Mozilla

Firefox Summit Reflections

August 26th, 2008

Late in July we got together close to 400 extremely active Mozilla contributors for a face to face gathering known as the Firefox Plus Summit. This gathering was partly acknowledgment and celebration of our work so far, and mostly preparation for the future. The Summit has caused me to reflect on the future of Mozilla. In short, that future is bright.

The overriding reason for this is the strength and vibrancy of the Mozilla community. We’re growing, we’re effective and we’re expanding the types of activities that live within Mozilla. The Summit made this very clear.

There are other reasons as well. Mozilla combines the abstract goals of Internet openness, participation and decentralized decision-making with the concrete task of building great products. This combination is working. It attracts people to Mozilla, and it gives us a way of building products that reflects the Internet itself. The values of the project bring meaning and guide the way we do things. The software allows us to make those values tangible, and put their manifestations in the hands of millions of people.

Another important element is the financial resources Mozilla enjoys. We’ve just renewed our agreement with Google for an additional three years. This agreement now ends in November of 2011 rather than November of 2008, so we have stability in income. We’re also learning more all the time about how to use Mozilla’s financial resources to help contributors through infrastructure, new programs, and new types of support from employees.

Finally, the quality of our technology, products and innovation also holds great promise. In the few weeks since the Summit we’ve already seen a new approach to vastly improving JavaScript performance, the launch of “Snowl,” the introduction of the browser concept series, developer releases for Thunderbird, and video moving into the browser via Firefox 3.1. There’s much more coming.

We have large challenges ahead of us, there’s no question of that. There are many ways in which Internet life could become closed, manipulated and decidedly unpleasant. And Mozilla itself is not perfect. Many improvements are possible in how we work and what we accomplish. To be effective we’ll need to do our best, and then do even better.

Our challenges are real, our opportunities are real, and our strength is real.

Put those together, and the future is bright.

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