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Mozilla muses over open apps store but needs sharper focus

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Mozilla has begun circling its shaky, new age wagons around a web app store model that won't short change developers.

The open source browser maker said in a blog post yesterday that "core" to its hippy vision of the web was to support coders who develop apps and websites across the intertubes.

"Web developers are expressing interest in an app store model for the web that would enable them to get paid for their efforts without having to abandon web development in exchange for proprietary silos, each with their own programming language and SDK [software development kit], variable and sometimes opaque review processes, and limited reach," noted the organisation, which last week confirmed it was parting company with CEO John Lilly.

However, while Mozilla is preoccupied with keeping its coders happy, the outfit is losing even more credibility among its own supporters and erstwhile creators.

Firefox co-founder Blake Ross, who now works at Facebook, reportedly wrote on Quora that Mozilla had returned to its sheepish ways.

"I think the Mozilla Organisation has gradually reverted back to its old ways of being too timid, passive and consensus-driven to release breakthrough products quickly," he argued.

Indeed in recent months, Mozilla has been on something of a mercy dash across the web, not just by hanging on to the coat tails of Opera after it convinced European Union watchdogs to get Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from its Windows OS in the 27-bloc state, but also in a worthy effort to "build certain qualities into the human experience of the internet."

However, whether that kind of beatified proclamation will do Mozilla much good in the browser game where Google's Chrome is gaining more and more traction from not just people abandoning Internet Explorer, but also unhappy folk over at the Firefox ranch, remains to be seen.

Many of our readers have complained for months now about what they see as an increasingly bloated browser from Mozilla. Its lack of stability during sessions has also stuck in some people's craws.

Returning to Mozilla's open web app store musings, the org wants to "ensure the long-term health and vitality of the web as an incredibly open and accessible platform for innovation".

It's calling on a set of "high-level principles" including the exclusive hosting of web apps based upon HTML5, CSS and JavaScript among other open standards found in modern browsers to ward off the interoperability witch.

Mozilla wants to see cross-browser pollination with a web app shop, "level playing field" editorial, security and quality guidelines, more respect for individual privacy, and for such a store to be open and accessible to all-comers.

Before all of that of course, the org also needs to find a replacement for Lilly. Perhaps someone by the name of 'John Rocket' would better fit the bill. ®

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