I think Mozilla might need a little bit of self-love.
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 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.
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.
AFAIK, they still have those privacy centric values, and have been working on a number of projects in that vein.
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.
(Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They are asking for donations.
Sorry about that.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Internet is not social media.
There's plenty of other options to use instead of Chrome or FF.
Though I am very drawn to ad model it.
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.
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.
Would you care to elaborate?
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.
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:
TL;DR: Don’t base your understanding of an organization’s capabilities off of one tweet.
Gian-Carlo is amazing by the way and gets way too little visibility for the important work he is doing.
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.)
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?
"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."
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?
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.
There is but one hope, cultivating virtue. When was the last time you even heard of the concept in modern culture?
... 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.
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.
On the other hand, pay steadily increasing as all metrics of success are declining is something that would get criticism for anyone.
"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.
Also, here's a link that hopefully handles the infamous 'egg' surprise jwz prepared for HN users :-)
Mozilla is fcked up. May we humbly suggest you unfck yourself first; then we can talk.
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.
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.
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.
While reading this on the Mozilla blog...
"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.
But note there's two google trackers on that page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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...
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.
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.
Start a movement to create a better internet by watching video delivered using proprietary DRM ...
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?
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.
And every cent of that is wasted afaic.
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.
BTW: I use Firefox since 5 years
It does raise the question of what to do with a non-profit once its goals are achieved. Do you disband and go home?
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.