好的效率。然而 Firefox OS 做為一個基於 Web 平台的作業系統,任何新功能的設計與實現,都必須以推動成為平台標準為前提。這是維持平台開放最重要的基礎。

雖然 Firefox OS 是第一個建立於 Open Web 的作業系統,但並不代表 Firefox OS 將是 Open Web 上唯一的作業系統,因此 Firefox OS 並非“Mozilla” Platform 或者“ Firefox ” Platform。從某個角度來看,Firefox OS 僅僅是基於 Open Web 的一個作業系統的實作,就如同我們現在有Firefox、Chrome、IE 等基於相同標準的瀏覽器。Mozilla 樂見其他廠商基於 Open Web推出其他作業系統,如此才能促進良性競爭,使用者才有機會選擇更好的產品。

結語

從各個層面來看,Firefox OS 都不同於現有的平台,而其中最重要的一點便是“開放”。Firefox OS 對開發者、使用者、電信商,以及生態系中的每一個角色開放。開放是 Mozilla 的核心價值,它造就了今天的網際網路,讓大家不再為平台間的相容性困擾,也毋需擔心網路的使用權受到侵害。今天在行動裝置上,我們正面臨著和過去相同的挑戰,期待 Firefox OS 的推出能將行動裝置平台帶入一個新的時代!

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