Messina’s Mozifesto

Chris Messina’s 50 minute video manifesto about where Mozilla ought to be taking itself is mighty impressive stuff.  He’s obviously put a heap of though into his position, although I think that my Web Worker Daily colleague (I’m guest blogging there in May), Anne Zelenka’s response is possibly closer to the mark.

Here are my thoughts:

  • while I think that the browser will become less important as platforms such as Apollo and Silverlight build market share and deliver browser-like functions to user desktops, I don’t think browsers are likely to disappear in the next two to three years;
  • Firefox has the browser add-on market stitched up for the moment.  IE7 has a lot of catching up to do.  I’d guess that most Firefox users (a growing sector) have at least one add-on installed.  The attraction of the all-in-on plus extras client is strong;
  • an “ecosystem of browsers” looks like fractured, dispersed market to me.  Firefox needs to remain strong and provide even better hooks for XUL apps, such as Songbird to be a part of a single ecosystem.  Firefox as petri dish in which to grow beautiful things;
  • Firefox needs to further increase market share beyond the geek hipster set and tech-savvy.  My Mum uses it because I tell her to, Mozilla needs to reach those people without intermediaries.

Mozilla’s, and by association, Firefox’s futures are their own to determine.  They need to be the Purple Cow they promised to be.  I think they need to try harder, but I don’t think they are as doomed as Chris thinks.

One Reply to “Messina’s Mozifesto”

  1. I don’t think they’re doomed… I think I am simply more concerned by the growing threat imposed by Silverlight, Apollo and JavaFX… think about it this way: what are the next generation of college graduates coming out of schools in India and China going to know how to develop? Java apps? Apollo/Flex apps? Silverlight? Or XUL? Without a concerted effort to make XUL, or whatever the Mozilla Future Web Platform is, a more lucrative and easy to build -on and -for platform, I think that we’re going to see a migration away from building Addons since you can build a full featured web application using web technologies and get out of browsers entirely — and stop worrying about debugging your CSS for IE6 since you’ve chosen to move to a stack that works the same everywhere (see Flash for the past 6 years).

    Anyway, my message was not intended as doom and gloom, but more about trying to understand where Mozilla is with regards to a lot of these other new technologies. And, I might add, I’m usually about 6-8 months early in my criticisms and ideas… so a lot of folks can certainly shoot me down on technicalities, but I’m more interested in teasing out some sense of a vision for how we’re going to promote and nurture the open web.

    And perhaps you’re right — the browser is not dead. But it’s certainly changing. Does a Mozilla strategy that focuses 100% on entrenching in such a product make sense when all the majors seem to moving away from a single-app solution? Perhaps it does, if you believe that when the competition zigs, you should zag. If that’s ultimately the strategy that the community supports, I’ll end up getting behind it too, but for now, I think it’s worth having an open debate about whether or not it is, indeed, the best way forward.

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