I want us all to pay for Firefox to keep the web free

What is a free browser good for when in fact the development and marketing for it is paid? What are the Chrome and Edge Browsers good for? What would happen if the web standards get so complex that the only browser remaining to implement them is the Chromium Engine, sponsored by Google and Microsoft? The standards would be controlled by Google, a company that is controlled by their income from advertisement.

The web is humanities most important communication and knowledge sharing plattform today. Whoever controls the way we browse the web, controls the minds of humanity.

I want control to be fairly distributed amongst humanity. I want to pay for my browser software. I want to buy the product, I do not want to be the product, my attention and mind being controlled and sold by advertisement companies.

That’s why I urge Mozilla to offer a paid version of Firefox.

The web was created as patent-free system where anyone can publish, edit, and read. This is essential, anyone must be able to implement a browser or web server. Things get too complex currently and this kicks out unpaid open source developers working for Firefox – they can’t catch up with commercially backed Chromium developers. The standardization work has been taken away by Microsoft and Google from neutral W3C and slowly moved into their own hands, into the hands of the chromium developers. I contributed to the W3C, I appreciate open standards. You want to be able to plug in any electric device into a wall socket and expect it to work, like electricity, there should be no entry barrier to the web.

I want thousands, if not millions of users to pay for essential software like browsers, to be customers, to get a service that helps them, to incentivise browser developers to work primarily for the users and not for the shareholders or advertisers.

I want to pay to let humanity’s knowledge remain free.

2 Replies to “I want us all to pay for Firefox to keep the web free”

  1. Mozilla, the publisher of Firefox, is a non-profit organization which does accept donations from the public: https://donate.mozilla.org/ It employs developers, so it’s not strictly correct to say that Firefox is written only by “unpaid developers”. That said, not all of Firefox’s developers are Mozilla employees, and donating money to Mozilla isn’t going to help those third-party developers. Nor would Mozilla offering a paid version of Firefox.

    Free Web browsers like Firefox are certainly an important component of the open Web, but they’re not the only one. Are you familiar with Eric S. Raymond’s Loadsharers project? https://esr.gitlab.io/loadsharers/ This is all about funding the unpaid developers and maintainers of the Internet’s basic software infrastructure.

    1. Hi Tristan,

      Thanks for the additional pointers about loadsharers.

      The Mozilla foundation – in my view – should embed in Firefox Gui Model to regularly pay for the software and communicate how much a payment by how many people would be needed to pay the existing development. Transparency!

      It is the “problem of the commons” – only if enough users pay, the common good will survive.

      Our experience working with KDE was that open source end-user oriented apps find it hard to retain developers who have to fix all those nasty gui thread bugs (konqueror, openoffice), while open source programming frameworks (jquery) find developers as contributors as developers are the main audience.

      Not many managers realize this problem and act upon it. This is why I write that the current model of Firefox is not sustainable and the dwindling user numbers and the lack of support for modern web features make Firefox today a dying app.

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