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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: 5, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Saturday September 26 2020, @12:12PM (1 child)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 26 2020, @12:12PM (#1057220) Journal

    One thing I found hilarious is that the message "you have to enable DRM to view this content" often blocked videos I didn't want playing anyway. Somehow, browsers can no longer completely stop videos from automatically playing, unless they are flagged as protected. Ad blocking can't stop all the video either. Makes me wonder if the days of HTML4 and Flash maybe weren't so bad after all, because if you didn't want autoplay video, all you had to do was not install Flash. I agree that adding DRM hooks to HTML5 was a huge mistake.

    A serious bug in Firefox is now, once you have played a video on YouTube, the threads Firefox started persist forever, gobbling up system resources and draining batteries. You're not looking at any video any more, you've closed the page that was showing YouTube, but all these processes are still going. PulseAudio (a waste of resources on its own) is among the battery draining, system resource hogs, despite the fact that no audio is being played. Only way I have found to stop it is completely exit Firefox.

    I used to be fully confident that DRM was too stupid to survive its own illogic, and would eventually die out. In recent years, I've begun to have doubts. They're still sly about it, still trying to be sneaky, but the public is being conditioned to accept a low level of DRM. For instance, Steam's boast that it is "DRM done right". There is no such thing as good DRM! DRM is bad. Period. Saying otherwise is the same as saying that a modest amount of fascism or slavery is acceptable, and even good.

    Well, now we've had 4 years of a much closer view and experience of fascism than anyone with a brain really wanted. Would be nice if it has provoked enough resistance and rebellion that it will spill over into the technical realm. But I'm not holding my breath.

    The GNU fork these days is called IceCat. It's not anywhere to be found in the Linux Mint repos.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27 2020, @05:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27 2020, @05:37PM (#1057698)

    i would be curious to know what fascism you are referring to. I understand you're referencing Ole Uncle Trumpy, but what specifically has his admin done that you consider 1) actually his fault and 2) fascism.