For me it is about the sixth All Hands in which I am invited and I have had the opportunity to participate in many meetings and to discover many things.
This time the motto was “Your life is your business. Not Ours.”
Mozilla’s 2019 plan is very clear: increase the number of users of various products, improve the performance on mobile and pay more attention to privacy.
One of the experimental projects to keep an eye on is definitely LockBox which is getting more and more interesting and now deserves to be tried.
Projects on which Mozilla wants to build more experiments and invest even more are on speech recognition (if you do not know voice.mozilla.org it’s now to find out), IoT and Mixed Reality (with Firefox Reality) along with Pocket.
Some additional details:
- The VR market is really very large and Mozilla is already present and is a leader thanks to Firefox Reality. Moreover, they are considering making a nightly that integrates Servo to get the best performances.
- Common Voice has a lot of community management issues and it is noticeable from participation that much is not enough. At the same time it is difficult to scale in monthly usage and even add new languages. Solutions are also being studied to automatically identify noise and unsuitable recordings. In addition I finally understood how the model built by machine learrning is structured, each user is a package divided by test/training/clarity and the sentences recorded are approved if they receive 2+ votes.
- DeepSpeech an interesting news for us geek is the plan to make a repository of examples for the various languages so you can use the project as developer.
- Firefox Listen and MozCast are experimental apps to study how users use applications with voice commands. To date, search for testers, https://bit.ly/speechbeta. These recognition technologies are based on commercial solutions because even if Mozilla has its technology it does not have enough data to train it.
- IoT is launching kits with pre-installed IoT, https://www.oddwires.com/iot-bus-thing-kit-for-Mozillas-things-gateway/. As an Italian group we are already studying for possible partnerships as well as events.
- Rust for 2018 was very important because with the new site and new resources that explain how to program and examples have increased users. Also interesting given of 140 people working on the language only 14 are from Mozilla. A percentage of 11.5% which shows that now is a project outside the Mozilla borders. In addition, the plan is to make it easier to manage large queues with other tools.
- For Wasm instead we have news about creating a polyfill to allow it to run on browsers that do not support it. For the future of Wasm, read here.
- The AV1 codec has an ever-increasing adoption as well as 30% better performance and performance compared to HEVC and other code.
- For MDN, new possibilities are being explored due to this year’s success, as well as the request for donations for the project.
- In the localization area we talk about making Firefox builds no longer by language, but with the possibility to change it in runtime. This way fewer things to fill out but it will also be easier to release updates for translations.
- New features are Android components, which are components to make your browser via Android widgets. Mozilla uses them to assemble the various mobile browsers, but it also opens up opportunities in the enterprise environment as well as training to learn how to make mobile apps.
How do I get back from this All Hands?
- Mozilla wants to focus on privacy but now it is clear that it is no longer interested in web literacy or digital literacy. This is a problem because these two factors go hand in hand.
- The 2019 plan is to make a community of developers, something missing from the days of Firefox OS and today to be competitive as well as going out from the name “you are just a browser” that Mozilla has today is a big step forward.
- The communities are returning to cover the part of promotion and experimentation only that not all the foundation is aware of it and this brings a (nice) problem.
- A lot of work to do in many areas. After all these years I know that all this will go to die, something will be slow and what will be followed perhaps will not have the success / investment it deserves. Usually when there is a community in between this thing changes and I will engage in this.
For the Italian community, on the other hand, it allowed us to take part in various meetings and gather information on some projects (many of these above) and prepare us for the next year with many things.
What should the community do?
The Reps program will publish another report, written by Edoardo, which contains many other information and visions from the program itself and I leave it to him to answer this question.
What can any volunteer or community do today? Definitely start studying all these mentioned projects, which although some technicians are easy to access and promote. Mozilla will continue to campaign and the Reps program is in all of this.