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Old 09-23-2020, 05:22 PM   #1
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Firefox usage down 85%, exec pay raise 400%

Mozilla recently announced that they would be dismissing 250 people. That's a quarter of their workforce so there are some deep cuts to their work too. The victims include: the MDN docs (those are the web standards docs everyone likes better than w3schools), the Rust compiler and even some cuts to Firefox development. Like most people I want to see Mozilla do well but those three projects comprise pretty much what I think of as the whole point of Mozilla, so this news is a a big let down. [...]

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. [...] 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. [...]

Mozilla now thinks of itself less as a custodian of the old Netscape suite and more as a 'privacy NGO'. One slogan inside Mozilla is: "Beyond the Browser".

Regardless of how they view themselves, most of their income comes from helping to direct traffic to Google by making that search engine the default in Firefox. Google make money off that traffic via a big targeted advertising system that tracks people across the web and largely without their consent. Indeed, one of the reasons this income is falling is because as Firefox's usage falls less traffic is being directed Google's way and so Google will pay less.

There is, as yet, no outbreak of agreement among the moral philosophers as to a universal code of ethics. However I think most people would recognise hypocrisy in Mozilla's relationship with Google. Beyond the ethical problems, the relationship certainly seems to create conflicts of interest. Anyone would think that a privacy NGO would build anti-tracking countermeasures into their browser right from the start. In fact, this was only added relatively recently (in 2019), after both Apple (in 2017) and Brave (since release) paved the way. It certainly seems like Mozilla's status as a Google vassal has played a role in the absence of anti-tracking features in Firefox for so long.

Old 09-26-2020, 03:57 AM   #2
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One of the co-founders of Netscape brought this up the other day.

Also, when Mozilla ejected Brendan Eich, despite the distraction and noise, it was really about giving in and letting the W3C pound DRM into the WWW's standards. At that point, problems became very serious.

Brave was the result of that ejection but it is not a separate browser, it is just a slightly modified version of Chromium. Same with M$ Edge, which is also a slightly modified version of Chromium. With the imminent demise of Firefox, it is likely that Alphabet's Google will be left in defacto control over the web. The W3C has been rendered irrelevant and the web is now about what Facebook and Google decide it is. With Google in charge of the remaining browser and the relative impossibility of anyone getting a new one off the ground, at any price, that means Google has soon captured the Web. It won't take much more effort to capture e-mail, too, while they are at it. Mozilla seems to be letting this happen.

Mozilla's current CEO has no real explanation of why the executive compensation is so unreasonably high, especially for a non-profit. Her attempt at dodging an explanation was basically a lot of mumbling about how all CEOs are doing it, in other words a fallacy. Nor does she explain why Mozilla is failing to address the Web as a standard.
Old 10-15-2020, 11:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
Mozilla seems to be letting this happen.
Mozilla get their google money and they can develop their browser and pontificate about privacy and the web all they want. They are a "competitor" to google - the only viable competitor - which google ultimately controls. If google pull out their deal, the money is gone and the CEO is gone... you only have to follow the money there.

almost every other "modern" browser such as those you mention and Opera and Vivaldi and some more are based on the chromium project and as such dependent on google's codebase and the work of google software engineers for their end product.

This is much worse than the MSIE situation of the 1990s - but apparently totally acceptable.

It's "Open Source (TM)" in action.

Last edited by cynwulf; 10-15-2020 at 11:48 AM.


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