The Perils Of Mozilla

  • 16 March 2014
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Yes, it's a monster movie plot but you need to make sure that your sympathies are with the monster. Mozilla is riding high and creating lots of nice open source software, but its position is far from secure. It hangs by a thread and we should be worried.
Recently the computer press has been full of the rumor that Mozilla might sell advertising on the Firefox new tabs page which is shown to new users. The shock horror that greeted the news was as if a great betrayal was about to happen.

Admittedly there is an irony as previously Mozilla made itself very unpopular with the advertising community by making "do not track" the default setting. In fact elements within Mozilla have been very vigorous in attacking the ad industry's use of the Internet.

Yet the real irony is that most of Mozilla's money is ultimately derived from advertising anyway.

Yes. that's right. Mozilla and Firefox have been serving you more ads than you could possibly imagine for the last few years.

When we complain about Mozilla's mild attempt at getting some serious independent income, who do we expect to pay for this huge and growing enterprise?

You need to think of Mozilla a a $300 million a year corporation to understand even a fraction of what it is about.

Mozilla may be best known for Firefox, but if you survey all of the things it has an interest in then you begin to see how important it is within the whole software ecostructure. It is a huge powerhouse of products, services, technologies and standards. It may not always do things right, but without it far less would get done.

The Mozilla community starts lots of projects many simply fizzle out, or are replaced by another more vigorous project. In fact Mozillians are so active that many an outsider must wish that they would slow down and concentrate on fewer higher quality projects. However, diversity and the right to diversify is what characterises open source - but this is to get side tracked. In the main, the huge cloud of small projects and initiatives tends to hide the bigger Mozilla picture and its single trend.
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