Extending our Reach: Many Layers of User Sovereignty

[ http://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2011/08/04/extending-our-reach-many-layers-of-user-sovereignty/ ]

August 12 2011

The discussion about iOS and systems like it remind me of discussions we used to have about Linux vs. Windows. Windows is a locked down operating system compared to Linux. One is proprietary, one is free software. In the early days some Mozilla contributors urged that we should care only about Linux. They felt our mission would be better served by limiting our offering to platforms that align well with the Mozilla mission. We choose a different path. We chose to take our values to where people live. People were living on Windows, so we went there. We made it easy for people to switch from Windows to Linux by providing key functionality across platforms. If we hadn’t, the web would be a very sorry place today.

[PJ: That's one way to look at it. Another way would be that you propped up Microsoft and extended its lifespan and discouraged people from switching to Linux, since there was no need to. In fact, Microsoft used to have on its Face the Facts page an interview with Tom Hanrahan, then Director of Linux Interoperability at Microsoft, interviewed by Kevin Werbach, Professor of Legal Studies at the Wharton School. It's still available on Internet Archive and someone seems to have uploaded it to DocStoc [ http://www.docstoc.com/docs/26784455/K_W_OpenSource_1T ]. Hanrahan was asked about open source projects running on Microsoft software, and he said, "Microsoft has over 50,000 application partners who are developing commercial software that runs in the Windows platform. Adding on the thousands of open source products that can also run on the Windows platform is just a great opportunity for Microsoft." So some would ask if that is actually a shared goal, to create great opportunities for Microsoft. Is that the dream? It's certainly not my dream.] - Mitchell Baker, Lizard Wrangling

09:44 PM EDT

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