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    I have mixed feelings about Mozilla turning into an EFF-like organization, especially since their browser is one of the only things between us and further homogenizaton of web browsers/rendering engines (WebKit and Trident). Obviously more of this political activism would be good, but I’m afraid that the focus on mantaining Firefox and competing with Chrome would be weakened as more resources are put into activism.

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      Mozilla plans to ship WebRender (written in Rust for Servo) for Firefox in 2017, which will be amazing. Google created an entire site of articles and developer tools dedicated to fight jank, but all of them won’t be necessary for new Firefox. (They will be still necessary for Chrome.) I am not worrying about tech side of Firefox.

      On the other hand, market share of Firefox is continuing to decline, and I worry about marketing side of Firefox. Initial success of Firefox was marketing success as much as design success (and not tech success). But then I really don’t have any idea how to market Firefox. Would just letting people know about great tech behind Firefox be enough?

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        Actually Firefox market share has increased by around 4% since August: http://www.trymodern.com/article/1249/browser-market-share-november-2016

        Since the start of 2016 we’ve been heavily re-investing in Firefox and I think the fruits of that labour are starting to pay off (helped of course by IE’s plummet).

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          It is still declining on StatCounter: http://gs.statcounter.com/

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            NetMarketShare measures active daily users while Statcounter measures total web traffic. Both data points are valuable for different reasons. The statcounter decline (looks more like a flatline the past 3 months) could indicate Firefox is attracting more “regular” users as opposed to power users.

            Also there was a fair bit of controversy a couple years back about Statcounter’s methodologies.. not sure if they’ve addressed them or not since then.

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        We need more folks than EFF carrying the banner, this is true. But, that shouldn’t fall to Mozilla.

        This may be a slight to the folks at Mozilla, but I am increasingly concerned that they are losing their way. I haven’t worked there, I don’t know their internal structure or funding, but they’ve made some public decisions that make me uncomfortable:

        Mozilla deciding to sell out their users to monied publishers. What else would you call their final cave to support DRM? What else would that be? What about the introduction of paid ads based on your history in the new tab page (which you can remove, but how many do that one wonders)? Whatever the case may be, perhaps worse is that this seems to be working. Do you really trust an organization with almost half a billion in revenue to not sell you out?

        The entire Firefox OS and phone debacle. It is baffling to me that Mozilla would waste resources and engineering time making an operating system–one of the great tarpits of software engineering–especially when there were not one, not two, but three other companies with gigantic warchests trying to saturate the market. There was never any realistic hope that that project was going anywhere, and even its value as research seems questionable when it seemed to be “let’s just bolt a browser we already have onto a linux we already have”. What sort of innovation is that, really?

        The failure to make Firefox as good a browser as it could be. How long has it taken Firefox to get proper per-tab process sandboxing? How long has Chrome had it? What about HTML5 feature compliance? What about SVG rendering (compared to, of all things, IE)? I know there are a lot of good engineers there, but I kinda wonder if they’re getting brought into other non-Firefox projects or if they’re just stymied because the new Servo stuff is landing any time now so bugfixes and performance enhancements aren’t seen as fruitful to work on.

        Dropping official development support for Thunderbird. There’s the copout that the “community” is the one doing development now, but for key pieces of infrastructure and dependable basic tools that’s usually a good way to lose a nice thing. Worse, it’s a bellwether in my eyes about what’s going on over there: you see, Thunderbird isn’t a sexy piece of software, and it’s pretty gnarly between the inherent madness of everything involving email and the cruft of the windowing toolkit used to make it. It’s not easy to work on, probably, and it’s not nearly as fun as playing CADT with new programming languages or clever UI/UX or silly new HTML APIs. And so the fact that Mozilla isn’t able to field enough engineers who have either the competency or the interest in supporting it suggests that their priorities lie elsewhere.

        Lastly, the big elephant. The absolutely yuuuuge fuckup was the entire railroading of Eich, by both employees and the company leadership itself. For me–and I make no claims I’m correct or fair here, just that this is my opinion on the matter–that showed that the Mozilla had finally put politics over technical aptitude or competence. That showed to me that they had either brought in too many folks who were comfortable backstabbing their own or that they had brought in folks too willing to take up a witchhunt instead of ship good code. And for all that, what is Eich doing now? Hint: it’s not making the Web less commercial. Good going on that Mozillans.

        ~

        I have incomplete and doubtless at least slightly inaccurate information, but I’d much rather see Mozilla acting like stewards or doing novel R&D instead of chasing political objectives and funding, especially when they’ve already shown themselves to be willing to compromise on their mission.

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          We’ve definitely made a lot of mistakes in the past couple years. You have some valid points, while others I would not agree with at all. Some of your points I’ve written rebuttals for more times than I care to admit and have grown a bit tired of them, so I apologize if my replies seem terse.

          Mozilla deciding to sell out their users to monied publishers. What else would you call their final cave to support DRM? What else would that be? What about the introduction of paid ads based on your history in the new tab page (which you can remove, but how many do that one wonders)? Whatever the case may be, perhaps worse is that this seems to be working. Do you really trust an organization with almost half a billion in revenue to not sell you out?

          The point of directory tiles (ads) was to see if we could build a profitable ad network that didn’t rely on tracking anyone. It was meant to be an experiment, and the experiment failed (and even backfired). But fear not, directory tiles are no more.

          I think supporting DRM is a necessary evil. I’ll just link to a previous thread where I discussed this before: https://lobste.rs/s/jqxdc0/firefox_v46_security_hardening_some/comments/3ueanv#c_3ueanv

          I also want to specifically call out that one of Mozilla’s tenants is:
          Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial profit and public benefit is critical.

          From the Mozilla Manifesto.

          The entire Firefox OS and phone debacle. It is baffling to me that Mozilla would waste resources and engineering time making an operating system–one of the great tarpits of software engineering–especially when there were not one, not two, but three other companies with gigantic warchests trying to saturate the market. There was never any realistic hope that that project was going anywhere, and even its value as research seems questionable when it seemed to be “let’s just bolt a browser we already have onto a linux we already have”. What sort of innovation is that, really?

          The failure to make Firefox as good a browser as it could be. How long has it taken Firefox to get proper per-tab process sandboxing? How long has Chrome had it? What about HTML5 feature compliance? What about SVG rendering (compared to, of all things, IE)? I know there are a lot of good engineers there, but I kinda wonder if they’re getting brought into other non-Firefox projects or if they’re just stymied because the new Servo stuff is landing any time now so bugfixes and performance enhancements aren’t seen as fruitful to work on.

          I think these two points are related and I agree they are valid. In hindsight Firefox OS was a mistake, and instead we should have focused more on Firefox. But hindsight is 20/20. The good news is that Mozilla has admitted that, and now we are focusing on Firefox. I’ll direct you to a previous post I made on this topic: https://lobste.rs/s/t9kvj2/choose_firefox_now_later_you_wont_get/comments/c4ky8p#c_c4ky8p

          Dropping official development support for Thunderbird. There’s the copout that the “community” is the one doing development now, but for key pieces of infrastructure and dependable basic tools that’s usually a good way to lose a nice thing. Worse, it’s a bellwether in my eyes about what’s going on over there: you see, Thunderbird isn’t a sexy piece of software, and it’s pretty gnarly between the inherent madness of everything involving email and the cruft of the windowing toolkit used to make it. It’s not easy to work on, probably, and it’s not nearly as fun as playing CADT with new programming languages or clever UI/UX or silly new HTML APIs. And so the fact that Mozilla isn’t able to field enough engineers who have either the competency or the interest in supporting it suggests that their priorities lie elsewhere.

          I agree with the decision to drop Thunderbird, and yes our priorities absolutely lie elsewhere. It does not provide much benefit to Mozilla’s stated mission. I think any innovation in the space of desktop mail clients is not something Mozilla has any business being involved in. Fwiw, I still use Thunderbird as my daily mail client and have no complaints.

          Lastly, the big elephant. The absolutely yuuuuge fuckup was the entire railroading of Eich, by both employees and the company leadership itself. For me–and I make no claims I’m correct or fair here, just that this is my opinion on the matter–that showed that the Mozilla had finally put politics over technical aptitude or competence. That showed to me that they had either brought in too many folks who were comfortable backstabbing their own or that they had brought in folks too willing to take up a witchhunt instead of ship good code. And for all that, what is Eich doing now? Hint: it’s not making the Web less commercial. Good going on that Mozillans.

          While I was not present at any board meetings, I certainly got no sense that Mozilla leadership forced him out. While there were a handful of Mozilla employees that spoke out against him, what makes Mozilla such an awesome place to work is the ability to do that. I’d be much more concerned if employees weren’t allowed to speak their minds. At the end of the day neither of us know exactly what happened and we can choose to believe what we will. All I can say is that based on my view from the inside, I have no reason to disbelieve the fact that Eich left Mozilla under his own volition.

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            Thank you for your reply, and especially for the other things you’d linked.

            Part of the issue I think is also that, from where I’m sitting, it’s kinda hard to see beyond the Mozilla marketing and propaganda and the coverage of what you all do–least of all because the “Mozilla is the EFF of the Web! Libre software and freedom and rights and ponies and magic dust woohoo!” message that people seems to be receiving from you folks (or from your cheerleaders outside the org, more likely) kinda directly conflicts with things like having near half a billion in revenue or saying that you need to compromise the public benefit for commercial profit. We get the wrong impression about what you all do, and then when you don’t measure up to that impression folks grouse.

            Anyways, would you mind talking about what working at Mozilla is like? How large is it, where is it, how are projects decided and moved around on, that sort of thing. It’d be interesting to hear from somebody who actually works there.

            (for what it’s worth, I’d rather see Mozilla be more like the OpenBSD foundation than Canonical, but we live in an imperfect world)

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            Firefox OS actually made some sense to me. Google made the initial bet: the way the web is growing into an all-encompassing platform where people increasingly run most things as webapps (e.g. Gmail, not Outlook), why not just go all the way, and turn Chrome into Chrome OS? If Mozilla thought this had a chance of success, responding with Firefox OS makes sense to me. It’d not do that much good for Firefox to be an alternative to Chrome on Windows, macOS, or Linux, if the future of Chrome was ChromeOS, where Firefox had no alternative. So they looked into building one.

            In retrospect ChromeOS hasn’t taken off that much, but I’m not sure that was obvious, and I could easily imagine an alternate world where Mozilla ignored ChromeOS and then was caught flat-footed with no similar product (much like Microsoft missed the smartphone boat).

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              where Mozilla ignored ChromeOS and then was caught flat-footed with no similar product

              That’s the thing, though…other than perceived opportunities to dick-measure with other engineering companies, there’s no market pressure on Mozilla in the same sense that there is with a more standard company releasing a product. They don’t have to have their fingers in every pie that might come up, and should focus more. They don’t need to try and outgoogle Google.

              For what it’s worth, I think Microsoft “missing the smartphone boat” is similarly off-base thinking.

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                They don’t have to compete in a proper sense, right, but if somehow BrowserOS really did become the wave of the future, then imo it’d be important to have an alternative to the Chrome monoculture there too, just like it is on the desktop. Mostly I’m finding it not that hard to imagine them getting exactly the opposite criticism if a few things had turned out differently. If this had happened, I think people would be attacking Mozilla with the benefit of hindsight as being old-fashioned and backwards thinking: here they are still shipping only a desktop browser like some kind of last-decade chumps while everyone has moved to ChromeOS, and Mozilla can’t provide them an open-web alternative because the org was too old-fashioned and conservative to understand that they needed to make a FirefoxOS.

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            Worth noting Trident got turned into EdgeHTML, which will follow what WebKit does.

            […] Microsoft Edge matches ‘WebKit’ behaviors, not IE11 behaviors (any Edge-WebKit differences are bugs that we’re interested in fixing).

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                It’s on “us” to make sure that doesn’t happen, though. Make sure your code works in both Firefox and WebKit (i.e. Edge), and refuse to compromise when making estimates and delivering. That’s the least we can do as developers, and at least it leaves the door open for Firefox – if sites start rendering incorrectly in the browser, it won’t stand a chance at (re)gaining any of the market share.