For Good Measure

Mozilla and feedback loops

by Colby Russell. 2018 October 11.

My "coming of age" story as a programmer is one where Mozilla played a big part and came at a time before the sort of neo-OSS era that GitHub ushered in. It's been a little over 5 years, though, since I decided to wrap things up in my involvement and called it quits on a Mozilla-oriented future for various reasons.

More recently—but still some time ago, compared to now—in a conversation about what was wrong with the then-current state of Mozilla, I wrote out a response with my thoughts but ultimately never sent it. Instead, it lingered in my drafts. I'm posting it here now both because I was reminded of it a few weeks ago from a very unsatisfying exchange with a developer still at Mozilla when a post from his blog came across my radar, and because, as I say below, it contains a useful elaboration on a general phenomenon not specific to Mozilla, and I find it worthwhile to publish. I have edited it from the original.

It should also be noted that the message ends on a somewhat anti-cynical note, with the implication of a possibility left open for a brighter future, but the reality is that the things that have gone on under the Mozilla banner since then amount to a sort of gross shitshow—the kind of thing jwz would call "brand necrophilia". So whatever residual hope I had five years ago, or at the time I first tried to write this, is now fairly far past gone, and the positivity sounds a little misplaced. Nonetheless, here it is.

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