What is the Wrapp Revenue Model

Mozilla is a great IT company that we are losing





When the news came that Mozilla was unleashing a wave of cuts - the second this year - the reaction was immediate. It has not escaped the developers that the company has already cut off all of the corporate fat and is now ripping apart living muscles. She disbanded the threat defense team. It "cut the cost" of developer tools, a very popular area. She cut down the Servo team working on a next-generation browser engine based on Rust. She wiped out the MDN team. In general, the two waves of layoffs have taken away almost a third of the workforce.



Given that programmers make up a significant portion of Mozilla's very humble user base, the performance of developer tools seems particularly short-sighted and will disappoint the most dedicated users. Individuals unfamiliar with the company's history are likely to view the situation as another example of a player not having entered a highly competitive market and relying on niche opportunities. After all, the company's flagship Firefox browser hasn't claimed to be the market leader in years. So this is just the process of another dinosaur becoming extinct, what else?



Mozilla isn't just limited to Firefox, however. This is not your run-of-the-mill small IT company being supplanted by trillion dollar giants like Microsoft, Apple and Google. Mozilla has a rich history and significant contributions to web standards development. The fact that she is now in a critical position is a cause for concern to all of us.



The Mozilla story in a nutshell



Mozilla was born from the ashes of one of the most spectacular software bugs in the world. Netscape Navigator, who pioneered web browser development in the mid-1990s, has grown from an Internet master to an outsider in just a few months. The reason was Microsoft's aggressive merger policy towards Internet Explorer, and this is of course unfair. Most IT professionals then agreed that browsers would inevitably be free and widely available in the future. Building a business on these types of products has become a hopeless endeavor.







In a moment of inspiration, Netscape Navigator created the Mozilla Organization (later renamed the Mozilla Foundation), a not-for-profit organization that develops a number of integrated Netscape applications: browsers, email, and chat. That initiative gradually faded in the face of competitors who had more money and more users. But over the years the Mozilla Foundation has transformed itself into a different type of organization - its new goal was to promote open web standards and web literacy (not to mention the other, somewhat utopian principles explained in the famous Mozilla Manifesto ).



Many years later, a group of developers at Mozilla continued their attempts to create a browser in a product called Firefox. On its basis, an independent company appeared, which is still 100% owned and sponsored by the Mozilla Foundation. If these technologies had been shut down within the confines of AOL, the company that bought Netscape, they would have died long ago and the changing winds of Internet mods would scatter them to dust. In fact, even AOL abandoned the software it inherited from Netscape and switched to Internet Explorer, whereupon it was soon forgotten.



Mozilla's greatest hits



Firefox is Mozilla's most famous creation. And while it's now easy to underestimate as one of the most popular browser alternatives, it was once a pioneer in ad blocking, privacy, and developer tools (Firebug was way ahead of Chrome DevTools).



However, if Mozilla's contribution were limited to that, it would be little more than a second hurdle on the road to world domination by Chromium and WebKit. In the meantime, Mozilla has spawned some of the most important web technologies. Below are four of their best initiatives.



rust



As Netscape went downhill, few realized that the most valuable thing it brought to the world would be a somewhat fragile scripting language. This language was called JavaScript.



JavaScript was born in the short time when Netscape was king of the mountain on the web. Even so, twenty years after its collapse, Netscape is growing in popularity and increasingly dominating other languages. With that in mind, it's not hard to imagine that the most valuable innovation Firefox will leave behind is the amazingly efficient statically typed Rust.







The fascination of Rust falls into the entire spectrum of the developers. Those who think C ++ are too liberal and generous with mistakes like Rust. But those who find traditional object-oriented programming languages ​​too heavy and inefficient also love Rust. And despite the fact that relatively few people use it, Rust has ranked number one on Stack Overflow's most popular languages ​​charts since 2016.



Unfortunately, the development of Rust in the new Mozilla policy is very modest. With the recent wave of cuts in the manual, the programmers specializing in this language were eliminated and the Servo team disbanded, which intended to make a new browser engine in Rust. But right now it seems that Rust will not be forgotten along with the company that spawned it. The establishment of a separate organization, Rust Corporation, is already in the planning phase.



HTML5



Now it's even hard to remember, but once there was a bloody war between HTML and XHTML in the world - a version of HTML with no backward compatibility that has been reinterpreted with a stricter XML syntax. Also, HTML lost. In 2004, the W3C, the organization responsible for developing HTML standards, officially ceased all work on anything related to it.



That would have been the end if it hadn't been for the WHATWG, the community that Apple, Opera and Mozilla quickly put together for the occasion. We all know what happened next: WHATWG won, forced W3C to change course, and under the general heading of HTML5 spawned a whole host of standards including non-flash videos, web workers, web sockets and more. These standards are with us to this day.







Mozilla wasn't the only actor in this drama, of course. However, she played a pivotal role in shaping the movement that shaped the path of technology for the next decade.



Asm.js



One of the best tricks Mozilla gave us was asm.js. Strictly speaking, asm.js is just an optimized JavaScript with taste that has been trained in tricks like bitwise operations for heavy typing. However, using his example, Mozilla's developers have shown that they can compile other languages ​​down to similar micro-languages ​​to improve performance. With only informal specs and an emscript transpiler, they took real-time 3D games made with the Unreal engine in C ++ and put them in a browser.



Asm.js pioneered one of the most important innovations in modern web history - WebAssembly .... WebAssembly follows the path asm.js, a type of machine code for the web that runs in JavaScript. It also introduces some improvements, such as: B. A compact binary format for code that does not need to be parsed or compiled. Many of the most exciting innovations these days are made with WebAssembly. among them - the Blazor framework from Microsoft.



WebAssembly is a joint project between Mozilla and the developers of other web browsers, but it would not have been taken up so quickly without asm.js. Even now, asm.js plays the role of a WebAssembly poly fill, a backward compatible fallback for some older browsers that don't support WebAssembly.



MDN (Mozilla Developer Network)



MDN is a huge resource for high quality developer documentation. Something like the Wikipedia of modern web development or the W3Schools equivalent, only many times better.



If you've ever searched the internet for answers to your questions, you've likely stumbled upon treasures of MDN wisdom. You may have used the comprehensive CSS Properties Reference or the carefully organized HTML DOM material there. Perhaps you're looking upside down for information on a new API like IndexedDB or WebRTC (there is no outdated information on MDN). Or, you've read an ambitious introduction to HTML, which starts by describing the markup for dummies and adding complexity to JavaScript frameworks like React, Ember, and Vue.



The inventory of MDN documentation is not limited to what is presented on the website. For example, the browser compatibility information Mozilla collects is so extensive that it is used to create services like caniuse.com.







Mozilla has now looked into the MDN team. Management promises not to let the popular resource die and likely plans to involve partners and the community in the case. However, without financial investment and the knowledge of those interested in the project, it is impossible to say with confidence that MDN will be able to maintain its standards at the same level. After all, Mozilla already has a graveyard of web education initiatives that died in the bud: Webmaker, Mozilla Backpack, and my personal favorite X-ray glasses (an extremely easy way to master the beginnings of HTML, which is more useful than ninety percent of video tutorials ). This cannot be good for the future.



What Killed Mozilla



Mozilla isn't quite dead yet, but the turning point is clearly over. In a letter to the laid-off staff, the administration referred to the coronavirus epidemic, but that explanation is questionable. Eventually, the Mozilla Foundation was created to make sure the current turbulence didn't confuse Mozilla so the team could focus in the long term. His job was to protect developers from the whims of management, one-day trends, and Silicon Valley investors sleeping and seeing how to double their capital. The epidemic will end sooner or later, but it will not be easy to bring the torn team back to its former shape and regain the developers' trust.



The truth, which the company rarely talks about, and which IT publishers often do, is that Mozilla has chosen a very shaky revenue model: it is tied to a generous promotional offer from a competitor who also makes browsers. More than 90% of Mozilla's profits come from a contract with Google in which Firefox uses the corresponding search engine by default. In return, Mozilla receives annual payments of over four hundred million dollars. Google has already extended the deal several times, although Mozilla's market reach is steadily deteriorating.







In recent years, Google has renewed contracts with less willingness and enthusiasm. Perhaps the management continues to support Firefox only out of fear that the browser, which lives in difficult times, could otherwise become completely extinct and the attention of the cartel organizations will then concentrate on Google (Microsoft once invested in Apple for similar reasons). Regardless of Google's motives, Mozilla's decision to rely almost exclusively on contributions from an IT mega-corporation appears to be a serious strategic mistake.



Periodically, Mozilla has tried to develop long-standing commercial products like Firefox OS, an expensive VPN, and a premium bookmarking service. These attempts were largely unsuccessful. Mozilla (a company, not a foundation) now has a new, not very encouraging goal: "Increase core browser resources by differentiating the user experience." This can be understood in a number of ways, but at least one interpretation is that they expect them to catch up by playing with the user interface and wrapping some of the products in new marketing wrappers. If so, then Mozilla's heartbreaking sunset story comes to its final chapters.


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