BrowserInnovation

Mitchell Baker has written an excellent essay titled "Browser Innovation, Gecko and the Mozilla Project" [1]. It's available at [2] along with good, free web browsers and a variety of thoughtful commentary on Internet issues. "Free" in this case means zero cost, but it also means liberty. As Baker summarizes:

The web is becoming increasingly integrated into our lives as more and more critical financial, health and other personal information is managed through web-based transactions. Browsers are the mechanism through which individual human beings access and manage this digital data. We don't yet know what new innovations will be possible in this arena. New innovations should be judged on their own merits, on their ability to benefit human beings, and not solely by their effect on the business plans of one or even a few companies. Mozilla.org remains committed to a world-wide-web based on open standards and developed for the common benefit. We provide world-class software and technology to promote this vision.

Come join us.

Without openness, there's the real likelihood that a quasi-monopoly will effectively take over ... and thereby add costs, slow progress, and increase the fragility of the 'Net.

A delightful and intelligent part of Baker's commentary is the courteous, optimistic attitude he shows toward Apple's Safari browser --- my current favorite portal to the web. Baker observes:

In addition to the Mozilla-based browsers, Apple has recently launched its own browser for Mac OS X, known as Safari. It may be that the majority of Mac end users will end up using Safari because it comes with the OS, just as many people end up using IE because it comes with the Windows distribution. Some see this as traumatic or as a mark of doom. But the Mozilla project understands that almost everyone in the US market (and a substantial percentage of the international market) receives Internet Explorer when they acquire a computer, and our job is to provide an alternative. We would have preferred to have Apple use Gecko or collaborate with us on the development of the Camino browser, but providing an alternative to an OS-sponsored browser is nothing new to us. The key goal of the Mozilla project is to help keep content on the web open and help keep access to that content from being controlled by a single source. Apple's decision to ship a browser based on an open source rendering engine, with a focus on standards compliance, is a good thing for the big picture goal.

This "big tent" philosophy is smart. It reminds me of an aphorism attributed to President Lyndon Baines Johnson --- who, speaking about politics and the wisdom of working for reform from within the system, noted that it's far better to stay inside the tent and, uh, relieve oneself outwards, than it is to go outside and, um, aim inwards.

But LBJ said it more with more pith (and he didn't lisp!).

(see also ParaMode (9 May 2000), PersonalPositivism (16 Nov 2002), ... )


TopicProgramming - TopicSociety - TopicHumor - Datetag20031028



(correlates: MalaproposDecisionmaking, DoLess, RatTales, ...)