Firefox lost the browser war and what we can do?

I saw that title on Twitter about this article and I thought that can be a good idea to start an article (required few time) about Firefox.

Just as intro I am a Mozilla volunteer since 2013, Mozilla Reps since 2015 (twice in the Reps Council), Mozilla TechSpeaker since 2016, I develop browser extensions for Firefox, leading the Mozilla Italia community for the participation side, doing talks and stuff, joined 7 times the Mozilla All Hands and many other things.

I am not pro-Google, I use LineageOS for my phone with no Chrome, no Google Contact/Calendar but my Nextcloud instance also for my files, duckduckgo for my searches and so on.

Why Mozilla lost the war?

For Google there is a project that gather all the products that was killed by Google, this list is something like that but also include the various fails where other competitors instead achieved something that moved Mozilla less important in the tech market.

Just as note as volunteer since 2013 I can consider myself a veteran, also I often saw that volunteers remember better this list compared to the Mozilla employees that often stay inside the company/foundation for few years and not so much time like a volunteer.

(Mozilla) Firefox is not a Pioneer anymore

How many pioneering technologies Mozilla is doing now? Maybe A-frame, Rust, Picture-in-picture mode for Firefox,WebAssembly, Mozilla Iot, the YouTube Mozilla channel or the new Mozilla Developer portal?

PS: Rust is not considered anymore part of the Mozilla community or ecosystem beucase is moving around with the help of a new community, different sponsors and so on.

Mozilla has no relevance for the real tech stuff right now because is not producing any new technology (that is used outside the Mozilla Foundation). The usual Mozilla behavior is create a new technology and a new community that is not managed anymore by Mozilla (only if there are the resource from that community or the project will be closed). Yes this of course it is very cool compared to projects like Android but the point is that is not attractive to developers.

This can explain why there is the new Mozilla Developer portal, to gather the Mozilla technologies for developers but for a company/foundation that fought in the browser war, revolutioned the web is like the last swan song.

So the people say this:

If you saw this like 5-6 years there was a huge fight like everywhere on the internet, instead now there is a big silence because Mozilla is slow and is not caring of the health of the Web Standards that is the core but focusing on something that is not clear (atleast for me).

Personal opinion: Mozilla uses to telemetry a lot of things and based on that numbers drop features (or services) that are not used so much, maybe is something reasonable but I don’t think that is the right way for everything. There are features that can have sense sometimes and not every day like for Firefox Screenshot where there was the feature to host the files or also draw on them.

Probably Mozilla since the dead of Firefox OS is trying to find a place in the Tech world where can be a leader like in the past, looking to the many experiments of the past it still not found a spot.

Why Mozilla is ignored by the real Tech world?

With real world I mean the developer world, where everything started, now is focusing just on fancy things or discussions on like the usage of internet.

This means that is not attractive to the developers, but let me explain what this means for who is not a developer.

Developers build things because there is the opportunity to do so, like Firefox that started from the Netscape code because is available as open source. If there is space for them, they can change the world but if you are not building the roads or not doing the best ingredients you cannot be sure of the results or help to create new things.

Why a developer should use Firefox compared to Chrome if the majority of the world is Webkit centric? It is like be a Rome pizza maker but everyone is asking for Naples pizza, they are similar but not the same thing. If a company is hiring a sysadmin for CentOS linux instead got one skilled with Debian linux, you cannot be sure that has the right skills for what you need just because the name include Linux.

At the same time Firefox doesn’t have the same APIs available (compared to Chrome) to the developers to experiment new things and create new opportunities, also tools.

It is clear for a developer that the world is Webkit centric so the other browsers are fine to be supported but you don’t need to put so many efforts (and money) to get your business working.

As volunteer and contributor it is difficult for me to find something cool to do with Firefox, compared with the past and is very sad.

What Mozilla can do?

Just listen developers, not to know what is the best feature missing in the dev tools or to do a new logo (that is not clear for a lot of people including me).

What is offering Firefox to the developer ecosystem?

Listen also your users when there are complaints and when Firefox is behind Google about some implementations, fight back when there are bad standards like in the past. Often as volunteer I feel that Mozilla is a traitor because now is not fighting for an open web at 360 grades.

Or just listen volunteers that are your first adopters and usually big companies take care of what they think of.

Let me know what do you think in the comments section.

5 thoughts on “Firefox lost the browser war and what we can do?

  1. I gave up on firefox when chrome came out, and now have switched to the chromium edge. It is just a better browser all the way around in my opinion. There for a long time I did check out the latest on Firefox, but got sick and tired of it crashing and with every new update extensions were incompatible. Also no syncing. I always go for the smoothest experience, and chromium either Google Chrome, or new Edge is it. I also use google as search. It remembers my location and gives me much more relevant results than others such as duckduckgo.

    1. I am not using Chromium but I had to often for development especially for mobile one but anyway yes Chrom* as performance is still better compared to Firefox.

  2. I much prefer Firefox over any Chromium browser. The reason Google is reaching monopoly status despite the drawbacks of their product is obvious and it’s got nothing to do with Mozilla or Microsoft.

  3. I am a long-time Firefox user on both PC and Android (Tablet and smart phone).
    I very much dislike the glitchy Edge and intrusive Chrome and I am not a techhead so most of the limitations described above do not affect me. Firefox is/was a robust, simple, intuitive program – and yes I had become complacent in using it.

    No More.

    This morning I woke to find my smartphone had been hijacked and “updated” to Version 79. Without notice I have had foisted on me an unusable interface, clunky software which over-promotes Mozilla and Firefox and quite simply is a complete disaster. No Top Sites, a tedious search for Bookmarks, no going forward and searches are appalling. It is also an insufferably smug site and there is no going back to the previous version.

    Don’t get me started on the facile replacement of the word “Master” to become Primary Password because they want to remove any suggestions of Master-Slave offensiveness for those who are too fragile to know that hose terms and conditions actually exist. Obviously those responsible haven’t mastered the English language and are just slaves to fashion.

    I’m off. After umpteen years and numerous donations Firefox has shown me the finger. Before my tablet and PC is abused in this way I shall Search for alternative Browsers.

    And if you think I am overreacting – have a read of the tidal wave of complaints on the Google Play store site. Firefox has just established a watershed moment.

    1. I agree with you but I don’t lost the hope.
      They are all management side issues and not technician and this is the most saddest part…

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Firefox lost the browser war and what we can do?

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