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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 DeVilla on Monday September 28 2020, @05:13AM

    by DeVilla (5354) on Monday September 28 2020, @05:13AM (#1058057)

    Definitely more than once. At least two of the plugins that I lost (and never found replacements for) were because their respective authors had just finished an almost total re-write due to the multi-process thing (electrolysis?) only to then be informed they were going to have to do another total re-write due to abandonment of xul plugins.

    I suspect one of those two plugin would have been broken the way tab mix plus was & still is broken, due to the lack of function provided by the new (now current) plugin API. But the other plugin already supported chrome. Both authors threw up their hands and gave up. They didn't have the time to deal with firefox support anymore.

    We need an alternative browser that can be a credible force in pursuing Mozilla's original goals. Mozilla surrendered long ago and I don't see how they or another upstart could champion those goals with any credible way of achieving them. Between the size of work needed to implement the current standard, combined with the fact that HTML5 is a "living standard" effectively controller by the incumbents, no small operation has a chance to become influential enough to matter.

    The only hope would be to get a movement supporting a functional, non-moving target standard that is (mostly?) a subset of HTML 5. I would assume it would have to happen in the universities. Any small business these days are too busy trying to find the version of "Open Core" that "works". Fighting for a truly open web standard ain't it.

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