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Mozilla's Vision of an 'Internet Life' Platform 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the wrapping-people-in-data dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla chairperson Mitchell Baker has been saying the company may be changing and thinking beyond Firefox in the future. Her ideas have become clearer: she is formulating an 'Internet Life' platform (not based on Gecko) that would enable users to manage their identity on web. Mozilla believes this could be a way for the company reach new users. She wrote, 'Windows is a locked down operating system compared to Linux. One is proprietary, one is free software. In the early days some Mozilla contributors urged that we should care only about Linux. They felt our mission would be better served by limiting our offering to platforms that align well with the Mozilla mission. We choose a different path. We chose to take our values to where people live. People were living on Windows, so we went there. We made it easy for people to switch from Windows to Linux by providing key functionality across platforms. If we hadn’t, the web would be a very sorry place today. We should bring Mozilla values to where people are living today. We should do so at multiple layers of Internet life.'"
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Mozilla's Vision of an 'Internet Life' Platform

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2011 @05:05PM (#37000688)

    All we want is a great browser! They've lost the ability to do that much.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday August 05, 2011 @05:07PM (#37000696) Journal

      It really is beginning to look like the same mad road Netscape went down, chasing ghosts into irrelevancy.

      • by node 3 (115640)

        If you were to read the article (or even the summary), it'd be very clear that that's not what she's suggesting.

        However, she does seem to be making a mistake that a lot of people with good ideas make. It's along the lines of thinking "hey, we have this good idea. We should work on it and everyone will see how great it is and universally adopt it!" Sure, sometimes this does work out, but not very often, and pretty much never in the way the person with the idea imagines it will work out.

        And I don't really tru

        • Why do you need H.264 so badly?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Because H.264 is the de facto standard for most video production on the internet today, and the de facto standard for almost all consumer devices which can capture video?

            Just a wild thought, but maybe that has something to do with it.

            • by arose (644256)
              Internet video production? WTF does that even mean. What is used for capture is irrelevant to the final display format. E.g. just because any self respecting professional photographer shoots raw, any photo realistic renderer outputs lossless formats and audio mastering is done in up and beyond what even CDs support doesn't make them good formats for the Internet. Similarly the format pro-sumer and amateur equipment uses for video capture has no bearing on what format is best suited (and that includes licens
        • by dreemernj (859414)
          Being a great browser and doing what people wanted wasn't enough to make it succeed. That's rarely enough for any product to succeed. It succeeded because it was a decent browser that was well marketed. And that marketing depended heavily on the org's stance on free software inspiring people to try it.
          • And that marketing depended heavily on the org's stance on free software inspiring people to try it.

            No, most people tried it because a lot of users had used Netscape and Firefox was free to download. Most people didn't give a shit that it was FOSS outside of niche circles.

            • by arose (644256)
              Large shifts are rarely started by big groups of average people. Just about all trends in IT come from various niche groups and Firefox got where it is in large part due to the "take back the web" campaign. Pragmatic users don't lock the most popular browser out of their sites or donate for ads.
          • by Stan92057 (737634)
            People tried it because it was a bare bones browser in the time of dialup and expensive RAM and memory. Paying for a browser at that time wasn't an issue saving memory and having a small footprint because of dialup was a big issue. Marketing because of it being FOSS was only an issue for the FOSS people
            • by arose (644256)
              Oh, yes. Of course it was the masses of early adopters who were surfing on dial-up in 2004 that made Firefox. Duh.
        • Before commenting on open standards let me say something on this idealism-vs-practicality. All but the most abstract forms of idealist are essentially long term practicality.

          Mozilla is not served well by including h264 in it's browser. Firstly, it costs money, they make a free product, large part of the success of Mozilla comes from the fact that their product can be reproduced at virtually zero cost. Secondly, the license doesn't cover versions compiled by third parties, which means that their open source

        • And I don't really trust an organization like Mozilla to be able to create something that meets the needs of most people. Their staunch opposition to H.264 is a prime example of this. H.264 is an non-negotiable requirement for me. If you won't support it, I can't use your product. Period.

          Then the Web is not for you. It isn't some kind of Mozilla standard that Mozilla is worried about, it's Web standards. Most Web software developers disagree with the idea that closed, royalty bearing formats are an acceptable choice for the Web. Mozilla, as we know, disagrees with you [0xdeadbeef.com]. The W3C disagrees with you [w3.org]. Opera disagrees with you [opera.com]. Google disagrees with you [blogspot.com]. And Tim Berners-Lee, of course, disagrees with you [scientificamerican.com].

      • It reminds me of realplayer. Remember when all it did was play videos - and do it moderately well? And then I installed an update and the next time I went for a piss it said "Would you like realplayer to hold your dick?"

        In the unlikely event that this megalomaniacal scope creep isn't already somebody's law, you can name it after me or Bono.

        • by Anrego (830717) *

          I totally remember that.

          Realplayer went from simple to "omg what just happened" in a single version... and then just kept getting worse The new version was so bloated that my PC at the time (pentium 1 @ 200MHZ and like 90MHz of ram) couldn't run it... and trying to revert to the previous version (which worked just fine) was next to impossible.

          Also it's impossible to mention realplayer without the obligatory: buffering.. buffering..

        • For me the biggest problem with Real player was that I could never jump to whatever part of the file I wanted. Whenever I tried it would "buffer" for what seemed like forever, even if you were trying to play a local file!

          The second biggest problem, with the Real format in general, was that it was hard to save/archive content. RM files were just links to something somewhere and people often wanted more than that. At that time having a RM file of an interview was a pretty common usage. But when you tried

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          The worst of it is that every new feature either seems to be copied from Chrome or something that Facebook should be doing instead of the browser.

    • by JSombra (1849858)

      For me and a growing amount of people Mozilla has become irrelevant anyway, too much creep and bloat in their core product, Firefox. Combined with a "we know better than you what you want/need" attitude (ala Apple, but getting it wrong more than Apple) .

      And in the meantime most of the other browsers have caught up/surpassed them.

      We should be always thankful to them for kick starting the web again after MS nearly stagnated it to death but it is time for Mozilla to go away while it still has some respect in

  • If we hadn’t, the web would be a very sorry place today.

    I respectfully completely disagree.

    We should bring Mozilla values to where people are living today.

    So it's about values? I'd like to think users care mostly about what something does, then maybe the price, before any moral baggage it could possibly bring with it. But while you're at it, if tax breaks by becoming a religion is where you're going with it, it's f'ing genius.

    Why such a high horse? It's just software!! It's either useful or it sucks.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      They are indeed taking it a little far, but I will agree that having a web browser that works on both Windows and Linux was very significant in helping people transition.

      To a lot of users, the web browser is the main application they use. Having a common one between Windows and Linux makes a huge difference for people switching over.

      • by robmv (855035)

        Having a browser that works on both platform was not enough, It was needed that Mozilla reached a high number of users in order to start seeing website developers caring about it and allowing people to use, for example, their bank website on other platforms

      • Right. But Mozilla wasn't purely responsible for the cross platform browser, and if they didn't do it, someone else surely would have... actually, many others have, and there are others browsers that are cross platform.

        Mozilla did a great job, and they made a great product, but they cannot claim they saved anyone from anything, let alone the industry from itself.

    • by Jonner (189691)

      If we hadn’t, the web would be a very sorry place today.

      I respectfully completely disagree.

      I respectfully point out that stating your opinions without any support is less than worthless.

      So it's about values? I'd like to think users care mostly about what something does, then maybe the price, before any moral baggage it could possibly bring with it. But while you're at it, if tax breaks by becoming a religion is where you're going with it, it's f'ing genius.

      Why such a high horse? It's just software!! It's either useful or it sucks.

      It seems that some of Mozilla's values are ease of use, cross-platform support and correct implementation of standards. Is that the "moral baggage" you're referring to? You seem irrationally incensed by the fact that Mozilla has successfully applied their values to produce software that many people find useful.

  • Fuck sakes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Friday August 05, 2011 @05:17PM (#37000770)

    Am I the only one who just wants a damn browser! I'm not even that old and yet every time firefox (or anyone) releases a new browser my first thought is "oh great, what new age approach are they going with this time".

    Is it so much to want:
    - My browser to look like every other application on my computer. Title bar where it's supposed to be.. toolbar that functions normally.. etc
    - A URL bar where you enter.. a URL
    - An area where the website is displayed

    Extra features are nice (I have a fair number of extensions installed), as long as they don't hinder this basic functionality. I don't need a "paradigm shift" here. I use my web browser a lot, but it's not the central focus of my computer. More to the point, I like the way I browse the web.. stop trying to change it!

    • You forgot to say we need to get off your lawn. (Though I do agree. Programs, such as a website browser, should have one main purpose, and do that well.)
    • Re:Fuck sakes... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Friday August 05, 2011 @05:31PM (#37000852)

      I agree completely. I'm sick of having to choose between updating for security reasons and not updating so my UI doesn't get all tossed around.

      They should just start it as a new project rather than crumming up Firefox even more. (Remember Firefox was suppose to be like Mozilla-lite, lean and fast?)

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      No, you're not. But between being google funded and being "developers have these GREAT ideas, and public not using them is WRONG, we will FORCE you to use these ideas by simply REMOVING old stuff and replacing it with this WONDERFUL new stuff" - idealistic bullshit, firefox is not the browser that unseated IE from #1 slot in so many countries.
      The newest version of firefox already is just a copy of chrome on a different engine. Chrome fans love it, rest avoid it like plague or tolerate it hoping for someone

  • by Bieeanda (961632)
    Usually when someone has their head shoved that far up their own ass, the most you can hear is a bit of muffled shouting.

    This is even sillier than chasing after Chrome's UI and release naming structure. As someone else pointed out, it really is much like what happened to Netscape at the end: browser development became second to running a web portal (which this buzzword layer cake sounds like) and they became also-rans almost overnight.

    • by discord5 (798235)

      As someone else pointed out, it really is much like what happened to Netscape at the end: browser development became second to running a web portal

      Hey, look on the bright side. When firefox dies, at least they'll open the source up so that a new team can build something from that source code and then fork it so that they have a lean and mean browser that supports the HTML standards properly...

      Oh, wait...

  • So Mozilla is building an Internet-based cult?

    • Perhaps the line between being agnostic and setting yourself up as a god is thinner than we thought.

  • it seems like Mozilla has been brainwashed into the Google mentality of "everything online" as well as mimicking the stranger and stranger GUI choices. i think we can safely conclude what's been going on in Google's R&D department.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      This may sound like a troll, but brainwashed or paid? Google is the one footing most of the mozilla foundation's bill with their priority placement in search, so they're bound to have a lot of say within the organisation and the direction it will take.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        No, Google isn't commanding Firefox. They did the right thing and instead of trying to influence Firefox, someone at Google saw the writing on the wall and said "We better make our own browser since Mozilla is about to pull a Netscape and repeat its last mistake". Its not like you haven't seen this shit coming from Mozilla for the last several years, we all just didn't want to admit it.

        Google just realized Firefox was going to shit earlier on and came up with a viable alternative for people before someone

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          Sad thing is, now that I think back there's quite a bit of evidence to support your hypotesis. From adding random crap and defaulting to it (awesomebar, personas, etc) to weird mixing around with settings and front-end, I spent quite a bit of time from 2.x up undoing the crap mozilla kept adding into FF, or adding back stuff that got axed.

          It's just that post 4.x, there are things that can no longer be added back at their former full functionality anymore like status bar.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    >Mozilla believes this could be a way for the company reach new users

    More data collection and marketing. Thanks, I have all that I need. I have switched to Bing as my default search engine since Google seems bent on tracking my movements and I'm usually logged in to Gmail. I disabled web search history and I still see obscure suggestions show up in the left hand column on Google that can ONLY be based on shit I searched for once upon a time, weeks ago.

    There is entirely too much "guided" bullshit on th

  • Is it just me, or does it sound like the linked mini-essay was written by high schooler who isn't particularly good at English? For instance, it uses lots of too-short sentences like

    We should bring Mozilla values to where people are living today. We should do so at multiple layers of Internet life. Some of these will be Gecko and Firefox based. Others may be available across browsers.

    It's overly general to the point of saying almost nothing. I have almost no idea what an "open source, standards-based platform for universally accessible, decentralized, customized identity on the web" is, or what an "open source, standards-based engine for universally accessible, decentralized, customized, user-controlled mana

    • Haha.. this. I read the article twice but I still couldn't understand what the whole point of it was. Are they going to add a new im and social messaging client to their suite? Are they going to create a Mozilla account that all the other websites and platforms can use? Or are they going to create their own platform? I wish she had been a little more clear instead of writing vague adjectives.
  • Mozilla's only significant source of funding is the add-click.

    According to the statement, a whopping 97% of Mozilla's income comes from the search deals. Unfortunately, [the] company did not disclose the percentage of searches it sends to each search provider.

    Mozilla's 2009 Financial Statement [favbrowser.com] [Nov 19, 2010]

    The Corporation has a contract with a search engine provider which expires November 2011. Aproximately 86% and 91% of royalty revenue for 2009 and 2008, respectively was derived from this contract.

    Mozilla Foundation and Susidiaries: Consolidated Financial Statements : Notes: Note 9: Concentration of Risk [mozilla.org] [August 23, 2010]

    When your only source of funding is the "add-supported" browser, the Windows OS is the air you breathe and the water you drink.
    You cannot survive without it.

    Windows 88%
    OSX 6%
    iOS 3%
    Linux 1%
    Android 1%

    Operating System Market Share [hitslink.com] [August 5, 2011] [Rounded] [Global]

    Desk

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      I have over 200 programs on this Win 7 system.

      Are we supposed to be impressed by this proclamation that you had to hand-scavenge the internet and download "over 200" shady, unsigned executables to create a windows system with one-quarter the utility an average Linux distro provides on the install CD. Not to mention the ten thousand pieces of software the default repository provides. For free.

      You're a grade-A moron.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        You an sign ELF executables? Or aout format? When did that happen? (Seriously curious, wasn't at all aware of it).

        On a separate note, you can sign ACTUAL binaries on Windows, not just the packages that contain them.

        You could also just get all your apps from the Windows marketplace, one stop shopping. The majority of your software isn't going to come from there, but Windows has far more software packages available, so its not real surprising. Windows users typically get their software directly from the

        • The signing is done by the actual developers who make the product

          Which means each developer has to have his own certificate, not just people who run repositories. They also have to pay hundreds of dollars per year to keep the certificates up to date with a commercial CA, as opposed to getting a GPG key signed at a meeting organized on biglumber or something.

    • [On my PC running Windows 7,] I am not hectored by RMS. Steve Jobs or Bill Gates when I install a program which they would not approve.

      Unless that program is a device driver, and the device is a low-volume piece of hardware made by a hobbyist who can't afford hundreds of dollars a year for a digital signature so that the "kernel mode code signing" in Windows Vista 64 and Windows 7 64 won't reject it.

      If you've got a message, send a telegram

      So that's why SMS and Twitter took off.

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