Tuesday, April 08, 2014

My Open Letter to Mozilla

Mozilla offers a feedback page for Firefox. You are given two choices: "Firefox made me happy" and "Firefox made me sad". I chose "Firefox made me happy". Here is what I wrote:

Firefox makes me happy. I've been using it since around Phoenix 0.4. I stuck with it through the bad years when it was big, bloated and slow. I've been running Nightly for about 5 years now because the Firefox Nightly alphas are as stable as most production software. I love using Firefox and have always recommended it to friends.

However, Mozilla the company has made me very sad. Your recent behavior with Brendan Eich is appalling. But the straw that broke this camel's back was when the new CEO came out and said that Mozilla is committed to diversity, free speech and employees being open about their beliefs. This is pure Orwellian hogwash, and is utterly contradicted by your behavior.

I love this browser and switching away from it will be an enormous hassle to me, but I cannot support a company that behaves in this manner, especially when it then touts its behavior as being exactly the opposite of what it truly is.

You'll probably hear the word "liar" a lot. Get used to it. You've earned it.

This is a watershed event Mozilla. You might not be significant in the large picture, but you have precipitated a tipping point in the culture war. That war has been building slowly for decades, but you and your supporters have made it very hot.

You have now politicized your browser, and that is incredibly unfortunate, because it will no longer stand or fall solely on its technology or merits, and it has a lot of merit. But you had to force your politics into the equation, so I must reluctantly choose a different product, because I don't agree with forcing morals down people's throats.

I could tolerate your advocacy of same-sex "marriage", even though I do not support the concept. Everyone has a right to an opinion, and that alone would not have caused me to stop supporting your products, but since you will not tolerate Brendan Eich as your CEO, I can no longer tolerate supporting your company. I'm just doing the same thing you are. It's only fair and appropriate.

By making his beliefs your enemy, rather than just your opposition, you have made me your enemy, and it's really, really tragic that you have chosen to do this and makes me very sad. But to excuse this behavior because I really like your product would only encourage more of it.

I could support you while disagreeing with you, but that wasn't enough for you. You had to declare war in order to force your beliefs on others. The ironic thing about all of this is that the kinds of people who would most often quote the criticism of not forcing morality on others are often the most guilty of it. Welcome to the club.

You'll probably hear the word "hypocrite" a lot. Get used to it. You've earned it.

You've turned a perfectly fine product into an ideology that is entirely orthogonal to what the product is. I wouldn't like that if it were an ideology I agree with, because there is too much politicizing going on already. However, I definitely can't support it when it's an ideology I don't agree with and you have handled yourselves in such a, for lack of a better word, fascist manner.

It's a brave new world you are opening up here, and not the one you think you are creating. This is a genie that isn't going back into the bottle and your punishment of Brendan Eich for his thoughtcrime was a very evil act, totally out of proportion with his minor support of a state referendum that passed by a majority of voters. This isn't about the whole gay "marriage" issue any more. It is now much more sinister.

You've established a precedent. You and your supporters must seek out and attack anyone in public life who doesn't agree with your politics and try to hound them out of their positions if you don't want to be accused of holding a double standard.

You'll probably hear the words "witch hunt" a lot. Get used to it. You've earned it.