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Mozilla's Incredible Speech-To-Text Engine Is At Risk Following Layoffs

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  • #11
    Everybody needs to stop whining and grow up. How much did ANY of you pay for Firefox ever? That's what I thought. Nothing. And now you all bitch and moan about Mozilla and their questionable business plans, past, present and future.

    Face it. It's a Google world now. They are the ONLY company that has taken Linux and made usable, performant products for the masses. Android, ChromeOS and Chrome browser. Android may be fragmented but they're not Linux desktop fragmented. ChromeOS even less so. And EVERYONE now is basing their browser on the Chromium/Blink engine. Even Microsoft ditched Explorer/Mosaic for Chromium/Blink.

    Hell...Blink is a fork of Webkit which is used by Apple's Safari browser and Gnome Web formerly known as Epiphany.

    That leaves Firefox as the only major browser using Gecko now called Servo with Mozilla's move to Rust. EVERYONE else is on Webkit or the fork of Webkit called Blink which is Google/Chrome/Chromium/ChromeOS/Microsoft Edge/Brave Browser/Opera, etc, effing etc.

    Unix and Linux have been co-opted by the likes of Apple and Google to make fantastic consumer desktops and mobile devices and by extension have now taken over the open internet browser engines Webkit and its fork Blink to dictate have everything should be developed and rendered on the web. How can little Mozilla compete against the Apple/Google duopoly when no one paid a dime for Firefox ??


    • #12
      Originally posted by R41N3R View Post
      If they want to safe money, the management should show their goodwill first with reduzing their sallery. Maybe then they will think first before making stupid decisions.
      In my experience, it's fairly common for people to end up in management or CEO positions with a personality that deflects any blame. If any of the management involved feels that way, then why would they reduce their own salary? Surely they are in no way responsible for negative outcomes, only positive.

      I know someone who's business wasn't going too well at one point, and rather than compromise their own fairly nice lifestyle during that financially difficult time for the business, they instead felt it was best to layoff talent instead. Others who wanted to keep their jobs had to work harder but eventually burnt out with no additional compensation or gratitude for keeping the company afloat through that time, they left and were replaced quickly enough to repeat the cycle.

      People gotta work, so as long as there is enough supply, such management doesn't have to take accountability at the expense of others. That business is doing reasonably well now apparently last I heard, no clue if the staff are treated any better though.


      • #13
        The reliance on being paid by competitors have always seemed like a very risky business model to me. Personally, I believe that it's time to ask people to pay for the stuff they use. It doesn't have to be very much. I mean, if they really do have 250 million users, then how much does an average user have to pay per year in order for them to have a stable income?

        We need to figure this out somehow. I mean, it's great that we have non-profit and volunteer FOSS projects, but if we want commercial quality FOSS, then it has to be financed somehow.


        • #14
          Originally posted by Jumbotron View Post
          Everybody needs to stop whining and grow up. How much did ANY of you pay for Firefox ever?

          yadda yadda yadda
          Nice rewriting of history of Android by the way...

          So, what's your point?
          War is lost, we should stop complaining and submit to our Googapple overlords?
          Don't see them as what they want you to... They are wolves in savior clothes.
          And you are the flock.

          I agree on one point though with you, for almost all of the reasons you put there, FirefoxOS may have been the best worst strategical mistake of Mozilla since many years.

          Putting the voice recognition initiative in the fridge is a mistake this huge.


          • #15
            It's a real shame the marketshare and thus the revenue from the default-search-deals gone down that much. I'll never understand how someone that is not completely oblivious to the technical aspects of web/standards/foss could use a chromium-based browser in todays world.
            Mozilla still gets it's fair share in my yearly donations, but thats just a drop in the ocean if most people focus on the wrong "free" in "FOSS" :/


            • #16
              There are some good alternatives around, even better than DeepSpeech. Vosk for example supports 10 languages, works offline on Android and RPi with small 50Mb model and allows to configure grammar on the fly. Based on the testing I just did with Vosk, Mozilla DeepSpeech, Google Speech to Text and Microsoft Azure, I disagree with your arugment that SaaS has the best quality results.

              Mozilla DeepSpeech was definitely trailing the bleeding edge, but Vosk using the vosk-model-en-us-daanzu-20200328 model produces very accurate results even on uncommon words, similar in performance to Google & Microsoft (which has generally better formatting than Google's STT)

              Try it yourself:

              Google: See "Put Speech-to-Text into action" header

              Microsoft: See "Upload File"


              Had Mozilla provided 4x to 8x more GPU resources and more staff, then their STT would likely be competitive. Other small STT developers can iterate and test much faster due to having more hardware at their disposal.


              • #17
                I'd be bitterly disappointed if the Voice Recognition software goes in the re-organization. It is already excellent and is probably one of the best chances they have to make something that they can sell. Something like a yearly subscription service with a community level package, like Jetbrains has with a lot of their products.

                I really wish I knew how to make Firefox better. I switched back to it from Chrome once they got the password manager in as that was the killer app for me to switch to Chrome in the first place. Its never run as well as Chrome did on portables, it is a bit more heavy on the battery but beyond that I don't really see what Chrome offers.


                • #18
                  Originally posted by Jumbotron View Post
                  Face it. It's a Google world now. They are the ONLY company that has taken Linux and made usable, performant products for the masses. Android, ChromeOS and Chrome browser.
                  I'd rather say they used Linux to make platforms that are more invasive to our privacy than Windows ever was. Bringing Linux to the masses would've been bringing the philosophy that is associated with it along with it. Google hasn't done that, they have instead taken advantage of all the hard work people have done to create something George Orwell would never have dreamt of, and tell me I'm exaggerating.
                  Last edited by board; 23 August 2020, 06:40 AM.


                  • #19
                    Speed-to-Text is a nice add-on - it has it's important use cases. But for the typical computer usage it is not needed - and in some cases not wanted (which gets clearer with all this espionage devices).

                    Concerning Mozilla I had been saying for a long time that they want to commit suicide.
                    They had a first class browser doing what webmasters need in one click (conformant HTML/CSS/XML) - due to their terrific add-on system.
                    And suddenly they kicked it off - due to `security' (yes, sure ... in times of {CS}ME/PSP and OoOE madness THIS is THE problem - OK).
                    When they no longer cared for Thunderbird it keeps working - and taking care for it again ruined it completely (I guessed exactly that - and was very sorry for being right).
                    An E-Mail client used for business has to show the current number of unread messages - this was possible even in the 1990-ies.
                    But again they killed add-ons (incl. the important `FireTray' and left Thunderbird as worthless crap behind.
                    I am using 60.9.1 to keep up working ... and will soon look for alternatives for all three products: browser, mail client and calendar.

                    But this is the technical side - and people not working professionally (`the masses') would not care - and this is what all people in IT seem to aim at.
                    Google Chrome is trash - it is only suited for stupid browsing (and smartphones are not capable for more due to its tiny display and lack of an efficient input - yes, docking station may be a solution - but than you can use a real desktop ... with a real operating system - right?) and lacks e.g. current Unicode support (which may be in purpose to force special fonts which are needed for tracking ... to be fitter in advertisement and giving people the notion of saving time).

                    And when Mozilla started betraying their customers - with big news of spying, tracking and collecting personal data, the managers were not thrown out (in former times that was possible even for personal matters - currently it is not even important when betraying their customers).
                    This attitude did not change - and all people following these facts would not put money to Mozilla - in former times fund rising may be no problem.
                    Today nobody reading news would give money to those who did harm to them.
                    And to those implying another reality - Mozilla chose the way to get money (most of it from Google - though these info may be really outdated ...).

                    Mozilla had a real big share in the browser market - now it is vanishing ...
                    So people are aware of problems - and Mozilla's reaction was to make Firefox more like Chrome (so why not using the original than), ruining the SAA interface (the good old menu structure initiated in 1987 - Open, Quit etc.) and using this 3-dot/dash trashbox suited only for toy devices.
                    The old menu structure can be activated - but no longer easy as before.

                    So the bad feelings are really earned - not to mention final releases which has to get hot fixes before being able to use.
                    Sorry, but Mozilla seems doomed as Intel currently - but the latter may be back by lessons learnt as they have big pockets (and only than they may be welcomed by technical experts - it was too many lying about small percentage lost by mitigations - cough - benchmarking Linux with mitigations off while they did the slowing down by firmware - cough - 7 nm and even 5 nm soon - cough - 10 nm desktop at the beginning of 2020 - cough - most mitigations no longer necessary with Icelake - cough ...).
                    And the same did Mozilla - so trust is earnt - and the same is true for bad feelings.

                    Mozilla would have a chance when saying sorry like so many times before but this time meaning it.
                    Kicking off those managers who betrayed their customers, being true to their own goals, listening to customers (especially those working with IT in a professional way) and releasing products which can stand a real QA test.
                    And after all that - regaining a good share of happy customers who gained trust again - a fund rising may be reasonable and successful.

                    But in the current situation - when Mozilla staff not even answer questions - what do you think is the chance of people giving money to Mozilla?
                    And this is the fault of Mozilla as a company. When reading their goals people laugh as all know that those are no longer a priority - and Mozilla acted well against those for a long time now. Words are cheap - facts speak aloud.
                    In case of Mozilla I hear screaming. Maybe they should use their Speed-to-Text engine to understand what people need ...
                    so they may need this version 1.0 more than their customers ...


                    • #20
                      Originally posted by yariv View Post
                      The vast majority of Mozilla's revenues is (was?) from search contracts. When Mozilla started to concentrate on anti-ad features they essentially cut their own revenue stream. While as a user I appreciate the focus on privacy, it made no sense for Mozilla to kill their major source of income without having any alternative. I did wonder at the time what their secret plan is. Turns out, there was no secret plan.
                      Yeah, Brendan Eich had some ideas for revenue he then implemented in Brave. It looks like cancel culture is toxic somehow, at least for Mozilla: if you want a twitter-compatible manager you'll get someone who don't take any risk to win.