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Okay people, we've seen degrade more and more for years, and we've always hoped it will find its way and get better.

Now people working on Developer Tools, , and the Rust team - arguably some of the most useful and valuable teams at Mozilla - have been laid off, to make space for more profit making activities.

This is utter bullshit.

But perhaps this is also an opportunity. The FLOSS community forked OpenOffice, XFree86, and other huge projects.

?

@BluRaf @rysiek
ok, how about:

Make a Servo-based browser that is not Firefox?

@rysiek
since it comes up the 90% of the income is from G i also thought fork Firefox would be a great thing. No dev here, but would live to see thos happen

@rysiek
since it comes up the 90% of the income is from G i also thought fork Firefox would be a great thing. No dev here, but would love to see this happen

OpenOffice -> LibreOffice fork and transition seems particularly instructive here:

A huge, user-facing organization? ✅
Managing a bunch of connected, complex software projects? ✅
With a huge amount of documentation (wiki, etc) for both developers and users? ✅
Deeply engaged in open standards debates that affect everyone? ✅

It's not about the individual software projects. It's about all of the above. LibreOffice came out stronger after the fork. So could a fork of Mozilla.

@rysiek It's a brilliant idea, I would donate to such project right away. dudeeuphoric

@rysiek Was thinking exactly the same this morning. What if this is actually a good thing in the long term?

@raucao yeah, that depends on whether somebody steps up and sets up a post-Mozilla org to continue their work.

@rysiek Definitely takes some serious effort.

@pfm @rysiek

I'll second that.

@ParadeGrotesque @rysiek So - what's the next step? What can we do to make it happen? I don't expect a newbie to fork Mozilla, it would have to be someone who already knows the code-base. Such people should be made aware of the fact, that people might want to support this kind of effort. Any ideas?

@pfm @ParadeGrotesque @raucao yeah, it would have to involve people who had already contributed substantially to these projects.

I hear there's a bunch of Mozillians available out there these days though...

The bigger problem is organization and funding. People need to eat and pay rent. And Yahoos and Googles of this world will not be interested in contributing, even if their contributions were to be accepted.

NLnet might be a good place to start looking for funding:
https://nlnet.nl/foundation/can_do.html

@rysiek @pfm @ParadeGrotesque I don't think funding is that much of an issue mid- to long term, with this much good will in the community. And to be honest, the people who were laid off weren't exactly paid a minimum wage.

@rysiek I'd love it if someone(s) could get back to developing the original KDE (the K in Khtml) and update Konqueror to modernity.
@vfrmedia

@raucao @pfm @ParadeGrotesque they weren't, but after doing activism for more than a decade now I can tell you it's way more effective when people don't have to do side-gigs and are not as susceptible to poaching by Microzon Facegoopple...

But yeah, organization/logistics is the main thing. Managing this would be a lot of effort.

@rysiek @raucao @ParadeGrotesque So it would need to be a non-profit with stable funding, or at least with a big grant to sustain operations over a year or two. I wonder if NLnet or NGI would support it.

@rysiek there is already GNU IceCat, probably the one we should help

@rysiek @pfm @ParadeGrotesque @raucao already depends on Firefox; maybe such a fork could leverage those existing efforts (and come out ahead on privacy as well ideally).

@rysiek

It's been done already, many times, Waterfox, Pale Moon ... it's a laudable goal, but this can't just be a branch started/managed by a dozen disgruntled ex-Firefox users.

The amount of work that goes into keeping FF in the game against Chrome is huge.

@nattiegoogie @rysiek Well uh, those all work fine though, except on sites that use fingerprinting then deliberately sabatoge themselves when they detect one of those browsers running. I call it the Chase test: whether you can fool the Chase company into thinking you’re using a browser they allow you to use.

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@rysiek I have also seen Mozilla's fall from grace, but I am worried that forking it will just add to the fragmentation of the open source ecosystem:

@rysiek
Interesting and kind of exciting prospect. That's my concern: that Firefox is my absolute go-to. Other than Ungoogled Chromium there's no other browser I use for everyday browsing. If needed, I'd probably fall back to GNU IceCat.

@nattiegoogie you're not wrong. But again, keeping LibreOffice developed and in the running against MSOffice is also a gigantic task.

And before LibreOffice there were some OOo forks and patchsets (ooo-build, Go-oo). It all fell into place the moment there was an organization to manage it -- The Document Foundation.

@rysiek

Exactly. I guess my point was just that a properly maintained FF fork — that is (ultimately) accepted by the web developers of the world — will require more than just a couple of motivated privacy advocates.

Have any ex-Mozilla employees joined this thread?

Is this idea being discussed anywhere else? (Website forum, Discord, IRC, etc)?

@rysiek how do you know the composition of the layoffs? you've talked to Mozilla devs?

@rysiek Quite the opposite. Mozilla is a bad business that had to make the hard choice to layoff people to survive, but Mozilla is an excellent open source collaborator. They need us more than ever. No need to fork.

@rysiek @rmdes Quite the opposite. Mozilla is a bad business that had to make the hard choice to layoff people to survive, but Mozilla is an excellent open source collaborator. They need us more than ever. No need to fork.

@jeremiahlee @rmdes I have not seen a lot of leadership from Mozilla-the-opensource-entity lately though. They had their chance on EME, they have plenty of chances to do things with privacy that Chrome would never be allowed to do, but don't.

I need a first-hand source on who got laid off, but my understanding is that it's mostly Rust team, MDN people, and Developer Tools people. If that's the case, that doesn't leave me hopeful.

Finally, do we have any info on what is the business strategy?

@rysiek
No idea but they just got billions from Google, after the mass layoffs.
@jeremiahlee

@2ck mostly from toots around Fedi. I would love a first-hand source though.

@2ck some info here: https://www.theregister.com/2020/08/11/mozilla_staff_layoffs_products_revenue/

Seems to somewhat confirm developer tools team, MDN, and Rust team are affected:

"we are reducing investment in some areas such as developer tools, internal tooling, and platform feature development"

@rmdes wait, what? can you link to some source that can corroborate that statement? a quick web search on the web didn't yield any results for me.

@rysiek @jeremiahlee

@rysiek @rmdes damn it! this is outrageous! after being a fanboy and for a long time, this just makes me so frustrated and pissed off!

now that they don't have the funding issues anymore, they should call all of those laid off mozillians back. they probably used the lack of funding to lay them off and then once the deed was done, went and signed the contract. 🤦‍♂️ 😡

@jeremiahlee

@rysiek @rmdes I have a strong feeling that this was a deliberate effort to oust a lot of things that are clearly good for the non-profit organization, but not "profitable" for the for-profit organization. 😠

They did a similar stint approximately 3-5 years ago when they slowly killed off a lot the community-run projects like to "focus" on other projects that were run by "staff". That was also the time that I lost my interest in for the community.🤦‍♂️ 🤷‍♂️

@jeremiahlee

@rysiek @nattiegoogie There is already a Foundation dedicated to the development of Firefox and Free Software. It's called Mozilla. As bad as it is, it's not like they ceased to exist. They're still the organisation that's best equipped (financially) to run the development of Firefox.

@shine @rysiek @rmdes @jeremiahlee They can't run on air... Which means stuff that are investments may or may not be worth it. Sadly I think there are no open source model that would work reliably. All the other browser has a parent company that earn their revenue in other areas.

I don't think it is possible to be sustainable with only a browser as a product. Ubuntu had a similar problem until they found the solution. Mozilla has to do the same.

@shellkr @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee as long as we think in terms of products, markets, and revenues, we're doomed.

@rysiek @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee Yes, but sadly this is how things are... The problem is that Mozilla has a very nice product but one that they can not sell.

So tell me how you think they should earn money. How should they be able to get "food" on the table?

Personally I think they need to offer some kind of service.. like hosting or similar. Like a merge of DO and Mozilla...

@shellkr @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee personally I think we need to understand and acknowledge that we need to support communities and projects we feel are important, including financially.

Demanding such projects to be at the same time principled and profitable is disingenuous.

So the question is not can Mozilla become "profitable", but how to support important projects and communities in a sustainable way. And that's a completely different question.

@rysiek @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee Yes, definitely.. but the "donation economy" have been with us very long and do not really work. I do my part and will continue to... but is not sustainable.

We live in a culture/society that is not ready for something like this just right now. Just look at the struggle of WikiMedia..

If we push for a shift in culture as our only mean for change.. nothing will be left staying alive. A fork would die just as fast or simply be left behind.

@shellkr @rysiek @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee If we could have a gift economy with public credit to the gifters, we might sometimes be able to use that instead of money! And you could call it “greedy” or “egotistical” but it’s nothing compared to the greed and hubris that comes with money.

@shellkr @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee Mastodon is a good example of donation economy working in a rather sustainable way. Wikipedia is another. The Document Foundation, developing LibreOffice, is yet another -- and perhaps the most on-topic here.

For-profit companies also struggle with revenues. So regardless of the model, finances will always be a struggle.

But with no profit motive, the advocacy and principled approach are easier (or indeed at all possible) to do.

@rysiek @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee Mastodon is the only one I know that has succeeded in a good way.. All the other are gravely underfunded and Mozilla would probably be even more so..

@cy @shine @shellkr @rmdes @jeremiahlee I strongly believe that activists and techies working on important FLOSS projects should be well paid! Nothing wrong with that.

I just see we need better ways of getting the money to pay them. Profit is the wrong incentive for such projects, plain and simple.

@rysiek @cy @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee Yes, thins I definitely agree with.

@rysiek @shellkr @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee

It's possible to be both principled and profitable. If we consider Dead Cells, they're still delivering many free DLCs with both new contents, a smoother gameplay, and so on; because the money isn't going into luxury homes but in attractive wages and in the development of products.

Considering forking Mozilla software in a new cooperative entity would be a starting point.

@shellkr @rysiek @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee

Mastodon receives €43.45/week https://en.liberapay.com/Mastodon/donate

QubesOS gets about $1200/week
https://opencollective.com/qubes-os

I completely agree that there is a need for open source projects to be sustainable, but I don't see evidence we are there yet.

The Linux Foundation is funded by large companies, and that seems to work for them. Could that model be replicated?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Foundation

@adam @shellkr @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee Mozilla is funded by large companies. So... yeah.

@rysiek @shellkr @shine @rmdes @jeremiahlee That doesn't seem to be working out for them, either financially, or for the users.

I guess the difference is that the companies that support Linux also sell it, whereas the companies supporting Firefox don't sell the browser.

@rysiek agreed! I recently worked with a person who had very ambitious goals around and . The problem? They were also -minded. I had my doubts around their business logic; but if you think hard enough - there really isn't a way out.

Like @shellkr mentioned, "_They can't run on air_". is now a major part of today's society and some enthusiasts like us are still hopeful of a better future.

Other people, well, they just embrace the reality.

@rmdes @jeremiahlee

@rysiek @adam I think that is because of . When the project has a large reach or is a huge project in itself, it would require more resources, hence more funding too.

again, is an exceptional case where it has grown, but still hasn't needed to scale in terms of resources. Maybe, that's because of many voluntary contributors.

had the same kind of resources 5 years ago, but they instead decided to focus on "enterprise" contributors which was a mistake IMO.

@shellkr @rmdes

@redbookworm I would like to respectfully disagree. already has 2 entities - a non-profit foundaton and a for-profit corporation. I don't know exactly, but I think the reasoning behind the corporation was to be able to pay developers or something of that sort. That good intention evolved into this greed for profit.

What I think should happen is for the corporation to shed this greed for profit and acting like all the other corporations of the world.

@rysiek @shellkr @rmdes @jeremiahlee

@rysiek Note that MDN apparently made a call for direct funding some time in late 2018, and "You will be MDN member number 45" does not sound like that was an overwhelming success:

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/payments/

@pfm @ParadeGrotesque @raucao

@abloo @AgreeableLandscape Tor relies on Firefox (Firefox started back-porting patches from Tor directly into mainline some time ago); Tor is not going to be able to carry full-blown browser development by themselves.

I need to check up on IceCat, but yeah that's potentially a way out, if it can get substantially more funding - and gets substantially more active in web standards area to fill the void left by Mozilla.

I would also be a bit worried about tensions between GNU and Tor. Eh.

@rysiek Sorry if off topic, but: what tensions between GNU and Tor?

@rysiek wasn't libreoffice coming out of go-oo.org, an earlier fork done by I think Novell and maintained for a longer time already? I was a keen user of go-oo.org - that was very good then