from the here-today,-gone-tomorrow dept.
The Mozilla Corporation announced today it was laying off approximately 250 staff members in a move to shore up the organization's financial future.
The layoffs were publicly announced in a blog post today. Employees were notified hours before, earlier this morning, via an email [PDF] sent by Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Corporation CEO and Mozilla Foundation Chairwoman.
Baker's message cited the organization's need to adapt its finances to a post-COVID-19 world and re-focus the organization on new commercial services.
[...] In 2018, the Mozilla Corporation said it had around 1,000 full-time employees worldwide. Mozilla previously laid off 70 employees in January. Several sources have told ZDNet that the recent layoffs accounted for nearly a quarter of the organization's workforce.
Main casualties of today's layoffs were the developers working on the company's experimental Servo browser engine and Mozilla's threat management security team. The latter is the security team that investigates security reports and performs incident response. The security team that fixes bugs in Mozilla products is still in place, according to sources and a Mozilla spokesperson.
Rust's core team and Mozilla are announcing plans to create a Rust foundation with the hopes of establishing this legal entity by year's end. The trademarks and related assets of Rust, Cargo, and Crates.io will belong to this foundation. Work is well underway on establishing this foundation with originally coming to the idea of possibly creating an independent Rust foundation last year, now pushed along by the recent Mozilla layoffs and the global pandemic. This should allow the Rust community more safety rather than being reliant upon a sole organization (Mozilla) and help foster growth and open up new possibilities.
Co-founder of Netscape (formerly Mosaic Communications Corporation) and of Mozilla.org, Jamie Zawinski, has some brief comments about the current situation with Mozilla and its browser.
Back to Mozilla -- in my humble but correct opinion, Mozilla should be doing two things and two things only:
- Building THE reference implementation web browser, and
- Being a jugular-snapping attack dog on standards committees.
- There is no 3.
And they just completely threw in the towel on standards when they grabbed their ankles and allowed W3C to add DRM. At this point, I assume Mozilla's voice on the standards committees has all the world-trembling gravitas of "EFF writes amicus brief."
By the way, one dynamic that the cited article missed is that a huge part of the reason for Google's "investment" in Mozilla was not just to drive search traffic -- it was antitrust insurance. Mozilla continuing to exist made Chrome not be the only remaining web browser, and that kept certain wolves at bay.
Google has decided that they don't need to buy antitrust insurance any more. Wonder why.
Firefox 83 also ships with an option for an HTTPS-only mode whereby every Firefox connection aims to be secure and will warn the user should HTTPS not be supported.
Mozilla and the Linux Foundation are jointly announcing this morning that the Servo web engine development will now be hosted by the Linux Foundation.
The Rust-written code-base that's served as a long in development "next-gen" web engine at Mozilla will now be developed under the Linux Foundation umbrella. Besides Mozilla, this move has the support of other industry stakeholders like Samsung and Let's Encrypt.
See also: Firefox 84 Beta Begins Enabling WebRender By Default On Linux
Chrome 87 Released With More Performance Improvements
Google Is Already Experimenting With WebP2 As Successor To WebP Image Format
Last year during the big round of layoffs at Mozilla the entire Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) writers team was laid off. That was a particularly sad blow considering how valuable the MDN documentation has been to web developers as a very useful resource. Today the Mozilla folks are announced Open Web Docs in seemingly looking to have the community take over.
Following those unfortunate layoffs last summer, they exposed all of the Mozilla Developer Network documentation to GitHub. Now they are announcing the Open Web Docs organization.
"Open Web Docs (OWD) is an open collective, created in collaboration between several key MDN partner organizations to ensure the long-term health of open web platform documentation on de facto standard resources like MDN Web Docs, independently of any single vendor or organization. It will do this by collecting funding to finance writing staff and helping manage the communities and processes that will deliver on present and future documentation needs," was written on the Mozilla Hacks blog.
Previously: Mozilla Lays Off 250, Including Entire Threat Management Team
Following Layoffs, Mozilla and Core Rust Developers Are Forming a Rust Foundation
A Pretty Dire Assessment of Mozilla
Firefox 83 Released; Mozilla Kicks Rusty "Servo" Web Engine to the Linux Foundation