Mot-clé - linutop

Fil des billets

mercredi 23 juillet 2008

The Firefox computer different shapes and sizes

The recent Firefox tablet post over at TechCrunch has caused quite some stir in the blogosphere. Truth is I have with me several "Firefox computers". I'll skip the obvious: my laptop (a MacBook Pro) is a Firefox computer! Firefox is the most important app for me and many of my friends. But there are many other computers that qualify as "Firefox computers", but with a different form factor than the usual laptop. Here is a short list:

N810, Linutop 2, eeePC, MacBook

N810, Linutop 2, eeePC, MacBook

Nokia Internet Tablet

The closest to what TechCrunch describes is the Nokia N810, here running Fennec. This is a very early stage version of what will be Firefox Mobile, but the Nokia 810 stock version already ships with a Mozilla-based browser called MicroB.

Fennec en français sur Nokia N810

Fennec in French running on a Nokia N810

eeePC and its competitors

A whole new range of low-cost laptops have been made possible by not running Windows. The eeePC is leading the movement. Here in France, it's sold with a 3G US+B key that enables it to get connected from pretty much everywhere. A aount of mine, which definitely does nto fall in the nerd category, has one, and she loves the ability to use Firefox and Thunderbird from her apartment in Paris and her house on the seaside without having to pay two DSL subscriptions. In this case, my aunt is a Linux user, without even knowing it!

Linutop: the always-on desktop

Linutop 2, now with Firefox 3

Linutop 2, now with Firefox 3

Another approach to the Firefox computer is to attach it to your TV to use it as a computer screen. The recently released Linutop 2.2 (press release, PDF format). One of the cool things about the Linutop is its very low power consumption (8W only) and lack of fan, which makes it totally quiet. The CPU of the Linutop 2 is an AMD Geode (x86) with 512MB of RAM, making it run Firefox 3 quite decently.

In a similar way, I already use a Mac Mini attached to my TV, and it rocks! I mostly run FrontRow (Media Center user interface) and Firefox on it, but it's not silent, uses a lot more energy, and because it has moving parts, is probably less reliable on the long term...

N810, eeePC, Linutop 2, MacBook, all running Mozilla-based browsers

N810, eeePC, Linutop 2, MacBook, all running Mozilla-based browsers

vendredi 7 mars 2008

En vrac

samedi 10 février 2007

Quote of the day: The Firefox Computer

The Firefox computer, by Toni Schneider, (CEO of the company that runs sounds very interesting to me (thanks Paul for the link):

I run a PC at home and a Mac on the road. Their respective operating systems just don’t get me very excited these days. The only thing I car about is that they run Firefox. That’s because my digital day is currently spent in the following apps: WordPress, Yahoo Mail, Bloglines, 30boxes and Google. And they all run perfectly well in Firefox. So as long as I can get to Firefox, I’m pretty much surrounded by everything I need for my work. (...) This leads me to the following conclusion: I want a Firefox computer. A nice, sleek, solid state notebook with a big screen that you open up and it just runs Firefox.

Toni would be pleased to see that such projects are actually on their way. One is a laptop, other are desktop solutions. After all, a Firefox computer makes only sense in a connected environment, at least for now[1].

  • The famous OLPC project is mostly a Firefox computer. It's an inexpensive, tough laptop (solid state, no moving parts such as a hard drive) running a derivative of Firefox.
  • Linutop, which first version is finalised in terms of hardware, and which needs more love in terms of software. [2] It currently runs Xubuntu, a derivative of Ubuntu with the the XFCE desktop environment. It runs Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, Abiword (for opening Word documents) and Gnumeric.
  • Easy_Gate, a Linux-based computer including a DSL modem running Firefox, which price is included in the monthly fee charged by French ISP Neuf Telecom.
  • I have been told of other similar projects, but have not seen them yet. Stay tuned!

Update: So, the idea is that when you travel, you need Internet Access so that your Firefox computer can deliver the services you need. But everybody has a computer these days: your friends, your parents, your company, the cybercafés... So what you actually need is just Firefox, and your bookmarks. This is exacty what is trying to solve the Region Ile-de-France, (Parisian region local government), who is going to distribute 175,000 USB keys to high school students. Open Source software will be put on the keys (such as Mozilla Firefox Portable Edition), Thunderbird and So basically, with such approach, any Internet-connected Windows PC becomes yours, provided that you carry with you your computing environment, stored on your USB key.

Of course, the next step is to store all your bookmarks in the cloud, and access it from any Web browser-enabled PC. For now, sites like, My.Yahoo and the Google Browser Sync Extension compete for offering such a service.


[1] We'll see how the upcoming versions of Firefox are going to address the off-line issue. This promises to be very interesting.

[2] Full Disclosure: I've been given one of these for testing.

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