The Power of Mozilla

Today I would like to talk about the power of Mozilla. We are more than just our consumer products. We measure our success not only by the adoption of our products, but also by our ability to increase the control people have in their online lives, our impact on the Web through our Web technologies, our contribution to standards and how we work to protect the Web that users want.

Web Technology

Mozilla builds technologies that benefit the entire Web ecosystem. We believe that the Web benefits when every browser supports great, open technologies:

  • By extending JavaScript’s capabilities with technologies such as asm.js, WebAssembly and SIMD, we have successfully demonstrated Mozilla’s important role as a steward of the Web. Every major browser vendor supports asm.js optimizations and they have all announced that they will be supporting WebAssembly.
  • Mozilla pioneered WebGL, the Web’s standard for 3D graphics, and is currently working on WebGL2, which will bring improvements and additions to help developers create stunning visuals on the Web. Unity, one of the world’s biggest game engines, this week made WebGL an officially supported platform. More information on the growing adoption of Mozilla-pioneered asm.js is here.
  • Mozilla was a key player in creating the WebRTC specification that allows real time communication over the Web. Our influence is demonstrated by it being secure by default and that it allows for free and open implementations.
  • Mozilla worked with Cisco to develop OpenH264, which made the world’s most popular (but patented) video codec available for free to Open Source projects. Now we are working to develop Daala, a completely free next-generation video codec and have submitted it for standardization to the IETF.
  • Recognizing that the future of the Web requires high performance and security, Mozilla is pioneering a new language called Rust that provides language features for safe parallelism while also being free of many of the security issues that have plagued existing browsers written in C++. Using this language, we are also prototyping a next generation rendering engine called Servo.
  • To make it easier for more people to create virtual reality content, we’ve built A-Frame, a library of “building blocks for the VR Web” that enable developers to create responsive VR experiences with simple markup, no WebGL knowledge required. We’re very excited to ship it by end of year.

More details on our ongoing Web platform work are available in this recent post from our VP of platform engineering and interim CTO, David Bryant.

Security and Privacy

Mozilla believes that individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional. Over the last year, we have made major contributions to building a more secure online experience:

  • Mozilla co-founded Let’s Encrypt, a new Certificate Authority which aims to bring security to every site on the Web.
  • Firefox on Android was the first mobile Web browser to provide phishing and malware protection.
  • Mozilla plays a key role in the design and development of Internet protocols. Recently, Mozilla worked with multiple stakeholders to build and design HTTP/2, a new revision of the protocol that powers the Web, designed for speed and security.
  • Traditional videoconferencing systems allow the conferencing service to listen in to users calls. Together with other IETF members, Mozilla is spearheading an effort to build the world’s first end-to-end secure multi-user video conferencing system.
  • In the post-Snowden era, we believe these are the sorts of technology advancements that the Internet needs to continue to be free and open.

Policy

Our policy team and the Mozilla community tackle global issues, including through legislative and regulatory advocacy, in support of our mission, the open Internet, and individuals’ security, privacy, and control over their Web experience:

  • Access to the open Internet is critical for individuals and innovators. In 2014 Mozilla played a key role in the adoption of strong net neutrality rules in the United States. We have also engaged globally in the net neutrality and zero-rating debates, including in Peru, Europe, and India, where we sent a letter to Prime Minister Modi on the issue (more details available in my post).
  • We have been active in the fight against excessive government surveillance all around the world including supporting the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act in the United States, advocating for specific improvements to surveillance law in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany, and supporting our community in other countries including Nicaragua. Recently, we released three principles on surveillance to offer new ideas in an often-stagnant debate.
  • Our involvement was valuable in Brazil’s passage last year of the Marco Civil legislation, which establishes a list of principles, guarantees, rights and responsibilities for Brazilian individuals, government and companies regarding Internet use. See Norberto Nuno Andrade’s post .
  • We have taken a stance on many other issues in several countries, including patent reform in the U.S., cybercrime in South Africa, copyright reform in Europe, and cybersecurity with a global, user-centric perspective.

Developers

The Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is a key resource for Web developers online. For more than 10 years, Mozilla has provided this resource free of charge to everyone with the aim that anyone should be able to build on the Web. Last year we launched Firefox Developer Edition, the first browser dedicated solely to developers and have improved that edition throughout the year.

Mozilla Foundation

Mozilla is also developing our educational programs and tools like Hive Learning Networks, which empowers the next generation to develop and use digital literacy skills that will keep the Web open. We bring together talented and diverse leaders through the Mozilla Festival, Mozilla Developer Network, Mozilla Science Lab, and the OpenNews journalism initiative. We launched the Cyber Security Delphi, a comprehensive research project to better understand security threats on the Internet. And we partner with the Ford Foundation on the Open Web Fellows program, a global initiative to develop technical leaders capable of defending the Web.

Last year 10,000-plus Mozillians taught critical 21st-century skills to individuals of all ages and backgrounds; they translated open source products into a range of new languages; they defended the free and open nature of the Web; and much more.

Search Partner Strategy

Last year, as our search contract with Google came up for renewal, we began discussions with Google and other providers. All provided attractive terms, but we decided that one global default search partner was no longer the right choice for our users or the Web. Instead, we adopted a more local and flexible approach by country to increase choice and innovation on the Web, with new expanded search partnerships. These gave us more opportunities to build connections between the browser, websites and services and the treatment of data that advance our mission and values. As a result, Yahoo is the default search option in the US, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The Future

Our mission is to enable the Internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all. The world needs Mozilla to lead the fight for openness more than ever. We hope reading this gives you full insight into the power of Mozilla to deliver on our mission. We invite you to download Firefox or volunteer to be part of Mozilla. Learn more at mozilla.org.