“I’m Funding Ladybird Because I Can’t Fund Firefox”

From Jack Kelly’s blog:

TL;DR: Chrome is eating the web. I have wanted to help fund a serious alternative browser for quite some time, and while Firefox remains the largest potential alternative, Mozilla has never let me. Since I can’t fund Firefox, I’m going to show there’s money in user-funded web browsers by funding Ladybird instead. You should too.

As to the problem with Firefox:

According to the Mozilla Foundation’s Donation FAQ, “Firefox is maintained by the Mozilla Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation. While Firefox does produce revenue — chiefly through search partnerships — this earned income is largely reinvested back into the Corporation”. “Search partnerships” means “Google”, who made up 81% of Mozilla Corporation’s revenue in 2022. This means Firefox’s primary revenue source is also their direct competitor, and they seem to have little ability to change that.

Mozilla has backed themselves into a very poor position. In recent years, Mozilla Corporation has made several controversial moves in pursuit of revenue. Off the top of my head, there was the Mr. Robot addon, automatically loaded into people’s browsers to advertise a TV show; sponsored links in the address barsponsored “top sites” on the “new tab” page a reading list startup called “Pocket”, integrated into Firefox without warning; and a Mozilla VPN service, complete with in-browser pop-up ads. Cal Paterson has another good list. Meanwhile, Firefox market share falls and the outgoing Mozilla Corporation CEO gets paid millions (6.9 million USD in 2022 — see page 8).

There is no doubt building browser engines is very, very hard. Getting market share—even harder.


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