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08.14.20

It Was Mozilla — Not Google (or Chrome) — That Liberated the World Wide Web From MSIE Monoculture and O/S Vendor Lock-in, But Firefox is Likely Dying

Posted in DRM, Standard at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lot of people could not and would not leave Windows behind if it weren’t for Firefox

Panda/Firefox
It became fat like a Panda, not light like a Fox, as F for Freedom no longer matters

Summary: Mozilla’s attitude towards software freedom, privacy, and the most widely used free/libre operating system (O/S) isn’t helping the “protected media” (DRM) Fox because its biggest selling point is becoming outdated/irrelevant/neglected

THE FIREFOX Web browser is a very important piece of software. I first used it in 2004, after a colleague had recommended it to me. I installed it in S.u.S.E. and over time let it replace Konqueror and even more ancient browsers. Back then a lot of sites were inaccessible or barely accessible to me; multimedia features barely worked (think ancient MPlayer and no sites such as YouTube).

This morning someone sent me Mozilla is dead and Web browsers need to stop. I agree with the latter, not the former. Mozilla can still rescue/salvage itself.

“…we regret to see how Mozilla left out GNU/Linux on occasions (no cross-platform support, just Apple and Microsoft malware) despite the fact that GNU/Linux is the only mainstream operating system that typically preloads (bundles) Mozilla Firefox without asking for anything in return (like financial incentive).”I am very thankful for what Mozilla did to the World Wide Web. It really opened it up and in the early days it was open to many third-party developers, who contributed extensions (I even made a couple of themes for it myself). But that Mozilla is gone. Nowadays it’s spying while calling it “telemetry”, talking about justice while talking people down, outsourcing to Microsoft (GitHub) while bemoaning the closed Web, and hiring executives from Microsoft while talking to us about the harms of monopolies. Mozilla just isn’t consistent and sometimes it feels like it lacks a direction and inspiring message.

For a number of years we’ve followed Mozilla blogs very closely and promoted their messages; we regret to see how Mozilla left out GNU/Linux on occasions (no cross-platform support, just Apple and Microsoft malware) despite the fact that GNU/Linux is the only mainstream operating system that typically preloads (bundles) Mozilla Firefox without asking for anything in return (like financial incentive).

“This, we believe, is to do with a project’s leadership as in Mozilla they have more activists than engineers.”Learning about the Mozilla layoffs is painful, albeit somewhat predictable. It’s the second time in less than a year. Mozilla already divided its userbase (developers pool alike) by entering politics where there was no justifiable reason to. Canning XUL also alienated their most important fans: developers, not users. Maybe it thought that the most compelling reason for people to still choose Firefox was some shallow messaging, even in one’s newly-opened tabs. Free software is inherently political, but rarely does it shove politics right into people’s faces. This, we believe, is to do with a project’s leadership as in Mozilla they have more activists than engineers.

I wish Mozilla well, I hope Firefox will survive another decade (Gecko keeps us from complete monoculture) and I hope that Mozilla’s strategic mistakes will serve as a cautionary tale to Free software projects everywhere. See the following old posts of ours from 2014 as well as this one from February:

Keep safe, Mozilla, and keep wise. Charging people to use Firefox is a misguided strategy, as LibreOffice/TDF recently found out (and withdrew from). Making money isn’t unethical; you received billions from Google and paid millions to 'fat cat' executives. Don’t be the Linux Foundation.

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