The Truth about Mozilla

Mozilla in 2008: Executive Committee

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on February 15, 2008

Many outside the walls of the Mozilla Corporation lack an understanding of how the company is structured and run. Without going into too much detail requiring organization charts, the Corporation has a “steering committee” which helps to lead and guide it. You might be thinking to yourselves, “isn’t that what a board of directors is for?” Yes. Yes, it is. But you first should remember that Mozilla is corrupt at the top. As a result, there is a desire to do as much as possible internally to hide the fucked-upness of the organization. Quite obviously, the members of the steering committee know how to run Mozilla better than any external person anyway. Why shouldn’t they take full control of the fuck-up that is the Mozilla Corporation?

(Credit where credit is due: the Lizard fully appreciates the resignation of Chris Blizzard from the board of directors after joining the Mozilla Corporation. Mr Blizzard, you did the right thing.)

The Steering Committee of the Mozilla Corporation is made up of now-CEO, John Lilly, Chief Lizard Wrangler Mitchell Baker (who, astute readers will note, has not yet wrangled this lizard), CTO Brendan Eich, VP of Mozilla Labs Chris Beard, VP of Marketing Paul Kim, and the new-this-week General Counsel, Harvey Anderson. Kim was a recent addition to this committee (August of 2007) after he received his promotion to VP and Anderson just joined this week. Earlier in the life of the organization, Chris Hofmann sat on the committee. After disagreeing with Lilly too often, Hofmann was forced out.

All of the above simply provides background on who created the Steering Committee’s 2008 goals.

This year, the Steering Committee intends to “[grow] up a lot as a management team for Mozilla.” As I’m sure any casual reader of this blog is aware, this management team fucking sucks. Really fucking sucks. Growing up is definitely something they need to do.

In particular, we’re notable with employees and in the larger tech community as the best example of a company who competes, but with a mission, of a company who’s open and collaborative with users and volunteers, but not hobbled by needing consensus to make decisions.

One of the hallmarks of the Mozilla community is sane group decision-making. This used to happen through forums such as, where consensus was reached on an issue and decisions were made by a group of well-respected individuals. Should it move higher, made an ultimate decision. In 2008, however, Mozilla will be known for making decisions for the community without consensus from them. Think of it this way: Hate that new marketing campaign? Too fucking bad. Mozilla’s going to run with it anyway.

We’ve become a lot less self-conscious about asserting paths to success for the company, and have been able to pilot our negotiations with Google and others so that we’re comfortable with our sustainability for the next several years. On the practical side, we’ve added 2 or 3 people to this team to bring a broader base of skills to bear (like a general counsel!).

Guess what? Mozilla’s hiring. A General Counsel even! They sure moved fast with that! Harvey Anderson started just this week. He’s now one of the most important employees at Mozilla and is needed for piloting those negotiations with Google, that’s for fucking sure. If any of those negotiations go sour, well, they’re fucking screwed. You see, fucking up with Google doesn’t just mean lost revenue; it also means the loss of Google-provided lunches, snack & drinks, transportation on the infamous Google shuttles, and even the use of the Google gym. All of these things are amenities Mozilla employees get for free from Google right now.

The rest of this 2008 team plan is complete disgusting drivel that the Lizard won’t put anyone through. What’s important to note is that Mozilla’s going to be entering a time when they need as many amenities as possible to keep employees around. Losing Google is losing everything, and they can’t have that. Any sort of effort at furthering this committee’s goals – especially those surrounding renewing the Google contract – must be led by someone strong, rather than the quiet and weak Mitchell Baker.

Now we move on to the latest news about that transition…


Mozilla in 2008: Marketing

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on January 6, 2008

Word on the streets of Mountain View, CA is that most of you thought the Lizard was far too kind to the web development team in the previous post. What the fuck is wrong with that truth-telling fire-breathing beast? Let us delve into the next department with a bit more cynicism…The Mozilla Corporation’s marketing team, led by VP of Marketing Paul Kim, have incredibly high hopes for 2008. Like true bullshitters marketers, their plans are full of marketspeak, a term used to describe pure bullshit in a manner acceptable to the NYTimes. Substance isn’t what marketers do.

Kim expects to take open source, the concept, “mainstream” in 2008 and make Mozilla “synonymous with a new and better way of doing business.” Merciful Allah, please help us. Mozilla is most definitely a new way of doing business. Better, however, is more subjective than Fox News. Did you catch that Mozilla? I just compared your “better” organization to one of the most corrupt ones in the media world today. I’m explaining that for you because most of you are too starry-eyed to see it. After all, what’s so new about canceling projects you’re not interested in?  Oh, right, in this “new and better” world of open-source corporations, you just spin those projects off to nebulous new entities and wash your hands.  Someone else gets the blood.

How will Kim take open source into the mainstream? By communicating in “new and effective ways.”

Hey Mozilla! Look over here! How about trying to communicate in the old, traditional ways first? Can you manage that? Didn’t think so. Guess there’s still a job for this old Lizard.

The past-tense story continues…

We inspired our earliest advocates with Firefox 3’s stellar new features and increased performance, and helped them help us spread the word across the Web. We developed a unique voice that was honest, optimistic and rooted in our public benefit mission to reach out to new users, and we re-engaged with lost users.

Wow. Wow. Stellar new features in Firefox 3? Increased performance? Has anyone seen a new feature that would really entice users to upgrade? Has anyone seen the graphs that show increased performance? What’s that sound? Crickets? And puh-lease. Your voice right now is anything but “honest.” You definitely need to work on developing that. Let’s see how far you get.

The small but growing team at Mozilla can’t accomplish this on their own, of course. Users all around the world will flock to the newly redesigned where they’ll be expected to do something. What has SpreadFirefox done recently again? There was that NYTimes ad… Umm… Umm… Anyone?

Moving on…

We built a deep understanding of who our users are and why they’ve chosen Firefox to tap into the power of the web, and supported this with a full-fledged analytics program to support our decision-making and measurement of success. We made integrated, international marketing core to every program we launched to scale and build leverage into all our work.

Holy shit! You mean you don’t know who your users are yet, Mozilla? Even the Lizard thought you were less clueless than that. Have you never paid any attention to what your users want?

Overall, this document had very little substance to it. It’s incredibly hard to criticize or praise something that has no real substance to it. What the Lizard will say is that wasting the time of employees by declaring “days” for them doesn’t help Mozilla’s users or Mozilla’s cause.

To combat the utter lack of substance, the next post will take a brief break away from the Mozilla in 2008 series to discuss an upcoming marketing program.

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Mozilla in 2008: Web Development

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on December 27, 2007

 Moving to a happier future, Mozilla’s Web Development team, led by Mike Morgan (aka, morgamic), has some lofty goals for the next year. Given the hilarity Morgan infuses in his writing, the Lizard believes some direct quoting is in order. To wit:

In 2008, we will make web pages. They won’t be normal web pages though. They will be web pages that grab your attention, put it in a headlock and leave you wondering what hit you. This means less status quo and more sexy. It’s less chomping at the bit and more leaping ahead.

…and yes, the future will be localized. And yes, the future is accessible.

2008 will see the emergence of a presence that watches the Webtools product in Bugzilla and can solve webtools-security bugs in 10 f-ing hours. That same presence will help pick up stagnant web-apps and get things moving with help from the community.

To put it bluntly, we’re dying to show what we can do.

Yes, dear readers, Mozilla can be funny. I was just as surprised as you. (For those hiding under rocks for the past few months, “10 f-ing hours” refers to the “misquote”, aka idiocy, of Mike Shaver when he stated that Mozilla could, with responsible disclosure, patch and deploy any critical security holes within “Ten Fucking Days”. Shaver’s idiocy, however, isn’t the topic of this post; the Lizard already wrote about that here.)

Looking deeper at these lighthearted passages, Morgan promises tangible results with real benefit to Mozilla and the world: localization and accessibility of Mozilla’s web properties. Some of this has already been achieved with the release of the new (AMO), which allowed for a localized interface, as well as with the fabled Kubla, which simply allows better interaction with, and rights management of, SVN. Work is also underway to make localized content possible on top of Tikiwiki, the CMS/Wiki software Mozilla selected for its support site.

Morgan goes on to imply that the unowned web tools that power Mozilla, such as Bonsai, Doctor, Graph Server, LXR, and potentially semi-owned tools like Despot, Reporter, and Tinderbox, will receive attention in 2008 and possibly even find themselves under active development. Supporting projects your own organization has created? Crazy. Granted, most of these projects were created before Morgan’s time. 

The future doesn’t stop there, however. Morgan continues to discuss the birth of a project along the lines of Launchpad, Babelzilla, and Rosetta, allowing easier localization of strings within Mozilla’s codebase.

When a string needs to be localized, anybody in any country can log in, see where we need help, and contribute.

A bold statement, but one that would be welcomed by localizers around the world. 

Morgan further promises improvements to services like AUS, PFS, AMO, and Bouncer, as well as the creation of an open-source IdeaStorm to help increase user feedback and participation. 

It’s hard to criticize the web development team at Mozilla because of how much they’ve done, time and time again. The Lizard questions the amount of work this team has opted to take on and wonders if it can finish it. However, the endeavors are greatly appreciated and will truly, concretely, help the overall community in exciting ways. If Morgan and his team can accomplish this, Mozilla will be a better place. 

To put it bluntly, we’re dying to see what you can do!

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Mozilla in 2008: Evangelism

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on December 27, 2007

The Lizard wouldn’t be a true asshole without taking a few digs at Mozilla’s Chief Evangelist, Mike Shaver. Between calling him an ass and dissing his team at Mozilla, the Lizard has been harsh with no substance to back it up. Until now.

The second Mozilla in 2008 piece centers around the evangelism team, led by Shaver.

In internal documents, the Evangelism team says they’ll be working on “communication and co-ordination channels” this next year. We’ve all seen the beginning of this work in the form of the “about:mozilla” weekly newsletter as well as the beginnings of “For the Record,” a “community-driven public relations and press response program.”

Before “For the Record” gets utterly thrashed, let me first say that the Lizard welcomes the about:mozilla newsletter with open arms. For once, it seems like Mozilla is giving thought, even care, to projects throughout the entire community. I commend this move by the Evangelism team and recommend everyone sign up for this newsletter. Special thanks to Deb Richardson for creating and managing this endeavor.

Now, where were we? That’s right, the idiocy that is the “For the Record” program. Despite its seemingly noble intentions, this program exists only to make Mozilla look good. Every time dirty laundry gets aired publicly (i.e. now), a plethora of Mozilla fanbois will be waiting to jump and kill the babies of those who have disagreed with Almighty Mozilla. Such a program is meant for nothing more than silencing dissenters using the strength of multitudes. And yet, dissent is what brought Mozilla this far. Why kill it? Because doing so would hurt the power of the mothership. Sound familiar?

Those two things aren’t the only components of Shaver’s future work.

The Evangelism team was specifically created to ensure that Mozilla’s message of bullshit is spread throughout the world. Part of this involves “community town hall meetings” and even “classic ‘tech evangelism’ work”.

Mozilla hopes that the pseudo-openness and transparency of “town hall meetings” will help them tell the world about the “Open Web”. You might recognize this from every Mozilla press conference ever. Or maybe you’re blind, deaf, and stupid.

As for the “classic ‘tech evangelism’ work”, if Mozilla truly decides to devote resources to evangelizing sites which still admit only Netscape or even Firefox browsers instead of all browsers built on Mozilla’s “Gecko” rendering engine, the Lizard would welcome that as well. The fear, of course, is that this is all utter bullshit and the Evangelism team will do exactly 0 on projects that help anyone other than themselves. In all of this, Shaver is quick to point out that the Evangelism team will be more targeted and only “execute on … tightly controlled top priority items” but never discusses how such items are prioritized. A hundred dollar donation to Mozilla if I’m wrong and the Evangelism team does, in fact, spend a useful amount of time on tech evangelism.

Finally, in a true representation of his childish character, Shaver ends his 2008 “story” with.

Chris Messina could not be reached for comment.

Way to diss someone who cares! That’s how you build a strong and vibrant community! Even if this post was meant to be private, being a complete ass about someone who cares isn’t appropriate. Sadly, that’s a mere reflection of how things already exist and a sign of things to come.

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Mozilla in 2008: Recruiting

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on December 26, 2007

The Lizard’s first look into the crystal ball reveals details of Mozilla’s recruiting intentions.

Are you friends with someone who works at Mozilla? Get ready! You’re about to be spammed!

Mozilla’s recruiting plans for the New Year include finding the “best/brightest people” that their employees have worked with or met and spamming them until they join Mozilla. As if that wasn’t enough, the group, led by Dan Portillo, will create a “wish list of high-impact hires” and begin the recruiting process on them. Look out Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt, Blake Ross, and Ben Goodger. Mozilla’s coming for you!

This team will also become educators at Mozilla. They’ll be creating a curriculum around “Open Standards”. Can we say “lame?” I think we can. Let’s say it together. Lame. Creating curriculum sounds like a job for the Evangelism team, but the Lizard doesn’t think anyone expects Shaver to do anything useful with that group. What does Mozilla hope to accomplish with the creation of this propaganda curriculum? Is this really the most effective way to reach its goal? Wait a damn second. What goal? Did Mozilla even set a goal for this work? Shit no! Why would they?

(I’ll be the first to volunteer writing a lesson plan. It shall be titled, Mozilla’s Fuck-up: A Twenty-Page Essay.)

Portillo and his gang will also work hard on retention. With more and more key, long-time employees taking off, I can see why someone needs to think about retaining the ones stupid enough to stay.

What will they do? “Problem solving competitions, movie nights, [and] a softball league” are some ideas.

Holy fuck. A softball league! Why didn’t I think of that? That’s going to keep Mozilla’s star pupils around. Definitely. Who the fuck thinks of these things? It doesn’t take a genius to know what people want in a good employer. Movie nights? Softball? Bitch, please. Benefits? Money? Maybe. Honesty? Transparency? Hot damn, we’re getting somewhere! Not screwing over the community that’s supported your rise to power? Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

How about trying to be less evil this coming year, Mozilla?

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Mozilla in 2008: A Series

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on December 26, 2007

The Lizard has received a number of documents about Mozilla’s plans in 2008. For the next few articles, we’ll explore these articles in detail – some word-for-word – and see what Mozilla has in store for the next year.

  1. Recruiting
  2. Evangelism
  3. Web Development
  4. Marketing
  5. Executive Committee
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