Mozilla is all of us

Ten years ago, a scrappy group of ten Mozilla staff, and thousands of volunteer Mozillians, broke up Microsoft’s monopoly on accessing the web with the release of Firefox 1.0. No single mastermind can claim credit for this achievement. Instead, it was a wildly diverse and global community brought together through their shared commitment to a singular goal: to protect and build the open web. They achieved something that seemed impossible. That’s what Mozillians can do when we’re at our best.

Over the last few years, we’ve taken on another huge challenge: building a smartphone incorporating the technology and values of the open web. In a few short years, we’ve taken Boot to Gecko, an idea for an open source operating system for mobile, all the way to the release of Firefox OS phones in 15+ countries. It was thousands of Mozillians — coders, localizers, partners, evangelists and others — that made this journey possible. These Mozillians, and the many more who will join us, will play a key role in achieving the audacious goal of putting the full power and potential of the web into the hands of the next two billion people who come online.

Over the last few weeks, the media and critics have jumped to the conclusion that our CEO defines who Mozilla is. But, that’s not the reality.

The reality is this: Mozilla is all of us. We are not one or two leaders, and we never have been. Mozilla is a global community of people building tools for a free and open web that we can’t build anywhere else. We’re people solving the tough problems on the web that most need solving. Mozilla is all of us taking action every day, wherever we are. Building. Teaching. Empowering. We all define who Mozilla is together. It’s the things we choose to build and teach and do every day that add up to ‘Mozilla’.

While hard, the past few weeks have been a reminder of that.  The attention, boycotts, ire from across the political spectrum, and departure of an original founder like Brendan would have devastated most companies, leaving them wounded and floundering with their leadership gone. But, Mozilla is not like most companies. Instead, we’re a global community that rolls up our sleeves to work on a common cause, not a company with single leader. Mozilla is all of us. As Mozillians, we need to remember this. And live it.

That’s one of the reasons I’m happy Chris Beard agreed to step in as interim CEO at the Mozilla Corporation today. Certainly, he knows technology and products, having played a key role in everything from the early success of Firefox to unveiling Firefox OS at the Mobile World Congress. But, more importantly right now, Chris is one of the best leaders I know at gathering people around Mozilla in a way that lets them have impact.

Just one example of where Chris has done this: the famous Firefox 1.0 ad in the New York Times.

Firefox 1.0 New York Times Ad

The notable thing about this ad is not its size or reach, but that Mozilla neither placed nor even paid for it. The ad was a grassroots effort, dreamed up and paid for by roughly 10,000 people who’d been using Firefox in beta and wanted the world to know that there was a real choice in how people could access the web. Chris was running marketing for Mozilla at the time. As he saw community momentum growing around the idea, he jumped in to help, bringing in more resources to make sure the ad actually made it into the Times. He did what Mozilla leaders do at their best: empower Mozillians to take concrete action to move our cause forward.

Mozilla has a tremendous amount of momentum right now. We’ve just shipped Firefox OS in 15 countries and released a $25 open source smartphone that will bring the web to tens of millions of people for the first time. We’re about to unleash the next round of events for our grassroots Maker Party campaign, which will bring in thousands of new volunteers and teach people around the world about how the web works. And we’re becoming a bigger — and more necessary — voice for trust and for privacy on the web at time when online security is facing unprecedented threats. The things we are all working on together are exciting, and they’re important.

In all honesty, the past few weeks have taken their toll. But, as they say, never waste a good crisis. We’re already seizing the opportunity to become even better and stronger than we were a month ago.
This starts with reminding ourselves that Mozilla is at its best when we all see ourselves as leaders, when we all bring our passion and our talent full bore to building Mozilla every single day. Chris has a role in making this happen. So do people like Mitchell and me. The members of our boards play a role, too. But, it is only when all of us roll up our sleeves to lead, act and inspire that we unlock the full potential of Mozilla. That is what we need to do right now.



  1. LorenzoC replied on | Reply

    I have been an evangelist since “Phoenix” but what happened in “the past few weeks” has clearly showed that Mozilla is NOT “all of us”.

    About the whole thing of “putting the full power and potential of the web into the hands of the next two billion people who come online”, sorry if I laugh of the concept of “full potential of the web” associated with the display of a $25 phone. We aren’t speaking of the Internet any more. And besides the fact that we aren’t speaking of the Internet, do you remember any “One Laptop per Child” project? But this current trend of selling poop like it is chocolate is way bigger than Mozilla.

    1. realraven2000 replied on | Reply

      Have You paid attention for the past two years?

      I somehow think mobile phones are a much more realistic goal for poor countries than laptops: and not everybody can afford an iphone.

      1. LorenzoC replied on

        People can buy phones, people can use phones, that DOES NOT MEAN people can enjoy the “full power and potential of the web” using a phone.

        That is just a plain lie that roots on the old idea that people are actually too stupid for the web and all they need is to access some “service” and an “app store” full of silly gadgets. From a corporate perspective, once you got the PC market over-saturated you needed to create a new market and what can be better than cheap gadgets that are all glued and soldered, where the user cannot change anything and that are “trendy” so you can sell them for 5 times their hardware cost? Plus they force people to pay for ANOTHER subscription to get online and they force people to pay for accessing services and contents, allowing nice agreements between hardware vendors, service providers, software makers. It is like fishing in a barrel.

        Mozilla comes, see all this happening and simply joins the party. Oh yes, “Open Web”, $25 phones for developing countries. But once those people have bought the lie about phones, they would want to get the “trendy ones”, like an iPhone. And here comes more or less the same failure of One Laptop per Child, read “this is nice but what about a real laptop now?”.

      2. realraven2000 replied on

        “Mozilla comes, see all this happening and simply joins the party.”

        I don’t see it that way. I am developing Thunderbird Addons for 5 years and was quite dismayed to see a lot of resources redirected to the B2G effort [so simply joins the party clearly sounds like sarcasm to me] – yet I continued to review Tb Addons as a volunteer, as I still believe in mail on the desktop; but Firefox OS is clearly on to a good thing. Also remember when mobile phones were the size of bricks and cost thousands of dollars. Competition is a good thing as it improves the products.

        And in these countries we are talking about for most people there will never be an option to “trade up for a real computer”. So the trend to yet again simplify and democratize by defining and utilizing the HTML5 standard is coming to fruition; initially the project didn’t even look like it would be as successful as it had become. The mobile market is expanding whether we like it or not, and Mozilla doesn’t want everybody to be locked up in the google / apple silo.

        If you see it that negative you simply ignore what Firefox has done for opening up the web so far. As regards “full power and potential of the web”, remember this idea is more about networking and less about technology. so the potential for doing something useful (and not focusing on money or games is clearly there – maybe not from our 1st world perspective as we have disposable time and money to get distracted by “shiny apps that don’t do much”) – however if you are spending three to five hours looking for water an app that tells you the nearest working fountain can become quite essential. Or maybe a warning when you are nearing troops in a war zone; In Africa currently SMS are used to relay news on realy cheap 2nd hand Nokia phones – who is to say a cheap Firefox OS phone and a open source networking app might not be the right step forward?

        As regards looking down on cheap phones – who knows what advancements the hardware area will make in the next 5 years?

  2. Rmx replied on | Reply


  3. violetlight replied on | Reply

    Grumpy responses there – this was a re-affirmation of the bond between the people and their organisation and didn’t need the cynical take-down… let’s give Mozilla our energy to go in the right direction again (as it has been with the phone project) – the more of us that back stuff like this the more the world will change, even if there are bumps in the road like the last few weeks…

  4. realraven2000 replied on | Reply

    Nice one, at least we show that we can move on now. To celebrate arrival of the new Australis skin which is going to be shipped with version 29, I have released a special Australis edition of my Firedix extension QuickPasswords – for Screenshots see

    1. realraven2000 replied on | Reply

      I meant Firefox, not fire dicks, that was a typo courtesy of Swype. Goes to show you have to be very careful even when posting from comfort of your bed 😀

  5. ThirteenthLetter replied on | Reply

    So did you apologise for firing a man over his political opinions, and forthrightly state that the bullies were wrong? As long as that corpse continues to rot in the corner, I’m afraid a million blog posts like this won’t clear away the smell.

  6. Echo replied on | Reply

    Mozilla is all of us, except the people who get booted out.

  7. tj replied on | Reply

    Just got around to using Chrome today because of the blatant hypocrisy and intolerance shown towards a great man – Brendan Eich. Look how “inclusive” and “tolerant” you are.

  8. Dan Cortese replied on | Reply

    “As they say, never waste a good crisis”? You mean as Saul Alinsky, who tributed his book to Lucifer, said? Quoting people doesn’t make their bad ideas good, even if every social media user did it every second until “man’s great tower” falls.

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