Mozilland citizen worries

Chris Messina strikes back. If you’re interested in the future of the web, this vlog is a total mustwatch.

The good news is that there are many in Mozilla world who share the values, concerns and hopes. I’m definitely one of them.

1) Referring to the position of Mozilla in the sunshine of Apollo, Silverlight and JavaFX. This is the most important concern right now. I remember the topic was raised through whole last year, I remember discussing it with Paul Kim of Mozilla and Erikka Arone of Flock at some small cafe place at Castro street in Mountain View. I remember the very same topic raised at XTech 2006 during lunch with Ian McKellar (Flock by the time, now Songbird) and Asa Dotzler (Mozilla), we were discussing it with Ian many times and I remember that even without the whole Apollo thing, we felt that Mozilla is ignoring Gecko, it’s overfocusing on Firefox and it’s a BadThing(tm). I remember a discussion with Daniel Glazman about Nvu/Composer at mid December about exactly this topic. Hey! We’ve even raised it during FOSDEM 2007 at the MozDevRoom during the open discussion about Mozilla Manifesto! It was me who requested removing the name “Firefox” from the Manifesto, and no, it has nothing to my love for this browser. It’s about the level of details, level of discussion. Firefox is a tool, not the goal. One day we will be fulfilling the Manifesto with other tool than Firefox if the need of promotion of choice and innovation will lead us there. But Gecko will probably still be the platform. We need it to mature. More recently Glazou had posted links to two emotional posts. I also believe that it’s a high time to diversificate resources. And from the day when Daniel Glazman and Chris Messina share the concerns, hopes and values about the future of the web, it’ll be hard to surprise me more 🙂 Chris. We have what you worry about in our minds for long time. Thanks for activating the wave.

2) The Tools. We screwed. We know it. And I want to think of it not as a failure of Mozilla Corporation, but Mozilla Community/World. I strongly believe that to be able to stay focused on our goals, and be sure we’re not loosing the values, Mozilla must be an environment that would be able to survive without money – without Mozilla Corporation. I like to think about it as – would there be enough passion, volunteers, focus, goals, values, technologies if we’d suddenly had to live for half a year without MoCorp? If the answer is “no”, it means that we become to dependent to the Money. I remember Mozilla from the days before Firefox, and I’m sure that what keeps us together are the values stated by Mozilla Manifesto, not Firefox. So if Mozilla authorities doesn’t step in some area, Mozilla Community must. As it happened with Seamonkey, and long time ago… with Firefox. We failed to generate tools for creating extensions and/or Gecko based products. We tried with a few extensions, we were trying to generate Eclipse extension for XUL development… Nothing of this came to the point of user experience value. Same happened with L10n tool. FUEL won’t solve the problem. Latest Firefox 3 builds still are not divorced from GRE! And I don’t see much focus to get there.

Both, Mitchell and Tristan are in the position that Firefox is the best way to achieve Mozilla Manifesto. That Firefox is “a kind of platform” and Chris’s worries are pointless in the light of great webtools.

I love Firefox. It’s a perfect generic browser and I’m really proud to live in the world where the user can choose from so many great browsers – Firefox, Flock, Opera,  Safari, Camino, Seamonkey, K-Meleon. I’m proud that all but two of them are open source.

I feel that the difference between what Chris, Daniel, Alex says and what Tristan and Mitchell says is in the perception of the market situation. Chris claims that the open-browsers world battle is already won. That we have great browsers, everything is in place, and we need to rush forward to the platform land, Tristan is not so sure. Generally, Mozilla Corp. position (as I feel from Tristan’s, Mitchell’s, Paul Kim words) is that the threat of Microsoft takeovering browser world and closing it once again is alive and we need to spend more effort, more time and more energy before we can claim we’re there.

I’m more with Chris here. I’m not afraid of Microsoft too much, quoting Paul Graham (in the exact meaning he had in mind) – Microsoft is dead.  It applies to browsers. They’re not a threat anymore. The machine of time is moving and nothing will stop it. Tristan, Mitchell, you’re afraid of IE8 as much as you were about IE7. Now we all know that IE7 is not the biggest challenge. Your point of view is narrow – IE or Mozilla. Fortunately not anymore! Mozilla did something amazing. Mozilla challenged Microsoft. Firefox 1, Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2.0. But while we’re preparing Firefox 3 to challenge IE8, Mozilla won’t be alone! Safari is mature, Flock is approaching 1.0, Konqueror on Windows will be alive with KDE4 (Octover 23rd 2007). There’s also Swift. Opera is ready to take their part of the cake. I think that most of us agrees that Firefox’s destination is to be nr 1. Alone or sharing it with IE. But there’s a lot of space for others and with such a great defragmentation we don’t have to worry about standards – they’re the only key to live in the defragmented web world. More! It will be much harder for Microsoft to attack many players than Firefox alone.

I believe that Mozilla Foundation does the best from their point of view. And one of the things in Mozilla ecosystem is that they have community. I’m signing in to the Alex’s idea. Let’s do our Phoenix, our Seamonkey. Let’s take it in our hands. What we need is to create a group that will focus on XulRunner as a platform until Mozilla Corp. is ready to take it. Form a plan, work on tools, prepare tutorials, form a clear list of requests to Mozilla – what we need from them to be able to do what we want.

While Chris is afraid of the open soul, open heart of Mozilla today, I tend to believe that such moments are the the real triumph of the open model of software development – like the elections are for the democracy. We can take it in our hands – we can do what no other community can do – we can shape our future and I believe that Mozilla Corporation, Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Europe will support us.

Always be careful to spot when during the discussion participants frame the problem into binary 0-1 issue. This OR this.

We’re lucky! We can do this AND this.