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Old 06-12-2015, 10:54 AM   #1
jeremy
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My Frustration with Mozilla


Quote:
I recently decided to stop using Firefox as my main Browser. Iím not alone there. While browser statistics are notoriously difficult to track and hotly debated, all sources seem to point toward a downward trend for Firefox. At LQ, they actually arenít doing too badly. In 2010 Firefox had a roughly 57% market share and so far this year theyíre at 37%. LQ is a highly technical site, however, and the broader numbers donít look quite so good. Over a similar period, for example, Wikipedia has Firefox dropping from over 30% to just over 15%. At the current rate NetMarketShare is tracking, Firefox will be in the single digits some time this year. You get the idea. So whatís going on , and what does that mean for Mozilla? And why did I choose now to make a switch personally?

First, let me say itís not all technical. While itís troubling that they have not been able to track down some of the memory leaks and other issues for years, Firefox is an incredibly complex piece of software and overall it runs fine for me. Australis didnít bother me as much as it did many, nor did the Pocket integration. I understand that the decision to include EME was a pragmatic one. I think the recent additional add-ons rules were as well. Despite these issues, I remained an ardent Firefox supporter who actively promoted its adoption. Taking a step back now, though, it is surprising to see just how many of the technical decisions theyíre making are not being well received by the Firefox community. I think part of that is due to the fact that while Firefox started as the browser of the early adopter and power user, as it gained in popularity Mozilla felt pressure to make a more mainstream product and recently that pressure has manifested itself in Firefox looking more like Chrome. I think theyíve lost their way a little bit technically and have forgotten what actually made them popular, but that was not enough for me to stop using Firefox.

On a recent Bad Voltage episode, we discussed some of these issues (and more), with the intention of having someone from Mozilla on the next show to give feedback on our thoughts. After reaching out to Mozilla, they not only declined to participate, they declined to even provide a statement (there is a fair bit more to the story, but itís off record and unfortunately I canít provide further details at this time). This made me step back a bit and reassess what I thought about Mozilla as a whole. Something I hadnít done in a while to be honest. Mozilla used to be a place where you were encouraged to speak your mind. What happened?

For context, I held Mozilla in the highest regard. Itís not hyperbole to say that I genuinely believe the Open Web would not be where it is today without what Mozilla has been able to accomplish. I consider their goals and the Mozilla Manifesto to be extremely important to the future of the web and it would be a shame to see us lose the freedom and openness weíve fought so hard to gain. But somewhere along the line it appears to me Mozilla either forgot who they were, or who they were changed. Mozillaís mission is ďto promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the WebĒ. Looking at their actions recently, and Iím not just referring to the Bad Voltage-related decision, they donít appear willing to be open or transparent about themselves. Their responses to incidents like the Pocket one resemble the response of a large stodgy corporation, not one of the Open Source spirited Mozilla I was accustomed to dealing with.

Maybe part of the issue is my perception. Many people, myself included, look at Mozilla as a bastion of freedom; the torch bearer for the free and Open Web. But the reality is that Mozilla is now a corporation, and one with over 1,000 employees. Emailing their PR department will get you a response from someone who used to work for CNN and the BBC. As companies grow, the culture often changes. The small, scrappy, steward of the Open Web may not exist any more. At least not in the pure concentrated form it used to; I know there is a solid core of it that very much burns within the larger organization. But this puts Mozilla in a really difficult position. They are not only losing market share rapidly, but doing so to a browser that is a product of the company that used to represent the vast majority of their revenue. With both revenue and market share declining, does Mozilla still have the clout it needs to direct the evolution of the web in a direction that is open and transparent?

I am a firm believer that the web would be a worse place without Mozilla. One of my largest concerns is that it appears many higher level Mozillians donít seem to think anything is wrong. Perhaps they are too close to the issue, or so focused on the cause that itís difficult or impossible to take a step back and assess where the organization came from, where they are and where they are going. Perhaps the organization is a little lost internallyÖ struggling with decreasing market share of their main project, less than stellar adoption on mobile, interesting projects such as rust and servo taking resource and internal conflict about which direction is the best path forward. Whatever the case, it appears externally, based on the number of people leaving and the decreasing willingness to discuss anything, that something is systemically culturally amiss.

Or perhaps Iím wrong here and everything really is fine. Perhaps this is simply the result of an organization that has seen tremendous growth and this new grown up and more corporate Mozilla really is the best organization to move the Open Web forward. Iím interested in hearing what others think on this topic. Has Mozilla lost its way and if so, how? More importantly if so, how do we move forward and pragmatically address the issue(s)? I think Mozilla is too important to the future of the web to not at least ask these questions.

NOTE: We also discussed this topic on the most recent episode of Bad Voltage. You should listen to the entire episode, but Iíve included just the Mozilla segment here for your convenience.
Jeremy's Blog for More... (including embedded audio for the Bad Voltage Mozilla segment).

--jeremy
 
Old 06-12-2015, 11:38 AM   #2
rokytnji
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To me. It just seems the way of the world. I stick with Iceweasel. But just because it comes packaged in my preferred distro.

So what options are there besides maybe Seamonkey (I know, Mozilla still).
Chromium?
Vivaldi?

Edit: I know about lightweight browsers and use some. I am just curious about heavy weight browsers that are close to being as full featured as Firefox.

Last edited by rokytnji; 06-12-2015 at 11:41 AM.
 
Old 06-12-2015, 11:59 AM   #3
TobiSGD
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I would switch away from Firefox immediately if there would be one browser that comes close to what Firefox+Pentadactyl+Adblock+NoScript+VideoDownloadHelper offer to me. vimb comes pretty close, but is not there yet.
Let's be honest, compared with other browsers Firefox is slow as hell, I have to restart it at least once a day (my main system is running 24/7) due to it becoming unresponsive and it sometimes just acts weird.
Hopefully Servo will fix those issues, otherwise it will sooner or later be "It was nice as long as it lasted, but I have to go" for me.
 
Old 06-12-2015, 12:26 PM   #4
ugjka
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I would stick with Chromium if it didn't chew so much ram per tab. Now I'm more often using Qupzilla for basic stuff, but for everything html5 chromium unfortunately is the best

Firefox is so 2006, I have it installed but somehow I don't find it very attractive and don't use it at all.
 
Old 06-12-2015, 12:45 PM   #5
smallpond
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I seem to be using Chrome more and more. As for Mozilla.org responsiveness:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=374002
 
Old 06-12-2015, 01:39 PM   #6
John VV
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Quote:
would switch away from Firefox immediately if there would be one browser that comes close to what Firefox+Pentadactyl+Adblock+NoScript+VideoDownloadHelper offer to me. vimb comes pretty close, but is not there yet.
Seamonkey

yes it is mozilla but not FF
 
Old 06-12-2015, 01:51 PM   #7
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John VV View Post
Seamonkey

yes it is mozilla but not FF
There is no Pentadactyl or a similar extension for Seamonkey.
 
Old 06-12-2015, 01:52 PM   #8
ceyx
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I'm with TobiSDG - what else comes close to the features of Firefox ?

For me it is also an issue of trust, perhaps of the lesser evil kind. I will not use Microsoft browsers,Googles or Apples. Mozilla might have warts and be limping, but it is no where near going over the edge, ala SourceForge.
 
Old 06-13-2015, 04:21 PM   #9
dave61430
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For me it's a no brainer. I run Google Chrome and get automatic calendar sync. between my windows partition, my laptop and phone. Bookmarks and other settings are also synced and I have no issues with the browser. It probably is resource heavy but I really don't care.
 
Old 06-13-2015, 04:44 PM   #10
elcore
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Pentadactyl, NoScript, SpyBlock, all work in IceCat, I checked.
 
Old 06-13-2015, 07:14 PM   #11
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcore View Post
Pentadactyl, NoScript, SpyBlock, all work in IceCat, I checked.
IceCat is basically a rebranded Firefox, so it likely has the same issues.
 
Old 06-13-2015, 09:34 PM   #12
metaschima
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Take note of the following facts:

1) Google Chrome was released in 2008.
2) Mozilla Releases Annual Report For 2011: Revenue Up 33% To $163M, Majority From Google
http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/15/moz...y-from-google/
https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/founda...alreport/2011/
Quote:
The majority of our revenue comes from the search functionality in the Firefox browser. Google is the largest source of revenue and in December 2011, we announced that we negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.
Note that this is the first year that Mozilla stated that Google was the major contributor and that...
3) In the year 2011 Mozilla changes to a rapid release schedule.
http://arstechnica.com/information-t...ter-firefox-4/
4) Web browser usage share starts to decrease for Firefox in 2011. Google Chrome becomes more popular than Firefox in 2012, and shortly afterwards becomes the most popular browser.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U...Counter%29.svg

Yes, I too am frustrated with Mozilla, and I wish that the devs would listen to their users and not to the money, but that's just not gonna happen. Luckily the source is open, so if someone decides to fork it and manages it well, then this will prevent the inevitable Chrome monopoly, which is almost upon us.

Last edited by metaschima; 06-13-2015 at 09:35 PM.
 
Old 06-13-2015, 09:48 PM   #13
ferrari
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A very thought-provoking thread - for now I remain using FF (as a creature of habit), but Chromium and Chrome are intriguing options. Whatever I move to, it needs to be compatible with all the sites I visit and network devices (with web interfaces) that I need to connect to in my workplace.
 
Old 06-13-2015, 11:06 PM   #14
ceyx
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And In 2015 Mozilla signed a 5 year deal with Yahoo, to make them the out-of-the box search engine. I understand that Yahoo is powered by Bing.

Will it make any difference ?
 
Old 06-14-2015, 08:49 AM   #15
EmaRsk
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The original article focus on ethical/ideological concerns about Mozilla (becoming more like a corporation etc.), not on technical issues with Firefox, so I don't see how Chrome/Chromium can be seen as a valid alternative in this context.
 
  


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