What We Talk About When We Talk About The Open Web

There have been several discussions lately, both online and in person, about what Mozilla can do to encourge large numbers of people to participate on making the web more open.

It’s not really clear what the right answers are, but people have been pointing out that we don’t need to have the answers—it’s more important for us to ask the questions and get people involved with thinking about possible actions.


This fits in well with what we’re doing with the mozilla.org relaunch. In the home page mockup above, there is a section where we’re asking people a question—in this example it is ‘Do you agree?’

There are all sorts of other questions we can be asking though. If we asked people instead ‘What would you do to keep the web open?‘ I know we’d get some interesting answers since Mozillians are always doing interesting things and have good ideas.

One thought on “What We Talk About When We Talk About The Open Web

  1. When it comes to the Open Web, I think people generally fall into the same two camps as they do when it comes to Free Software. The “purists” in the Free Software camp look at things from an idealogical standpoint, and I think most of these people have little problem understanding the importance of an Open Web. It’s the other camp containing those darned pragmatists you need to worry about getting on board with the Open Web. To do that, you simply need to make the Open solutions better than the proprietary ones, and from then on it’s just a marketing problem.

    What does that mean practically? A man once wisely said “developers developers developers”. Mozilla has created a great platform for rendering Open content with Firefox, but the tools to create that content still aren’t there. To me, the power of the Open Web solutions over their competitors is in the integration between the pieces – like having your SVG graphics share CSS with your HTML, or having a single ECMA-script modify both your HTML/CSS and your embedded video, etc. What is needed to really leverage these integrated platform abilities is an equally integrated authoring environment!

    The ideal solution would be to re-emphasize mozilla-as-a-platform back into the core mission statement, and then begin pouring resources into the HTML editor as a starting point for an open editing platform. That is a *lot* of work though, because you have competition…

    There is another open and extensible platform for authoring tool creation and integration – Eclipse! For every open data format being rendered in Firefox, you could work to see an equivalent best-of-breed authoring tool for that format added to Eclipse. The good thing is that Eclipse already has projects for many of those technologies – though most are projects which could use a lot more help.

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