They were faced with a hard choice, Not implement EME (HTML5 DRM) and risk users moving to other browsers (user loss) or implement EME and risk looking like they are contradicting their core mission (trust loss).
They figured a little loss of trust is worth keeping most of the users on the Mozilla platform - which in my view is the correct decision. If users start to abandon Mozilla (FireFox) in droves then they lose their power to influence the development of the open web.
It's the same BS I remember reading on slides from graphics card vendors excusing some other way of selling the user down the river.
Content can adapt to reach their customers. Bend here and the web itself is under threat.
Mozilla needs a social contract like Debian, since it seems clear they can't rely on leadership for backbone.
Don't bend here and Mozilla itself could be under threat.
DRM exists, many major content providers have shown little interest in releasing their material without a mechanism for preventing casual copying (and you can hardly blame them), and accessing multimedia downloads is an increasingly important function of the Web. Denying that reality isn't going to achieve anything useful.
As much as Mozilla might like to take a principled stand, the fact is that they aren't important enough to force this issue. If someone can't access content in Firefox, they don't not access the content, they just use another browser. The content provider still served their content, the user still watched it, and it was still DRM'd. The only practical difference is that Mozilla lost a user.
You fight the battles you can win. There is no way Mozilla could win this one.
Except, if Mozilla had committed "ritualistic suicide" over EME, it wouldn't have taken EME with it. Users would move to every other browser with HTML5 DRM implemented, Mozilla would die accomplishing nothing.
A world with entrenched HTML5 DRM & Mozilla strikes me as strictly preferable to a world without Mozilla in which HTML5 DRM is just as entrenched.
EFF: Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the open web? Dude. This is it. Let's take that hill!
Mozilla: what's the point, man? why should I die on this hill?
EFF: it's a fucking important hill dude. Unchecked DRM aggression.
Mozilla: what about my browser market share?
EFF: What the fuck are you talking about? Browser share is not the issue here, Dude. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT...
Mozilla: Well, the problem is... They're gonna kill my browser share! Man!
Donny is the open web I guess. His death was predestined by circumstances and certainly not the Dude's fault. Also, I think it would be best if no one tells the EFF how DNS works.
EFF: I'm sorry, it was an accident.
Mozilla: What was that shit about the open web? What the fuck does anything have to do with the open web?
EFF: Dude, I'm sorry...
Mozilla: What the fuck are you talking about?
Mozilla: Fucking... fuck, EFF.
EFF: Come on, dude. Hey, fuck it, man, let's go bowling.
And I know my family who is not tech savvy will just have to move to a browser that allows Youtube, Netflix, and whatever else requires this DRM.
I don't like it but I don't think firefox would make it otherwise.
Microsoft sacrificed backwards compatibility with Vista and look where that got them...
How can Mozilla kill it? It simply doesn't have the power, faced with Google, Microsoft and Apple implementing EME.
Yes, Mozilla could have taken a pure, principled stance and avoided EME. Perhaps some thoughtful people would use Firefox for that reason. But those same thoughtful people would have boycotted Chrome and Internet Explorer when they started to ship EME.
There has been no such boycott. If we - the people on the web - wanted to stop EME, that would have been the only way. Mozilla can't do it if the people don't want to.
I don't even know how you arrived at this conclusion. The EFF was fighting this with education of the public, procedural maneuverings within the W3C itself, and with invited commentary to the relevant standards groups. Mozilla was also doing these things, and, contrary to what you might assume living in our tech bubble, has a pulpit with far greater reach than the EFF.
But then they implemented the damn thing--which, by the way, is not a standard yet--in their browser.
But, please, tell me exactly what the EFF is guilty of. They might have failed, but that's a very different thing.
The only way to do that would be to affect their bottom line, such as people refusing to use their browsers if they ship EME.
That would have been the only campaign with a chance of stopping EME. Mozilla couldn't lead it - it would look self-serving ("how convenient, a browser vendor wants us to boycott its rivals"). The EFF as a respected third party could have.
That would have been our only hope.
The only reason Mozilla taking a "we will not do it" approach to EME would be suicide (ritual or otherwise) would be if doing so would fail to derail the adoption of EME. If users would abandon Mozilla over not supporting EME (well, not supporting the sites that require it), then, sure, it would be suicide -- but it would be suicide because the sites demanding EME would be important enough to users that they would abandon Mozilla and Mozilla's usage-dependent revenue stream would dry up.
If Mozilla could derail EME by refusing to implement, that would also mean it wouldn't be suicide.
I can and do blame them and I say: let them die like the dinosaurs they are. The world will be better off without them. Mozilla refusing to implement DRM would have been one nail in the dinosaur's coffin.
WHat would the web gain if Mozilla lost most of its user base? Could we trust Apple, Microsoft and Google to have a moral backbone?
edit: Mozilla needs to cultivate its brand, and set itself apart from the other browsers through actual differences in philosophy. Maybe they need a John Legere...
But the facts remain that the vast majority of users don't care about the philosophical differences. When Chrome and Internet Explorer started shipping EME, almost no one switched browser. When Snowden's revelations came out, almost no one switched browser. Etc. etc.
edit: clarified what i meant
Just not, you know, this one.
I understand why Mozilla is making this choice, but it's still the wrong one. I mean, seriously, DRM in the HTML spec, endorsed by Mozilla. I can't think of a bigger WTF.
I'm very much in agreement with Cory Doctorow that all these assertions that Mozilla will lose all its users if it doesn't implement EME have had no evidence to back them up. Almost no one is delivering EME-supported content, and all the cries of "IE and Chrome will leave us behind" fail to mention that's only IE11 and ChromeOS, so any company delivering only EME content would leave many more customers behind than just Firefox users.
At the very least doing this now instead of years from now when it might start mattering (like what happened with h.264) does not exactly demonstrate sticking to their guns.
The reasoning is actually very sound in my opinion. It is true that EME is not a major force on desktop yet. But, Netflix - the most popular streaming video service - has written an EME player. It is moving towards that, and the hollywood studios as well. Those studios will not support anything but EME.
Currently Flash is supported by the studios, to some extent. But even that is problematic - Flash has dropped Linux support and is not present on mobile. Not only is EME being pushed by Netflix, Hollywood, Google and Microsoft, but also Flash is no fallback.
The result is that soon you will need EME to view Netflix. People will not use a browser that does not support Netflix. It's a simple as that. Yes, there are some principled people that refuse to use DRMed content, and those people are already not using EME-supporting browsers like Chrome and Internet Explorer, but look at their market share. The principled people are a tiny minority. That is the problem.
Netflix ended 2013 with 44 million subscribers, by their own numbers , with a target of reaching and stablilising at 90 million.
That's it: 90 million out of an online population of around 2.5 billion, or around 4%.
Do you make business decisions on the basis of 4% of your potential ( non-paying ) audience?
2. This is a growing area - we don't need to care just about current numbers but the trend. The trend is clear: Hollywood wants EME DRM on all content.
3. 44 million out of 2.5 billion sounds like a little, but is not the best way to calculate things. Netflix doesn't even sell a service in most of the countries those 2.5 billion are in. In countries like the US, Netflix is large and growing, and especially heavily represented among younger internet-savvy people (who are the heaviest browser users). So your calculation is very much an underestimate.
How have those worked out for us?
Not to well...
Mozilla should do some A/B testing; release a browser with the module and without. See which gets the most traction.
As a flat out statement, that is false. Some people will use a browser that doesn't support netflix, namely those people that don't subscribe to netflix.
The question becomes HOW MANY People will not use a browser that does not support Netflix.
The point is, there was no data provided to use to answer that question.
We can't predict the specific number but we don't need to - we can very reasonably expect it to be large.
Ah, but the flipside:
Doing this now, as opposed to years from now when the technology is established, gives Mozilla more influence over the form that this DRM takes, the protections that are available to consumers and the marketplace in general.
So glad they got in on the ground floor instead of continuing to work to never have it enter the spec at all.
I hope we get more from Mozilla than hardware fingerprints that aren't trackable across services. I hope we get a lot more.
They should put as much energy into propagating their ideas as into redesigning the interface to look like a Chrome knockoff. Cultivate some dial-a-pundits that TV people can count on for an opinion about the Internet. Have a thinktank. Aggressively fundraise. Expanding the userbase is the answer, not chasing corporate behemoths.
More generally, Mozilla's ability to influence the web away from DRM, as well as privacy invasions, stems entirely from the ability of Mozilla to deliver a product that users want. Making sure that users can't watch $YourFavoriteShow would be a pretty dumb move when all other major browsers have taken the necessary steps to make sure that their users have no such limitation.
Cultivating "dial-a-pundits", as you call them, would be nice, and we certainly take every opportunity we can to express our views on just about everything web-related. And this specific battler (DRM in web browsers) has been fought and lost. We need to regroup, cut the losses and reorder to fight the next battle.
If you wish to help fight DRMs, please make as many people as you can aware of the dangers of DRMs. Also, justa s importantly, we need to convince Hollywood that DRMs are costly and unsatisfying. For this, we need to develop and showcase alternatives, that users will use. This is the only way.
Because we can't fight Google + Apple + Microsoft + Netflix + Hulu + Hollywood on the lobbying front. We just don't have the means.
(Yeah, I'm a Firefox Dev.)
This is opposite the choice somebody would make if they were philosophically opposed to DRM.
(But I don't agree, that was just to make the larger point.)
You're presenting a false dichotomy: "Either Mozilla doesn't compromise anywhere, or they might as well go away". Things aren't black and white.
Besides, I think the argument is more "Either Mozilla doesn't compromise where it's important not to, or they might as well go away", which is a true statement. Mozilla does need to continue to exist, and compromise is fundamental to the web (it's right there in their manifesto), but this was something that should have been fought tooth and nail. The protest of this mostly involved sternly written emails to W3C lists, when it should have been simply not implementing it and holding that ground until it was clear no alternatives were viable and imminent harm was actually demonstrated.
I was making the point that 1 of 4 is still useful. Obviously it is less useful than fighting 4 of 4 or 3 of 4.
P.S. John Legere is full of shit. He's just rebranding a terrible company in an industry where all of the companies are terrible. Its a matter of survival, not ideology.
The have compromised them because they feel they need to do this to maintain relevancy. Principles are of little use without power.
To those that say: Mozilla changed the web once, they can do it again.
I say: Mozilla didn't change the web by resisting change, but by embracing it and finding better solutions.
I think we should be spending less time condemning Mozilla for compromising, and more time finding ways that Mozilla can use their power to solve the huge problems that are created by DRM.
Also chasing popularity is like chasing money. It shouldn't be the goal. Those things follow after doing the right thing, and I believe for an organization with the kind of community and userbase Firefox has around it, not implementing DRM would've been the "right" thing to do.
- do the work to implement the DRM thing but keep it disabled ready to hot patch in once evidence shows that they'll be fucked without it
- display "this is bullshit DRM content you shouldn't support, read more HERE, and click HERE if you really don't care and will use another browser to view this anyway" in place of the DRM content initially
Immediately giving in is hardly "dragged kicking and screaming".
> - do the work to implement the DRM thing but keep it disabled ready to hot patch in once evidence shows that they'll be fucked without it
So when do we decide that? After we have lost our user base? Or when it becomes evident that just almost everybody is already watching movies on the web using proprietary blackboxes that may or may not use DRM, may or may not identify you and may or may not leak your info? Because that has been the case for quite a few years already.
> - display "this is bullshit DRM content you shouldn't support, read more HERE, and click HERE if you really don't care and will use another browser to view this anyway" in place of the DRM content initially
So, lecture users and invite them to change browser? That doesn't sound like a good strategy.
Diversify your sources and wean yourself off the Google teat. Even if Google does outbid everyone, profit shouldn't be the primary motivator at the Mozilla Foundation.
Wikipedia might not be the most glamorous of sites but they are a shining example of what it means to not compromise on your values. Those people are starving while Mozilla employees go to the bank - that is true courage and power. The power to not let profit be the absolute driver of your ambitions and values.
Damn. Thanks for that, had no idea and have probably used it once or twice. Back into passive vocabulary you go. (Non-native english yada yada)
What's the point in having this power if you immediately cave?
Mozilla has no real power over the web. Google, Microsoft, and Apple have the power (look at the names associated with EME DRM - what a surprise). Mozilla has an illusion of power, which is tolerated by the other actors because it makes everyone happy. But no one should mistake it for real leverage.
Actually, I decided that hellacious startup times weren't worth it.
All of your hyperbole is a spin-master's way of saying that Chome and Safari beat out Mozilla because, for a significant amount of time, Firefox sucked compared to them.
This said, if they go back to their roots as "ayatollah of open web and open source", I might consider them again; but until they're just another ad-backed bureaucracy, I might as well stick to a better one.
That's FSF. And guess what? Everyone hates it! 
Nicest thing about Mozilla is that they have a great balance of ideology and being practical.
 Of course not everyone, specially not me. But you get my point.
Google did well technically on Chrome, but investing a huge amount of marketing dollars (like bundling chrome with other nice things like toolbars) didn't hurt them.
They may concede if they think it will help their great goal.
But I'd rather they saved that power for the next fight rather than going kamikaze on this. I'm sure there will be a next fight, and there's a good chance that it will be something smaller, or they'll have another major browser on their side.
That's not right either. It's the users that have the power. Users can pick which browsers they use and which sites they visit.
There was essentially no boycott of EME-shipping browsers (Chrome and Internet Explorer). That shows that we, the people on the internet, did not care enough to fight EME.
EME isn't fought by talking about it and hoping someone like Mozilla will kill it. We would have had to actually do something ourselves, and a successful boycott of Chrome and Internet Explorer would have killed EME very effectively.
Or most users weren't aware of their choices. Mozilla could have campaigned to make users aware of it and go back to Firefox. Instead they chose the other direction. :-(
I've talked about this for a long time and tried to convince people about it. People just don't seem to care. I'm surprised at how much attention this is getting now, all of a sudden!
Or do you think that because of Android or something, Google would be able to stop the DRM when every other browser/device supported it?
It was just a few years ago that Mozilla though so highly of themselves that they thought they could use their market position to force the world to change from h.264 to VP3 (with hopes that Google would gift the world VP8 later on).
They failed at reading the situation then, and are failing again now.
Having a choice doesn't magically resolve the issues, it doesn't prevent content providers from making things formerly available unavailable, it doesn't help us (as users) make better more considered decisions rather than clicking yes a lot to get things done, etc. But it does retain the choice to not run this stuff, choice which is not retained in the current closed source alternatives.
The best option might be to sink this development energy into something that will draw users from other browsers, if they can figure out what...
You say Mozilla should figure out what will draw users from other browsers, but you've outlined what will draw users from Mozilla to other browsers. In the end, people want content. The content providers have more control. If 70-80% of the browsers already support the DRM they want to use, the other 20-30% will follow or be left out. Which is exactly what happened here.
All of that said, yes, of course this is something that will serve as a draw for users away from Mozilla. And yes, of course Mozilla might not be able to find something else that can serve as a better (or even comparable) draw that will not compromise their principles at least as much. I'm not casting aspersions at Mozilla and saying "Gee, they're dumb, why don't they just...". I'm saying "It would be better if they had found X" where I'm not at all sure such an X exists.
The problem is not that Mozilla implementing EME removes leverage to force Netflix into abandoning DRM (this won't happen anyway anytime soon), the problem is that once DRM is readily available without a large technological investment and without losing too many users, virtually everyone will use it for virtually everything, simply because there is little to none incentive not to do it, from a publisher's perspective.
I'd rather have a (albeit stupid) DRM executable that only performs encryption/decryption than Flash, Java, or Silverlight, which are the current solutions for this. All three of these offer APIs for doing things other than decrypting DRM content, and these APIs have been proven time and time again to be vulnerable to attack, no matter how much time is spent trying to sandbox them properly.
Really, come on. You should understand this. Firefox isn't like Chromium, where the 'blessed' Google version, Chrome, has dozens of important features sitting behind proprietary black boxes - the Firefox you download off Mozilla's website is something you could literally compile yourself. I've compiled Firefox dozens of times, sometimes with in-development patches for things like gamepad support added in.
Your fear is pure paranoia.
It's not like anybody can force you to watch the last Hollywood stuff.
In the land of PDF you can find things like random federal agencies slapping the protection bits on complete inexplicable things, even though the content is public domain by law. ... just because the knob is there.
The 'you can not use it' opt-out ignores the cost of actually discovering that you should. The Mozilla proposal is better than that because it will tell you. This still doesn't solve all the issues, but its better than you'll find in other popular browsers.
In response to this, some of you might say 'well then people would go elsewhere for their content', to which I would ask: did people leave Netflix because of Silverlight?
They did, actually. If not by their own doing then by the fact that Netflix is just not available on certain devices and operating systems. As long as Netflix is a DRM platform, this trend will likely continue.
The irony here is that Mozilla is apparently being badgered into supporting DRM for "compatibility reasons" when the whole point of DRM is to strictly limit compatibility with whatever arbitrary restrictions the publisher wants.
Mozilla's position here is not at all similar to Apple's position then, so their options are not the same.
And before you say Android had Flash, I had an Android device that could run Flash in 2011. It was a pretty useless feature.
If there would be build switches to disable that, I'm sure Linux distros with similar to Debian policies will ship versions where it will be disabled altogether.
DRM is a very real thing in todays web.
Flash is not an add-on, but a plugin. And there is a good reason why plugins have a bad image and browser developers and users prefer to get rid of them.
They exercised a freedom of choice they had, and this is the decision they made. This is what we judge them on. No backsies, no "but I didn't want to", just pure "go fuck yourself Mozilla".
What real alternative did they have? Unlike RMS, Mozilla have always played with a more pragmatic strategy. If you want to win this war, you need to educate users. Being that only a handful of people out there actively care about privacy issues and platform openness, you need to produce a compelling product first and foremost, and then push your agenda on top of that. If Mozilla were to not implement EME, they'd cripple their own capacity to reach those users, and the war would be as good as lost.
Once Google+Microsoft or Google+Apple or god forbid Google+Microsoft+Apple have decided to do something, there is literally nothing Mozilla can do to stop it. It's too late. If Mozilla manages to slowly build up a larger market share, at that point they may have leverage in those situations. Right now they don't, and pretending to have leverage only further erodes their marketshare.
Today, we just lost a battle. In it, the Google funded Mozilla mercenaries were slaughtered, their forces diminished. We could award them a medal for their valiant effort, but you know they are dead. The war in the future isn't won or lost on their actions.
The only real contender is Netflix but only once the Silverlight plugins reaches EOL. At that point Netflix will have to choose if they want to risk loosing 16% (est.) of their Firefox customers. Of course if Mozilla decides to implement DRM right now it won't be an issue for them.
One thing you might not have thought about, is that at the moment, we have Flash, Java, Silverlight, etc which all periodically are found to have mahoosive security flaws - because they can do general purpose things. If Firefox moves to supporting a plugin which is used for exactly the same thing, but that can only do decryption, then suddenly the browser becomes much more secure. If anything, it's an advantage.
For DRM to work it needs to have direct access to the hardware. Otherwise it's too easy to run the plugin in isolation and capture the output. So while the API surface is smaller it's still problematic because DRM bypasses all the sandboxes. Issues like cross-platform support still aren't resolved because DRM providers don't typically provide linux runtimes. I really don't see where this is an advantage versus no DRM.
As I noted above, this decision doesn't make or break DRM. I think we should just take note that Mozilla would betray their principles for some .5% of market share.
How many employees?
What are their salaries?
Whatever, I don't care about that stuff.
Here's my question: Does Mozilla still portend to be "open source"?
Because if it was "open source" in the sense to which I am accustomed, then I could simply compile a Mozilla browser without DRM.
For example, if I never had any need to watch DRM, then it would make sense that I could compile the browser without the DRM code.
One beauty of open source is that the user can modify it.
She can trim off what she does not need.
Your comment repeatedly refers to "trust".
How does one achieve "trust" through closed source (e.g., the binary blob from Adobe)?
What makes you think Mozilla does not pay taxes? It most certainly pays taxes. I'll save you the web searching: https://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/Mozilla_Audited_Fi... is the latest set of financials that are public; see pages 4 and 5. For 2012, the Mozilla Corporation had $311 million in revenue, $208.5 million in expenses, and paid $37.6 million in income taxes. The federal corporate income tax rate in the US is 35%, fwiw, and California's is 8.84%, so it's not like Mozilla is trying particularly hard to evade that tax liability (0.4384 * (311 - 208.5 - depreciation) likely comes out pretty close to 37.6).
> then I could simply compile a Mozilla browser without DRM.
Sure. And you can and will be able to.
> How does one achieve "trust" through closed source (e.g., the binary blob from Adobe)?
Don't install it? The blob won't be shipped with the browser by default and will require explicit user action to install.
Corporate structure. (Mozilla Corp. is wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla Foundation. Only Mozilla Corporation pays taxes.)
2008 IRS audit.
2012 settlement with IRS.
Perhaps a better statement would have been that Mozilla tries to avoid paying taxes.
Anyway, if what you say is true regarding compilation and exclusion of the DRM code then I'm not sure what everyone in thie thread is complaining about.
Now, how easy is it to compile Firefox these days?
I have not done it in years.
I gave up on X. (Following your exact advice, even with open source: "Don't install it.")
I use UNIX with no graphics layer and simpler text only browsers and even simpler TCP clients to retrieve content. Then if necessary I view it on graphical devices running closed source software.
The interesting thing is when I want to watch video, the last thing I need is a "browser". The core of the video player software I use is the ffmpeg libraries which have nothing to do with web browsers.
I only use HTTP (and other protocols) to transfer content (i.e., to request it), not to watch it.
I see no reason why a single application has to support both (request/transfer and playback).
Why video players have to support "streaming" or why "web browsers" have to play video are still open questions in my mind.
But that's just me. Stuck in the UNIX "one utility, one job" mindset.
That flies in the face of what I'm seeing in the Mozilla Corporation financial statements.
> Now, how easy is it to compile Firefox these days?
It depends on which OS you're doing it on, but there are pretty detailed step by step instructions at https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Simple_Firefox_buil... and the things it links to. The biggest hassle is making sure that the various prerequisites (a compiler, some development libraries, autoconf 2.13, etc) are installed. On most modern Linux distros or Mac this is not a big deal. On Windows it's a slight bit more annoying.
The tech community brought this upon itself when it switched over to browsers provided by two enormous corporations fully beholden to their shareholders, instead of sticking with a browser developed by goddamn public benefit corporation.
The tech community brought this on itself when it couldn't be bothered to test sites in anything other than Chrome and maybe Safari on their iphone.
The tech community brought this on itself when it started making websites webkit only, without a thought for what vendor prefixing would do to web compatibility.
The tech community brought this on itself when it decided that per-process tabs were more important than preventing the future of the web from being controlled by 3 enormous corporations.
So I say that we stop complaining and start getting used to it. This is what we all wanted, and now we can reap what we have sown, while the gentle glow of the chrome url box lights up our screen.
Mozilla brought this on itself when they took the epic lead they had with Firebug and utterly squandered it by thinking real dev tools were not something a browser should include out of the box, in favour of an utterly useless "3D" DOM view that is a made up diagram conveying no useful information about compositing or layering.
Mozilla brought this on itself when they treated memory leaks and extension crashes as performance issues to be papered over rather than fundamental flaws in an architecture unprepared for how people wanted to use it.
Mozilla brought this on itself when they treated OS X like the idiot stepchild instead of delivering the native experience users clearly loved in Chrome and Safari, thus alienating the Mac-dominated cutting edge of web tech.
Mozilla brought this on itself when they provided incomplete implementations of CSS transforms, Web Audio and WebGL (an idea they originated!), and a bunch of other specs people actually wanted. Parts of WebGL are broken in the current stable release of Firefox, and yet Mozilla wants to go around claiming the high ground with Unreal and asm.js?
If they'd spend less money on having their 'evangelists' show off trivial toys around the world, and more on actually solving real daily problems (like the Chrome developer tools team did), we wouldn't be in this mess, and they wouldn't think moves of desperation like asm.js are a good idea.
Are those problems so bad, that even you stooped as low as using a proprietary browser? Was that a sufficient price for your freedom?
Mozilla made mistakes, but it doesn't excuse the blindness of its users. Reminds me of GNU/Linux vs OSX. Apple made a shiny new OS that "just works" on their own hardware, and a good chunk of the tech community went drooling over this, instead of getting its act together and fixing the Linux desktop. Again, I guess this is the price of freedom.
Freedom sure has come cheap these days.
Was I supposed to not diagnose jank using Chrome's frame analysis tools? Not profile memory allocations in its timeline? Develop my WebGL against an incomplete, broken and slow implementation to spare Mozilla's feelings? Firefox is a buggy and slow hunk of code whose maintainers are high on their own supply, and are only now starting to eat the humble pie now it's far too late. Simple as that.
Oh and the reasons why people switched to OS X are more related to connecting to wifi in under 1 second and implementing sleep/hibernate in a way that makes sense. Elegant solutions to real problems, not hack piled upon hack. Not that the hardcore free software nerds will ever get any of that, because it's too nice and shiny for them to even consider.
Second thought: if you're happy using Apple products because the WiFi works better and you don't care about freedom, then where's your stake in this thread? AFAICT, you don't care (much) about DRM, so ep103's exhortation for people to be consistent is not criticizing you. You, AFAICT, are ethically consistent; you suckle the teat of convenience, and you like how it tastes. Power to you! So what's your problem?
Unless you DO care about DRM.
Again, ep103's point is: if Alice complains about Mozilla's philosphical weakness, but Alice is already using a browser (and/or OS!) that is twice as bad as Mozilla, then Alice is a hypocrite and should look in the mirror, because she's part of the problem.
I've seen up close and personal how Mozilla spends its oodles of cash, I've spoken to folks from all the browser vendors at conferences. The only thing different about Mozilla is the sanctimonious attitude and the utter shock when you dare suggest their actions do not necessarily match words. Everyone else already knows how the game is being played.
'Course not. Even Richard Stalmann used UNIX in the process of replacing it with GNU.
But you do use a free browser for your day to day browsing, right?
Could you give a source (it doesn't sound implausible, but for statements with such a scope I'm interested in reliable sources)?
It still would have accomplished nothing, because websites would just have a "this site doesn't work in Firefox, try switching to Chrome or IE or Safari" block page. And no amount of Firefox marketshare could make them not have that block page, because if they let Firefox access the content DRM-free the sites would lose their licenses on the content.
Or we could just not give the devil our little finger.
Also, a reminder about the nature of this beast that everyone should be aware of:
HTML DRM will not give you plugin-free or standardized playback. It will simply replace Flash/Silverlight with multiple custom and proprietary DRM black boxes that will likely have even worse cross-platform compatibility than the existing solutions. In other words, giving in to HTML DRM will only make the situation worse than it currently is. Especially since it paves the way to an even more closed web.
Except if you use the new Firefox you may have better privacy and security than you currently do with flash and silverlight.
I haven't seen anybody on here argue for DRM, so I don't see the point in this FUD.
Instead, lets find more ways for Firefox to fight DRM and reduce it's negative impact. I particularly support one of Doctorow's suggestions:
>Mozilla has demonstrated that it has some negotiating leverage with Adobe – after all, it was able to fend off the demand for details of users’ systems to be leaked to video companies.
>It should demand that Adobe give it a covenant not to sue or threaten developers who report vulnerabilities in the Adobe decoder. Adobe does not need to give up the right to sue people who release cracks for their DRM or competing products in order to do this.
>In an era in which vulnerabilities are leveraged to expose users to identity theft, sexual exploitation and government surveillance, no one should fear legal reprisal for warning people about flaws in the software they use.
Additionally, we need to focus on ways to educate users about the risks of DRM and disincentive web sites from using DRM wherever possible.
Doing this has put Firefox in a really awful strategic position for fighting DRM on the Web in future. Once large swathes of content starts being DRMed - which is only feasible if all major web browsers support it - Mozilla will not be in a position to fight future encroachment, such as demands from their DRM provider for access outside the sandbox to verify the decrypted data isn't being siphoned off. They won't be able to do anything to stop being pictures being DRMed either, should their DRM provider decide to support it. It's not clear they'd even be able to fight DRM on entire HTML pages since doing so may risk losing video DRM support and access to vast swathes of the Web.
To be honest, Apple are more likely to pose an obstacle to web DRM than Mozilla at this point. While they plan to support EME too I suspect their financial terms for using it may well go beyond what content providers are willing to pay.
"May". We're still changing a closed plugin to an even more closed black box (or actually multiple black boxes), which could be doing god knows when you're not looking (and even when you are looking). And even if Mozilla manages to negotiate some promises of privacy for Firefox users, what about other browsers - will their users get it just as good when they switch from Flash/Silverlight to some DRM black box? You might say that "it'll happen anyway" since other browser vendors are already in bed with Hollywood on this but Firefox hopping in surely doesn't help the situation any.
It's more scary than a black box, it's a black box where it is illegal to discuss any vulernabilities or bugs due to the DMCA. At least this black box will be inside of an opensource sandbox that is publicly auditable and testable.
> And even if Mozilla manages to negotiate some promises of privacy for Firefox users,
Mozilla already has commited to providing privacy protections that are superior to the current DRM implementations.
> what about other browsers - will their users get it just as good when they switch from Flash/Silverlight to some DRM black box?
That depends on how good a job Mozilla does at shaping the marketplace and consumer expectations. It also depends on how good a job we do about educating the public about the risks (security and otherwise)
>but Firefox hopping in surely doesn't help the situation any.
Why can't it? Why is that sure?
"please install our browser extension or iOS/Android app to read the article"
"become a pro user today and for just $4.99 read up to 30 articles a day without intrusive video ads every 10 minutes!"
I feel like we've opened Pandora's box and are on our way to turn our web browsers into an equivalent of smartphone operating systems and the internet into apps.
Yes I know.. I was an executive as a major record label, trust me it's hard to be on both sides of this argument and it's not as simple as everyone makes it out to be...
I can't explain how many times I tried to help executives understand that the path between the media to the human eye or ear was vulnerable to so many attacks it clearly was a fruitless goal to protect media in that way. They hear some bright young person tell them they can protect their media like it was in the good 'ole days and they have the need to believe because without that belief they are out of a job..
And artists are on their own to figure out how to make money on their work...
There would be zero impact if Netflix didn't have DRM. People would still have to search and install third party software to download streams. At that point, it doesn't matter if it comes from Netflix or from some random torrent.
Other schemes such as global licence may also help.
We also need easy, anonymous micro payment. Like, click a button to give 10 to 50 cents every time you feel like it when using something (song, e-book, software…).
Oh, and, like, universal basic income. It's hard to get paid when we contribute to the commons, so basic income can help a great deal. (Seriously, if we had sustainable basic income —dunno if it's possible right now— we could probably abolish copyright and patent laws right away —and not worry about the massive lawyer lay-offs that will ensue.)
Not having to hire Alicia Silverman or whomever the cute-blonde-equivalent-in-2014 is for video clips does cut costs.
you make money by selling merch and going on tour
If HTML5 video is going to rely on buggy third party DRM plugins, we lose the benefit that was the whole point of HTML5 video.
Only HTML5 video that has DRM will rely on EME plugins. We've lost nothing. In fact we've gained. HTML5 video now has a strict superset of the capabilities it had before.
non-DRM video | yes | yes |
DRM video | yes | no |
non-DRM video | yes | yes |
DRM video | yes | yes |
It will now be almost as easy to implement video with DRM in production as it is to implement HTML5 video without DRM. Every provider will now use DRM. Netflix will use fancy DRM, which mostly works. Everyone else will pay $19.95 for theirs.
Never thought we were going to bring back the age of Realplayer (and the million others.)
No, it won't.
> We have lost video that did not have DRM.
We may lose some because it may get easier to implement DRM and that may tip the balance for some content source.
> It will now be almost as easy to implement video with DRM in production as it is to implement HTML5 video without DRM.
But plenty of sources will still choose not to use DRM, as is the case even with other formats where DRM is well-estbalished as an option with simple toolchains.
pointy haired bosses.
Before this change, being DRM free was at least somewhat pragmatic. Now it's only principles and consumer rights, and we live in a capitalist society, who the fuck cares about those?
This is a terrible development.
If this binary blob from Adobe isn't presented with a similar UI as regular "plugins" (that the user can disable or uninstall), then I will look into writing an extension to disable it, or perhaps rely on a Firefox fork to give me a Flash-lite(tm) free browser.
Again, it's been stated that you will be clearly given the choice to disable the CDM entirely.
then, no browser involved.
As I see it, it kind of looks like it help DRM, first by legitimizing it, i.e. it doesn't carry the same weight if it's something proposed by only one corporation ("these guys are crazy and don't know what they are doing") vs the weight it carries by virtue of being part of the HTML standard ("if it's a standard it must be already accepted by everyone so it must be good!")
And second, by preventing fragmentation among DRM solutions, i.e. it will be easier for DRM users (not end-users) to interact with one another and even innovate and pass on that innovation (licensing, etc) instead of fightning among them like it happens nowadays (i.e. SecuROM vs their competition, etc).
Again, that's what it seems to me, but maybe someone else can provide a different explanation?
Only a subset of the available OS and processor architectures will be supported.
Flash was designed years ago and even though everyone wants it to die, we're still feeling its pain.
Designing a similar solution in 2014 is just asking for trouble for the next 10-20 years IMO.
Oh, and you're giving up the opportunity/right to audit the code that runs on your devices.
Or in a darker version - can we make sure the new plugins don't scan your drive for "incompatible content". Game anti-cheat systems already do that. At least flash / silverlight was playing nice so far, unlike some of the more interesting DRM systems in the past.
The problem with the former case, then, is that I get a browser that ostensibly supports my freedom, and this code that runs things secretly, without letting me intervene or analyze, comes in with it, under the radar.
In the latter case, I have to take a deliberate action, explicitly agree to a license, and install a product I know to be freedom-denying. So I have something icky on my computer if/when I specifically choose to, and I know exactly what the icky stuff is, why it is there, and how to get rid of it if I decide to.
I think it would be much better if Mozilla were to present the DRM stuff as an optional, not-installed-by-default plug-in with clearly restricted scope, access, and capabilities. If they do this, then they probably ought to spin off the group that makes the plug-in as a separate organization.
" * Each person will be able to decide whether to activate the DRM implementation or to leave it off and not watch DRM-controlled content.
* We have surrounded the closed-source portion with an open-source wrapper. This allows us to monitor and better understand the scope of activities of the closed-source code."
So your hypothetical built-into-the-browser and on-by-default implementation does not describe the same thing that has been announced for Firefox. Indeed the actual plan is quite close to what you suggest in your final paragraph.
I honestly don't get it, you could make just as much, if not more, money doing something that's not 100% ethically wrong... especially in this job market! It's easy to work remotely, so you can't claim geographic entrapment. I'm sure if those who were especially financially encumbered could make a kickstarter page people would literally pay them to quit their job!
As much as this stings, it stings even more that it's "our own" selling us out, that it's the people who should know better that are killing everything so many of us have worked so hard for.
Is it? I get a pretty steady stream of offers from recruiters and LinkedIn, and I can't recall a single one that offered remote work from day 1. Care to share all of these opportunities you know about?
It's not as if the software causes harm; indeed it probably reduces the potential of economic harm to the content providers. Assuming it does exactly what it claims to do, i.e. decoding of video and audio content dependent on a provided decryption key - then what is the ethical problem with programming an algorithm for that?
There is always a choice mozilla, please make the right one.
But, what happens if Google says they'll accept that challenge, and they're willing to lose 30% of revenue from something like YouTube in the short term. They implement DRM on YouTube, and Firefox users can no longer watch videos. What happens? Firefox users start converting over. Where to? Chrome, which falls into Google's best interest. Now, that 30% loss keeps getting smaller and smaller, and Chrome users start increasing. Fast forward a year, and Firefox only has 10% of the users. This continues to shrink until Firefox dies.
Sadly, this is what happens when we give Google and Facebook too much power, and the ability to run the internet. It's our fault for giving them that position, and not developing or supporting alternatives. If you want to fight back, you need to give Mozilla a better position to stand. Sites like Wikipedia, Imgur, etc, need to run banners for browsers that support DRM, and block users, or encourage them to switch to a DRM free browser, like Firefox. Take the wind out of their sails, before they try to do the same to us.
My solution has always been that we need to teach people and make it easy for them to hop onto the darknets and any decentralized networks while also helping smaller companies and indie devs establish their business outside the boundaries of the commercial internet and onto the Deep Web.
This will allow us to reboot back to the early 90s and rip power away from all these present-day corporations who've turned the commercial internet into a money-grubbing mess.
Data exchange should know no boundaries.
The bright side is that information wants to be free. If one day we have a closed web on a two-tier Internet, there will always be a group of people wanting to make it work like the old way. Unless they somehow made it illegal, the libre internet with an open ecosystem will always be available.
I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to protect content. Frankly (I'm a hypocrite, becsus the I have used it, myself), isn't the YouTube downloading plugins some type of breaking copyright or TOS anyway? If you were an artist, and everyone was downloading your work for free, I bet you'd be pissed as fuck.
Or, if you're a publishing company, I bet you'd be pissed if everyone was downloading the shit you published for free. Just because the company is "big" does not mean they don't have the right to protect their content or service. This is utter hypocrisy!
To draw a paralle: I can eat the pie on the table, but you can't. Why? Fuck you, because human rights and shit, dude; this side of the table is the only one with rights.
This isn't great, but to the end user, it looks the same as Flash and Silverlight.
Especially if Mozilla were to add click-to-play for all such plugins, along with an explanation of what they are (think of the warnings that are currently shown for self-signed certs), they may still have an opportunity to do good with this yet.
I'd really love for Mozilla to remain as true to its mission as possible. On the other hand, Mozilla's power to do good in the world is intrinsically linked to its marketshare. If Mozilla ends up being the lone holdout, it's possible that they will just lose marketshare as DRM content becomes more widespread - that would be quite a Pyrrhic victory.
I share in the EFF's disappointment at the situation, though (saldy) this has been inevitable for some time.
 Perhaps not 100%, but it's a major component of it.
As explained in the comment I linked:
> I could imagine [Mozilla] using the opportunity to display a message to educate users as to what DRM is and whose phone number to call if they don't like it. ;-)
Obviously not including DRM at all is ideal, but at least would be a way to remain true to one's values (supporting freedom and the open web) and educating users in the process, while still providing support for these features.
Edit: Added last part.
Careful. Thats a somewhat empty response. It's technically true, but its an enormous barrier— even if someone else compiles it for you, how do you know their binary is trustworthy?
It's like saying that humans don't need oxygen to survive, because you can extract oxygen from the electrolysis of water. :)
You have to consider the tradeoffs users are presented with, and the _practical_ freedom to choose is lost far before the cost of the choice becomes infinite.
Fortunately in this case participation will be opt in, though perhaps market forces will make it hard to opt out— but if so the belief is that the same forces would just force you to use Chrome and miss out on the other choices that Firefox leaves open to you.
Your claim is incoherent... if you don't currently compile firefox yourself, then you're in exactly the same situation, how do you know the binary is trustworthy?
If you do currently compile it yourself, what's the big deal?
On the contrary, making DRM tech more accessible to developers will only help young startups build platforms that are "content provider friendly". This will promote competition in the online entertainment space and ultimately drive prices down.
I'm no fan of DRM but I see the value it serves. Just like advertising. I don't see why everybody is making such a fuss about this when we already have a wide proliferation of plugin-based DRM. Why are people complaining that it is moving towards an even more open layer?
That is anathema to their business model dynamic; licenses are stringently kept to stretch exclusivity. Platforms!? (plural?), the DRM tech debate is about monopolizing/standardizing THE platform.
>I'm no fan of DRM but I see the value it serves. Just like advertising.
You must have never had a VCR... smh...
With this DRM, and Sisyphean-esque copyright term-limit laws... I'm wary of how much influence the content industry will have on tech.
Right now if you want to lock something down, like watching Netflix on your browser, you install Silverlight. In the future, Silverlight is replaced and Netflix uses XYZ technology but maybe with DRM-in-HTML or whatever. And as a user, it doesn't matter because most people I know today use a tablet with the native app, a streaming device such as the Roku player, or a SmartTV.
"I supported this least-worst EME plan when I was at Mozilla. I'm still working on no-DRM solution w/ @OTOY + some content "bigs"."
Option 1) Stick to your laurels and refuse to implement DRM. Other browser vendors implement DRM, certain parts of the web become inaccessible via Firefox as DRM is implemented into more and more web services (think Youtube, Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu). Firefox's lack of DRM means its users are being disadvantaged.
Option 2) Implement DRM. Accept temporary defeat, don't lose browser share to Chrome and continue fighting from within against DRM.
Which option do you think sounds more appealing to Mozilla? Die on your sword, keep the trust of your dwindling user base or implement DRM and retain most of your user base (minus the people that will leave because of this decision). I think someone needs to create a fork and build a DRM-less browser, that's the beautiful thing about open source, don't like something, change it.
The greatest thing about Firefox is the add-on/plugin ecosystem. Why not take advantage of it to give users a real choice? Firefox already does the same thing with Flash, a proprietary but easily installable plugin.
Firefox's lack of DRM would mean that users are being encouraged to used the services not encumbered with this nonsense, instead of all gravitating to whichever DRM service is most popular.
Mozilla supporting DRM is a failure because of Metcalfe's Law. By giving access to the network of people using DRM to their n users, they support that network by O(n^2) and make it that much harder to dislodge in the future.
More importantly, though, content is more compelling than browsers, and browsers are easier to switch. If Firefox blocks its n users from receiving some content, some fraction of those will leave Firefox and get the content anyway, leaving Firefox with less strength to fight the next battle. In this case, it looks like that fraction would be pretty significant, and the impact on DRM not that great.