Interview: The future of Firefox

TR: Google Wave has impressed a lot of people – obviously including you – what is it about Wave that you like?

TN: It's innovative and I have a severe bias for innovation; I like it that they're discussing the programme in an open way and I love the fact that you will be able to run your own server which really, in my opinion, is a powerful way to promote a technology. It's good tech, it's exciting and you can run it yourself; and in this era of cloud computing the ability to run your own server is probably the new frontier.

TR: Do you think we will all be running our own servers some day?

TN: I hope that we are building a future where people will have options to stay in control of their own data, and having a server or sharing a hosted version of a service is the best way to remain in control of it.

I think Twitter is an amazing service, but extremely centralised but things like Laconica are decentralised and that is exciting because you can run your own service and control your own data.

TR: Obviously phones have become an increasingly important way in which people access the web - how do you ensure that Firefox is available for the mobile audience?

TN: The phone industry is changing and I hope it's going to keep changing. It still has origins that are strongly visible, but it's opening up and becoming more like the PC industry.

That's not to say I think the PC industry couldn't be more open, but with that you can decide what kind of app and which ISP you use, which web service you access – and these kind of things demonstrate the PC is a more open platform.

Phones, for a long while, have been about network operators saying they provide the best experience, but this is mostly marketing. What they do is provide everything; because they own the network they have access to the customer and because they offer bundling they can decide what kind of services you have on your phone.

TR: Something like Android is giving people an option to have more say in what apps they choose to use, but something like the Apple app store still limits choice on something like the browser…

TN: I agree – but we have to put things in perspective. I think the iPhone was a great step in the right direction two years ago and android is another step further in the right direction. Is Android the ultimate destination of the journey towards openness? I'd say no - but it's better than the iPhone and the iPhone was better than the walled gardens that came before.

And so the walls are crumbling, although part of them still remain. The iPhone had been helping that process for a while and now Android is helping and I think we can go even further. We are in process of opening up the mobile phone industry.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.