“If you want to change the world, shut your mouth and start to spin it.” - Cracker
The past few months has dealt the web string of disappointing news item one after another. Microsoft all but killed IE, AOL gave Netscape the touch of death, and Eolas’ plugin patent is making things really difficult.
The web is more popular than ever, but the major forces behind it are pulling out. Now is the time for all good men to come to… well, you know how that one goes.
Soon the Mozilla foundation will re-launch mozilla.org (available now in public beta) in the hopes of gaining back the market share that AOL/Netscape conceded to Microsoft over the past 5 years. That is to say, the 90% plus share that Internet Explorer currently enjoys somehow must erode for the Mozilla Foundation to be successful.
They are competing head-on with Redmond, and no one more than they recognizes what a monumental undertaking this is. Microsoft is only helping by letting Internet Explorer stagnate, but the remaining installed base is huge and it will take drastic measures to undermine its dominance. A non-profit organization stealing back market share from a company with over $40 billion in cash on hand?
They’re going to need some help.
Why don’t we all just let Microsoft continue its dominance of the market and let them call the shots? Because competition is in the best interest of everyone. An application service provider needs a free and open platform that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get a foot in the door. A web developer needs non-proprietary, well-supported standards to decrease development time and focus on more important issues like accessibility and usability. Businesses large and small need the chance to compete in an environment without the threat of one company with an illegally-gained monopoly easily crushing them if they’re deemed ‘competition’. An end user needs a secure computing environment. IE offers none of these.
Why is it important for Mozilla to win? Mozilla is a non-profit organization that seeks to better the web, not line their pockets. Decisions made will be in the interests of everyone, not for financial gain of the few. Right now, any market share not going to IE is a good thing. Support Opera, love Safari. But long term, Mozilla must capture a significant enough portion of that share to prevent us from ending up here again.
The Mozilla Foundation can’t do this alone. They need the help of developers, distributers, and designers. If you haven’t yet begun using Mozilla 1.5 (released today to coincide with the new site) or Firebird 0.7 (also released today), why not? If your browser of choice is symbolized by a stylized blue ‘e’, perhaps you should investigate the other options available.
And don’t stop with yourself. Tell a friend. Tell five. The first time you demonstrate a browser that just doesn’t allow pop-up windows, you will have made a friend. When you show off the power of tabbed browsing and type-ahead find, you will have made a convert out of the most stubborn IE fan. You don’t even need to get into the built-in security and cutting-edge standards support; the other features speak for themselves.
The new site exists to further the Mozilla brand, and make it ridiculously easy to get the latest Mozilla software. Support the foundation with a donation of time or money if you can. Support the site by making sure it’s well-linked. Support the cause by spreading the word.
Mozilla needs your help. Consider lending a hand.
If you have been reading this site for any period of time, you’ll remember various pieces detailing the fall of IE, and what could possibly be done to make things better. Ideas have come and gone. Nothing has happened. Ideas can’t live on their own without a life support system that comes from action.
So action it is. This is my contribution. This is my way of making the world a better place. Some write. Some code. I design.
Godspeed, good lizard.
I worked with an excellent production team to bring my design to fruition, so thanks also due to Rafael Ebron, Tristan Nitot, and Dawn Endico.
Also note: I don’t know where the new Firebird home page came from. Today’s the first time I’ve seen it. So don’t blame me.