Mozilla mourns Microsoft

Because we live in the Stupidest Timeline, Mozilla find themselves needing to point out that MICROS~1 leaving the web browser market is bad for the web.

Stupidest. Stupidest, stupidest, stupidest timeline.

Mozilla Blog: Goodbye, EdgeHTML:

Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google. [...]

From a business point of view Microsoft's decision may well make sense. Google is so close to almost complete control of the infrastructure of our online lives that it may not be profitable to continue to fight this. [...] From a social, civic and individual empowerment perspective ceding control of fundamental online infrastructure to a single company is terrible. This is why Mozilla exists. We compete with Google not because it's a good business opportunity. We compete with Google because the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice. They depend on consumers being able to decide we want something better and to take action.

So that "this is why Mozilla exists" sentiment is great and all, but....

Remember back in the 90s when Gates was claiming that Internet Explorer was an inseparable part of the Windows operating system, and then someone asked him a question he couldn't answer: "Which part of Windows is Internet Explorer for Mac"?

Well, what part of "the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice" is served by Mozilla's partnership with vertically integrated, predatory multinational monopolists like Live Nation? Or by implementing DRM?

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21 Responses:

  1. BHN says:

    Maybe Firefox/Mozilla just needs a fork (and not as in 'stick a fork in it, it's done').

    Lop off the DRM and crap and start fresh, that's the safety valve for open source projects, right? I miss the Iceweasel moniker anyway.

    • Ham Monger says:

      Pale Moon is a pretty good start. It's not exactly "rip the DRM out and try again," it's more a broad-minded "delete things from the source base to make it work better," but it's in the same general line of country.

    • Pip says:

      Maybe. I think it is, in fact, a good idea to make one last desperate attempt to fork mozilla-inbound. However, the Mozilla folks aren't precisely making it easy: they just pushed a mega-commit that converts the entire C++ code base to some new-fangled modern coding style that puts stuff on single lines for some reason.

      It's possible that while I was hiding under this rock, new utilities emerged that handle white space fine and there's no problem, but I suspect at least some of the people keeping their own version of Mozilla will just look at the many megabytes of diff output and give up.

  2. Hayley Patton says:

    Unfortunately the new browsers today are just Chromium skins, so it is a kind of Mozilla-vs-the-world problem sadly. I heard even Firefox on mobile devices still is a wrapper for WebKit, which sucks.

    Wouldn't it be funny if Closure Browser or another hobby browser got picked up?

    • RandomRab says:

      That's not true though. In fact, the vast majority of new browsers are based on non-chromium projects like QtWebkit, Webkit, Gecko, etc... The real issue is that you are only paying attention to Chromium-based browsers.

      • JV says:

        Which browsers are you talking about exactly? QtWebkit is abandoned and replaced by QtWebEngine, which in fact is based on blink (chromium render engine). Webkit is barely competative and close to being diminished (i hope it will live on, but we will see). I am not aware on any other gecko based browser besides firefox (palemoon and waterfox doesnt really count here)

    • Screwtape says:

      Everything on iOS is WebKit, even Chrome and Firefox, because Apple won't allow anything else.

      Most things on Android are Blink, because it comes with the device and it's easy to wrap a different UI around. Firefox on Android is not Blink, it's true Gecko.

      • Hayley Patton says:

        Right...suppose I won't trust everything on the internet then, haha. Never mind then.

  3. Makes no difference to me, as we still have to support IE8 forever.

  4. Todd says:

    Isn't it ironic. The Open Web/Open Standards. IPV4, ISO8879 HTML4, RFCs, SMTP, HTTP, etc. Low barriers to entry, anybody can join? Darn Capitalists.

  5. Aristotle says:

    “Mauvais souvenirs, soyez pourtant les bienvenus… vous êtes ma jeunesse lointaine…”

  6. Niauropsaka says:

    MS is giving up on browsers? Oh crap.

  7. Thomas Lord says:

    Given email is dead and netnews too -- don't act surprised.

    Before the Internet, the fascists planned a centralized computing "utility" -- you can see some very old promotional shorts from Bell about this for example. Multics was to be this. Even Unix was envisioned (for a short time) as a utility you'd access on the Centralized Computers from your semi-smart terminal connected to phone lines.

    Software freedom types fought against that but here we are.

    Hey, young people: If you need more than email and netnews (very locally administrated) you're doing the Internet wrong.

    • BHN says:

      Nothing really stopping anyone (yet) from using those protocols. You can even host a gopher page still if you want to.

      But yeah, soon no one is even going to fire up a browser to hit a search engine, they'll use Google Play to install an app for every single 'web site' they used to use. The walled garden of apps is coming.

      I am however surprised by the recent resurgence of popups on web pages inviting me not so gently to subscribe to their email 'alerts' or 'updates' when I fail to install their app when prompted.

      • jwz says:

        My bet is that the resurgence of "subscribe to our mailing list" is a lot of companies waking up and realizing, "oh shit, Facebook is really fucking us over".

  8. tfb says:

    I got the 'Firefox concert' spam. I checked my account and yes, I did indeed have the 'only mail me about critical account-related events' option set. I kind of assumed Mozilla were playing the 'doomed good guys' role: I feel a bit better about the doom thing now I know they're not the good guys.

  9. Eric says:

    Internet Explorer is still baked into Windows as a COM component, it would break a ton of applications if they were to remove it. Doubt it's really going anywhere anytime soon.

  10. Lloyd says:

    Who cares about LiveNation?

    Isn't Firefox still funded by Google?

    Hurrah for competition on the web?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey, that's not fair.

      They're also funded in part by the revenue they bring in from Pocket, which they acquired for $29m a couple years back. (Oh, you didn't know that Mozilla was participating the SV startup lottery? I can't tell, though, if they're buying tickets in this case or paying someone's jackpot.) And it was supposed to be open sourced like all other Mozilla projects. But it's almost two years later, and the glorified-ad-for-a-commercial-service-that-nobody-wanted is no more open source than it was before the acquisition.

      Don't forget how much mileage a hearty attempt at playing the victim can get you to distract from this.

      At this point Mozilla is just another douchey tech company, but worse, since they're trying to wring as much as they can out of the corpse of while wearing its skin and hoping you don't notice that your friend Dave has been acting kind of weird lately.

  11. Anonymous says:

    ... aaaand it continues:

    Check out this double speak about Firefox's new in-browser ad:

    This snippet was an experiment to provide more value to Firefox users through offers provided by a partner. It was not a paid placement or advertisement. We are continually looking for more ways to say thanks for using Firefox.

    The corporation pulling the puppet strings attached to the Mozilla corpse hasn't cashed out yet on any of these microvaluations that they're trying to aggregate right now! So it's all okay, you guys! It wasn't a paid advertisement!

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