The Mozilla Foundation is best known for Firefox, but as its head Mitchell Baker recently told us, the group's mission is not merely to produce a browser that kills Internet Explorer. "The mission is to build certain qualities into the human experience of the internet. We are in a reasonable spot with the browser, and Firefox is …
Hurrah for FOSDEM
FOSDEM is well worth going to. Always extremely inspirational to see the diverse range of things which so many people are working on.
Why do they want to kill IE?
They've constantly been telling us choice is good. That's why Firefox exists.
Now they want to take that choice away, leaving themselves where Microsoft once were.
The desire to remove IE does not contradict Mozilla's stance on competition. Really it is about removing a specific competitor (one with an unpleasant monopolistic agenda) rather than all competition. I haven't seen any statements about killing Opera or Chrome etc etc.
Happy to clarify that for you.
Attacking the EULA?
The hitmen must be on their way already. None of the entrenched players are going to take that lying down. But they've got my vote.
Re: *Next* 100 years?
*puts head on desk, cries*
No, nope, no way
"He's also proposing a system of accreditation where developers and their work are rated by peers "
Argh - most of the people I work with are a bunch of wankers who wouldn't know how best to deliver something to the end-user if their lives depended on it! I certainly wouldn't want them trying to judge the work of the few seriously good people that I have around the place!!
Sounds good, but...
...who could have predicted all of this twenty years ago, never mind 100 years in the future.
It could all change overnight with things like ACTA, but certainly a unified non-legalese way to sign up for services or install software would be nice. Pages and pages and pages of conditions that we're supposed to interpret and understand, all of which will be different from one hiccup to another.
I'll be keeping an eye on this development.
I'm tired of these people, taking the internet WAY too seriously. The internet is just a bunch of routers and servers, nothing more. Its not a social movement, its not a culture, and its definitely not a basic human right. Its just a collection of interconnected commercial networks.
Presumably in the same way that
Human beings are just a bunch of cells and chemical reactions?
See, I can write down fatuous and superficial things too.
"work to devise legal agreements we can actually read "
That shouldn't really be the aim at all. The aim should be not to NEED a legal agreement in the first place.
If I go to a cafe and buy a bacon sandwich, I'm not required to read and sign a legal agreement waving the supplier's legal obligation not to give me food poisoning. And even if I did, it would be null and void because the law prohibits unfair contract terms. Nor is my purchase conditional on not reselling it, not looking inside to see what ingredients it contains or subject to the requirement I must eat it in a designated place that shows adverts for cheese and tomato sandwiches.
That's exactly the way it should be with software too. Subject only to standard law that prevents sellers imposing their own conditions, permits the company to use my contact details for support but not marketing and prevents it from being given to others (including parent and sibling companies) at all, regardless of any claim to "agreement".
That business about «killing IE»
may well be Gavin Clarke's view of competition in the browser market, but if one reads John Lettice's Mitchell Baker interview, to which Gavin provides a link, the phrase nowhere turns up there. Unlike Microsoft's killing of Netscape effected by lock-ins and unrefusable deals with OEMs, what Firefox has been doing is providing users with a better alternative to Microsoft's bundled web browser, and in doing so has inspired a host of others. How has Microsoft responded ? Yesterday, while helping a pensioner couple a Vista dator purchased a half year ago to the internet for the first time (he had been using it exclusively as a typewriter !), I got further insight into the way MS deals with its customers - and regulatory authorities - the here in Europe mandated «browser window» turned up on the screen (the first time I've encountered it), but when I clicked to install Firefox 3.6, the install didn't complete, as Internet Explorer crashed. I repeated the procedure several times, and even rebooted the box, but no joy ; selecting Firefox from the menu crashed IE every time, thus rendering the choice of browser the menu was supposed to promote void. Way to go Microsoft ! I got 'round the problem by installing FF directly from the Mozilla site and everything worked like a charm, but if I encounter such tricks with the mandated browser menu on a second machine, the European Commission will be in receipt of a long and detailed letter from yours truly....
That 100 years, again.
"We don't know what the market will be 100 years from now, but we do know that a dramatic increase in levels of ownership and participation in the web will be critical."
Er, no. You don't even know if there will *be* anything that you in your stupidity even recognise as a market (or as an internet, come to that) in 100 years. It's at least 5 times further into the future than anyone can safely predict. The next century could *easily* see massive political changes and economic upheaval, along the lines of those caused by the printing press but a darn sight faster because the change has a full industrial economy driving it.
This man is an idiot and if he's spending any of the Mozilla Foundation's money then I'm glad I've never contributed.
Shorter licences and conditions
Licences as done now, even for free stuff, apparently have to start from scratch every time. Whereas ideally if you have already read "GPL v3" or "Microsoft EULA" then you know what the terms are. If it's exactly the same thing again - and generally it can be - then you shouldn't have to read it every time.
Broadly a licence usually does some of the following things:
- Grants you some right to use the software until told otherwise, in limited ways, for a price
- Declares that the software author is not to be held unreasonably responsible for bad outcomes
Maybe it would be useful for a third party service to let you create an identity and certify that you have already read the licences. Of course that isn't the same thing as -accepting- the licence for every product.
But while licences can be made more straightforward if everyone acts in good faith, some people don't. Software may be published that is downright malicious, and if the publisher is particularly vindictive then they may make you "read" a licence and "agree" to receive spam or even to send it. And of course some users want to use Microsoft Windows to view media that WASN'T created using a legally licensed copy of the relevant codec, or want to remote-access applications running on Windows Home Basic which is another licence violation, or to reveal performance benchmarks without getting Microsoft's permission first. But those people probably don't take time to read the long scary licences that we get now, so it doesn't make a huge difference.
... is a very, very long time in tech.
For all we know in 100 years time we could be plugging the 'net directly into our noggins via some kind of cortical implant like the cyberpunks have been saying for a couple of decades. The whole idea of desktop, monitor and browser, or even an icon driven GUI, may be as quaint and old fashioned as driving around in a model T ford might be today.
I'd be surprised if desktops are even the predominant machine that most people use to connect to the Internet in 10 years let alone 100 - netbooks, smartphones and games consoles for instance. So removing the "technological, corporate and cultural choke points" is already happening - albeit slowly.
On the server side there's already a mix of OSs and technologies so I'm not quite sure what Mozilla are aiming at here... a bit of paper that says "Icanwritecodezors" (my fwendz sez so) and a "yes, I would like to be anally raped by your legal team" icon?
They'll be lucky if anything they do survives 10 years.
Has this bloke not seen any of those Tomorrow's World clips where they were predicting all kinds of nonsense, like how we were all going to be flying around in flying cars (Puffins?) and have much more leisure time because most of our work would be done by computers?
you count reading The Register when you're supposed to be working, we do have much more leisure time!
I wonder if it's just a coincidence that they picked that name? Or, do they have the torpedoes already loaded?
The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) mentioned in the article is not a Mozilla project, but an independent entity. P2PU received support from the US Hewlett Foundation and the South African Shuttleworth Foundation to create online education opportunities for study groups around open educational resources. It is correct that we have a number of partnerships with Mozilla, including one to create an open degree for web developers, but we are completely independent otherwise. http://p2pu.org
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