A growing number of us are carrying on an open conversation about the Mozilla Foundation, it’s future, and it’s role in supporting the open-web (or perhaps, more accurately, an open internet). To push the conversation forward in a concrete manner, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the Mozilla Manifesto.
Firstly and most importantly, the manifesto states its first goal is to “articulate a vision for the Internet that Mozilla participants want the Mozilla Foundation to pursue.” I agree with this goal – so let’s let the community do just that. Open up the document and invite the whole community to offer their suggestions. Move the manifesto to a wiki where it can be edited directly, or at least offer an email address or comment box where community members can make suggestions.
My experience working on open-source public policy through Canada25 (described in the first five minutes of this presentation) tells me that, if we manage the process effectively, we will get a much improved document. Indeed, Canada25 has taught me that Linus’s Law of “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” can be extended to “given enough eyeballs, all content can be deepened.”
This leads me to the second point. What is the purpose of the document? On the one hand it feels like a true manifesto in that it articulates the goal for a social movement around the open-web:
These principles will not come to life on their own. People are needed to make the Internet open and participatory – people acting as individuals, working together in groups, and leading others.
At other times it seems to be a description of, or a mission statement for, the Mozilla Foundation and Corporation.
The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We create communities of people involved in making the Internet experience better for all of us.
I’m not sure of the author’s intent (I should ask!) but I suspect the goal was to describe the glue that holds together or motivates the Mozilla community. My fear is that the current language creates a barrier between those inside the community’s formal institutions (the foundation and corporation) and those on the outside (that vast majority of people). I think we should weaken those walls.
More importantly, we should invite others to play with our document.
Then let’s put the juicy and exciting bits up front (a manifesto is supposed to inspire!) and then explain who we are and how we intend to serve those principles later.
THEN… let’s ask others to remix the manifesto, to delete out the parts about Mozilla and to add in, who they (or their organization) are, and how they will advance the Mozilla Manifesto. Let’s invite everyone hop on board and play with us. Remember, this is a social movement – so let’s get people excited and participating!
In order to show you what I mean I’ve drafted up a revised version that incorporates these ideas below. For those who haven’t seen it you can find the original version of the Manifesto here. (NB: everything in brackets is commentary to give my edits context)!
I’ll admit, I think this needs more pizazz, and could still be much improved, but here are my thoughts and contributions. I’m sure there are still better ideas about how to articulate, and bring to life, this manifesto. Indeed, let’s hear ’em. If you have comments, or edits, please post below, ping-back in your own posts or email them to me. I’ll try to work them in and improve this alternative draft.
The Mozilla Manifesto, v0.9b (deaves edits)
(I say, let’s put the juice bits right up front)
The Internet is an important part of our lives. it is increasingly the social medium that connects us to one another and is an integral part of modern life. It is a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole. To ensure that this remains possible in a manner that allows every individual to participate and benefit the Mozilla Community believes:
- The Internet is a global public resource that – through interoperability, innovation and decentralized participation – must remain open and accessible.
- Individuals’ security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.
- Individuals must be allowed to shape their own experiences on the Internet.
- Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.
- Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.
Advancing the Mozilla Manifesto
(Let’s tell people how the can participate as soon as possible)
The Mozilla Foundation invites all others who support the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto to join with us, and to find new ways to make this vision of the Internet a reality. Start by telling the world how you intend to advance the Mozilla Manifesto. Re-mix this document and publish your own pledge describing how you, or your organization, will advance these principles.
Here’s how we are…
The Mozilla Foundation Pledge
The Mozilla Foundation pledges to support the Mozilla Manifesto in its activities. Specifically, we will:
- build and enable open-source technologies and communities that support the Manifesto’s principles;
- use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform;
- promote models for creating economic value for the public benefit; and
- promote the Mozilla Manifesto principles in public discourse andwithin the Internet industry.
Some Foundation activities–currently the creation, delivery and promotion of consumer products–are conducted primarily through the Mozilla Foundation’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.
About the Mozilla Community and This Manifesto
(This was really more about who the community is rather than an introduction to the manifesto – so I’ve moved it to the end)
The Mozilla project is a global community of people who work to ensure that openness, innovation, and opportunity remain core values and attributes of the Internet.
The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We are a community of people taking action and collaborating to make the Internet experience better for all of us.
We’ve penned the above Manifesto in an effort to:
- articulate a vision for the Internet that Mozilla community wants the Mozilla Foundation to pursue;
- find ways to broaden our community by speaking to people with and without a technical background;
- make Mozilla contributors proud of what we’ve done and motivate us to continue; and
- provide a framework for other people to advance this vision of the Internet.
These principles will not come to life on their own. People are needed to make the Internet open and participatory – people acting as individuals, working together in groups, and leading others. The
Mozilla Foundation is committed to advancing the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto. We invite others to join us and make the Internet an ever better place for everyone.