I was invited earlier this week to a round table about Net Neutrality organized by the French government. During the conversation, someone pointed out that Net Neutrality is pointless if mobile platforms are not neutral and lock people into their respective ecosystems. Consumers are to be educated, someone else said. But who should educate them? Is the government supposed to do this? Would software vendors do it? Unlikely. The media? They certainly have a role there.
Mozilla certainly wants to play a role in education. That’s the point of our Webmaker program.
The goal: help millions of people move from using the web to making the web. As part of Mozilla’s non-profit mission, we want to help the world increase their understanding of the web, take greater control of their online lives, and create a more web literate planet.
These initiatives are important but not enough to ensure that Free and open systems win the battle of mobile.
There is a battle taking place in the mind of the consumer when choosing a technology solution between the mind that recommends picking an open source solution that promotes freedom and the heart that wants something beautiful, cool and exciting. And in most cases, emotion — the heart — tends to win.
Does this mean that we need to give up on education? Absolutely not. If we want free and open to win, we just need to compete with amazing products.
I’ll quote Mozilla founder Brendan Eich’s latest blog:
We can’t fulfill our mission without winning products.
This is why Mozilla is working so hard on FirefoxOS: if we want to win on mobile, if we want mobile users to be empowered by Mozilla products, we need to keep conquering both the heart and mind of our users with great products and great education programs.