A number of stories have recently surfaced asking where Mozilla is going as a platform and whether it risks being outflanked by proprietary rivals. Chris Messina, a former Flock developer and SpreadFirefox volunteer, posted a 50-minute vlog enumerating his concerns about Mozilla. His discussion centered around Mozilla 2 potentially missing the forest for the trees, becoming overly focused on the short-term successes that Firefox has enjoyed, while failing to outrun the proprietary flanking actions being undertaken by Adobe and Microsoft for the next generation internet technologies.
Richard McManus at Read/WriteWeb expands the discussion of Mozilla's direction. His central concern is the adoption of microformats and what that will mean for Mozilla's position. He comments that microformats are already a step in the direction that Messina is pointing toward--a web that remains open.
Mike Shaver, technology strategist for Mozilla, has posted his own discussion of Adobe and Microsoft's proprietary tools intended to close off the web--Apollo and Silverlight--and what this means for Mozilla, if anything.
Finally, concerning Mozilla missing the forest for the trees, Ben Goodger, lead Firefox developer, reports on a Mozilla Corp board member, Brendan Eich, essentially writing off the non-Firefox products offered by Mozilla. Goodger wonders whether it would be a better strategic move for non-Firefox developers to begin seeking greater autonomy from Mozilla Corp, a speculation that Mike Pinkerton, lead developer of Camino, caught flack for a couple months ago when he opened the possibility of dropping Gecko for WebKit.
The Quaero project, a French initiative to build a European rival to Google, has lost the backing of the German government. The search engine was announced in 2005 by Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, but the German government under Merkel has decided that Quaero isn't worth the $1.3-2.6 billion commitment that development would require. Germany will instead focus on a smaller search engine project called Theseus. From the article:
According to one French participant, organizers disagreed over the fundamental design of Quaero, with French participants favoring a sophisticated search engine that could sift audio, video and other multimedia data, while German participants favored a next- generation text-based search engine.
The New York Times is breathlessly reporting on the rising danger facing our nation's children: video broadcast sites. Unlike video-upload sites, like the previous banes-of-our-children YouTube and Google Video, these new websites offer live video broadcasts and chats between their users. The kicker: these websites promise no monitoring by their staff for conduct or misbehavior. Will Stickam and PalTalk become the next MySpace, or will they finally succeed in destroying our cam-kids? From the article:
"The only thing you get from the combination of Web cams and young people are problems," said Parry Aftab, executive director of the child protection organization WiredSafety.org.
Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.