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    I know I’m gonna get tarred and feathered for this, but I think this is a super smart business move on Mozilla’s part. They’re offering services that consumers need, based on open source, for money, so they can continue to develop their core product line, which is a fully open source browser.

    I know this will offend a lot of people’s anti-capitalist sensibilities, but until we can make the post materialist future into a reality, sizable development projects require money to thrive.

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      I’m anti-capitalist myself, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with supporting a non-profit organization like Mozilla. At the end of the day, we have to recognize the reality of the world we live in. Open source development costs money, and the alternative to funding it is corporate serfdom. I already donate to Mozilla, and I’ll happily pay for whatever service they offer to support them.

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        I know this will offend a lot of people’s anti-capitalist sensibilities, but until we can make the post materialist future into a reality, sizable development projects require money to thrive.

        I really don’t think that’s the issue most people are having: It’s rather the prospect that mozilla might want to turn firefox into a freemium product, which the name “Firefox Premium” kind of reminds one of. They claim that’s not what they want to do, but considering Mozilla’s history on some subjects, scepticism might just be warranted.

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          I really don’t think that’s the issue most people are having: It’s rather the prospect that mozilla might want to turn firefox into a freemium product, which the name “Firefox Premium” kind of reminds one of. They claim that’s not what they want to do, but considering Mozilla’s history on some subjects, scepticism might just be warranted.

          Let’s think through that for a moment, shall we? Is charging money for a web browser even plausible as a business model? I’d argue it isn’t, not even close.

          Sometimes I think that we as a community can’t see the forest for the trees, and I’d argue this may be one of those cases.

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            I’d argue it isn’t, not even close.

            Well yes, that’s exactly what people are worrying about ^^

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        Here’s the translation of the original transcript.

        Particularly interesting (own translation):

        t3n: How much of your income is currently derived from the search business and how much from Pocket?

        Approximately 90 percent comes from search.

        We want to make this clear: There is not plan to charge money for what is currently free. Therefore we will be offering a Subscriber-Service and a Premium-Level. The plan is to announce it in this [officially] year, towards autumn. Our goal is October.

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          There is already this url: https://premium.firefox.com/

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            Well this is confusing.

            It looks like the VPN service for Mozilla will be a white label of ProtonVPN at the same cost.

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              Not working for me :(

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                Define “not working”?

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                  That page doesn’t mention anything about premium.

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                    But the url is exitst. as a official subdomain of firefox.com, which is everything @jxy said.

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                      oh 😅

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                    redirects to the homepage

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                    What? 25 hours ago, when I visit that subdomain, I got an advert for a Firefox branded VPN service. I still do. Are they serving different content in different regions? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

                    What do you all see at this URL? https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/legal/terms/vpn/

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                  There’s already this url, too: https://donate.mozilla.org/

                  I guess we haven’t been using it enough? I’ve given them $10, once.. whoops.

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                    It seems clear from the number of people talking about pay-for browsers that this effort is poorly named.

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                      I don’t need any of these services, I got these covered in other ways already. What I would pay for would be a Patreon-like model where I could vote on features being implemented. Like fixing decade old bugs instead of becoming Mozilla Chromium over time.

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                        I also think bug bounty for Firefox would be a great thing to have, but Firefox Premium can coexist with that.

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                        As long as there is no Firefox phone, I am not interested. I need a full ecosystem that respects my privacy and Apple ecosystem is the closest.

                        I wonder if they can bring Firefox phone back. There is WebAssembly now, and that can be a game changer.

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                          That would be exciting.

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                            As far as i know the reason why firefox phone fail was not that it was too slow, but because they fail to take a significant market share. So webasm is likely to change nothing on the problem.

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                            This is a few sentences on a news site. More substantive analysis would be nice–and no news would be nicer.

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                              As I mentioned in my other comment, it’s not really official yet, but from an interview. I still think it’s worth posting, since firefox is a tool many here use and count on.

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                              I’m unsure of how I feel about this. On the one hand this triggers my free software sensibilities and instills a sense of anger at mozilla in me. On the other hand; mozilla needs cash and if people are willing to pay for a shiny version of firefox which underwrites all firefox development… I don’t see that as a problem. I think a wait and see approach appropriate here.

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                                There’s nothing anti-freedom about selling open-source software. As long as Mozilla makes it easy to run these hosted services yourself, I don’t particularly mind Mozilla selling hosting in order to make money.

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                                  The more I sit on these thoughts the more I don’t mind either, but there is a certain negative animal instinct reaction that I have to news like this.

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                                    A few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought much of this move. Now I get a flash of negative when reading news like this because of the ‘open core’ bullshit that many projects have adopted, where the base is FLOSS but a significant portion of functionality is proprietary stuff they bolt on and sell. I sure hope Mozilla doesn’t go in this direction with Firefox (e.g. it seems Google is trying to go down this road with Chrome now, with their recent ‘you only get decent adblock on the paid version’ move).

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                                      Certainly only time will tell, but I find it telling that no real efforts have been made to make an open source chrome competitor from a chromium base.

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                                        Where did the Mozilla source come from originally again, and who paid for it?

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                                          NETSCAPE ANNOUNCES PLANS TO MAKE NEXT-GENERATION COMMUNICATOR SOURCE CODE AVAILABLE FREE ON THE NET (1998)

                                          BOLD MOVE TO HARNESS CREATIVE POWER OF THOUSANDS OF INTERNET DEVELOPERS; COMPANY MAKES NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR AND COMMUNICATOR 4.0 IMMEDIATELY FREE FOR ALL USERS, SEEDING MARKET FOR ENTERPRISE AND NETCENTER BUSINESSES

                                          (edit: it’s from 1998, not 2002, whoops)

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                                            I think @friendlysock was trying to make a point—that IMO they should have been explicit about (if this was what they meant)—that Mozilla’s codebase originated from Netscape’s proprietary code and profit-seeking business model and structure, and so fears that Mozilla seeking new revenue streams may be a slippery slope to loss of the only credibly community-based browser may be premature.

                                            I would counterargue that money corrupting is so universal an outcome that Netscape’s original code dump should be seen as a fluke and a mark of desperation, and so it would be premature not to be concerned about that possibility. But obviously, we can’t actually know how this will turn out (if it even comes to fruition, Mozilla’s track record on delivering new products is… poor), and Mozilla being a non-profit is definitely a cause for confidence.

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                                              Oh, I’m tracking the conversation. :) Love that press release, though.

                                              I’m surprised that nobody has made a comparison to Google yet. Along the lines of “We trusted Google, and now see how that turned out.”

                                              I want to trust somebody, though. I’m ready. My relationship with Google has been over for years. …Granted, all my mail still goes to her place… That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get in bed with Mozilla, right?

                                              Of course, who I really trust are the tildes, and the gopherspace, and hacker collectives. But they’re .. still in school? Not ready to move in together? (I think I took this analogy as far as possible.)

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                                                Not quite where I was going with it, but I do like your point. :)

                                                The reason I brought it up was in response to hand-wringing about the community core thing: Mozilla was a fluke whereby the community and society got a massive gift subsidized by venture capitalists, investors, and shareholders. That being the case, the idea of a premium offering to defray expenses isn’t that big a deal–after all, the “commons” being fenced in was originally the property of ruthless capitalists who let hippies move in.

                                                A premium TempleOS or Linux offering or something would be much more objectionable to me.

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                                      I can’t claim that I have any inside knowledge, but what oozes out of discussions with Mozilla employees is that Mozilla is interested in entering the business of offering you a hosted service, which you may optionally run yourself. So, take this with appropriate salt.

                                      Given that Mozilla has tremendous operations that makes and effort in being open, I hope that this is the path they would go. I’m a huge fan of the “pay for a service” model, as long as I can inspect the service.

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                                        I agree. I think Mozilla should get into the services business. They make a product called Mozdef which I use at work and I would pay for if I could get a managed version.

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                                        I mean, human people giving them money means that they are then subject to market pressure in a way that their current business model prevents. I think it’s a good thing.

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                                          As opposed to right now, where they are not subject to any market pressure whatsoever?

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                                            I find their position unbelievably tenuous. Google could choose at any time to stop pumping money in there. I would much rather Mozilla seek opportunities to sell things of value to people, instead of trying for some kind of ad-based monetization.

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                                              Google could choose at any time to stop pumping money in there.

                                              This isn’t quite true. My understanding is that Mozilla actually auctions stuff like the default search engine and space on the new tab page, so if Google dropped out, they’d still get nearly as much money from Microsoft/Bing.

                                              However, that market is very, very shallow. After those two, I’m not sure who’s left—Yahoo!? I doubt DDG has the depth of pockets to fund Mozilla as well as their own business. I’m certainly in agreement that alternative revenue streams are highly desirable, and if you’re getting money from anywhere, having your users give it to you for a product at least aligns the incentives appropriately.

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                                                Fair enough. Still, though, the forbearance of tech Godzillas is a vanishingly thin reed to hang the future of the “open internet” on.

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                                                  so if Google dropped out, they’d still get nearly as much money from Microsoft/Bing

                                                  Provided their market share continues to be relevant, but it has been going down due to the prevalence of Blink-derived browsers.

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                                                  Ah, I misunderstood. I though you were saying their current business model was a good thing.

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                                                    Yeah, when I reread my original comment, it was definitely not clear.

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                                            I want to support mozilla / firefox

                                            But I don’t know if I need this :-)

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                                              If you don’t need this, don’t buy it. You can still donate, if you feel the urge.

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                                              Shouldn’t this just be called Mozilla Premium? Why include “Firefox” and confuse people with browser branding?

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                                                Because Firefox is a LOT more recognized name compared to Mozilla.

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                                                  Most several non technical person I know name firefox mozilla because on windows it is written mozilla firefox on the icon. Explanation: I’m french and in french the noun can come first or second at the difference of english.

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                                                This makes a lot of sense. Browser is already part of your TCB, so browser vendors are in a good position to offer other services requiring trust, such as VPN.

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                                                  I mean, honestly, I feel like they’d make more money if they just marketed their own VPN and Cloud Storage service, rather than marketing it as a premium web browser. The days of for-pay browsers are long, long gone, and even though it’s not a paid version of Firefox, the marketing is likely going to kill it.

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                                                    That’s exactly what they will do. The original source is pretty precise about that.