The Open Web and Firefox Focus

April 26th, 2007

The Mozilla Foundation’s Statement of Direction describes two complementary techniques for advancing the Open Web. One is to nurture a broad set of technology and community building efforts, centered around the Mozilla platform and values. The second is to focus more precisely on those areas with the greatest leverage for change. Today, this second technique translates into a focus on Firefox, the platform technology that underlies Firefox, and the Firefox ecosystem.

It is extraordinarily difficult to create the kind of impact that Firefox and the Firefox ecosystem now enjoy. The Mozilla community has done this, and the Foundation feels an acute responsibility to live up to the opportunities this creates. We have a rare point of leverage and must not let it slip away.

Because Firefox has such leverage today, the bulk of the Foundation’s resources are devoted to promoting Firefox, the Firefox ecosystem, the underlying technologies that make modern browsing possible, and the various communities that participate in these efforts. In more concrete terms this means:

  • Focus most where we have the greatest impact — Firefox and “browsing” broadly defined — that is, browser-based access to web content and applications
  • Focus on the XUL platform that underlies Firefox to keep the Open Web competitive against closed/proprietary platforms
  • Assist other Mozilla participants and projects, but not equally with Firefox and not at significant cost to Firefox
  • Be exemplary Mozilla participants (this has historically been explicitly not doing whatever people ask for, but providing evaluation, review, module ownership, etc., with a focus broader than a single product)

Clearly these expectations are very broad — what does it mean to “focus on the XUL platform that underlies Firefox?” How much is specific to Firefox? To what extent are more general platform needs incorporated as “assist other Mozilla projects, but not equally with Firefox and not at significant cost to Firefox?” This level of detail should generally be worked out by the technical leadership through the module ownership system.

And clearly there are a range of other activities which the Foundation could undertake to promote the first goal above — encouraging a broad set of Mozilla-based participation, whether or not any particular effort becomes a global general consumer product. As noted in the Statement of Direction, the Foundation intends to do so. There will be more on this topic before too long.

One comment for “The Open Web and Firefox Focus”

  1. 1

    Brian Donohue said on May 10th, 2007 at 12:35 pm:

    I’m curious as to why this blog isn’t deluged with comments. Here’s one of the more aware and progressive CEOs in the land, writing about the transformation of technology in both the home and the enterprise. I’m currently working on a book to be called “The Open Source Society: A New Model for Government, Business, and Media”. The core idea is that we can be guided by organizations like Mozilla, Ubuntu, Wikipedia, and WordPress to learn a fresh approach to community-driven institutions that are more agile and more responsive to real human needs. This blog, and the leadership of Mozilla in general, is a gold mine for anyone seeking to restore a more natural social ordering in their business, community, or nation. An excerpt can be found here.

    In short, I think most every person currently working in corporate management could benefit from studying Ms. Baker’s work and the Mozilla organization, and it’s amazing to me that there isn’t a lively discussion going on here.

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