30 votes

Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla's top exec pay going up 400%

62 comments

  1. [35]
    ohyran
    (edited )
    Link
    (forgot to make the last paragraph a quote... hence the edit)

    Mozilla looks bad when considered in this light. Fully 30% of all expenditure goes on administration. Charity Navigator, an organisation that measures NGO effectiveness, would give them zero out of ten on the relevant metric. For context, to achieve 5/10 on that measure Mozilla admin would need to be under 25% of spending and, for 10/10, under 15%.

    Senior executives have also done very well for themselves. Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's top executive, was paid $2.4m in 2018, a sum I personally think of as instant inter-generational wealth. Payments to Baker have more than doubled in the last five years.

    (forgot to make the last paragraph a quote... hence the edit)

    16 votes
    1. [31]
      vord
      Link Parent
      Turn mozilla into a worker cooperative. That salary alone could fund 10 or more savvy developers.

      Turn mozilla into a worker cooperative. That salary alone could fund 10 or more savvy developers.

      28 votes
      1. [30]
        mat
        Link Parent
        If the guy is paid $2.4m but he brings in $5m worth of revenue or funding, then he's worth it. 10 software developers are useful, sure - but ensuring the project can remain funded and operating...

        If the guy is paid $2.4m but he brings in $5m worth of revenue or funding, then he's worth it. 10 software developers are useful, sure - but ensuring the project can remain funded and operating for the future is more important. All of which I admit doesn't seem to apply in this specific case as Mozilla is an absolute shitshow right now and could probably do with pretty much taking apart and rebuilding from scratch, starting with Baker and his ridiculous salery.

        Having the business run as a co-op doesn't mean you don't pay the higher level people more. Plenty of co-ops pay their executives big salaries, although not quite that big. Because to some extent having skilled and experience execs is important in keeping things going, and skilled and experienced execs cost money. Plenty of companies fail because of crappy leadership.

        12 votes
        1. [28]
          tindall
          Link Parent
          Did he, in fact, bring in $5 million of revenue? Does someone have to be paid as much as 1/10th of a purchase of an entire company (Pocket) per year in order to bring in revenue? This argument has...

          Did he, in fact, bring in $5 million of revenue? Does someone have to be paid as much as 1/10th of a purchase of an entire company (Pocket) per year in order to bring in revenue?

          This argument has never made much sense to me. My alma mater's president kept taking pay increases while fundraising fell, enrollment fell, and even while faculty salaries fell, and justified it with precisely this argument

          On the contrary, I'd say that executives should be the last to get a pay raise. "You succeeded in getting this company so much money that everyone got a raise and the shareholders made money, now you get a bonus/raise for doing that" kind of thing.

          22 votes
          1. [4]
            mat
            Link Parent
            I don't disagree with you at all. I'm all for performance related pay, I'm all for execs having to earn their ludicrous paycheques. Personally I'd like to see a world where nobody gets paid...

            I don't disagree with you at all. I'm all for performance related pay, I'm all for execs having to earn their ludicrous paycheques. Personally I'd like to see a world where nobody gets paid "inter-generational wealth" money at all.

            In this case I have no idea if he brought in the money or not. My point was more that you can't just look at someone with a very high salary and say "that's a waste of money, spend that money on more engineers." More engineers might be far more of a waste of money, and I say that as someone who actually was a software person for many years.

            9 votes
            1. [3]
              tindall
              Link Parent
              That's fair, I suppose, but when the primary purpose of an organization is to promote a free and open internet by producing software and doing marketing, it does seem like hiring engineers and...

              My point was more that you can't just look at someone with a very high salary and say "that's a waste of money, spend that money on more engineers."

              That's fair, I suppose, but when the primary purpose of an organization is to promote a free and open internet by producing software and doing marketing, it does seem like hiring engineers and marketers would be more useful than firing a bunch of engineers and marketers and paying one executive a shitton of money.

              But I'm definitely biased in favor of @vord's suggestion because I'm a syndicalist.

              8 votes
              1. [2]
                mat
                Link Parent
                Oh, I don't disagree with @vord's suggestion either. I'm entirely in favour of all organisations being owned by their employees. If that makes me a syndicalist then sure, call me that. I do think...

                Oh, I don't disagree with @vord's suggestion either. I'm entirely in favour of all organisations being owned by their employees. If that makes me a syndicalist then sure, call me that.

                I do think that has to be tempered with actual real-world business sense and sometimes that means paying a shitload of money to hire someone who has skills, experience, networks and so on that can't be got elsewhere. The top execs at the biggest co-ops in the UK are all approaching £1m in salary.

                Mozilla appear to have completely fumbled things on multiple levels, including hiring this guy for far more than he appears to be worth.

                7 votes
                1. tindall
                  Link Parent
                  Yeah, I definitely agree that, sometimes, people with the skills and reputation an org needs cost money to hire. I just think that the decision to pay an executive lots of money is pretty suspect...

                  Yeah, I definitely agree that, sometimes, people with the skills and reputation an org needs cost money to hire. I just think that the decision to pay an executive lots of money is pretty suspect if it's being made by pretty much anyone but the people that executive is hired to support - in this case, the engineers, marketers, and so forth at Mozilla. Otherwise, a lot of perverse incentives come into play very quickly, which is I think what we're seeing here.

                  2 votes
          2. [6]
            AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            Being that she was one of the key people to start Mozilla in 2003 after AOL killed Netscape and since has been the General Manager of mozilla.org then President, CEO, Chairperson, and subsequently...

            Did he, in fact, bring in $5 million of revenue?

            Being that she was one of the key people to start Mozilla in 2003 after AOL killed Netscape and since has been the General Manager of mozilla.org then President, CEO, Chairperson, and subsequently Chairwoman of both the Foundation and Corporation since the onset; I'm willing to say it's a safe bet that she has in fact brought in much more than $5M in revenue. But if you want specific numbers, Mozilla's tax documents show that in 2017 $20M was brought in and 2018 (latest document) $27M in revenue was brought in. So yeah, she did, in fact, bring in $5M+ of revenue.

            Does someone have to be paid as much as 1/10th of a purchase of an entire company (Pocket) per year in order to bring in revenue?

            If you want them to stay, sure. When Mitchell Baker was asked about her $2.4M compensation she said: "I learned that my pay was about an 80% discount to market. Meaning that competitive roles elsewhere were paying about 5 times as much. That's too big a discount to ask people and their families to commit to."

            Would you do your job for a 80% less than your competitors are paying for the same role? I'd imagine not.
            Is $2.4M a lot of money? Absolutely.
            Is it more money than any person need in a year? Unless she's paying for cancer treatment in cash, yes.
            Do we live in a post-scarcity society where people are willing to do what they enjoy without compensation because there is no need to worry about their future, families, or ability to pay bills? No.
            Because of this capitalistic system if you want top level talent do you need to pay for it? Yes.

            This argument has never made much sense to me. My alma mater's president kept taking pay increases while fundraising fell, enrollment fell, and even while faculty salaries fell, and justified it with precisely this argument

            Then your alma matter president shouldn't have been getting that. If they justified it with that argument then the evidence that they weren't doing their job should have been presented. Pay for performance.

            On the contrary, I'd say that executives should be the last to get a pay raise. "You succeeded in getting this company so much money that everyone got a raise and the shareholders made money, now you get a bonus/raise for doing that" kind of thing.

            Based on the tax documents, the fact that she didn't receive compensation at all for the first 5 years at Mozilla, her salary is still low compared to others in her position, and that she didn't receive that level of compensation until the last couple of years shows she was in fact "the last to get a pay raise".

            6 votes
            1. [3]
              tindall
              Link Parent
              Well, she was there and $27M of revenue was brought in. Correlation is not causation, and I must say I suspect that a lot of people paid a lot less than her probably had a lot to do with that....

              I'm willing to say it's a safe bet that she has in fact brought in much more than $5M in revenue. But if you want specific numbers, Mozilla's tax documents show that in 2017 $20M was brought in and 2018 (latest document) $27M in revenue was brought in. So yeah, she did, in fact, bring in $5M+ of revenue.

              Well, she was there and $27M of revenue was brought in. Correlation is not causation, and I must say I suspect that a lot of people paid a lot less than her probably had a lot to do with that. Again, using the only non-profit I'm intimately familiar with, at my alma mater close to 90% of actual fundraising calls were made by students making minimum wage; campaigns were designed and implemented by graphic designers and marketers making normal market rates, not millions a year.

              Do we live in a post-scarcity society where people are willing to do what they enjoy without compensation because there is no need to worry about their future, families, or ability to pay bills? No.

              I mean, if you're making $2.5 million per year, then yeah, you have no need to worry about your future, your family, or your ability to pay bills. If I invest wisely I might make that much in my lifetime.

              8 votes
              1. [2]
                AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                So if the revenue fell from $27M to $20M would you blame leadership or the people making the phone calls for failing to bring in money? Can't have it both ways where leadership takes the blame in...

                Well, she was there and $27M of revenue was brought in. Correlation is not causation, and I must say I suspect that a lot of people paid a lot less than her probably had a lot to do with that. Again, using the only non-profit I'm intimately familiar with, at my alma mater close to 90% of actual fundraising calls were made by students making minimum wage; campaigns were designed and implemented by graphic designers and marketers making normal market rates, not millions a year.

                So if the revenue fell from $27M to $20M would you blame leadership or the people making the phone calls for failing to bring in money? Can't have it both ways where leadership takes the blame in bad times, but gets none of the credit.

                4 votes
                1. tindall
                  Link Parent
                  I would ask for more details because the blame likely falls on both parties to at least some extent. The point I'm making isn't that leadership is worthless, but that anyone at all being paid 33x...

                  I would ask for more details because the blame likely falls on both parties to at least some extent. The point I'm making isn't that leadership is worthless, but that anyone at all being paid 33x a typical developer's salary requires some justification.

                  7 votes
            2. [2]
              mat
              Link Parent
              My apologies to Mitchell Baker for assuming them to be male, although to be fair I've never encountered a woman named 'Mitchell' before.

              My apologies to Mitchell Baker for assuming them to be male, although to be fair I've never encountered a woman named 'Mitchell' before.

              9 votes
              1. AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                Same, I only found out as I went looking for more info. To be fair her first name is Winifred, she just chooses not to go by it.

                Same, I only found out as I went looking for more info. To be fair her first name is Winifred, she just chooses not to go by it.

                4 votes
          3. [17]
            NaraVara
            Link Parent
            Executives need to be recruited and hired just like anyone else. And that means they need to get paid commensurate with what their resume can command if they get poached by, say, Google for a...

            Executives need to be recruited and hired just like anyone else. And that means they need to get paid commensurate with what their resume can command if they get poached by, say, Google for a senior role. Otherwise you just don't have a senior executive. Having worked for an NGO that basically had to fold because they were unable to replace their CEO with anyone good, it's definitely a problem.

            5 votes
            1. [16]
              vord
              Link Parent
              Conversely, there's tons of worker-owned co-ops doing just fine. Not every org needs a top-down heirarchy to function. Democracy can work well too.

              Conversely, there's tons of worker-owned co-ops doing just fine.

              Not every org needs a top-down heirarchy to function. Democracy can work well too.

              8 votes
              1. NaraVara
                Link Parent
                a.) Not many of them scale. b.) Worker ownership doesn't mean you don't have senior executives. It just means you don't have outside shareholders. c.) Most line workers aren't suited for and don't...

                a.) Not many of them scale.

                b.) Worker ownership doesn't mean you don't have senior executives. It just means you don't have outside shareholders.

                c.) Most line workers aren't suited for and don't want to do senior executive work, especially in an NGO where you have to spend all of your time sucking up to rich people for money. Their most valuable asset is the rolodex.

                8 votes
              2. [14]
                AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                Are any of them the size of Mozilla?

                Conversely, there's tons of worker-owned co-ops doing just fine.

                Are any of them the size of Mozilla?

                4 votes
                1. [2]
                  cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Your question got me curious too, so I went hunting and found a few interesting links: The world's biggest 300 co-operatives All 300 listed in that article from 2012 were larger at the time than...

                  Your question got me curious too, so I went hunting and found a few interesting links:

                  The world's biggest 300 co-operatives

                  All 300 listed in that article from 2012 were larger at the time than Mozilla is now, with the top one having a revenue of $103B.


                  List of top 50 non-financial Co-operatives in Canada in 2015

                  In Canada alone in 2015 there were 8 non-financial industry related coops larger than Mozilla is now.


                  Trying to find a similar list for worker owned coops specifically is a lot harder though, probably since they appear to be somewhat rare (at least according to wikipedia):

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


                  Though I did find this article from 2017:
                  https://www.uk.coop/newsroom/new-report-highlights-lessons-worlds-largest-worker-co-op

                  Founded 60 years ago in the Basque region of Spain, Mondragon has grown to become the world’s largest worker owned co-operative. It is made up 260 individual co-ops, employs 75,000 people in 35 countries and has annual revenues of over €12 billion - equivalent to those of that of Kellogg’s or Visa.

                  10 votes
                  1. Deimos
                    Link Parent
                    Drifting a little off-topic, but I wanted to note that MEC, which is one of the largest Canadian co-ops (#12 by revenue on the government site you linked), is now being acquired by a private...

                    Drifting a little off-topic, but I wanted to note that MEC, which is one of the largest Canadian co-ops (#12 by revenue on the government site you linked), is now being acquired by a private equity firm from the US. That article calls it "Canada's largest consumer co-operative".

                    It's not a worker-owned one, but even being a co-op doesn't make you immune to acquisitions and similar profit-centric business behavior.

                    8 votes
                2. [11]
                  vord
                  Link Parent
                  Not sure. But if ~1,000 people can't democratically manage an organization, than how does virtually any democratic government work?

                  Not sure. But if ~1,000 people can't democratically manage an organization, than how does virtually any democratic government work?

                  1 vote
                  1. [10]
                    mat
                    Link Parent
                    In most democracies the people choose a handful of people to run the country, and while states generally operate very differently to businesses - if you want to make the comparison we essentially...

                    In most democracies the people choose a handful of people to run the country, and while states generally operate very differently to businesses - if you want to make the comparison we essentially elect a temporary "board of directors" to run the "company" that is the country.

                    A democracy doesn't mean you don't have someone in charge, nor does it mean that people have a say in every decision (or even any decision other than who is put in charge).

                    I dread to imagine the shitshow that trying to run a company with 1000 executive directors would be. It's hard enough getting four or five people to make informed decisions when their entire job is making informed decisions.

                    4 votes
                    1. [9]
                      vord
                      Link Parent
                      It doesn't have to be 1000 people making every decision, there will certainly be leadership (although the house of representatives should be that big, but hasn't scaled properly with time). The...

                      It doesn't have to be 1000 people making every decision, there will certainly be leadership (although the house of representatives should be that big, but hasn't scaled properly with time).

                      The difference is that the leadership is elected, and they don't make any more money for it.

                      For 2 million dollars, I could retire 30 years early and live quite comfortably until the day I die. Executives don't work any harder or better than anyone else. Nobody deserves nearly my lifetime income annually. And my income is almost a decade's worth of poverty wages.

                      3 votes
                      1. [8]
                        mat
                        Link Parent
                        Well... I agree with the first part, in a general sense. Although the guy who cleans the shitters never goes home and tells his family he's just got a few hours of work to do after dinner like my...

                        Executives don't work any harder or better than anyone else.

                        Well... I agree with the first part, in a general sense. Although the guy who cleans the shitters never goes home and tells his family he's just got a few hours of work to do after dinner like my high-level manager wife does. But yeah, generally, everyone works hard. That wasn't really in doubt I don't think?

                        But there are reasons people in higher level positions tend to get paid better. Because they have skills lower down people don't.

                        You wouldn't disagree that a senior developer should get paid more than an apprentice, because they're simply better at the job. I can get far more done in a day than someone who spends half their time googling shit on StackExchange just because those answers are already at my fingertips. Same with executives. Management and decision making is a skill just like programming or design, and skills are worth money.

                        I entirely agree that nobody should get such insane money though. If the company is making millions then everyone should be taking home more, not just the people at the top.

                        4 votes
                        1. [7]
                          vord
                          Link Parent
                          Yes, people have different skill levels. But their time is just as valuable. Your wife chooses to work after hours. The janitor is probably barred from working overtime to get a bit of extra cash,...

                          Yes, people have different skill levels. But their time is just as valuable. Your wife chooses to work after hours. The janitor is probably barred from working overtime to get a bit of extra cash, doesn't have as good medical insurance, and has less vacation and sick time.

                          The janitor has just as much right to enjoy their time off with family as your family does. To have the same luxuries you do. Because the service the janitor performs is just as valuable as any other employee's.

                          Managers (no offense to your wife) have this same strange sense that their skill in particular is more important than anybody else's, and thus deserves exponentially more cash as they move up a heirarchy. But a manager is nothing without the people under them. Anybody can learn to be a manager. The worst managers are the ones who have never done the work of the people they are managing.

                          Everyone should earn the same wage for a given seniority. Reward excellent work with more time off, not more money.

                          3 votes
                          1. [6]
                            mat
                            Link Parent
                            My wife doesn't choose to work late and she doesn't get paid extra for it. The work needs doing or the service her job provides the community will suffer. She has more responsibility than the guy...

                            My wife doesn't choose to work late and she doesn't get paid extra for it. The work needs doing or the service her job provides the community will suffer. She has more responsibility than the guy cleaning the toilets. People are depending on her getting stuff done and sometimes that means she has to sacrifice time with her family to do that. But nobody is stopping the cleaners working late for no pay if they want to.

                            Anybody can learn to be a manager.

                            No. They can't. Doesn't stop some people holding management positions, I will admit, although almost every job I've had there's been a few people doing jobs they're not really suitable for, not just in management.

                            But every person can't do every thing. Otherwise we'd all be brain surgeons and astronauts. Nobody would pay for higher education because why would you need to? Some people just aren't intellectually (or physically) capable of doing some jobs. That doesn't make them less valuable as human beings because how would you even measure that, but it does make them less valuable financially. The reason you don't pay the cleaners the same as the developers or the managers is why on earth would anyone do a harder job for the same money as an easy one? Cleaning is more physically demanding than sitting at a desk or going to meetings but it's almost zero work brain-wise.

                            If everyone is just as valuable, financially, as everyone else, why would anyone pay for a mechanic to fix their car when a teenager flipping burgers could do it just as well for way less money? Why pay civil engineers to design bridges when I'd do it for a fiver on the back of an envelope? Perhaps the reason is that some skills are more valuable than others. If the cleaner fucks up, the bathrooms are a little dirtier than usual, until the next day. If an engineer or a manager fucks up, jobs could be lost, companies could fail or even people could die.

                            Again, I don't disagree that the way pay scales with skill, experience and responsibility is wrong, and the way many businesses exploit low-end workers is equally shitty - but the idea that the guy emptying the bins should be paid the same as the person who is ensuring that the company with bins needing to be emptied will still be operating in a month or a year is ridiculous.

                            3 votes
                            1. [5]
                              tindall
                              Link Parent
                              This is bad, if true; either her salary includes the expectation, from her and her employer, that she is working overtime, or else she is being ripped off. But why? Why must it be that having a...

                              My wife doesn't choose to work late and she doesn't get paid extra for it.

                              This is bad, if true; either her salary includes the expectation, from her and her employer, that she is working overtime, or else she is being ripped off.

                              but the idea that the guy emptying the bins should be paid the same as the person who is ensuring that the company with bins needing to be emptied will still be operating in a month or a year is ridiculous.

                              But why? Why must it be that having a good life requires being in a position that requires either fortunate birth (to be able to go to college, have family or friends who know the right people, etc) or significant luck? Yes, within the system this is the way it works, but that system is fundamentally evil.

                              1 vote
                              1. [4]
                                mat
                                Link Parent
                                Well, to be fair she works in the public sector and is drastically underfunded - so either she does a few hours here and there gratis or people that her service helps, some of whom are genuinely...

                                This is bad, if true; either her salary includes the expectation, from her and her employer, that she is working overtime, or else she is being ripped off.

                                Well, to be fair she works in the public sector and is drastically underfunded - so either she does a few hours here and there gratis or people that her service helps, some of whom are genuinely in need, suffer. It's not a tough decision. She's not making someone else rich for free.

                                But why? Why must it be that having a good life requires being in a position that requires either fortunate birth (to be able to go to college, have family or friends who know the right people, etc) or significant luck? Yes, within the system this is the way it works, but that system is fundamentally evil.

                                Notice that I'm not saying cleaners shouldn't get living wages. Of course they should. Hell, people should just get a living wage just for existing, so they can exist (UBI yo!). Nobody should have to work but those that do deserve remuneration consummate with what they're putting in. What they've done to get where they are, what responsibilities they have, what skills they offer, what risks they are taking with their health (mental or physical). To take the latter variable, it's not wrong we pay firefighters more than burger flippers, is it? One of those people are putting their lives on the line to save other people, the other goes home smelling slightly of beef.

                                But let's be honest, cleaning - our example - is a pretty easy job. I'm sure many people here have done both menial and professional jobs, I certainly have. The professional jobs I've had are all far more demanding. jobs like that require significantly more investment of time and energy in getting oneself to the stage of being able to do them. Cleaning the toilets is moderately physically demanding and a bit stinky, sure, but your training lasts maybe ten minutes, you clock off at the end of the day and you're done. You don't go home and read up on solving a particular problem, or worry about dealing with the next day's issues, or lose sleep because you might fuck up and cost someone else their livelihood or even their life. More skills, more responsibility, more remuneration. Seems entirely fair to me.

                                Note again I'm not disagreeing with you that some aspects of the system are highly fucky. Sure they are. Nepotism and luck and all those things shouldn't get in someone's way of taking whatever path through life they want (or at least are capable of) but those things aren't the reason that higher level employees are paid more.

                                Also I'm not saying that the disparity between exec-level salaries and middle and lower-level staff isn't a problem in many places, because it absolutely is. I saw a meme the other day which I haven't checked for truthiness but the claim was that Jeff Bezos could give every Amazon employee $100k and still have as much money afterwards as he did pre-covid. If true, that's absolutely evil. I genuinely believe Bezos and his ilk need stringing up because I don't think they are going to stop any other way.

                                1 vote
                                1. [3]
                                  tindall
                                  Link Parent
                                  This is what I fundamentally disagree with. I was able to go to a decent liberal arts college and emerge with little debt, due mostly to my circumstances: my parents had enough money to support...

                                  Nepotism and luck and all those things shouldn't get in someone's way of taking whatever path through life they want (or at least are capable of) but those things aren't the reason that higher level employees are paid more.

                                  This is what I fundamentally disagree with. I was able to go to a decent liberal arts college and emerge with little debt, due mostly to my circumstances: my parents had enough money to support me, I was able to get a job that many others applied for at the school, and I went to a high school that was fairly well funded due purely to where my parents lived. All of that is luck. Did I get good grades? Yes. But that's only part of the story.

                                  Now, I work at a software company in a professional role, making a good deal more money than if I had never gotten a degree. I have the opportunity to work there partly because I'm a good engineer, but partly because I happen to know several of the engineers and was able to get a recommendation. Again: partially skill and hard work, but mostly luck.

                                  All of this misses the luck of having parents that supported my hobbies of tinkering with computers, parents that didn't kick me out when I transitioned, and even smaller stuff like happening to attend CodeDay competitions in high school which weren't the same ones as other very talented people, which allowed me to win awards. Yet again: skill and hard work, yes, but it would have all been useless without a good deal of luck.

                                  So, yes, luck and nepotism are the reason that you and I are paid more than my uncle from New York who's a career civil servant, because he went to a shitty high school and didn't get lucky enough to enjoy or have talent in things that society likes to reward, and because of a million other reasons. We worked hard to get where we are, but denying the role of luck in that is just willful ignorance.

                                  I'm sure many people here have done both menial and professional jobs, I certainly have. The professional jobs I've had are all far more demanding.

                                  So, let me ask you: would you prefer not to do a professional job if the pay difference was only, say, 10% between the two? What about if the pay difference was inverse? Personally, I'd take a pay cut to work in software rather than do what I did before college, serving shitty food to schmoozing fat cats.

                                  This would have a lot of consequences, though. For instance, professionals wouldn't put up with bullshit from management - "I don't get paid enough" to the extreme. That's almost certainly a good thing. Would it mean that a small company like the one I work at would need more engineers, since we wouldn't work overtime or come in on the weekends if we weren't scheduled for it? Yes. But they already should be hiring more engineers, they just don't because they can get away with it.

                                  To take the "full communism" approach, as one argument, what if people were paid according to how much society needed them? Not like a free market, where people are paid roughly according to the product of their profitability and scarcity, but rather, if there was a shortage of doctors, the central planners would say "ah, let us increase the salary for doctors for the next 50 years, encouraging people to go to medical school and become doctors".

                                  Central planning is spooky, though - I'm an anarchist, I certainly am no fan of that. So, what if we would consider the jobs we think of as most "scarce" today, requiring the most training and experience. Lawyers and doctors are, perhaps, outliers in that the market, pushed along by insurance companies and the government, pays them well. Professors, teachers, and even engineers of things that are not electronics and computers, are really not paid that well. Professional airline pilots spend more time in training than nurses but aren't paid at all commensurately with their "value" as you propose to construct it. Many of these people do their jobs because they love that field, certainly not because they want to get rich. As long as it pays well enough to support a decent lifestyle, I don't see hundreds of academics picking up a mop and broom and never doing research again.

                                  To take the latter variable, it's not wrong we pay firefighters more than burger flippers, is it? One of those people are putting their lives on the line to save other people, the other goes home smelling slightly of beef.

                                  Except in places like California where they use literal slave labor to fight fires.

                                  The system already doesn't do what you're suggesting would be fair. It's important to consider possible futures that don't accept the lies that capital wants us to believe.

                                  1. [2]
                                    mat
                                    Link Parent
                                    For a supposed anarchist you seem to be in favour of an awful lot of rules about how other people choose to do things... You can't be an anarchist and say "well society should run this way", can...

                                    For a supposed anarchist you seem to be in favour of an awful lot of rules about how other people choose to do things... You can't be an anarchist and say "well society should run this way", can you? Either you let everyone do what they want or you don't, and if you don't, you're not an anarchist.

                                    Me, however, for whom no -ism (apart from one) has ever been wholly acceptable, am perfectly happy to say "let's let the market mostly sort this out, with controls at the top and bottom ends of wages to stop things getting ridiculous" and while I have a number of socialist, communist, and otherist strands to my personal philosophy, am fully prepared to admit that capitalism does sometimes have a point. People's time is worth what other people will pay for it, not some arbitrary rule that tries to enforce all time being of equal value.

                                    Except in places like California where they use literal slave labor to fight fires.

                                    Man, fucking America. Is it time to just admit America isn't working yet? Nice try and all but for fuck's sake. It's been 250 ish years and it's a complete bloody mess the whole time.

                                    2 votes
                                    1. tindall
                                      Link Parent
                                      That's a misunderstanding of anarchism on the level of saying "well, if you're a capitalist, how come you believe in regulation? If you're not a Randian Objectivist, you shouldn't really call...

                                      Either you let everyone do what they want or you don't, and if you don't, you're not an anarchist.

                                      That's a misunderstanding of anarchism on the level of saying "well, if you're a capitalist, how come you believe in regulation? If you're not a Randian Objectivist, you shouldn't really call yourself a capitalist." There is nuance in all things, and believing that the concept of the modern nation-state is inherently flawed does not require being a radical libertarian.

                                      1 vote
        2. dblohm7
          Link Parent
          Mitchell Baker is a woman, FWIW.

          Mitchell Baker is a woman, FWIW.

          3 votes
    2. sjvn
      Link Parent
      I'm waiting impatiently for Mozilla's 2019 financial report before I tear into them. But, the short version: This guy nails it. Firefox is going down the tubes while its top brass rakes in the cash.

      I'm waiting impatiently for Mozilla's 2019 financial report before I tear into them. But, the short version: This guy nails it. Firefox is going down the tubes while its top brass rakes in the cash.

      1 vote
    3. [2]
      tempestoftruth
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      You may want to fix the formatting in your comment, since I thought your second paragraph was your thoughts on the first (quoted) paragraph (and was going to engage with it as such), but seems...

      You may want to fix the formatting in your comment, since I thought your second paragraph was your thoughts on the first (quoted) paragraph (and was going to engage with it as such), but seems like the second paragraph should be part of the quoted section as well.

      3 votes
  2. [26]
    soks_n_sandals
    Link
    I don't understand why the Firefox market share is so low. Or, rather, I don't understand why it has been dropping. I suppose for mobile, since the default is Safari or Chrome, most people don't...

    I don't understand why the Firefox market share is so low. Or, rather, I don't understand why it has been dropping.

    I suppose for mobile, since the default is Safari or Chrome, most people don't switch. But the article points out that Firefox (for Android) can run ad-blockers. This is a tremendously useful feature. I have a low-end Android phone and few website run properly, even with ads blocked. Websites on iPhone tend to work much better.

    For desktop, though, most people I've met are using Windows and most are then using Chrome, meaning they went out of their way to install a new browser.

    What would it take to get desktop users to install Firefox first? Better migration tools? A browser feature that Chrome lacks? Firefox is a great browser, aside from the foregoing reasons, I just don't see what about the market is making it perform so poorly.

    15 votes
    1. [11]
      jzimbel
      Link Parent
      I think the reason for its low market share is very simple. Mozilla has no way to directly promote Firefox to potential new users besides ad campaigns, which most people tune out or outright block...

      I think the reason for its low market share is very simple. Mozilla has no way to directly promote Firefox to potential new users besides ad campaigns, which most people tune out or outright block these days. You really have to actively seek out an alternative browser to find out about it. The vast majority of people don’t care enough to do anything like that.

      Versus Google, which can passively nudge you with suggestions to download Chrome every time you do a search or use any of their other services. Or Apple/MS, which ship their browsers with their respective OS’s.

      Mozilla’s main (and only, as far as most people are concerned) product is its browser. It has no ecosystem to leverage, unlike all of the other big players.

      15 votes
      1. [10]
        tindall
        Link Parent
        ... because they jettisoned all their other products, like Thunderbird and Seamonkey, which are wonderful and could have really contributed to their market share. Thunderbird is, for me, a huge...

        Mozilla’s main (and only, as far as most people are concerned) product is its browser.

        ... because they jettisoned all their other products, like Thunderbird and Seamonkey, which are wonderful and could have really contributed to their market share. Thunderbird is, for me, a huge upgrade over almost any other mail client, including Outlook.

        10 votes
        1. [6]
          dblohm7
          Link Parent
          How do non-browser products contribute to browser market share?

          How do non-browser products contribute to browser market share?

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            soks_n_sandals
            Link Parent
            I think in the same way that @jzimbel suggested: by nudging users to download their other products (assuming Mozilla still maintained Thunderbird like Firefox). Once you are in the Thunderbird...

            I think in the same way that @jzimbel suggested: by nudging users to download their other products (assuming Mozilla still maintained Thunderbird like Firefox). Once you are in the Thunderbird client, it's easy to get into the rest of the Mozilla ecosystem, e.g., Firefox. I think it's probably the other way around in practice, however.

            4 votes
            1. dblohm7
              Link Parent
              Indeed, this is all purely hypothetical. My guess is that people who are savvy enough to run a standalone email client are already savvy enough to be aware of browser options out there.

              Indeed, this is all purely hypothetical. My guess is that people who are savvy enough to run a standalone email client are already savvy enough to be aware of browser options out there.

              5 votes
          2. [3]
            tindall
            Link Parent
            Just like a search engine does? An ecosystem is a way to promote other products, and to integrate to provide benefits of using other products, as we see so much with Apple.

            Just like a search engine does? An ecosystem is a way to promote other products, and to integrate to provide benefits of using other products, as we see so much with Apple.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              dblohm7
              Link Parent
              This isn't really analogous, though. Search engines are used by everybody on the web. Many naive users don't even use their address bar; they type URLs into their search engine. As the most...

              This isn't really analogous, though. Search engines are used by everybody on the web. Many naive users don't even use their address bar; they type URLs into their search engine. As the most popular sites on the web, of course they can drive adoption!

              OTOH, most users on the web are not using native email clients.

              4 votes
              1. tindall
                Link Parent
                I don't know, a lot of people use Outlook or Apple Mail at least sometimes. I'd love to see hard numbers on this.

                OTOH, most users on the web are not using native email clients.

                I don't know, a lot of people use Outlook or Apple Mail at least sometimes. I'd love to see hard numbers on this.

        2. [3]
          KapteinB
          Link Parent
          I don't even know what Seamonkey really is. Can you sell me on it?

          I don't even know what Seamonkey really is. Can you sell me on it?

          1. tindall
            Link Parent
            Sure! Seamonkey is an all-in-one internet suite. If you know Emacs, imagine Emacs for the internet. It does web, email, RSS, newsgroups, chat, and web development. With some investment, it could...

            Sure! Seamonkey is an all-in-one internet suite. If you know Emacs, imagine Emacs for the internet. It does web, email, RSS, newsgroups, chat, and web development. With some investment, it could have been a very competitive platform due to the cross-platform, open source nature and high level of integration. I love it and use it often.

            1 vote
    2. [2]
      xnaas
      Link Parent
      While this is highly anecdotal: I know more than a few people who have given up on fighting for their privacy on the Internet. It's hard and it's inconvenient. They've given into the ease and...

      While this is highly anecdotal: I know more than a few people who have given up on fighting for their privacy on the Internet. It's hard and it's inconvenient. They've given into the ease and comfort of giving themselves entirely to Google and reaping the "rewards" of allowing their data and identity to be harvested and sold.

      I imagine there's a not-insignificant amount of people who have finally been beaten into submission by Google and other tech giants. Everyone has a limit to how much time and effort they're willing to put into fighting something. I know I've personally been on the brink of crawling back to Google many times in my journey to de-Google over the years. Removing other large tech companies from your life that are actively people-hostile is equally daunting.

      Just my 2¢.

      7 votes
      1. tindall
        Link Parent
        Yeah. Even I have a level to which I do this; I have ad personalization on on Youtube, because doing so allows me to avoid very loud advertisements.

        Yeah. Even I have a level to which I do this; I have ad personalization on on Youtube, because doing so allows me to avoid very loud advertisements.

        3 votes
    3. [2]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      I think this is the key point on the overall market share, on mobile people just use what's built in. While extensions and ad-blockers are incredibly useful, facts are most people don't even know...

      I don't understand why the Firefox market share is so low. Or, rather, I don't understand why it has been dropping.

      I suppose for mobile, since the default is Safari or Chrome, most people don't switch.

      I think this is the key point on the overall market share, on mobile people just use what's built in.

      But the article points out that Firefox (for Android) can run ad-blockers. This is a tremendously useful feature. I have a low-end Android phone and few website run properly, even with ads blocked. Websites on iPhone tend to work much better.

      While extensions and ad-blockers are incredibly useful, facts are most people don't even know they exist. Even better-than-average-in-regards-to-tech people I know have been shocked to find out they can block ads anywhere, let alone on their phones. Even my tech-savvy, built her own computer, wife will forget that she has an ad blocker on her phone (we use Blokada) if it doesn't start on its own if she needs to restart her phone or the battery dies.

      For desktop, though, most people I've met are using Windows and most are then using Chrome, meaning they went out of their way to install a new browser.
      What would it take to get desktop users to install Firefox first? Better migration tools? A browser feature that Chrome lacks? Firefox is a great browser, aside from the foregoing reasons, I just don't see what about the market is making it perform so poorly.

      This I think is largely part of the Google monopoly. "Google it" is as synonymous with searching as (and I'll show my age here) as "Xerox it" was to making a copy of something. My father still uses Yahoo and even he says "I'll google it" when he wants to search for something. Then there's the big "Install Chrome" button when you go to Google.com on anything other than Chrome. Firefox has advertisements I'm sure (I don't see them), but I'm guessing it's largely word of mouth and people pay very little attention to their privacy so it's an uphill battle for them.

      6 votes
      1. soks_n_sandals
        Link Parent
        This is what's frustrating to me. Apple has been doing a great cable ad about privacy. If you haven't seen it, it's people shouting out sensitive things about their lives or search history....

        ...and people pay very little attention to their privacy so it's an uphill battle for them.

        This is what's frustrating to me. Apple has been doing a great cable ad about privacy. If you haven't seen it, it's people shouting out sensitive things about their lives or search history. Anecdotally, it seems like people I know will definitely take advantage of privacy tools when they're readily presented, as in iOS' granular app-permissions. I wish more users would make the connection and seek those privacy features out in other digital products.

        3 votes
    4. Emerald_Knight
      Link Parent
      People really liked desktop Chrome early on, so there was already initial momentum. Then you have Android phones often coming preinstalled with Chrome and suddenly you have a whole mass of users...

      People really liked desktop Chrome early on, so there was already initial momentum. Then you have Android phones often coming preinstalled with Chrome and suddenly you have a whole mass of users who are immediately introduced to the browser and want to continue using something familiar on both platforms, so they're more likely to use Chrome for desktop as well. Combined with marketing and a higher likelihood of having name recognition (everyone uses Google, so they're likely to hear about Chrome but not as likely to hear about Firefox) and you suddenly have a bunch of factors that weigh heavily in favor of Chrome.

      In other words, it's not that Firefox is bad, it's that there's far less friction in the discovery and exposure to Chrome than there is with Firefox and your average user prefers to take the path of least resistance, and therefore users are more likely to adopt Chrome as a result.

      6 votes
    5. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      It's low because people don't go out of their way for a product they're unfamiliar with. Much like how people don't use an operating system to use a web browser (it's a means to an end: the...

      I don't understand why the Firefox market share is so low. Or, rather, I don't understand why it has been dropping.

      It's low because people don't go out of their way for a product they're unfamiliar with. Much like how people don't use an operating system to use a web browser (it's a means to an end: the browser), people don't typically use a web browser to use the internet. The rest is advertising, conditioning, and familiarity with a product: Google can win converts from IE and Safari because it's Google, in a way. Mozilla doesn't have a way to win people over like that being purely in the browser game. Even Edge has an advantage by being made by a trusted software vendor, and included in Windows 10, which would explain it's

      What would it take to get desktop users to install Firefox first? Better migration tools? A browser feature that Chrome lacks?

      Name recognition. It's why Chrome was able to beat them out: "Use Google with the Google browser." They don't care about the browser, but what it enables, for the most part, and the browser by the company many consider The Internet has the biggest advantage.

      5 votes
    6. vord
      Link Parent
      It's inertia, the same reason IE6 remained relevant for years after it was clearly the worst option. Chrome isn't as bad as IE6, but not that much better than Firefox, outside the fact that people...

      It's inertia, the same reason IE6 remained relevant for years after it was clearly the worst option.

      Chrome isn't as bad as IE6, but not that much better than Firefox, outside the fact that people still only test websites in one browser, or serve up different code based on user agent.

      2 votes
    7. [7]
      aymm
      Link Parent
      I personally use FF on Windows, but stick to Safari on macOS, because I'm not a fan of the macOS version of FF. It feels off, the gestures aren't as nice, the context menu is weird. On mobile I...

      I personally use FF on Windows, but stick to Safari on macOS, because I'm not a fan of the macOS version of FF. It feels off, the gestures aren't as nice, the context menu is weird.

      On mobile I also use Safari (although I would switch to FF if their macOS version was better) and on my low-end Android tablet I do use it, but especially scrolling feels super slow.

      Most people I know just don't care enough and use Chrome, because Google annoyed them into using it and don't give enough crap about anything to switch

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        KapteinB
        Link Parent
        Do you have Fenix yet? If so, have you noticed any difference from Fennec? Most people I know use the same browser on their phones and their computers, and until very recently, you had to be a...

        on my low-end Android tablet I do use it, but especially scrolling feels super slow

        Do you have Fenix yet? If so, have you noticed any difference from Fennec?

        Most people I know use the same browser on their phones and their computers, and until very recently, you had to be a masochist to use Firefox on Android. I think the user bleed is going to slow down a little now that we finally have a Firefox for Android that's on par with Chrome.

        1 vote
        1. aymm
          Link Parent
          Yeah, I have been using Fenix since it's early beta state. It's a lot better than Fennec!

          Yeah, I have been using Fenix since it's early beta state. It's a lot better than Fennec!

      2. [4]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        I've been using FF on macOS for many years and I'm not having any issues at all. Would you, please, explain what is meant by your negative experiences with 'gestures' and 'context menu'?

        I'm not a fan of the macOS version of FF. It feels off, the gestures aren't as nice, the context menu is weird.

        I've been using FF on macOS for many years and I'm not having any issues at all. Would you, please, explain what is meant by your negative experiences with 'gestures' and 'context menu'?

        1. [3]
          aymm
          Link Parent
          I'm using a lot of gesture on my trackpad to navigate back and forth in my history, switch tabs, etc. All of these just feel wrong in FF. Could be just the animation which feels janky, not sure....

          I'm using a lot of gesture on my trackpad to navigate back and forth in my history, switch tabs, etc. All of these just feel wrong in FF. Could be just the animation which feels janky, not sure.

          FF renders its own context menu instead of using the system provided one, so (last time I checked) it was white even in dark mode, and is missing e.g. the "services menu"

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            wycy
            Link Parent
            I somehow never noticed this before, but now that I have it's going to bother me forever. D'oh

            FF renders its own context menu instead of using the system provided one, so (last time I checked) it was white even in dark mode, and is missing e.g. the "services menu"

            I somehow never noticed this before, but now that I have it's going to bother me forever. D'oh

            1 vote
            1. suspended
              Link Parent
              I'm using a desktop iMac with a magic mouse so I don't have any issues with gestures. If I'm not misunderstanding about the context menu, then I could care less.

              I'm using a desktop iMac with a magic mouse so I don't have any issues with gestures.

              If I'm not misunderstanding about the context menu, then I could care less.

              1 vote
  3. dblohm7
    Link
    That 85% number for Firefox usage is grossly inaccurate. Just taking the % difference between current market share and peak market share gives you the amount that market share dropped, yes, but...

    That 85% number for Firefox usage is grossly inaccurate. Just taking the % difference between current market share and peak market share gives you the amount that market share dropped, yes, but you cannot extrapolate loss in userbase from that number, as the size of the market is not constant between samples.

    I'm not denying that we have problems here, but this "85%" number is clickbait.

    EDIT: Sometime last year I actually did some back-of-the-napkin math on what the real numbers would probably look like, but I can't find it right now. If I come across it, I'll update this comment with more realistic numbers.

    14 votes