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The internet needs our love (blog.mozilla.org)
134 points by headalgorithm 25 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 158 comments

This casual tone coming from Mozilla, in a year where they've laid off entire devisions of their business[1] seems a little out of touch. I think they have a lot of work to do in repairing their brand, and showing their core following that they can be trusted.

I think Mozilla might need a little bit of self-love.

[1] https://www.zdnet.com/article/mozilla-lays-off-250-employees...

Seems like the opposite honestly, their core following blows and can't be relied on to save them. Now that they're focusing on the times again Firefox is the best browser on Android for anyone who cares about a sane mobile ui or reliable core features like dark mode and ad-blocking. If it were up to the core audience we'd still be trapped on the desktop as the world gravitates more and more towards mobile.

Companies which are run for good intentions are often hard to work for, pay less etc. You can view it through the lense of employee as consumer - if people are likely to agree with the moral mission of the company, they're likely to be willing to work for less wages.

It's weirdly common and makes no sense to me this line of argument, I've seen independent newspapers attacked for paying less than (evil) big media companies. The devil pays well! That's the deal! Good guys can't/don't because they're trying to venture outside the huge raw capitalistic currents, and the employee-consumer effect. Ironically companies trying to do good which do pay well then get attacked for their profligacy with limited resources.

Underneath all this (especially on a still semi-elite tech site) I think a (societal) system with big problems pushing people into complicity creates a compulsion to attack anyone seemingly slightly nobler in their mission, in an to quash pervasive cognitive dissonance.

I find it really interesting as well. CEOs of large NGOs often get attacked for their 500k salaries, which is a senior SWE salary at a FAANG. I think it is because people just really hate hypocrites almost more than anything. If you plea the good cause, and you dare to deviate from that path, it's just a matter of time for the moral fashion to blow in your face. Another thing is that if you plea the good cause, you draw the ire of the people with an activist nature, while if you don't, you're just like all the others.

There's also this fun story [0], which was discussed here [1]. Fits nicely with Mozilla saying: "We’re here to prove that you can have an ethical tech business." Start by caring for your workers first, instead of giving pay raises to CEOs, under whose leadership the company's been struggling.

[0]: https://news.slashdot.org/story/20/09/23/1528219/firefox-usa...

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24563698&ref=hvper.com

I get the impression that Mozilla is a bloated organisation that's resting on goodwill it built up back when Firefox was a compelling user experience.

I think one of the main reasons anyone uses Firefox nowadays is because they believe in the mission and find good values alignment with a player that has more independence than Google.

With a constant string of red flags and negative press, I wonder what the next version of Mozilla will look like. Personally, I wouldn't bet on them surviving and thriving for much longer.

I feel a core part of the Firefox-using crowd vouch for it because they believe in the Mozilla mission from years back, and feel a strong value alignment with the company. I don't think they've got enough goodwill built up to ride things out forever.

Part of the problem here though is that there are exactly three meaningfully fully independent web browsers: Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Everything else is beholden to one of those three, nearly all of them Chrome. Making a browser engine is an unbelievably massive undertaking, and every browser that deviates from its upstream has two choices: deviate mostly cosmetically and add new features or remove unsavory features, or deviate substantially and be left thoroughly in the dust by the rapid pace of the living web. Google will make decisions that benefit them as the leading ad provider and data seller, Apple will make decisions that benefit them as a hardware and platform vendor, and Mozilla is left, regardless of their values, as the only browser vendor with decision-making power that isn't using their browser as a means to another business goal.

The real problem is though as always: users don't actually think very much about what browser they use. The vast majority of Google Chrome and Safari users don't use those browsers because of performance or features, they use them because that's the one they know about. Safari comes with your computer and Google pesters you to install Chrome at all times.

My point being: Mozilla does need to figure out a way to get people's attention, and IMO it should involve an expression of the values people associate with them, but it needs to stand to actually draw attention towards them and those values.

The browser is already made though. It would be possible for a motivated group to fork one of the existing browsers and start a new organization with refocused values around its further development. Of course, that really depends on someone, or a crowd, being sufficiently motivated by a new vision to bankroll the endeavour.

The crowd doesn't even have to be from somewhere new though. There could be a scenario where current Firefox developers suddenly revolt against their managers and say that they're going to create a new worker-coorperative independent of Mozilla. The managers can't really control them because the source code isn't really their "own". The new org would still have to change their logo and branding since Firefox is still trademarked, and they would have to rebuild their testing/CI infrastructure. They would also have to find new sources of revenue; will donations be enough?

I pledge that if that happens I will donate $1000 to that entity.

Personally, I use it because it’s privacy focused/not run by Google, and Safari has this weird issue where it will hang the UI thread of the computer itself (is freeze mouse) when one has lots of tabs open.

AFAIK, they still have those privacy centric values, and have been working on a number of projects in that vein.

Often CEOS don’t know when to quit. I don’t mean they aren’t competent, but they simply aren’t the right one for the job and they don’t want to leave, or unable to change their ways.

I really wish Firefox the best but even though I love their blogs and how they communicate, their branding needs adaption as well recapture the hearts of developers and the crowd.

The CEO might know that they’re not doing great, but has a personal incentive to continue extracting value from their extremely lucrative position. When executives are overpaid, and the employees are being let go, the board needs to step in and sort things out.

Keep in mind that the current CEO has been in that role for less than a year. The previous CEO led Mozilla from 2014 through 2019.



(Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla)

Sorry for a somewhat late reply. It’s interesting because on the whole that was the time I feel Firefox started a slow descent (with a few upticks here and there, like Quantum) . I have been an avid FF user since at least a decade.

I mean Firefox has been “there” , but it has and is on a knifes edge when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of developers (now on chrom/ium) and the regular user.

I remember a real buzz after the demise of IE and and uptick in the early part of the decade.

While I love the FF blogs and privacy work you’ve been doing, it’s hard to get the non user back into the fold.

What I hope to see is a more involved model like Blender. Developers are missing features with the devtools is what I hear most when they dont or can’t switch.

For users, it’s different, I have now installed FF for a lot of people, but they often don’t even know they have choice beyond what was installed (Safari, Chrome, Edge) A more incentive based campaign might be great here, show how FF does thing better in many ways.

Is there not a corporate version of 'imma pay you $100 to f*ck off' for removing these kind of CEOs?

It's called a Golden Parachute.

You say "back when" but Firefox has a very compelling user experience today. It's extremely fast since the Quantum update, and the anti-tracking features and lack of Google-login nonsense make it a much more pleasant experience than Chrome.

Firefox is fast, don't get me wrong, but with usage dropping every month it clearly isn't compelling people to use it like it once did. The demographic of Firefox users is constantly shrinking with no sign of things picking back up again.

But is that just a sign that nobody can compete with Google's marketing behemoth?

I'm not sure what people want Mozilla to do. They've built a technically outstanding browser, but they don't control the top two domains on the internet to push everyone to use it. And there's a vicious cycle where webdevs only test in Chrome, so sites only work properly in Chrome, so people only want to use Chrome. We've seen this before with Internet Explorer, and the only thing that killed IE was Microsoft getting bored with developing it.

The only thing I could imagine helping their usage stats would be entering some kind of partnership with Apple to replace the laggard Safari with Firefox on Apple devices.

>I get the impression that Mozilla is a bloated organisation that's resting on goodwill it built up back when Firefox was a compelling user experience.

Great observation. Viewing it through a business lens, their competitors caught up to them and offer a better product, meanwhile they have not kept up with them and have no compelling, competing product to offer.

FF used to be great because the alternatives were garbage. Then Chrome came out, and outmaneuvered FF in many business and technical ways.

Yes - I know dear reader. The way FF handles 3000 tabs at once is superior to Chrome. The market has already spoken on such topics.

They have no competitor, their product is a fully featured open source browser.

Does advertising on the Google homepage count as a business way?

Main reason: uBlock Origin

Yeah, as Firefox growth it attracted people too focused on their monthly bonuses instead of sharing the freedom ideals of their user base, the CEO should be someone like Linus Torvalds or Jeremy Hordward, but still getting business people in the team (e.g. the CFO) but never letting them be the majority of decision makers.

I get the intuition re CEO pay raises too, but in the market for CEOs you've got to be competitive, right? If you're offering considerably less than market, you aren't going to get top talent. And imagining hiring a CEO, I'd be worried about that.

I'm sure Mozilla gets a benefit from being not-evil in that they can successfully pay a little less, but I'm also sure it's not all that big a benefit.

You can put together a competitive package to attract talent but there's no reason to be offering the current CEO and board more money whilst FF market share & revenue is declining & are having to make huge redundancies. Their pay should be tied to their performance otherwise Mozilla looks like they're being run by fat cats exploiting a sinking ship which IMO is hurting their brand as a pure non-profit organization worth rallying behind.

The only way Mozilla is going to remain relevant is through better products which are only going to be created by a highly talented technical team, laying them off whilst paying the people more who laid them off & led FF's multi-year downturn isn't going to reverse their trajectory.

I'd prefer more messaging around a renewed focus + leadership team before any PR marketing campaigns.

I'm not certain about if mozilla needs a CEO that picks the job because it is well paid. Maybe a decent pay and a meaningful mission is a better way to get a well fitting CEO, when the company's goal is not to maximize profit.

I have an article in my personal wiki titled "How to Unfuck Firefox". It contains a list of the broken default behavior, workarounds, and long-standing unfixed bugs that have caused me great pain over the last decade.

It is thus ironic in the extreme that Mozilla is spending time and money on a campaign called "Unfuck the Internet" at a time that they're coming under fire for squandering their financial resources on CEO pay and pet projects instead of focusing their efforts on disrupting the Chrome/Webkit monopoly.

I think it's gross to pay the CEO a high salary if you're asking people for donations, but Mozilla isn't; they're self-funded. So if they want to blow all that money on their CEO, I guess it's their call.

sure as hell keeps me from funding them though. We don't need more overpaid CEOs.

Companies need good CEOs to lead them in a good direction, and good CEOs want money.

I'm sure people would care far less about ceo pay if they felt Firefox was headed in a good direction

Yet somehow it seems like Mozilla is going in a worse direction than ever.

You're not wrong, but the contention here is that bad CEOs also want money and by all metrics, the Mozilla ship is going in the wrong direction.


They are asking for donations.

The foundation is, but I think the high CEO pay is paid for from the corporation's budget, which is self-funded.

The current CEO used to be head of the foundation and board, so she was receiving $1M+ a year already, paid with those donations.

It says "paid only by related for-profit".

Oh right, thanks!

can you please link said article directly? searching for the personal wiki title and your HN username shows nothing

Seconding this request.

I suspect he didn't mean public wiki

That would make sense. I missed the word personal in there.

Sorry about that.

>instead of focusing their efforts on disrupting the Chrome/Webkit monopoly.

How do you know they're not doing that? Its a large organization.

Also, it is very hard to hire quality people at lower salaries, its just the nature of the beast. I work in life sciences and we work primarily in the public health sector (vaccines) and it is amazingly hard to find talented scientists when the larger companies in our area vacuum up the talent pool each year. We're not a non-profit, so our salaries are bit higher, but I can imagine how hard it must be hiring for a non-profit. Especially STEM grads. If you're a quality dev at FAANG or some-such, how much of a salary hit are you willing to take to work on an open source browser?

Dang, lots of Mozilla hate. OK, I'll take the bait.

Why don't we have more advocates for unplugging from the internet? A reasonable person that has lived both online and offline lives would certainly come to the conclusion that online life is inherently inferior to an "offline" life. Social media is inherently unhealthy and attracts people with unhealthy lifestyles and choices. Why should Mozilla's mission be to promote a "healthy" and "online" life when "healthy" and "online" we know cannot coexist?

Like, instead of donating to Mozilla to promote good social media use for teenagers/children, how about donating to $NONPROFIT to give low-income families a quality Boy Scouts/camping experience and learn how to live and enjoy life through healthier means for example? We do not have to make online life the norm.

When people say that social media is unhealthy, they usually have in mind a certain generation of social media when like counts had been introduced, an algorithmically-generated feed, a membership that sought to include everyone, including your family members, etc. Essentially that kind of social media only arose towards the end of the first decade of the new millennium when Facebook became entrenched.

Yet many older members of HN spent a significant portion of our lives on the internet of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and we don’t feel that that online life was destructive. If anything, it was often liberating: someone growing up in a strict conservative community or in a relatively poor country could discover there was more out there. A broad range of smaller special-interest forums instead of a feed-generating one-stop-shop like Facebook or Reddit, tended to keep partisan politics and conspiracy theories away.

I’m not pessimistic that that kind of good internet socializing can’t be restored for much of the population – I deleted my Facebook and Reddit accounts years ago and yet I still have found enjoyable connections with other people on various hobby forums. Some independent forums are struggling as younger generations are lost to walled gardens like Facebook, but there are efforts that could be made to fight this.

When people talk about social media, they imply "mainstream social media as we know it today". We don't have the right words or categories to describe what we're talking about, but there's a big difference between Ye Olde Schoole forum of the early 2000's and modern mainstream social media.

It's like Wonder Bread verus the kind of bread you make at home with nothing but flour, water, yeast, and some salt. Yeah they're both bread, but they're not really the same thing.

I keep in touch with so many friends who I probably wouldn't have otherwise using social media. You could argue that maintaining so many relationships is unhealthy but I think it's a good thing to keep friends that I've cultivated over the last decade of my life. And usually when I need to get stuff done it's nice to have friends to call upon who are interested in helping.

The internet can be used for a lot of good and it sounds like you're argument is akin to saying telephones are bad because of call center scammers.

> Social media is inherently unhealthy and attracts people with unhealthy lifestyles and choices.

Internet is not social media.

I've completely stopped my donations to Mozilla until they get rid of her CEO and management. They're completely irresponsible, answer to no one, and have totally screwed up that org by diverting funds to all kinds of nonsense instead of concentrating on delivering a good product. I've also stopped using FF because I've lost confidence in the team managing security of it.

I agree with you, but the only alternative is Chrome. If it comes down to Chrome or nothing, I'm probably just going to quit using the internet and go live in the forest.

Use Brave instead of Chrome.

There's plenty of other options to use instead of Chrome or FF.

Braves sync has yet to sync a single item from my browser to my phone and its been linked for almost 2 weeks now.

Though I am very drawn to ad model it.

Hello, Vortical! I'm Sampson, an engineer working on the Brave project. I'd love to hear more about your experience with Sync, if you wouldn't mind chatting sometime.

Check out brave://sync-internals/, where you have the option to explicitly request a sync operation. You can see details there about how many items have transferred between devices too.

My experience with sync has changed a little, brave has now synced some things from my Linux browser, after I set up a new pipeline, to my phone however it has yet to do it again.

So new bookmarks and passwords I have created haven't synced.

Just checked the page you suggested and passwords are marked as

Datatype preconditions not met.

Not sure what that means.

> I've also stopped using FF because I've lost confidence in the team managing security of it.

Would you care to elaborate?

Take a look at this tweet: https://twitter.com/MichalPurzynski/status/12932205708850626...

It should also be noted that Mozilla has the smallest security team of all major web browsers. Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome security teams are an order of magnitude larger than Mozilla's team.

(I am a Mozilla employee)

Unfortunately that tweet has been misinterpreted and has grown into a false narrative.

This is what I know about what happened there:

There were two enterprise IT teams with similar duties but different purviews. When management was deciding on layoffs, they decided to unify those two teams. Unfortunately that meant that there were redundancies.

My heart goes out to those who lost their jobs, and they have every right to be upset.

But the inferences being made as a result of that tweet just aren’t true: this notion that all security teams were wiped out is false. And there are now others assigned to threat management.

Furthermore, the security teams that work on Gecko and Firefox were left mostly if not entirely intact.

I work on security hardening for Gecko on Android, and I’m still here. So is our entire hardening/sandboxing team: https://twitter.com/gcpascutto/status/1293519587967983616

TL;DR: Don’t base your understanding of an organization’s capabilities off of one tweet.

If a company / organization is unclear about such important things then communications matter and Mozilla's communication skills around the lay-offs have left more than enough room for interpretation. Thank you for correcting the record on this.

Gian-Carlo is amazing by the way and gets way too little visibility for the important work he is doing.


You can use Lynx, Elinks, an Emacs browser, etc. There are other options.

You can't really believe this. Good luck logging into your bank's online portal using Lynx.

Believe it? You likely still need a backup browser for things like your example, but the attitude of "There's nothing I can do" annoys me. It's like the non-techies who are suspicious of Google yet refuse to try Firefox with DuckDuckGo.

Checked the article. 100% politics mixed with product advertisement and general "oh we're so caring" virtue signalling, 0% actual care about the Internet.

Netflix releases, Facebook containers and regulated political ads is what the Internet needs? Fuck that.

(Just to clarify - I'm not saying those are invalid or non-issues, but that it's extremely hard for me to think of those as priorities for one of the last remaining [semi-?]independent browser vendors.)

Facebook Container is a compelling technical feature from where I'm sitting.

Maybe this a stupid question but why does Mozilla even need a separate Corporation with top heavy (and fairly inept) execs and CEO?

Mozilla the _Foundation_ is the recipient of donations, why can't the developer teams work under the foundation directly, as they would for an NGO? Maybe my ignorance but I assume that is more or less the model of the Linux Foundation?

There's some content in the Mozilla Foundation wiki page:

"Unlike the Mozilla Foundation, the Mozilla Corporation is a tax-paying entity, which gives it much greater freedom in the revenue and business activities it can pursue. From 2004 to 2014, the majority of revenue came from a deal with Google, which was the default search engine in the Firefox web browser."

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Foundation?wprov=sfla1

> which gives it much greater freedom in the revenue and business activities it can pursue

With the risk of sounding cynical that sounds like business talk for "we need a corporation so that ...we can do things". Again why is it that they are unable to develop Firefox under a Foundation structure?

Why could they have not done the deal with google via the foundation? If it is a tax aspect why could they have not created a corporation just to handle the financial deal without all the overhead structure of execs and board C-levels?

How would such deal making be hindered for a non-profit entity? It's not like that deal is a highly variable cash flow for them to meet profit targets or something.

I know this is probably just their new marketing campaign, but there's this nugget of truth to it. I used to be so optimistic about the internet--about bringing the entirety of human knowledge to everybody's front door. But, the reality has proven to be so much more... complex. I really hope we do find a way get past this awkward teenage phase it seems to be having.

I may be off, but the heart of the issue to me is that the internet is beginning to resemble the world at large, because the world at large realized that the internet was another vehicle for profit.

The goals Mozilla has mentioned here are important, but I don't think they quite get at the crux of the issue: the rulebook our society plays by is structured in a way that the development of these symptoms is almost inevitable.

The hard thing is you can't really begin to point out these structural issue without people shutting you down: saying that's the way things have always been (it's not), there's no other way (there is), denying that it's even a problem, or that it's something we just have to deal with.

Until we are structured in a way where we can work for the benefit of each other and ourselves, on our own accord, on our own time, this is the slope of the hill we'll keep rolling down.

Let's build open ecosystems and push back, but it is imperative we recognize the game is slanted against that.

The internet amplifies human ability to access information. We get the entirety of human knowledge in our living room. We also get the entirety of human filth in our living room. Like every power amplifier in this world, for example guns, dynamite or atomic power, it amplifies both the positives and the negatives. The techno-utopian expectation that amplification of power will somehow bring Utopia is just that, utopian.

There is but one hope, cultivating virtue. When was the last time you even heard of the concept in modern culture?

I really wish Mozilla would just focus on making Firefox the best browser it can be. Stop with the gimmicks like VPN and DoH. Give us (back) keyboard shortcuts and fix bugs; unfuck Mozilla first.

> Give us (back) keyboard shortcuts and fix bugs

... Also, add-ons for Firefox on Android.

That was the largest screw up for me with the Phoenix upgrade.

I am using Nightly and I count a grand total of 20 add-ons that I am recommended (read allowed) to install.

Add-ons and customization are the prime reason Firefox is Firefox.

Add-ons on Android are back![1] For the most part just having uBo was enough for me, but there are a few others I wouldn't mind.

1: https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/09/30/firefox-for-android...

After losing old reddit redirect and YouTube background play fix I'm not sure why I'm even using firefox still

I was under the impression the 'gimmicks' pay for the browser development. I hope everyone wants a self-sufficient Mozilla.

Google pays for most of it. The point of services like the VPN is to change that though.

Oh no. I would actually argued they should have done VPN a long long time ago as a revenue stream. Along with other Internet services or SaaS. The problem isn't just Firefox, they need to improve on that, but they also need to not solely relying on that Search Engine Deal.

The scenario have been the same in 2010 as it is now. But no one at Mozilla management saw it. Arguably Firefox OS was the right direction, but their engineering team got too distracted to run everything on JS.

I think its the best browser out there (along with Pale Moon). What is FF preventing you from doing?

Hey mozilla would be nice to unfck your management first.

Yea how about not handing out giant executive packages while downsizing your teams.

I agree that they shouldn’t be raising executive pay given that they’re not doing a very good job. But let’s not be hyperbolic, it’s not “giant”. Sundar Pichai’s pay is measured in billions, for comparison.

If mozilla had the level of market influence that Google has, and was as effective in accomplishing its goals that google is, no one would be saying anything.

On the other hand, pay steadily increasing as all metrics of success are declining is something that would get criticism for anyone.

Sundar Pichai's base pay is $2m/yr. The rest is stock.

Yes, over $1B in liquid stock over 5 years.

Which is a function of his management. The stock didn't go up in a vacuum.

I mean, keep in mind that the Nasdaq is up more than Google’s stock over the past 5 years.

Yes, it was all Sundar’s doing. Nothing to do with the search monopoly.

I'm using the word "giant" in terms relative to the value of the staff and engineering talent that was downsized.

As in they're spending more on executive comp boosts than they saved by downsizing?

The existence of giants forty feet tall, isn't a good argument against calling ten foot tall creatures "giants".

Giant is usually reserved for something much larger than the norm of that thing. Would you say that Mozilla’s executive pay is much higher than the norm for executive pay? I wouldn’t, but opinions certainly vary on this topic.

For what it's worth, JWZ said this of Mozilla a few days ago on his blog:

"Back to Mozilla -- in my humble but correct opinion, Mozilla should be doing two things and two things only:

1. Building THE reference implementation web browser, and

2. Being a jugular-snapping attack dog on standards committees.

3. There is no 3."

http://archive.is/umaau (edit, using archive link)

I couldn't agree more.

jwz is right about Mozilla. Unsurprisingly, as he's actively keeping up to date with discussions, and doesn't shy away from expressing an unpopular opinion.

Also, here's a link that hopefully handles the infamous 'egg' surprise jwz prepared for HN users :-)


> The internet we know and love is fcked up. Let’s unfck it together.

Mozilla is fcked up. May we humbly suggest you unfck yourself first; then we can talk.

Could be the new motto: Go UnFck yourself!

Stop pandering and go back to making a decent browser...

> Stop pandering and go back to making a decent browser...

Once I saw that they expended significant resources and thought on changing 'Master Password' to 'Primary Password,' I knew that there was no hope for them. They are fundamentally unserious.


This is even worse. 'As such, comments on the bug outside of those which advance completing the task at hand will be removed.' In other words, dissent will not be tolerated.


Political views getting into software is one of the things I loathe the most about "modern" tech culture. That said, Mozilla's political alignment is not exactly a secret.

It baffles me that you make such a big deal out of this. You’re making it sound like it took hundreds of person-hours to make that change that could have been allocated elsewhere.

It's going to cause a lot of confusion with users who are not aware of the backstory. Whatever your stance on the subject doing this without a transition mode is just plain wrong.

> Once I saw that they expended significant resources and thought on changing 'Master Password' to 'Primary Password,'

They wouldn't have to if it weren't for the fact that some people are extremely triggered by changes like this. It would be something the marketing department decided over a lunch meeting and they rolled out by the end of the day.

Ironic. This page has an embedded YouTube link where YouTube slapped me with a captcha response.Ironic given the content.

True, but don't forget, Firefox needs your love more than the Internet right now Mozilla... :-)

I don’t trust Mozilla these days. Normandy. When that certificate expired it also disabled NoScript in the Tor browser which disabled some security. Might not be a coincidence.

There are also a couple of other things Mozilla has done that seemed not in the good will of its users.

Firefox 47 was probably one of the last few good releases.

In which organization do people not make mistakes? Also, if you're going to accuse someone, I think its fair to ask for hard-proof (not speculation).

>You probably don’t know the name Mozilla. You might know Firefox.

While reading this on the Mozilla blog...

... their hope is that they reached people that are not their core audience.

Good idea on paper but hypocrisy is disturbing because it is obviously not obvious to Mozilla.

"It’s noisy out there. We are inundated with sensational headlines every minute, of every day."

Firefox home page with clickbait from Pocket is not helping. Maybe start with introspection?

"Let’s take back control from those who violate our privacy just to sell us stuff we don’t need."

Maybe continue by not taking a giant check from Google every year before telling others to boycot companies violating privacy.

Mozilla is in such giant conflict of interest and common sense and that reflects on the main product. As a result, web suffers. So as others said, it first has to unfck itself. Sooner the better.

So, the "UNFCK the internet" landing page is transmitting the x-clacks-overhead header [1] which is heartwarming, but then I noticed that https://xclacksoverhead.org/ itself tracks you with google-analytics.com, which I find rather against the spirit, both of the whole GNU Terry Pratchett effort and the UNFCK the internet campaign.


[1] http://www.gnuterrypratchett.com/

But note there's two google trackers on that page.

"This amazing portal into the human experience has become a place filled with misinformation, corruption and greed."

That's it in a nutshell.

I have an idea. Allow the wild-wild-west only on .com (or segregate however you decide). There need to be domains with no ads, no tracking, no spamming, no 'social' behemoths, no companies, no for-profit org's, no begging bowls. (I'm sure you can think of more nos.) Person-to-community only; supplications need to be granted community-by-community.

The penalty for attempted transgressions will need to have serious teeth. Else we're screwed.

I hear your points, and I too yearn for the "good old" internet of yore. The days when the 'weird side of the internet' was the main side. However, two observations:

1. removing the commercial interests doesn't stop even half the trouble. Aside of commerce, there is activism, there is politics, and there is social tribalism. You can't even meaningfully remove those. Given that those three stay, the commercial part allows a counter-balance to the ideological and tribal concerns.

2. the healthiest communities are the ones that don't shy away from gatekeeping. With communities and gatekeeping being the key words. Check out IRC, the Eternal September seems to be fading away and already half way gone. Heck, even HN is a half decent example of a community that self-improves through gatekeeping.

Mozilla provides a really nice example of the importance of your CEO.

I've never been offended by "bad language" and I'm still not. But it seems ridiculous to choose "unfck the internet" as a slogan for a campaign targeted at the general public. Many people will find it offensive. Many people will find it unprofessional. Many people will find it childish. And no one will think it's cool/edgy. It's 2020, saying "fuck" doesn't impress anyone.

This is where the $50m marketing budget goes to.

Can we stop hating on Mozilla, one of the few companies actually dedicated to respecting our privacy as well as FOSS?

We shouldn't hate on Mozilla, but we should definitely provide accurate and constructive criticism, even when it is biting. Mozilla has not been doing well lately, and they need to right the ship. I'm really rooting for them to succeed, but these criticisms need to be made.

Where do you see the constructive criticism in this thread?

"Lately" as in the last 5+ years?

Mozilla is just another corporation, don't get attached to them. They are "woke" until the Google money runs out.

Because that's a lie and that's their only marketing, resting on their goodwill from when they actually cared and did meaningful things about that stuff.

Being "dedicated" doesn't excuse doing a shit job.

We are not hating anyone, just giving honest feedback (if they listen) so that they can improve based on that.

No, often on HN threads regarding Mozilla (including this one already), people are suggesting that things are already hopeless for Mozilla, and the organization should just disappear. That is no longer giving feedback with an aim to helping an organization improve.

Indeed. I get a feeling that there's a coordinated campaign to have a negative presence of mind regarding Mozilla?

I think it's just that Mozilla management has been determined not to give an inch on the ancient, repeated complaints the majority of their users have had about it. That they continue to plow ahead while users vote with their feet causes a lot of hopeless bitterness. The fact that the executives are paying themselves so much while marketshare is steadily dropping just adds insult to injury.

Every negative poster was a rabid Firefox partisan 10 years ago. Now they barely hold on because they don't want a blob on their system and they want uBlock to work. Sadly, I have no confidence that Firefox won't declare next year that shipping a blob is necessary to the health of the web, and that some API uBlock relies on could be confusing to users and will be removed.

tl;dr it's a coordinated campaign alright, but it's coordinated by Mozilla's behavior, not by communication between the 90% of users that have left (30% to 3%) or the large percentage of those remaining users who are only staying because of their disgust for Google, closed source and ads.

One of those incessant and negative voices here: If Mozilla really cared about their mission they would place Firefox under completely different management and separate the two entities entirely financially so that no money can flow between Firefox Inc. and Mozilla the org.

Then and only then will I donate - to Firefox Inc.

The coordination is provided by Mozilla, not by us, the people who helped promote Firefox (and Netscape before it) and who feel that if Firefox ends up by the wayside while Mozilla continues to exist that it was all for nothing.

Firefox has been slowly but surely getting behind Chrome in many ways while all kinds of distractions have eaten up time, money and human resources that could have been spent on keeping FF alive and relevant. The long term path is clear, and something needs to change to avoid that.

I really hope this isn't just marketing, but given recent management trends at Mozilla, I'm skeptical.

step 1) Spend the money you're given on improving the tool people use to browse the internet. Not the regional/social cause du jour that your circle of friends thinks you should abuse your power to support.

Mozilla became popular because of IT people recommending and installing it. That goodwill is long spent. Make a better product and STFU about everything else.

Get rid of all marketing & admin staff and hire more devs to fix the issues. Stop spending on social causes. There are more than enough orgs to look after that.

YOU HAD ONE JOB and you messed it up. Move Mozilla out of SF.

Is it me or is Mozilla getting into the censorship game? It would be great if they can deliver a great browser & great tech instead of nanny software. The org has gone downhill since Brendan Eich resigned.

"Hold political ads accountable for misinformation: Download the Firefox extension that shares the political ads you see on Facebook to a public database so they can be tracked and monitored." "Flag bad YouTube recommendations: This extension lets you report regrettable recos you’ve been served, so you can help make the engine better for everyone."

I believe you’re being downvoted here but I think this is the core problem. The internet is bland and boring and screwed up precisely because of big tech getting into the censorship game. It’s a shame but Mozilla seems ideologically driven in that direction too.

There's probably a niche that they are catering to. Perhaps, catering to this niche is advantageous for Mozilla to receive further funding. It's too bad that the free & open internet does not seem to be a priority anymore.


edit: I'm looking more into their recommended apps & the overall effort. It's possible it could either be for the better or worse, so I'll keep an open mind about this & follow it. I don't agree their general moderation worldview, however if I could somehow self-select my own worldview when using their tools, it could be interesting...

How is it censorship to make it so more people can see political ads than they were targeted at?

You're right re: the database helping people see the political ads. I'm jaded by the barrage of the reaction to political ads, particularly the long-time discredited "Russia, Russia, Russia" hoax, which seems far more pernicious than the political ads themselves.

The danger is that this tool becomes a weapon of partisan warfare.

What is going to be done with the database? Will we be getting disclaimers, moderation, & "truth ministry" propaganda messages built into the browser itself? People can make their own decisions without a voice of "authority" labeling & moderating all content. Otherwise, if the political minority is labeled as liars by the majority, the minority effectively becomes further suppressed. Same with individuals not going with the prevailing social norms.


I also see potential in the database. Particularly if news or ads in general could be captured. If this tool could act like a digital archive, recording edits to articles & such, people can track how a certain message evolves over time. The more I think about this, the more potential I can see in this tool working for good & bad purposes, re: our basic freedoms of speech, thought, assembly, etc. It will be interesting to see how this tech develops & is utilized.

Everything about this whole post is so symptomatic of everything that is currently wrong with Mozilla.

Fundamentally the leadership has become grossly out of touch with reality. Building a browser is basically making a product which is blue collar work and thus yucky. Yeah you have a huge pay package (thanks people we just laid off!), but when you're at the Country Club it's just so gauche to admit that you actually make something. Everyone else is fund raising, and being activists and other much more glamorous things. You're getting your hands dirty like a commoner!

And so you embark on a series of nebulous advocacy campaigns with no definable success criteria. You pile millions of dollars into things like "The Knight-Mozilla Fellowship" where you "place creative technologists in newsrooms to work on open-source tools and support reporting that strengthens the web and changes people’s lives". You pour money into making things like "Mozilla Webmaker" ( https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2012/05/22/introducing-mozilla... ). Sure you've got some nerds in the basement doing whatever it is they do, something like "Servo" or whatever, but who cares? You're working on a way to cut them loose anyway, and now when you're at your next $5000/plate fundraiser you can talk about all the amazing advocacy you're doing with the rest of your friends.

Of course the problem is that Google has basically spent it's time pouring money into Chrome and unfairly leveraging it's search monopoly to advertise Chrome and intentionally breaking it's sites for other browsers (attention people looking to argue this point: Stop. Google has no more credibility in this area, and anyone who is still in denial is a useful idiot at this point), and so now when Google brings forward a proposal to add DRM to the Web Specifications all of your advocacy amounts to stale fart in the face of a 70%+ browser share. Whoops! But then again, those are "real-world" results, and you're not interested in that.

What would it even mean to "unfuck the internet"? What sort of metric, goals, and approaches would Mozilla use here? The problem that Mozilla still still does not get is that they have exactly one piece of leverage: Firefox market share. Every penny then spend on useless advocacy run by tech adjacent "hangers on" and not on making Firefox the best available browser is a penny wasted. They've even managed to turn away people who want to support them by making sure there is no clear way to donate to actually worthwhile browser development without having those donations filtered through the foundation where are bunch of useless apparatchiks will get first dibs on that cash, leaving probably nothing to reach through to the people making things.

Until the useless upper management is cleared out and replaced with people who understand that Mozilla has exactly jack shit if they don't have Firefox, it will continue to wind down until we are left with Google as the monopoly owner of the most important platform for information interchange the world has ever known. Yeah that seems like a grim future, but it's the one we're headed for, and Mozilla needs to take a long hard look in the mirror about it's own role in making that future come to pass.

> Watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix

Start a movement to create a better internet by watching video delivered using proprietary DRM ...

Why are Mozilla run by CEOs and not by the donators? Not practically, but by democratic election perhaps?

It seems odd to me that there is management like that in an organisation which is only backed by donations.

Is it not Valve which is run without any form of leadership and only by social consensus?

Mozilla Corporation doesn't accept donations. Most of its income comes from Google.

The parent foundation gets about half its income from the corporation. The rest is mostly corporate and individual donations.

Even worker owned companies elect a president or CEO to manage the company day to day.

Valve has less official hierarchy than most companies. It doesn't run entirely by consensus though. People who worked there have written about the unofficial hierarchy.

> The parent foundation gets about half its income from the corporation.

And every cent of that is wasted afaic.

tl;dr: "Big tech has gotten too big." Download a bunch of extensions to complain if you see something you don't like on youtube and facebook, "watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix" and choose independent tech, which includes among others Medium and Pocket.

Also, help us crowdsource content you deem problematic so we can keep other people from seeing it!

This part in particular gets me everytime. Imagine a complaint about big government that demands that big government shuts down people the complainer doesn't like. Sounds insane, but is par for the course in complaints about big tech.

Which part does that?



I don't think that is fair. A lot of people are using Firefox for ethical reasons. Their recent rounds of lay-offs while management is raking in millions leaves a bad taste for many Firefox users.

Sure, they can run their corporation/foundation in anyway they want. But if they run Mozilla as they are, they will lose a lot of mind share among typical Firefox users.

I'll never be a Chrome user. I have felt undue pressure to to move to one of those partially-functional forks maintained by a handful of programmers who could be putting god-knows-what on my system. I resent Mozilla making me feel like that's my last option to not give up the web entirely.

It seems more that Mozilla is not working at all (on it's Browser).

BTW: I use Firefox since 5 years

It’s shocking to me that anyone on HN uses Chrome anymore.

Why? And what do you think they should use instead?

I use it only for development purposes, but thinking about switching to ungoogled chromium for that as well.

I use Chrome for one reason only: it supports WebMIDI, and Firefox does not. Outside of that I'll use FF as long as I can.

Mozilla won. The aim was achieved. We have the open Internet. Thank you.

It does raise the question of what to do with a non-profit once its goals are achieved. Do you disband and go home?

When was the internet closed?

I misspoke. I was referring to the fact that the web was not on an open standard.

The web has been open since there was a single website. Companies - Google, Microsoft, AOL, maybe others - have tried to make it their own. To some extent this worked, for instance, there are quite a few people for whom the web loosely translates into 'Facebook'.

I felt like my experience as a Linux web user in the late 90s and early 2000s was way worse than it is today.

But, if you guys had better experiences, sure. Half of the websites out there wouldn't work because few worked to standards supported by libre web browsers.

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