Recent Events

It’s possible some people may want to discuss or give their view on recent events but, given the strength and tone of opinion expressed already, may not feel safe doing so in public. If that’s true of you, please feel free to email me at gerv@mozilla.org. I’m available to talk.

I may produce anonymous summaries of what people are saying to me so that others can understand how people are feeling; I want everyone to feel their voices can be heard. But if you want that not to happen for you, just say.

If you need it, you can find my PGP public key here.

24 thoughts on “Recent Events

  1. I feel no need to keep my opinion to myself. I think it’s a straight up travesty and I think that Mozilla has shown itself to be intolerant of Christians who take their faith seriously. I thought Mozilla was better than that, and I am very deeply disappointed that Eich left the company.

    I am not a developer or a contributor, I’m just an ordinary user and somebody you’d probably refer to as a “technology evangelist”. I am sad to say that I am not going to be able to recommend that people support Firefox from now on.

  2. Hi fellow Mozillians,

    As you all know one of the most well known figures of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, has decided to take his own path in the quest to push for a wider adoption of web technologies. This short message aims to specifically directly address all Mozilla employees who saw this move as a good thing for Mozilla and the web in general, and who apparently seem to be satisfied with the current situation.

    Let’s set the record straight, as far as my beliefs are concerned.

    1. The Hypocrisy

    Right after Brendan was elected to the CEO position, it seems like some moz employees suddenly woke up from the freeze state, and decided it was the time to “act” in order get this fascist (?..) out of their beloved company. And yes, that’s exactly what “raising their voice” would mean in this occasion. Please don’t cry me a river dear fellows and reply with something along the lines “he could just get back to CTO”; you know very well that your overwhealming reaction was addressing not just to his role as the CEO, but to how he would talk, act, and shape the company according to his own views. In your own words, “you had been waiting for long to say this”, which pretty much means that his personal beliefs have somehow got along the way with how he engages with other people, and that’s something that bothered you all along. Really, what sort of discrimination have you seen by him as the CTO all this time you have been here? How has his leadership in Mozilla technology been shaped in such a way that is against minorities or specific groups of people?
    Spoiler: it hasn’t, in any way, nor has anyone ever argued about something like this. You were even unaware of that money donation, until a newspaper uncovered this story. Simply, one could only guess that you were just annoyed by his very presence in the company right from the start.

    2. Living in the age of “me, myself, my rights only”

    Don’t people agree that Brendan has pushed for the open web, new web technologies, etc. in the past decade? Would he not be a very good candidate to lead Mozilla in the quest to support user privacy?
    But hell yeah, your superficial ideology can only be summed up in the following:
    “I don’t care if Eich was the right man for the job to push the open web forward, and to enhance user privacy in the browser area, as long as _my_ personal rights might (had a chance to remotely) be affected by his personal views”.
    In other words, you were simply saying:
    “Get Eich out of Mozilla, someone whose actions can benefit _millions_ of people, because I feel he is suppressing _my_ views, about _my_ life, about _my work_, etc., etc., etc., etc.”

    3. How has rights

    Basically, who told you that you’re the only ones that judge what’s right or wrong. There have been supporting messages for Eich as the CEO by many members of your community.
    And let’s take another example: I assume you know that vegetarianism is, and personally I’m fully ok with it. On the other hand, you are of course aware that there are organizations of vegetarians that call for an immediate action to cease production of anything that involves meat, because animals have rights too (which is of course true). But you can’t just simply force your ideas to an Earth’s population where 80% consumes meat in some form or another. So at the early stages of human evolution, where the food chain had animals at the top, it was just “ok”, but now that’s the other way around “it is not”?

    4. Who shapes the leadership

    You are free to choose any company to work for. What makes you think it’s _your_ company(actually, movement) and it’s going to work exactly the way you want. As long as the one who’s taking decisions stays right on track with the manifesto, you should just do your job and wait to see the overall impact of Mozilla in the world.

    Finally, let’s all hope that Mozilla is moving towards an era where people take decisions via democratic means.

    A Mozillian

  3. For me Mozilla is no longer the Mozilla I supported (for almost as long as Mozilla exists) as a user and regular lurker (e.g. on planet.mozilla.org). Fighting for an open web is no longer important for Mozilla it seems, totally unrelated subjects are suddenly equally (or more) important now.

    So while preaching tolerance, suddenly the so called tolerant group is very intolerant towards somebody who is not sharing their opinion.

    I will still fight for an open web and the progress of modern web technology, but it remains to be seen whether Mozilla (Firefox) will be a part of that fight for me.

    Although earlier events already made visible that tolerance sometimes only goes in one direction, these recent events made it even more clear. I hope that the larger community will get the strength to accept differences, however the signs are not promising…

    • You can legitimately complain about people being intolerant of your choice of who you love, and who you worship, and what color your skin is, and which baseball team you root for, but you have no right to expect people to tolerate your intolerance of other people.

      The only justifiable form of intolerance is the intolerance of intolerance, and that is a well knows and agreed upon philosophical principle. A just society has the right to protect itself from intolerance that would destroy its institutions of fairness.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

      The tolerance paradox arises from a problem that a tolerant person might be antagonistic toward intolerance, hence intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance.

      Michael Walzer asks “Should we tolerate the intolerant?”. He notes that most minority religious groups who are the beneficiaries of tolerance are themselves intolerant, at least in some respects. In a tolerant regime, such people may learn to tolerate, or at least to behave “as if they possessed this virtue”. Philosopher Karl Popper asserted, in The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 1, that we are warranted in refusing to tolerate intolerance. Philosopher John Rawls concludes in A Theory of Justice that a just society must tolerate the intolerant, for otherwise, the society would then itself be intolerant, and thus unjust. However, Rawls also insists, like Popper, that society has a reasonable right of self-preservation that supersedes the principle of tolerance: “While an intolerant sect does not itself have title to complain of intolerance, its freedom should be restricted only when the tolerant sincerely and with reason believe that their own security and that of the institutions of liberty are in danger.”

      • “The only justifiable form of intolerance is the intolerance of intolerance…”

        This is a really interesting line of reasoning. I see it come up *very* often, and I understand that much discussion has been given to it, by many people, over a long period of time. Of course, taken at face value, it makes no sense at all. To say something like, “I tolerate everything but intolerance”, is illogical. One would be required to not tolerate their own intolerance of their own intolerance. You either tolerate everything, or you don’t. And, frankly, no one tolerates everything. Everyone has a long list of things they don’t tolerate, and that is generally a good thing. I, personally, don’t tolerate being served eggplant parmesan when I have ordered lasagna.

        However, I understand the point that is trying to be made when someone says they tolerate everything except intolerance. It’s an expression of the aim to respect the personal freedom of others, treat them as equals, and their judgements as being of equal value to one’s own, regardless of gender/race/disability/etc; to avoid “judging” others, stereo-typing, or in any way requiring others to act, think or be like oneself in matters that are primarily personal. I get it, but the point seems to be made so poorly when packaged in the nonsense phrase, “I tolerate everything but intolerance.” I would like to hear a sensible explanation for one’s stance on what they tolerate and what they don’t, and why they consider it superior to the intolerance list of someone else. I think I will make this an exercise for myself, but this will take a while, and the night is not young, and that is probably why I never hear any one explain this. It’s unfortunate, because I suspect that a proper answer would reveal much more nuance and be much more convincing, or at least much more constructive.

  4. It seems people have a hierarchy of values. This one trumps that one, trumps that one… In this case, supporting homosexual marriage seems to have trumped supporting the open web. One wonders, how does one behave, as a member organization, like Mozilla, that supports one value, web freedom, when something inside that organization conflicts with a value higher up on one’s personal hierarchy?

    The decision is simple enough if left to the values hierarchy. The trouble is, there is also a hierarchy of damage. To use an analogy, a child is more valuable than a car. You protect your child before you protect your car, according to your hierarchy of values. But what if, in a certain situation, you had to choose between your child getting a scratch and your car getting totally wrecked? If supporting the trump value, in a particular situation, does massive damage to the lower value, but not supporting the trump value, in the same particular case, does negligible damage to the trump value, then one may actually defer to supporting the lesser value, in a particular situation.

    There has been a lot of talk about putting aside the things that don’t unite, to focus on those that do. Generally speaking, this is impossible when it requires someone to put aside a trump value to focus on a lesser value in their personal hierarchy. The only type of situation that will allow this, is that which has a counter balance in the hierarchy of damage. The trouble is, it can be very difficult to predict the amount of damage that will be done by supporting or not supporting a particular value in a particular scenario.

    I doubt anyone thought this whole mess would blow up this big! It made the CBC news front page, in my world, and there are comments from people who say they are uninstalling Firefox because they think it is now a fascist organization. (This doesn’t seem to be the majority.) How do you predict damage? With great difficulty, and inaccuracy, but one should certainly make a strong effort before taking action.

    One last mistake that is often made, in this department, is only considering the two values that are in conflict. One should ask themselves the question: What is at the *top* of my hierarchy of values?

    “Love your enemies. Do good to those that hate you.” Contrary to popular opinion, true love, is a one-way street.

    • I’d like to remind you that you are not the victim, here, and it’s extremely ugly to see you trying to play that role. And that a marriage is more important than a job. So while you may want to destroy the marriages of same sex couples, you have no right to complain about Brendan Eich deciding on his own to quit his job, because his hateful beliefs did so much damage to gay families in California, as well as the Mozilla project itself.

      • Thanks for the reminder. Though, I am a bit confused: How am I trying to play the role of victim? I’m not sure this situation affects me at all, much less that I would be a victim. I feel more like a spectator. I’m from Canada, we have had gay marriage legal across the country for a long time. Also, I have virtually no affiliation with Mozilla other than being a long time user and fan. And where did I even imply I want to destroy the marriages of same-sex couples? Where did I complain about Brenden quitting? Did you mean to reply to someone else?

        The point of my comment was a personal exercise in trying to understand the behaviour of the people who are passionately involved in the situation. Why do people do the things they do, say the things they say? What should we expect as civil behaviour and what should we not expect? I guess philosophy and psychology are kind of armchair hobbies of mine… maybe I should stick to bonsai!

        PS – I think “Christians” in general have done a lousy job with showing love to homosexual people. There are a lot of Christians who just wear the label. I’ve met some, and, unfortunately, they seem to get a lot of the spotlight, probably because they are pride worshippers. However, there are others who are really compassionate people, who would actually go that extra mile for you, regardless of who you are. I’ve met some of those people as well. There doesn’t *seem* to be as many of them, more’s the pity. Likely because they are humble and don’t attract attention to themselves.

  5. Because of Mozilla Firefox’s disgraceful objection to free speech I shall now not ne using it and shall in future us another.

  6. The overall goal is to make good etiquette be seen as one of the “in-group” behaviors. This helps the project, because developers can be driven away (even from projects they like and want to support) by flame wars. You may not even know that they were driven away; someone might lurk on the mailing list, see that it takes a thick skin to participate in the project, and decide against getting involved at all. Keeping forums friendly is a long-term survival strategy, and it’s easier to do when the project is still small. Once it’s part of the culture, you won’t have to be the only person promoting it. It will be maintained by everyone.

    – Karl Fogel, Producing Open Source Software

  7. I think that campaigning to remove rights (not deny new rights; remove existing ones) from a fair proportion of the people who are now your employees, volunteers, and users means this is what you need to expect.

    Also if you donate money to try and elevate racists and antisemites like Pat Buchanan into office, you can likewise expect not to be judged favourably. Sorry, that’s the way it works.

    • Well put.

      Gerv and his supporters are doing a terrible job at trying to play the victim here. They have no understanding about how free speech and free market capitalism work, because they find it objectionable that people who support gay marriage exercise their right to free speech too, and that companies like Mozilla make rational decisions based on market forces.

      It’s hilariously ironic each time one of Gerv’s supporters goes off in a huff and insists they’re going to boycott Mozilla because people whose belief systems don’t cause them to hate other people also boycotted Mozilla. They’re just validating and imitating the legitimate tactics that they’re attempting to protest. And at the same time, they’re making the Mozilla community a better, more inclusive place, by leaving.

      I think it’s a great thing that Gerv and his supporters don’t have the self consciousness to see what they’re doing, and how it looks to other people who are not so close minded and brainwashed. They are their own worst enemies, and that’s why their beliefs are so obsolete and their way of life is ending so quickly.

      America has turned a really turned a corner towards the future, while Russia is sinking back into prehistoric beliefs. Gerv and his supporters should consider moving to Russia, where their hateful bigotry will fit in a lot better.

  8. Dear Christians who want to force your religion on other people, and believe that you own the definition of marriage, and can stick your nose into other people’s personal business and tell them how to run their lives:

    Take a deep breath, and repeat after me:

    “I AM NOT THE VICTIM.”

    So stop playing the victim.

    ay marriage in NO WAY affects your life, and NONE of your arguments that gays aren’t qualified to raise kids, that gays have chosen their lifestyles, that your marriage will be undermined if gay people marry, that society will suffer in any way at all from same sex marriages, that gays should be happy that they’re treated as second class citizens and not locked up in mental institutions like they used to be, hold ANY water or reflect ANY truth.

    You are completely entitled to hold and talk about beliefs that are wrong, but you are WRONG to force them on other people, and you are WRONG to lie about your motivations or justifications for hating gays.

    And give it a rest with the “hate the sin but love the sinner” bullshit, that’s a bald face lie. It doesn’t matter if you claim to love the sinner if they don’t hold the same beliefs as you do, and if you interfere with their lives in a way that you have absolute no right to.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and your good intentions of loving the sinner are total bullshit that is paving your road to hell, because that is NOT what Jesus would do. It is NOT your job to judge, and it is NOT your job to decide who gets to marry the person they love and who has to get punished in this lifetime by the government.

    If you really think that your God is so weak and powerless that he can’t judge and punish gays without your help, then you need to get a new God.

    And Gert: if you feel “threatened” because of people’s reaction to your opinion, then welcome to the fucking club, now you have a tiny teeny little taste of what it’s like to grow up gay, thanks to bigots and bullies like YOU.

    But the difference between you and somebody who grew up gay and got the shit beat out of them all the time is that YOU have absolutely nothing to worry about, unless you’re afraid of WORDS and THOUGHTS actually MAKING IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL AND RELIGIOUS DOGMA and enlightening you to become a better, less hateful, more loving human being, who can co-exist with his fellow human beings without trying to make them second class citizens and destroying their families.

    You should be thankful that an entitled homophobic bully like Mitt Romney didn’t pin you to the ground and shave your hair off your head because he though you might be gay.

    So one more time, repeat after me: I AM NOT THE VICTIM. So stop trying to play the victim, and start trying to do what Jesus really would have done: love people, not hate them, and leave the judgement and punishment to God.

    • Hi Don,

      You seem to be quite happy having this argument with yourself without my participation, as you seem to be assuming what I would say and responding to it without me needing to actually say anything.

      So I’ll leave both of yous to it. I’m sure one of you will be victorious.

      • Gerv, I have read so many of the things you’ve already written on your blog in response to other people’s arguments, that I have a very good idea of what you’re going to say, so I can predict it pretty well. After all, you’re the one who is regurgitating inflexible dogma instead of listening to what people are saying, thinking about it, and changing his mind in response to new facts and opinions.

        I am aware that it is absolutely impossible to change your mind with the facts, and that anything I say will not register with you, because your skull is so thick it’s impervious to outside thought, and projects your brain from having any new original thoughts of itself.

        You have been the subject of many discussions in other places, and people warned me you would react in exactly this way. Because you are afraid to actually engage in a discussion and acknowledge what other people say, precisely like you are doing right now. The people who warned me about how you would react know you very well, and they are correct about what they think about you and how they knew you would react. But I wrote what I did anyway, because I am not writing it for you. I am writing it for everyone else who reads your blog.

        You don’t matter, Gerv. You are beyond hope. Nobody can help you. Your beliefs are very wrong, and nobody and nothing can change your mind. All logical arguments only make you dig in deeper.

        But the incredibly close minded ignorant performance spectacle of your reaction actually does influence other people to think and behave in exactly the opposite way that you want them to.

        You know very well that you have already lost the argument. Every argument against gay marriage that you have ever posted on this web site has been thoroughly and repeatedly shot down with facts, citations, statistics, proof and scientific research. Yet none of that matters to you. But the fact that you don’t care and will never change your opinion does matter to other people.

        Your inflexible hatred disgusts and repels other people, and that is why I want you to keep doing it, and keep refusing to engage me, because it proves what a coward you are, and how weak your arguments are.

        In fact, all of your arguments and more have already been tested in court, and have totally and spectacularly failed. Every court they have been tested in, up to the Supreme Court, has ruled them meaningless, unimportant, false and unconstitutional. If you had any better arguments, which you don’t, you should have told them to all the hateful lawyers trying to fight your side of the losing battle, because in spite of everything they have tried, all of their arguments have totally failed. You can’t just lie and ignore and stonewall and bullshit in court, like you do on your web page.

        And now I would like to point out one more thing that I am absolutely sure you and your supporters will refuse to watch, or acknowledge, because you are afraid of exposing yourself opposing viewpoints, because your belief system is so weak and unjustifiable. But this is for everyone else with an open mind who is not brainwashed by hateful religious dogma that would make Jesus cry, like you are, Gerv.

        This is a heartwarming message about Love. It’s about Corporate America’s response to haters like you. It shows you just how meaningless and unimportant and unpopular and wrong your message of hate really is. And it shows just how much better the people you’re fighting against understand the meaning of Love.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/honey-maid-love-commercial_n_5086442.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

  9. I am grateful to those who have spoken out so clearly. I thought that Mozilla stood for something else, and see now that I was wrong. As an unwelcome user, with unacceptable thoughts, I have removed the Mozilla software from my machines.

    Safe travels to all of you.

    • Thank you, because we are glad to see you go. The Mozilla community will be a better place without haters like you. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. We can only hope that Gerv will follow your example and retreat!

  10. I’ve followed this whole episode with awe and still can’t quite believe what happened.

    Irrespective of who is right (and I do not believe this is a black.white situation) the things that saddens me most is the fact that you feel the need to offer anonymity to people to discuss this issue.

    Creating an environment of fear where people are reluctant to voice their opinion does not sound like something Mozilla should stand for.

  11. Reading the comments here have been… interesting. Especially how the opinions seem to lean one way then the other.

    I’m saddened by the whole thing; regardless of the issue that sparked the kerfuffle, it’s distracting the whole organization (as well as the general public) from what we’re really set out to do. A little disappointing that the board/C-level weren’t able to foresee the potential fallout, perhaps. To be honest, though, I probably wouldn’t have, either, even while being aware of the last time it was brought up.

    I hope the search for people to fill the additional voids (a CEO, a CTO, and possibly a couple board seats depending on the desired size) goes well.

  12. Pingback: Mozilla Voices | Hacking for Christ

  13. Personally I am beside myself at the onslaught of immoral lobbying going on in my beloved Protestant America. For a tiny minority to have that much say they have to be backed by huge money and power. The gay lobby has been manufactured to do one thing, and if we look to see what hitler did with them we will see what their agenda is. the gay lobby is promoted, not by gays but by religionists who are trying to cause such a raucous among amerikkkans that they scream for moral legislation. This seesaw effect has been going on for decades but is now becoming so obvious that people are staring to notice. Mozilla stands to lose millions of customers, and if they don’t that just shows how many professors of Christianity are the genuine article. A boycott for mozilla, and even a mass exodus to chrome or worse microshaft internet exploder, would be very beneficial for mozilla, and for Christianity. I predict that if a mass exodus does happen and mozilla loses the millions of Christians who use it, this would encourage the return of Eich. As I read some of the other posts there already is threats of mass exodus to other browsers. I know the moral standings of google and the godhood of microshaft, but to come out like this and rear the ugly antiChristian stance in this manner it would not be hypocritical to switch to another browser even if they already are antiChristian. At least they don’t hide the fact for a time like this.

    • Comparisons with Hitler are not welcome here (whoever makes them), and neither is the KKK – who have no idea what true Christianity is.