The Truth about Mozilla

Exclusive: A Look Inside Mozilla’s Financials; Planned Growth in 2009

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on November 27, 2008

As the financial markets collapse, my devoted readers will be happy to know Mozilla is doing just fine.

In an email to his staff on October 10, 2008, Mozilla Overlord John Lilly detailed not only Mozilla’s current financial state but also the Corporation’s intention to continue expanding in 2009. The Lizard has reprinted the email in its entirety below the fold (the “Jim” mentioned is Jim Cook, the CFO of the Mozilla Foundation and Corporation).

To summarize, for those Mozillians too lazy to read (practically all of the Mozilla Corporation):

  1. Mozilla intends to grow by 75 in 2009
  2. Mozilla is break even
  3. Mozilla believes Google Chrome could reach 7% market share next year

Consider this a holiday gift to my American friends.

(more…)

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An analysis of the Baker-Lilly CEO switch

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on February 18, 2008

And so, the great Mitchell Baker fell.

Before we delve deep into the hidden meaning in the announcement of Ms Baker’s fall, the Lizard would like to note that at Mozilla’s weekly meeting on the day of the announcement, both the old, tired CEO and the new, asinine CEO apologized profusely to Corporation employees for informing them of this news on such a short schedule (for most, quite literally four hours prior to the late afternoon announcement). Mere hours earlier, a meeting had taken place with John Markoff of the NYTimes to prepare the press for this announcement. The biggest reason for the shorter-than-usual announcement period as well as the preemptive spin strike? This blog.

Ms Baker as well as Mr Lilly were concerned that the Lizard would discover this news and report it before they had applied appropriate spin to it. They are 100% right. Had the Lizard not been drinking Mai Tais with a beach full of gorgeous girls and studly men, this blog would’ve been the first to report. However, Ms Baker, Mr Lilly: rest assured, not a soul on this earth believed the CEO was doing anything; everyone expected a change.

Let’s analyze Ms Baker’s post together to get a better grasp of this “change.”

2007 has been another year of extremely high growth for Mozilla and thus for the Mozilla Corporation. The number of Firefox users has grown to approximately 125 million. Mozilla’s mindshare in the industry continues to grow. We’ve launched both a number of significant new initiatives: a mobile effort, an innovation focus in Mozilla Labs, an integrated, ambitious support effort (support.mozilla.org) and a range of new outreach and evangelism programs. We’ve launched a serious effort in China and are vigorously supporting the new mail related Mozilla organization. We continue to build and ship great software, as the recent Firefox 3 betas demonstrate. Our contributors are increasing around the globe. Employees are increasing around the globe. We’re doing this in a Mozilla way, with a tiny number of employees for the work, distributed authority and tens of thousands of people contributing to create a more open and participatory Internet.

Translation: I’m an idiot. 2007 was fucking amazing because of the work I did. See all these great things I did as CEO? I deserve a break. But even as fucking amazing as I am, I’m completely unable pay attention to what has happened at my company.

The mobile effort we launched? Totally fucked up. (Editor’s note: with apologies to Doug Turner and Minimo contributors; the post on this is still forthcoming.)

Our “innovation focus in Mozilla Labs?” Stealing employees and killing a company is not how you innovate. (By the way, TechCrunch, Andrew Wilson is the one who will not be joining Mozilla. And no, it wasn’t his choice.)

The Tenser-led “support.mozilla.org?” Whoops. Did I say .org? I meant .com. Mozilla Corp doesn’t fucking care about anything remotely related to “.org.” Why should they? I certainly don’t; the.org only gets me down.

And the rest of that bullshit is just that, bullshit. Now, where was I?

Our accomplishments are remarkable; the opportunity in front of us is enormous. To meet this opportunity we need to execute really, really well. And we need to make the best use of our resources, most notably people.

Translation: I don’t really do shit. My best use of time has always been sitting in meetings scratching my ass, mumbling to myself, and rocking back and forth while others do the real work.

Today both John Lilly and I are spending a lot of time in classic “CEO” activities– organizational structure, employee well-being, budget and resource allocation, representing Mozilla products (especially Firefox) in discussions with other industry executives and the press, monitoring the progress of our product efforts, and overall execution of MoCo (our shorhand for the Mozilla Corporation). In addition to this work, I spend another chunk of time on overall organizational issues, in particular the relationship of the Mozilla Corporation to other Mozilla entities– The Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Europe, “MailCo”, and the Mozilla community. I’m starting to spend time thinking about Firefox as a springboard in the Internet industry for bringing participation to areas not directly touched through using a browser– for data, for understanding what’s actually happening with the Internet. I spend time on Mozilla Foundation activities and project wide policies, including recruiting an Executive Director and filling in somewhat until we find someone. Each of these areas needs more time than it gets, and each will need even more time in the future.

Translation: A) I’m completely unable to write grammatically correct sentences or spell simple words. If Firefox had a spell-checker, this wouldn’t be a problem. Someone please help me upgrade from Firefox 1.0.8? How do I use this computer?

B) That list of CEO activities? I haven’t done a single one of them for two years. When my ass was getting sore from doing nothing, I gave myself a raise and padded my seat with $100 bills.

C) All those easy-earned $100 bills that I wipe my ass with are really for “Mozilla Foundation activities and project wide policies.” You’ve seen the great work I’ve done, haven’t you? Declaring the entire year a party for Mozilla was the first step in my new role. This very important measure will… Party! Party, party!

Um, where was I? Oh, yes.

So I’ve asked myself repeatedly: what is the best use of my talents? Not the use that is known, or that fits a standard model or is most glamourous. Those are all fine criteria, but not for Mozilla and not for me. More recently I started framing the question a little more precisely, asking myself: what am I doing that someone else could do as least as well? Are there unmet aspects of the opportunity in front of us that I could do a particularly good job of moving forward if I focused more on them?

Translation: After reading insight from the Lizard, I realized getting called out publicly sucks more than Paris Hilton on a first date. The real question I had was “How the fuck can I offload more work to someone else?” Guess what? I found the answer! But first, let me bore you…

I have some unique attributes within the Mozilla world. I’ve had a leadership role since the early days and along with Brendan Eich I’ve been involved in– and often instrumental in– almost every major strategic and organizational decision following the launch of Mozilla. My focus ranges across the Mozilla world, and no one title captures the scope of what I think about and where I try to lead. I have a vision of the Internet and online life and a positive user experience– and of Mozilla’s role in creating these– that is far broader than browsers, email clients and even technology in general. Mozilla has shaped me during this first decade of my involvement; constantly astounding me with the ingenuity, commitment and excellence of our contributors. And I’ve undoubtedly had a hand in shaping Mozilla.

Translation: Blah, blah, blah. I’m awesome. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I’m amazing. Etc., etc., etc. Everything I do is fucking incredible.

Framed like this, a couple of things jumped out at me. One, I want Mozilla’s influence on the industry to go beyond the bits we ship as software. More particularly, I want to use the impact Firefox gives us in the market to get openness, collaboration and user control embedded in other products, services and aspects of online life. I’ve listed a few examples of what I mean below. You’ll see they are not yet precise and detailed. That’s why I want to dive into them– I can sense the enormity of the opportunity and a general sense of how to approach it, but I don’t have detailed project plans, and I’m not aware of anyone else who does. Some examples are:

Translation: Even though the company which I ran for years is completely incapable of focusing its efforts on two products at once (Editor’s note: another Thunderbird post forthcoming), I‘m going to branch out and find new things to distract our focus and become more failed efforts blotting Mozilla’s history. By providing you with the following five utterly general and unspecific ideas that no one could possibly accomplish due to the lack of focus and thought… Look over there! Quick, look! You’re going to miss it! Huge elephant! lolz.

  • Making the standards process more effective.
  • Encouraging more hybrid organizations like the Mozilla Corporation– organizations which serve the public benefit but support themselves through revenue rather than fund-raising.
  • Making “security” understandable enough that people can help protect themselves.
  • Providing individuals with the means to control their data and the content they create.
  • Making the public benefit, distributed and collaborative nature of Mozilla and Firefox more generally understood.

Translation: The elephant is back! Keep looking the wrong way while I wipe my ass with these $100 bills.

The second thing that jumped out at me is that John Lilly is the right person to guide the product and organizational maturity of MoCo. John has been doing more and more of this since he took on the COO role in August of 2006. John understands Mozilla, is astonishingly good at operations and has an innate facility for our products and technologies and the directions in which they should develop. John has been instrumental in developing an organizational structure for MoCo that is both embedded in Mozilla and open-source DNA and which can function at the extremely high degree of effectiveness that our setting requires.

Translation: I’m lazy. John’s lazy too. Appearances would have you believe otherwise, but don’t be fooled. We would never, ever fill my oh-so-special CEO position with someone competent and capable. We would, however, fill it with another minority like John. That just looks damn good.

Once I allowed myself to think about this I realized that John will be a better CEO for the MoCo going forward than I would be. I’m sure that I was the right person for this role during the first years of MoCo; I’m equally sure that John is the best person for this role in the future.

Translation: I’m done pretending publicly. It’s John’s turn to deal with the shit that is the Mozilla community.

As a result I’ve asked John to take on the role of CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, and John has agreed. In reality John and I have been unconsciously moving towards this change for some time, as John has been providing more and more organizational leadership. It is very Mozilla-like to acknowledge the scope of someone’s role after he or she has been doing it for a while, and this is a good part of what is happening here. I expect this transition to continue to be very smooth.

Translation: John’s the Chief now. He’s earned it. Just as Mozilla always promotes openness and transparency, I’ve been very careful to give community members and employees the chance to weigh in on this change and give their opinion on if this is the right decision. Oh wait, did I just write more bullshit in the translation? How the fuck did that happen?

I will remain an active and integral part of MoCo. I’ve been involved in shipping Mozilla products since the dawn of time, and have no intention of distancing myself from our products or MoCo. I’ll remain both as the Chairman of the Board and as an employee. My focus will shift towards the kinds of activities described above, but I’ll remain deeply engaged in MoCo activities. I don’t currently plan to create a new title. I have plenty of Mozilla titles already: Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, Chairman of the Mozilla Corporation, Chief Lizard Wrangler of the project. More importantly, I hope to provide leadership in new initiatives because they are worthwhile, separate from any particular title. We will probably create an Office of the Chairman with a small set of people to work on these initiatives. I intend to remain deeply involved with MoCo precisely because I remain focused on our products and what we can accomplish within the industry.

Translation: I will continue to do what I’ve been doing: Nothing.

There will be some differences with this change of roles. Most notably:

  • John’s role in products and organization will become more visible to the world as he becomes more of a public voice for MoCo activities.
  • Today– in theory at least– John provides advice to me for a range of decisions for which I am responsible. In the future I’ll provide input to John and he’ll be responsible for making MoCo an effective organization. I expect to provide advice on a subset of topics and thus reduce the duplication of work. On the other hand, I also expect to be quite vocal on the topics I care about most. John and I agree on most things these days, but that doesn’t stop me from being vocal 🙂

Translation: Neither of us know how to listen to others. Don’t fucking expect improvements.

I’m thrilled with this development, both with John’s new role and with mine. If you’ve got thoughts on the kinds of projects I want to set in motion, I’m eager to hear them. And don’t be surprised if you see the Mozilla Corporation doing more faster– that’s a part of the goal. We’re all committed to doing things in a Mozilla style and you should expect to see that continue to shine through all that we do, whether it’s shipping product or developing a new initiative.

Translation: My door’s always open because I’m never doing anything else.

It’s important to reiterate how fast this announcement hit the bulk of Mozilla. Both the community and the employees at the Corporation (with some exceptions) experienced a quicker-than-normal announcement cycle. Corporation employees are traditionally given days to ask questions and generate feedback about upcoming public announcements.

Our new overlord will tell you this news had to be held back from the majority of Mozilla because the story needed his and Baker’s spin. He won’t even deny it. When a company now needs to put proper spin on a news story, there’s a serious problem. When it’s clear your public statements need to be controlled perfectly, supported by an army of employees, your company condition moves from “serious” to “critical.” It’s in this light that Mozilla must be viewed going forward.

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 drivers@mozilla.org, where consensus was reached on an issue and decisions were made by a group of well-respected individuals. Should it move higher, staff@mozilla.org 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’s Gratitude Humbly Accepted

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on January 12, 2008

You’re welcome, Paul.

RIP Mitchell Baker

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on January 7, 2008

We knew ye all too well, even if we never saw you.

All hail our “new” overlord John Lilly, an asshole waiting to be treated like one.

More from your faithful Lizard later.

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Dear TechCrunch

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on January 7, 2008

To the half-witted moron at TechCrunch who decided to publish the Lizard’s recent exclusive regarding the Fight Against Boredom viral marketing campaign,

Please, please, please read the sites you link to. This blog is not, as you say, a “fake blog complete with mocked up Mozilla criticisms that is pretending to report on the viral campaign as well.” I assure you, this blog is real and its criticisms are valid. Before you fuck-ups attempt to report on another exclusive, check your sources and confirm they are indeed who you say they are. Responsible journalism appears to be dead and gone in today’s world.

It is now painfully clear to your fearless truth-telling reptilian why the world keeps falling for the bullshit Mozilla dishes out; “astute” journalists and their readers are too dumb to tell that a controversial blog airing Mozilla’s dirty laundry is not a part of a “viral marketing campaign.”

Mr Riley, no one appreciates bad journalism. Please retract that part of your blog post.

At least the journalists over at Computer World didn’t horribly misrepresent this blog.

Mozilla to Announce the “Fight Against Boredom” Marketing Campaign

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on January 7, 2008

Un-mentioned in the marketing team’s goals for 2008 is a new marketing program that will be launching this week.

Mozilla, dead set on retaining users, will launch a new online campaign called the “Fight Against Boredom.” This campaign is Mozilla’s first foray into viral marketing and represents a heavy investment from the open source company. Mozilla selected AKQA as the marketing firm to create this campaign.

As part of the campaign, Mozilla will release a video featuring internet stars such as Tay Zonday of “Chocolate Rain” fame and Leslie Hall of “Gem Sweater” fame singing a song about how un-bored Firefox users are. Additionally, Mozilla has created a Facebook application and a Facebook page that users can become fans of.

The video itself features the following stats, which state that, compared to IE users, Firefox users are:

  • 14% less likely to have sleeping disorders
  • 67% more likely to go mountain biking
  • 40% less likely to be widowed
  • 53% more likely to go hiking
  • 60% more likely to drink microbrew beer
  • 51% less likely to be an Accountant
  • 26% more likely to have gone to a live concert
  • 26% more likely to have seen live music
  • 45% more likely to have gone on a date
  • 36% more likely to play extreme sports
  • 76% more likely to have watched a foreign film
  • 21% more likely to have an espresso
  • 14% more likely to enjoy power weightlifting
  • 34% more likely to participate in snow sports
  • 6% more likely to practice yoga
  • 113% more likely to be a student
  • 139% more likely to go rock climbing
  • 17% more likely to be self-employed
  • 16% less likely to have fungal infections
  • 41% more likely to have watched a documentary
  • 36% more likely to participate in extreme sports
  • 69% more likely to be in the Arts & Entertainment industry

It ends with the call “Rise up and take action” and closes with the Firefox logo and text “Firefox Users Against Boredom.” Users are urged to visit fightagainstboredom.org for more information.

The video is available in Mozilla Create Director, John Slater’s “people” account. Download the 80 MB file now before they remove it.

In essence, what Mozilla is trying to do here is ride the fame of internet “stars” who have a following on YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. While the Lizard has no doubt that this campaign will be successful simply due to the number of internet stars Mozilla tapped to make it possible, I do believe that this is a waste of Mozilla’s money and effort. Promoting Firefox is arguably a good thing, but doing it in such a lame way doesn’t truly convert users.

Really Mozilla, who’s going to believe Firefox users are 45% more likely to have gone on a date? Have you met one?

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 spreadfirefox.com 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 addons.mozilla.org (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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