The Web is NOT the platform

2015-12-06 • 2 min read • Tags: Comp

EDIT 2022-12-17: Minor language correction.

Developing Mozilla addons has been rewarding and fun. Participating to the Mozilla project (very moderately) has been a great experience. In my opinion, Mozilla is unique. It’s an important, open and non-profit tech company. It builds cutting-edge technology, and brings together high-profile developers. It has praiseworthy goals. And I’ve been relying on Mozilla products since 1999.

But the evolution of the technologies used in FireTray (XUL and GTK mainly) has made the development of this addon tedious. To the point where I think there is not much future for this addon. Here are the most important reasons:

This is why I will move on and cease development for my Mozilla addons.

I’ll also take this opportunity to express why I don’t feel in alignment with the Mozilla orientations anymore.

Mozilla is focusing on the web, not to be confused with the internet. I should even say Mozilla is focusing on mobile. Whatever the reasons, this has led to building all kinds of OS-related features and fit them into a web browser. See WebAPI or WebRTC for instance. Although it helps some kind of standardization and interoperability process, this sounds like nonsense to me. A browser is not an OS. I want my browser for HTTP.

Mozilla dropping the email area has been a bit of a shock. Because email has been a core component of the internet, and will probably remain so for a while. First thing you need when subscribing to a web service is to provide an email address. An email client is a great tool for empowering users to keep control over their personal data.

Consequently, I’ve also begun exploring alternative web and email tools. I’m considering mu4e and vimb.