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posted by chromas on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the here-today,-gone-tomorrow dept.

Mozilla lays off 250 employees while it refocuses on commercial products

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.

Changing World, Changing Mozilla

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Also at TechCrunch and The Verge.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by coolgopher on Thursday August 13 2020, @06:03AM (38 children)

    by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 13 2020, @06:03AM (#1036011)

    Laying off the threat management team instead of, say, whoever has been pushing unnecessary, unwanted, and detrimental UI changes onto Firefox, or whoever it was who was squandering money on diversity/inclusivity programs, is probably the death knell for this company. Pity, they used to make a really good web browser, and we'll be far worse off in the increasing browser mono-culture.

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  • (Score: 3, Touché) by fustakrakich on Thursday August 13 2020, @06:15AM (21 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday August 13 2020, @06:15AM (#1036012) Journal

    Pity, they used to make a really good web browser...

    It started life as a crippled version of what is still the best browser [seamonkey-project.org]

    --
    La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Arik on Thursday August 13 2020, @07:07AM (18 children)

      by Arik (4543) on Thursday August 13 2020, @07:07AM (#1036021) Journal
      No, it started as the stripped down, customizable browser only alternative to Nutscrape Navigator, the browser that insisted you needed to install a dozen different clients in order to load a webpage.

      I'm not sure exactly when SeaMonkey started, but it took off about the time the stripped down customizable web browser got even more bloated than Navigator.
      --
      If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 2) by Subsentient on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:11AM (1 child)

        by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:11AM (#1036042) Homepage Journal

        Lol, "Nutscrape Navigator".

        --
        "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday August 13 2020, @11:25PM

          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 13 2020, @11:25PM (#1036354) Journal

          I'm old enough to remember that one. Nutscrape and its MS counterpart Internut Exploder.

          --
          I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:18AM (15 children)

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:18AM (#1036048) Journal

        No, it started as the stripped down, customizable browser only alternative to Nutscrape Navigator

        Yes, that's what I said. Netscape is Seamonkey, and there is no denying that it is still the best ever. I've tried the rest, they all suck. Firefox was always lame. It was never really any faster than the full Mozilla suite. And now it's just a Chrome Look-a-like. Why not just use Chrome? What does Firefox offer?

        --
        La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Arik on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:35AM (6 children)

          by Arik (4543) on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:35AM (#1036053) Journal
          "Firefox was always lame."

          I must disagree.

          It became lame about version 4. It became totally lame when they abandoned version numbers and started with the marketing numbers. So roughly 10 years ago.

          At this point it's an object history in how not to manage a software project.

          The people who need to learn their lesson, won't.
          --
          If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
          • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:38AM (4 children)

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:38AM (#1036054) Journal

            :-) But, we still have Seamonkey. So all is well

            --
            La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
            • (Score: 2) by Arik on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:43AM (3 children)

              by Arik (4543) on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:43AM (#1036057) Journal
              Is it?

              Doesn't that depend on Gecko?
              --
              If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
              • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday August 13 2020, @10:29AM (1 child)

                by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 13 2020, @10:29AM (#1036080) Journal

                The nice thing with Open Source is that if the original developer fails to deliver, others can take over.

                --
                The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by barbara hudson on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:27PM

                  by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:27PM (#1036230) Journal
                  But that takes money. More than 90% of Mozilla's funding is through the deal with Google. Without it, they would have closed shop within a year or so. So how are you gonna finance the salaries of hundreds of developers? There are no companies with deep pockets who need Firefox, unlike those who pay Linux devs.
                  --
                  SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
              • (Score: 2, Interesting) by fustakrakich on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:27PM

                by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:27PM (#1036229) Journal

                It could depend on PFM, as long as it works... Really it's the stability of its interface and options that keep me hooked. Cookie manager could use some work though. And bookmarking, you know who had the absolute best bookmarking? Internet Explorer, it just stored a shortcut to the page on your disk. It was perfect. I could manage them in a regular window like any other file. Using a database is stupid and kludgy

                --
                La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @06:39PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @06:39PM (#1036654)

            It was originally an independent project to strip off the bloat of using javascript and html/xml markup to generate the user interface running on top of... either gtk 1.x or very early 2.x in order to have cross platform compatibility. It was fast with a small memory footprint, and the initial source of tabs on Netscape/Mozilla Browser (they were still using the browser window paradigm where each open page was its own window).

            The switch to XUL happened after the project had become popular and they offered the developer a job, before moving someone else in to manage the project, then start pushing the XUL crap on firefox as well (( think they started with the interpreted garbage that had made the post-Mozilla browser suite so slow, but were working on the JIT javascript support around that time.) End result was the customizable and plugin friendly Firefox that we all accidentally pitched to our friends because most of us were still using the native widget client with none of the XUL overhead. Then systems jumped up in memory and cpu performance during the late p4/athlon xp and early core2/athlon64 era and most of the people who hated xul finally switched because there wasn't a compelling reason not to. As an aside: If i remember correctly, there were a lot of xul related exploits during that time, which firefox avoided, while general javascript/media handling exploits worked on both, but generally didn't get as far on firefox. XUL changed all that for the worse.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:43AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:43AM (#1036058)

          Mosaic? A pattern made of differently colored stone fragments, set in a mortar matrix, and ground into a flat floor-like surface. Netscape? A scape of nets? Or the rogue rip-off off Stanford graduate students, same as it ever was. And then, the Dark Lord, Internet Exploder, come to blow you up and destroy network standards and protocols. And finally, Mozilla! Risen from the dead, prepared to return battle to the Dark Lord, who in Redmond lies. Or, not so much. And now, after the Mormon-Catholic anti-gay and trans and democrat and cowboy thing, we have come to this. Obligatory XKCD [soylentnews.org]" rel="url2html-20493">https://xkcd.com/1022/">XKCD Will no one think of the children? Where are the standards? Why do I not have extensions to nuke advertisers and trackers to the Sixth Level of Dante's Inferno? Even the Pale Moon has paled as a browser, in favor of the whores and mercenaries, and Betsy DeVoses, of the internet. Good luck, humanity!

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Thursday August 13 2020, @11:33AM

          by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <{axehandle} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday August 13 2020, @11:33AM (#1036093)

          ...And now it's just a Chrome Look-a-like. Why not just use Chrome? What does Firefox offer?

          A powerful argument to choose Seamonkey.

          --
          It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday August 13 2020, @01:40PM

          by HiThere (866) on Thursday August 13 2020, @01:40PM (#1036123) Journal

          To me it is still better than Chrome, if only in the way it handles bookmarks...though it sure isn't as good as it used to be. I'm not quite sure which "threat management" team they've fired, but it doesn't sound good. Thinking that it handled threat management better than SeaMonkey did was the only thing in its favor.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:16PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:16PM (#1036222)

          I like SeaMonkey's speed, reliability, and low resource usage, but I have the visual design. Too much screen space is wasted! I've fallen in love with qutebrowser, not just because of good vi-like keybinds, but because it doesn't waste half the space on the screen putting big ass buttons that I don't use everywhere.

          • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:32PM (2 children)

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:32PM (#1036232) Journal

            Too much screen space is wasted!

            Try F11

            low resource usage

            *cough* Say whaaa?!

            --
            La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
            • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @09:00PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @09:00PM (#1036306)

              Seamonkey used something like 1/4 the RAM of Firefox or chrome last time I checked. I had to open a bunch of tabs to get to more than 1G.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @07:45AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @07:45AM (#1036459)

                It's probably a single process, would make sense based on your 1/4 measure, because FF forks 4 worker processes on my system. FF and Chrome fork() with your ram, maaan!

        • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Friday August 14 2020, @09:59PM

          by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Friday August 14 2020, @09:59PM (#1036784)

          Firefox still offers a large number of add-ons and greater controls over your browsing experience in a readily available browser. Seamonkey is still not available in default Ubuntu repositories. Iceape and Iceweasel (forks of Seamonkey) used to be but I don't think they even exist any more. I don't know how Seamonkey ranks with add-ons, I have not used it at all since I disconnected my Windows PC from the internet in 2007 or so.

          Firefox seems to keep following the Yahoo internet strategy path so I expect it to sadly become a non-viable option at some point, but it still is light years better than Chrome.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @07:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @07:10AM (#1036023)

      I think that the guys developing FF extensions, gecko based browsers, and the new rust engine, should consider mozilla a zombie and start supporting forks as they were the main versions.
      No need to invest. Use IPFS/zeronet/torrents as the zero cost massive distribution network, the end.

      Seamonkey has the right UX philosophy: the UI is familiar, therefore change as little as possible. Waterfox has been bought, so it depends on what the new owners want.

    • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:20AM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:20AM (#1036050) Homepage

      It started life with a team of skilled and competent developers, and then those developers left and went on to work on Chrome/Chromium. Which explains a lot, really.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20100310155025/https://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/07/09/sun-valley-schmidt-didnt-want-to-build-chrome-initially-he-says/ [archive.org]

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by driverless on Thursday August 13 2020, @07:27AM (7 children)

    by driverless (4770) on Thursday August 13 2020, @07:27AM (#1036027)

    They only needed to lay off one person, Asa Dotzler, years ago. Instead, they're busy laying off the people who are actually doing something useful for Firefox.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @09:42AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @09:42AM (#1036076)

      She does do something useful: brings in those big donations that pays her and the other top brass's salaries. Until that changes or there is a big enough public outcry, no one who can actually do anything about it will care to replace her or the rest of them.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by tedd on Thursday August 13 2020, @10:26AM (3 children)

        by tedd (1691) on Thursday August 13 2020, @10:26AM (#1036079)

        Asa Dotzler is male. Get the right person to hate.

        • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:35PM (1 child)

          by shortscreen (2252) on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:35PM (#1036236) Journal
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:41PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:41PM (#1036295)

            Duh...gender fluidity is one of Mozilla's favorite employee qualities.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:46PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:46PM (#1036298)

          I know an Asa that is female, so I guess I assumed his gender.

          Regardless, I don't "hate" Asa. I'm just pointing out how big nonprofits like that work.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:16PM (#1036220)

      They should have canned the parasitic executive management instead of people who do actual work.

      These clowns cost Mozilla millions of dollars per year and provide negative value. I never understood why having a layer of folks who do not understand anything about the work the organization does, have less education (MBA collage making* doesn't count) than the folks they control, and have the intelligence of turnips as the decision makers is such a popular model in business.

      > The average Mozilla executive compensation is $213,745 a year. The median estimated compensation for executives at Mozilla including base salary and bonus is $210,217, or $101 per hour. At Mozilla, the most compensated executive makes $427,000...

      * I once walked in on a friend who attended an Ivy League business school gluing together magazine clippings into a collage as an assignment for her MBA!!!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @09:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @09:24PM (#1036315)

      +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1

      It started there and went downhill ever faster as the "User eXperience" team expanded.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:09AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:09AM (#1036041)

    Somewhere, Brendan Eich is smiling.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16 2020, @10:28AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16 2020, @10:28AM (#1037417)

      Because he infected our browser with DRM?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:51AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @08:51AM (#1036063)

    The death-knell for that company was when the majority of their higher ups, especially marketing, began using Chrome as their browser of choice.

    As far as UI/UX changes in Firefox and certain other FLOSS projects are concerned, that's down to activist coders who've decided to blot out everything originally introduced by "the wrong people." Not by some kind of concerted effort mind you, but as an inevitable result of their all too modern mode of thinking.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @12:39PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @12:39PM (#1036101)
    1. When Chrome came out, between the money Google poured into development and the money Google poured into promoting it, Firefox started losing millions or even tens of millions of users per month. So continuing to develop the same features and same UI they had before was not working. Maybe chasing Chrome UI and extensions API was the wrong move, but they had to do something because business as usual was going to kill them. Everyone bashing Mozilla for screwing up seems to be asserting they would be better off if they hadn't changed a thing. They tried that first, it didn't work.
    2. Do you really think the money they spent on a fucking diversity program could fund 250 full time employees? What exactly do you think they're doing, buying Ferraris for a hundred black women? Mozilla's participation in Outreachy covers 20 people working six months total each year, and while those people in the program are paid, they're not collecting senior staff salaries.

    "They hired 20 people that aren't white cis men for six months! Reverse discrimination!!!!!! It's ruining Mozilla!!!!!" Mozilla Foundation demographics before the layoffs was 75% male, 75% white, 15% Asian-descent. It's not like they've turned white cis men into an oppressed minority. But keep being a crybaby about it, I'm sure your opinion is very important.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @07:56AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @07:56AM (#1036462)

      You know what? There are times when it's best to stay calm and don't panic. We have a clear proof that what Mozilla did was not the right move and a bunch of dedicated users complaining about Mozilla having ruined a great browser. When a giant monopoly jumps in, with an even greater position than that of your previous foe, it will naturally show a huge change on the numbers. What gained Firefox usage in the war against IE was crowsourced advertising, not an attempt to copy IE. The reason people started using Chrome was not because it was better, they were being spoonfed Chrome through Google's market dominance. Now it's too late to use the old trick of community advertising, because the browser now suck compared to Chrome.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @11:46AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @11:46AM (#1036505)

        Firefox was much faster and more stable than IE. That's one of the reasons everyone switched. Chrome was dramatically faster than Firefox until Firefox 57, which is relatively recent, and even then the gap only narrowed but did not go away. That's one of the reasons, though not the only one, that people switched to Chrome.

        And the people complaining about changes? All available evidence it's a vocal minority, because more than a hundred people switched to Chrome before Firefox changed anything.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @09:33PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14 2020, @09:33PM (#1036769)

          Are you a satisfied Firefox user?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13 2020, @05:31PM (#1036231)

    [...] or whoever it was who was squandering money on diversity/inclusivity programs, is probably the death knell for this company. [...]

    The whole inclusion/diversity shtick began in Yakima, WA: (https://www.yakimawa.gov/)

    If it were nuked from orbit, the world would be a much better place, as would the tech industry.