Tristan Nitot, Mozilla: "Mozilla has not surrendered"

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Tristan Nitot, Mozilla Europe chief evangelist, seems a little lost. In the first meters of the visit of the new premises of Mozilla, in the ninth arrondissement of Paris, he suddenly changes his mind. "We'll start there instead. Imagine you are a developer community ... You go there, and ... "It accelerates to join her in no hurry, and arrive in" community space ".

If Nitot seemed a little lost us is that the space is impressive. 1100 m² in a former mansion ... "It was the place for the next 30 people who will join us. And you can stay in the community hall. "Places available? "A hundred, if one takes only chairs. "

"Thirty people next»

The new premises "did not cost so much" if one believes the spokesperson for one simple reason: "A part is a listed building, so we can not make any hole. "Hence the poles equipped with cameras and relatively unsightly wireless terminals in the middle of the room. "No choice," laughs Nitot.

Tristan Nitot, Mozilla: "Mozilla has not surrendered"

We obviously do not know the exact price, but the evangelist Mozilla Europe is not stingy with details on the goal: less cramped, organize events with the community, work on hackathons, promote exchanges with the developers of Mozilla ... and hire. "We have room for the next 30 people who will join us. "

Thirty, a little less than a hundred developers recruited in the coming days worldwide? This is the figure given by Tristan Nitot, but for 30 ... "It actually depends on where we are recruiting developers. If they are in other countries, they will not come to France, but if we find the best developers here, we have the space to accommodate them. "

One can easily imagine the important investment. The constraints related to the building have beautiful drive prices down - "It's not more expensive than other local neighborhood," he says - the area is popular and relocations are rarely sources of savings. The size of the premises is justified by the community in France more than in the twenty or already present employees (900 employees worldwide).

Yet it may well be one of the most active communities, it seemed that France was not part of emerging markets, primarily targeted by Mozilla with its mobile operating system development, Firefox OS. Change of strategy in relation to what we stated Nitot shortly after the presentation of the OS?

No third mobile OS

"When Firefox OS will be mounted range, it will make sense to come in markets such as Germany or France. For now, the course is kept in dynamic markets, "he corrected with a smile.

"My personal view is that there is no room for a third ecosystem vertical mobility. Look at the PC: there is 90% Windows, Mac to 8 or 9% and 1% Linux. It's expensive to develop applications on all three. Fortunately, there is the web! "

Mozilla does not deny this "personal vision" fail. Also the foundation she leaves Blackberry, Windows Phone, Ubuntu and other Tizen is cut to pieces to find out who has the right to be "the third OS" alongside iOS and Android, a place where Nitot judge that there is "no value to occupy."

This is not new: at Mozilla, we think web. Sitting at the table in the cafeteria self-service area at the intersection of the "zone employees" and "community area" Nitot catches a developer in the process. He holds a smartphone in hand.

Poor camera bill, sold in Turkey under brand operator wearing a tape "to disable the use of Android buttons". "This is a phone used by developers. It is a hundred euros. Much has been invested to turn our technology on a configuration like this. "

"It can run anywhere"

Two taps on the screen, a web page. It includes various indicators that demonstrate the ability of the web to interact fully with the hardware technologies.

GPS works - we know the location-recognition technology for a long time on Firefox - and all the features are accessible from a simple web page: accelerometer, battery status, Firefox OS notifications, vibrate, etc.

Ultimate: a link to install the local web application to use it offline. "That's the whole point of being based on web technologies: it will simply bookmark an application locally on Firefox OS. Mozilla has the right strategy because it is directly HTML5. So it can turn around. "

Still, the choice is not always the one made by the main application developers. It evokes the Facebook episode and its Android application, developed in HTML5 before a return on the native disaster. Nothing that really disturbs Nitot:

"You have to read the interview with Mark Zuckerberg carefully on this. True, he announced that Facebook has crashed and returns to the native. But it also recalls that it believes in HTML5, and these are the Facebook engineers who have not managed to develop well. But Facebook will return to HTML5. "

Anyway, Mozilla has invested heavily on Gecko, the rendering engine at the heart of Firefox and Firefox OS. Big subject, we quickly evokes the turning of an office - "This one is my office ... It's exactly the same as that of others. "We must say we wondered a little, the job announcement on Power raising fears for the future of Gecko.

Tristan Nitot, Mozilla: "Mozilla has not surrendered"

Rust "same niche as C ++, but for a new world"

We pass quickly on the issue, but stopped cafeteria is, again, a good time to put the issue. The evangelist Mozilla Europe stops us right away, reassuring: "Firefox, Firefox OS is Gecko. Much has been invested and it is not decided to abandon it. "

Dot the i "There are two things in this project: Rust and Servo. "Power, the rendering engine, then, and Rust, new programming language under development, that Mozilla would see replace C ++ if tests are conclusive and adoption.

The opportunity of a pike to Bill Gates: "Remember, he said that memory 640k enough for everyone. C ++ is a bit like that. This is a great language, and the example uses Gecko, but it's been that Mozilla wanted to imagine something else. "

Language reference, used by all major browsers. But we must admit that it was developed for machines from another time. In the context of a non-connected PC, where x86 reigned supreme, and where the processors only had a heart.

Since mobility is often synonymous with ARM and its different instruction sets, with multicore and permanent connection. "This raises huge security problems. Rust must respond to that: it's the same niche as C ++, but for a new world. "

"Then it's good to try to solve problems by creating a new language, but you still have to verify that the issues that we tried to answer are good. Servo So, it's a way to see if Rust holds up. I do not know if this will lead outside the experimental. What is certain is that if any of the results, it will be very long term. "

No roadmap therefore connects Firefox Servo assures us Nitot. As for Samsung's investment in the project rendering engine development, "Samsung should be called in where their interest," Nitot blink.

Ham and butter

For Mozilla, this is especially moving. The premises, a "super tool" made available to the French team shows. "We try to make things happen, to change the web is the platform in which it invests. But we remain pragmatic. "

Remain pragmatic and move things. We pass between a desktop and a briefcase routers and cables - the US teams are on site to help install, is locating in different rooms with the names "clichés" as "ham and butter."

Get things done when Mozilla has integrated Facebook - need I remind defiance of a lot of members of the open source community for the social network? - In his "Social API" in Firefox 17? Oh no, that's pragmatism.

"We are pragmatic. First, Facebook is really a web box. We may have great ideas, there is a time when they must correspond to something concrete, because we also want users. In this case, the API Social really brings something. "

A point is not hard to consent: even to change the browser to more social network Facebook now seems likely to interest most users daily. A form of life test for the Social API, for which he was "rather nice to have a social network with people."

"We work a lot on the issue of privacy in this API. This is not because we want to stick to the evolution of the web that has surrendered. "The new premises also reflects this duality. A room for the community, hackathons, openness. And a very Californian part, assumed startup in mind.

Tristan Nitot, Mozilla: "Mozilla has not surrendered"
"If we want to attract the best developers, we must offer them a pleasant living environment. They are susceptible. "We go down a flight of stairs to get to a local bike trend Bauhaus, a new cafeteria. A door closed for refurbishment. "We will have a gym, but we can not go down. It's not finished. "

"Reconciling users with advertising"

Seizing and assumed contrast. The same is striking in the dining gilding the wifi routers posts. Or in the cafeteria, where developers are free to use in a self-service bar, smartphone hacked by hand. We still talk a little in the cafeteria. Cookie advertising, among others.

"Oh, that one, I felt it coming," laughs Nitot. He quickly cites an Ovum study conducted in 11 countries , with a figure: 68% of respondents would choose not to be tracked if possible in the browser. "No one other than Mozilla can do this stuff, because it is not affiliated. "

So it's confirmed: Firefox will block third-party cookies that have not been previously activated by the user when visiting a site. "Like Safari, which is paradoxical, because at the time, no one yelled against Apple. "

"It is true that Safari on fixed Internet, it's nothing. But the market share is huge on mobile with iOS. Mobile, it is almost the norm to block third-party cookies. "A former president of IAB even validated the approach of Mozilla , said Nitot. "This is the best way to reconcile the users with advertising, because tracking today is not pretty-pretty. "

"The rest is fantasy, exaggeration. For example? Advertising will always well displayed. Google Analytics will not be blocked. If a user clicks, the cookie is no longer considered a third party. Mozilla does not consider himself a pub breaker.

That is the will to get things done. Pragmatism, combativeness. Mozilla will be many challenges, and the strategy to tangent or against the flow - launch a smartphone in emerging markets first - may be a failure.

It quickly evokes Thunderbird. Evacuated little information and only the community still seems to have a hand on the project outside the Gecko engine. We left it, the top of the monumental staircase. "I would put something that recalls the spirit Mozilla, like a sculpture. Perhaps Legos. "Mozilla did not complete its installation, but" has not surrendered. "

Images: all rights reserved - Mozilla