Dogfooding Firefox OS

Dogfooding is a term that’s been used in software development for as long as I’ve been involved in software development. The basic idea is that if the software maker uses his own software, then he is more likely to appreciate its strengths and weaknesses (and hopefully improve on those.)

For me, dogfooding is the only way to really understand a product. I have to use it and depend on it before it becomes deeply meaningful to me. So, in light of that sentiment, today I’m putting aside my high-end Samsung Android phone and moving to a b2g device as my primary phone.

dog food
Photo, titled “Dog Food“, shot by Flickr user Direz Zender, and used under a CC license.

For those of you in the Mozilla community who are already living full-time with Firefox OS, what’s working well for you? What’s not working well. What makes you miss your Android or iPhone? Are there any features that make you happy to be on Firefox OS instead?

17 thoughts on “Dogfooding Firefox OS

  1. For me:

    Speed specially after being on for a while
    No SSH client
    No Copy paste/Multitasking is not very useful
    Email client is not as nice as K9 (android)
    Hardware’s camera is terrible compared to what’s available on Android
    No good video conf. stuff that my friends would also use (ie skype or hangouts..)
    No push support (altought its there soon) – specially for irc notifications and the like.

    That’s about it. For regular tasks like texting and voice and stuff, weather, what not, it works ok.

      1. I have never ever used firefox sync, and I have allways used firefox as browser. I own a firefox os phone and the hardware is really bad but the OS is really nice. It has all what I need to do, just browse, chat and call.

  2. AGPS, by far. Navigation is one of those things that I use and need almost daily. I can put up with and understand other things being missing/crappy while FFOS is working through the first year or so of its life, but prompt GPS is the one feature that I feel I really need. Waiting many minutes for a GPS lock makes it unusable.

  3. – Keyboard is awful for SMS. The tie between language and keyboard type is a big error. I don’t change the keyboard when I change language. I use the same keyboard to write in English, German, French. I change keyboard when I write in Japanese. Language should be detected on-the-fly and should default to the language associated to a given contact (or to the common language to a group of people). Also completion shouldn’t change what I typed without me doing in action (I type correctly and the auto-correction who is on the wrong language completely garble the text; so I need to type correctly AND to overrule autocorrection for each word)
    – No (digital) zoom on camera, making it almost useless.
    – Impossible to turn an image (90°) in the gallery, annoying when we want to send it via Twitter.
    – No easy way to transfer data between phones when changing phone. (Lost my address book the last time). It should be easy and error-proof.

  4. I do not own a FirefoxOS device but here are a few things that keep me away from it:

    – Missing sync features: not only Firefox Sync (bookmarks etc) and tab sharing is needed but also sync for contacts! It would be great to have a secure (!) contacts web app (data all encrypted on the server side) with sync to FirefoxOS and also Android.
    – Usable access to ownCloud for music, photo, docs sync as well as notes. Even better would be something “like” ownCloud, made by Mozilla!

  5. Swype-like keyboard support would be a huge plus. But the main reason I’m not dogfooding a phone is because I’m on Verizon and no CDMA or LTE support makes it a non-starter.

  6. Upload to instagram would be nice (specially on the fireweb that have better camera), but unfortunately that’s not possible with their API and you risk having your account blocked if you use reverse engineered solutions :(

  7. Do you consider FxOS on high end hardware dogfooding? What device will you dogfood? I’m an on again off again ZTE dogfooder. Screen size and keyboard bugs are my main pain points. ZTE Camera isn’t dogfoodable, so I carry a second phone to shoot pictures, etc which leads to falling off the wagon.

    I’ve considered trying a Nexus 4 flashed with the latest to fix the screen size issue.

    1. If you’re used to high end hardware, then maybe it’s better to dogfood on high end hardware. That way you won’t be irritated by problems caused purely by the hardware cost (screen size, camera quality etc) that apply equally to competitors.

      I guess the ideal is to try a range of devices, possibly swapping them amoung developers.

  8. BTW, I would add one more thing which I would love to see for FxOS Dogfooding being possible … not throwing your users overboard. E.g., it is known for months that 1.2+ with Geeksphone Peak cannot connect to the cell network (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=909855) and nobody seemingly cares. There was no one developer taking any interest in the bug (apart from :hub marking it as a regression two months ago) That makes me really sad.

    I have been just buying for my wife Nexus 4 as a present (I wouldn’t dare to bother with FxOS yet) and I have to admit that I envied her phone which actually connect to the cell network. I was very enthusiastic about FxOS but I have to admit your inability to support a phone for more than four months smells more and more like a failure to me (and I don’t want to hear “It is not me, it’s him” between MoFo and Geeksphone … you are adults, you can talk one with another).

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