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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday September 26 2020, @08:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the state-of-the-art dept.

Co-founder of Netscape (formerly Mosaic Communications Corporation) and of, 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:

  1. Building THE reference implementation web browser, and
  2. Being a jugular-snapping attack dog on standards committees.
  3. 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.

Jamie is responding to the summary of the current situation with Mozilla outlined by software engineer Cal Paterson who points out that Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla's top exec pay having gone up 400%.

One of the most popular and most intuitive ways to evaluate an NGO is to judge how much of their spending is on their programme of works (or "mission") and how much is on other things, like administration and fundraising. If you give money to a charity for feeding people in the third world you hope that most of the money you give them goes on food - and not, for example, on company cars for head office staff.

Mozilla looks bad when considered in this light. Fully 30% of all expenditure goes on administration. Charity Navigator, an organisation that measures NGO effectiveness, would give them zero out of ten on the relevant metric. For context, to achieve 5/10 on that measure Mozilla admin would need to be under 25% of spending and, for 10/10, under 15%.

(2020) Mozilla Lays Off 250, Including Entire Threat Management Team
(2020) Firefox Browser Use Drops as Mozilla's Worst Microsoft Edge Fears Come True
(2020) The Web Is Now Too Complex To Allow The Creation of New Browsers
(2019) The Future of Browsers

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  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Saturday September 26 2020, @11:54AM (2 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Saturday September 26 2020, @11:54AM (#1057211)

    The manpower it takes to develop and maintain a standards compliant web browser nowadays will leave any non-profit at the mercy of its corporate donors.

    Someone could fork Chromium and get some work done there for a while... But regardless, practically speaking, the web standards and their committees are a lost cause.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 26 2020, @06:25PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 26 2020, @06:25PM (#1057334)

    But Mozilla diverted funds to so many side projects. I'm ignoring Outreachy - that was 20 entry level interns for 6 months per year, which is not significant. Mozilla started the FirefoxOS project, they built Firefox Hello, Firefox Sync, etc... they bought Pocket. They overpaid their executives an absurd amount.

    If they stayed lean and focused, maybe they would be in a better position today.

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Saturday September 26 2020, @08:50PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Saturday September 26 2020, @08:50PM (#1057372)

      That's very hard to say: One's seat at those panels is determined via social networking after all. I mean, look at all those browsers that came and went and couldn't secure any voice: Wasn't it the fact that they kept things lean and focused that doomed them?

      Practically speaking what we need is a p2p web with such a clean, lean and easy to implement hypertext markdown that it can compete against the existing corporate web. A good way to pull it off is to develop it side-to-side with an IRC / Discord chatting API so the kids and scene groups adopt it and then start writing hypertext pages for it to list content and FAQs and whatnot so it will grow organically from there. But as for Mozilla, I don't see them doing anything remotely close to any of this.