So Why Care About Mozilla, Anyway?

Whaddaya know — it turns out that spiffy new site design for that I linked to earlier was actually done by Dave Shea, the creator of the brilliant CSS Zen Garden. No wonder it’s such an improvement!

Anyway, Dave’s got a great essay on why he pitched in to help redesign the site, and why anyone who cares about the Web might want to consider helping out the Mozilla Project in whatever small ways they can:

If you have been reading this site for any period of time, you’ll remember various pieces detailing the fall of IE, and what could possibly be done to make things better. Ideas have come and gone. Nothing has happened. Ideas can’t live on their own without a life support system that comes from action.
So action it is. This is my contribution. This is my way of making the world a better place. Some write. Some code. I design.

That’s exactly right. In the modern world, we have become accustomed to hearing that change occurs because of Big Social Forces that are outside our control. We’ve almost forgotten how to think of the world as a place where the quality of life is a consequence of our actions. In this case, Microsoft has decided that they own the browser, and they’re counting on the rest of us to do nothing — to go along quietly. But if enough people like Dave step up and do something, even something little — if we take responsibility for the things we care about, and choose to take action — then there’s no monopoly strong enough to stop us.

So, this is my challenge to you: if you care about the Web and want it to see it continue to advance, do something about it. No more griping about how Microsoft owns the world! They only own the world because we allow them to. If you can code, great — head over to and pitch in on Bugzilla, or go to and whip up a cool extension for people to play with. You’re a graphic designer? There’s always a need for new themes, or even for tweaks on old themes.

Technical skills aren’t required, though. If you’re willing to deal with occasional crashes, the project always needs people to test bleeding-edge versions of Firebird and Thunderbird — just grab the latest nightly build and file any bugs you find in Bugzilla. If you know your way around Firebird or Thunderbird, they need people to pitch in on the Help file — only thing you need to do is write up your wisdom for the rest of us.

And of course, the single best thing you can do requires no technical skill at all — just turn your friends on to Firebird! Spread the good word and feel your karma improve. Write about it on your blog, or burn an install CD and walk it around to your friends’ and colleagues’ PCs. Show them the magic of tabbed browsing and how nice it is not to ever see a pop-up window again. Not all of them will pick it up, but some will, and you’ll have enlarged the community that much more.

Mohandas Gandhi said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s not enough to want a better world — you have to be willing to make it. Are you?



October 16, 2003
2:15 pm

I’m glad to see Mozilla pushing forward. When Netscape went to 6.x and associated with AOL (or whatever) I gave up. I really did not care for the interface or performance and just ‘gave in’, like everyone else does.
I installed the 0.7 and will try it in good faith. If performance is good then I’ll keep it. I’m also trying the Thunderbird as well (wine may be next).