(This article is outdated. I may/may not agree with some/all of it. Regardless, don't bother arguing with me about it. Please read the new one: Mozilla the Marketing Nightmare).
When I started this very site so not very long ago, I tested the main page with Netscape since I knew it was going to look a bit different than in the default Internet Explorer. And so it did. Then I tested it with the new browser on the block, Mozilla, that claimed to be web browser compliant and all the rest. (For someone with a website, I really felt good about Mozilla since it would make website making easier.) The differences from Internet Explorer that Mozilla had were the same as Netscape. In other words, my website looked the same in Netscape as in Mozilla. That's odd, I thought to myself. I went to a search engine, typed in "mozilla and netscape" and uncovered that Netscape funds Mozilla.Then I remembered a PBS page that showed the assests of this huge corporation called AOL-Time Warner. (That PBS page, was so ironically, about how huge corporations control our lives. Furthermore, the PBS show corresponding to the page was hosted by Douglas Rushkoff whose book Coercion I summarized.) Anyways, the diagram showed that AOL-Time Warner owned Netscape. The picture was clear: AOLTW -->Netscape-->Mozilla... The first essay I wrote on Mozilla was rampant with technical errors, so I dug deeper than before and uncovered a scandal that can be counted in the TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars.
From what I uncovered, I now know that the problem that will be exposed in this essay is much bigger than I ever thought before and that it IS already a reality.
The Mozilla browser started when Netscape, the maker of the once popular browsers Navigator and Communicator, gave its code to mozilla.org. This "donation" was done so that Netscape would no longer have to spend millions on the drudge work of coding its browser. This drudge work was now to be done by unpaid enthusiasists. These volunteers, as Mozilla calls them, were fooled into working for free by false and vaue hopes of a better Internet through a supposedly better browser.
This better Internet is to be achieved by stripping the Internet Explorer browser of its monopoly.This goal by itself is not only noble, but it is correct. After all, the Internet should not be dominated by a single browser that could potentially stagnate development and progress on the Internet.
However, the problem is not with the goal but with the players behind the scenes. First off, Netscape is owned by the mega-congolmerate AOL-Time Warner (AOLTW). Thus, the original code that started the whole Mozilla project from Netscape is the property of a once $165 billion corporation. (Through stock drops and extremely poor performance, the stock value has quartered.) Secondly, AOLTW funds Mozilla and AOLTW is the majoritive money source behind Mozilla. Now why would a for-profit corporation throw out its money for something that seemingly does not make it any money? The real questions goes something like this: Is a publicly held corporation (meaning its only goal is to make the most money for its shareholders) being charitable or does it want something in return?
Mozilla hides it real owner by proclaiming its browser's code to be open source. This falsely portrays Mozilla as a selfless and perhaps even as a non-profit company. However, the licensing agreement that outlines to what extent Mozilla is open source shows that something fishy is behind the scenes. This license states that any code added to Mozilla is also open source (Section 3.2. Availability of Source Code). This assures that all new improved code that is ever made off of the Mozilla source, always goes back to Mozilla. This is a very tricky situation since the commercial Netscape browser is still downloaded and used. This new breed of Netscape browser (version 6 and the new version 7) is based SOLELY on Mozilla's code with extra commercial features that further AOLTW's grip on the Internet. Isn't that something? AOLTW uses the code from Mozilla for its commercial browser Netscape, from which it makes money but mainly spreads its influence over the Internet. However, this is really a small scandal and its not the one that rocks the house.
As a small sidenote, let's turn our attention to a browser named Komodo. While it is based on the free code done by the free programmers at Mozilla, it sells for $300 (yes three hundred) per copy. Is this a kind of magic? From an open source browser that obviously is free, a private company changes a few things, and viola!, a $300 browser is born. Is this fair? People who do most of the coding and work get NO MONEY, yet some money hungry vultures sell basically the same thing for $300!!?? Well, this isn't the big fish we are looking for either.
The big scandal that makes issues like open source and taking advantage of your free labor source important has to do with AOLTW's internet service provider (ISP). This of course has to be the always reliable and never problematic America Online (AOL). Right now, when you log into your AOL screen name, if you have AOL as your ISP of course, the browser that you will use is Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Isn't that ironic? A corporation that owns Netscape, the archenemy of Internet Explorer, uses the enemy browser. Anyway, the people at AOL also noticed this great irony and want to change this. They could do this very easily only if they funded a group of misled programmers who are not paid for their work. Oh wait... AOLTW owns Mozilla so this is very clean and convenient. People from Mozilla have an open source license making it appear that Mozilla is for a better Internet. This way, many people are attracted and work for Mozilla for free. What they miscalculate is that AOLTW will sweep the code from them and use it in AOL.
And why is this bad? At least Mozilla still operates and its like a neccasary evil? Well this "necessary evil," as some from Mozilla itself have called it, is quite big when we count the monetary amount. Let's count AOL's total subscribers: one, two, three... 34 million. At a simple $20 rate per month with the 34 million subscribers, that's $680 million dollars a month. That's at least $8.16 billion per year. Sure AOL does not use Mozilla code yet, but it will with AOL 8.0 or 9.0.
The reason that is definite has to do with another AOLTW company, CompuServe (CS). CS used to be an independent company, but AOL gobbled it up before AOL and Time Warner merged. Anyway, CS is now the experimental AOL, meaning AOL tests things for CompuServe's 3 million customers and then for AOL. And in April CS started using a Mozilla clone. But wait, there's more! That adds another 3 million to our 34 million users of AOL. That means AOL is/will be making at least $8.9 billion per year off of code done by unpaid programmers. This figure does not count any money Netscape makes, any money that is gained by Netcape's influence, or how much third-part products such as Komodo rip off from Mozilla.
There is no other way of looking at it: Using code from people who do not get paid for it and then making money off of it IS theft and fraud. There is no justification or any necessary evil or anything, it is plain wrong to steal.
Pretty damn big: Enron and Worldcomm put together do not amount to this much fraud that AOLTW so cleverly thought of. It is larger than the income of small countries, it is enough to buy 200,000 luxury cars, 3.5 million PC's, and about 3 billion large bags of chips. If dollar bills were laid end to end they would reach in the hundreds of thousands of miles... So that's a pretty big fraud with the people getting screwed the most being the very programmers who make it. If AOLTW had some common sense, it would PAY the programmers by giving them a "few miles" of pavement of the hundreds of thousands miles of dollar bills.
Mozilla's logo and artwork (look in the evidence vault for examples) shows that Mozilla is a corporation that cares only about its image. The artwork is clear-cut communist imagery: Mozilla affiliates even admitted it. As Hitler or swastikas could not be used, as they rightly should not, where the hell does Mozilla get the idea to glorify a system that killed 100 million people and continues to opress well over 1 billion people? If we do not glorify a sytem that killed 6 million people, why embrace and promote one that killed 100 million. Another irony in this sea of ironies is the Mozilla mascot. The "t" in T-Rex stands for the Latin tyrannis which means tyrant. And what were the leaders of communism? Tyrants or dictators...
AOLTW's entanglement with Mozilla and its utterly cold refusal to pay the very programmers that make its product shows a corporation wrapped up in selfish greed that harm society. AOLTW's shady actions shows a corporation that will go to any length to make an extra dollar. When AOL will use Mozilla's code in the AOL browser, a fraud of at least 7.2 billion a year will occur. Not if, but when and this amount is a minimum.
Another reason why AOLTW is a bag of crap has to do with its subsidiaries. Its music division, compromising of dozens of record labels, claims that anyone who downloads music off of the popular filesharing/swapping programs is a pirate. Let me be blunt: Who the hell is a pirate? Someone who downloads overpriced songs or someone who steals code then makes almost $9 billion? By the way, I also have an essay on why filesharing is legal.
So I uncovered a fraud that is worth more than Enron and Worldcomm put together... However, this is just the tip of the iceberg or a drop in the pond. With the hundreds of interests AOLTW has, it is unavoidable to have other scandals of this size. For example, how can CNN be unbiased when it should be investigating its parent company's abuses? How can Time magazine have unbiased reporting when they are owned by someone they should criticize? And the list goes on...
Anyone who works/volunteers for Mozilla is working/working for free for AOLTW. For workers who get paid, you are truly sell outs. For the volunteers, you are the backbone/unappreciated bitches of AOLTW's attempt at Internet domination, just as you accuse Microsoft of doing. And isn't that ironic quite a bit? Instead of Microsoft, you will throne AOLTW. And you won't even get paid, most of you anyway. But then again, what the hell am I talking about? I hate C++, the langauage behind Mozilla, and I am somewhat new to this Internet thing. So, listen to Mozilla's founder who resigned his Mozilla position after AOL bought out Netscape:
"But I'm supposed to be rooting for (AOL-Time Warner) over Microsoft? What's up next, Union Carbide versus Philip Morris?"
Well isn't that something. The founder of Mozilla was too disgusted to work for AOLTW and not an independent Mozilla and as a result resigned in 1999. It is easy to dismiss Zawinski's action as only attention getting. But why would someone who spent all that time with Netscape and Mozilla just abandon his work? What does that tell you about Mozilla in its current degenerative state? The managers are now money hungry moguls who fool the free labor...
My email is email@example.com and my AOLIM screenname is kickasscomputer. Don't worry, I use AIM+ that blocks out AOL's ads, haha. Also, I will only respond if you disclose your relation to Mozilla and disclose your financial gain from Mozilla, if any. Also, rude comments, like the ones in the guestbook, will not be responded to. Calling me a ranting teenager does not help. Just as you would not call your grandmother an old bag, please do not age discriminate me. Also, this shows me that the evidence in these essays are so strong that the content cannot be attacked.
Mozilla's official site, logo shows communist imagery.
PBS's page showing the assets of AOLTW. Notice the fact that AOLTW owns Netscape, AOL, and CompuServe. Also notice the tons of other corporations AOLTW owns.
Mozilla's official page that tries to dodge its relationship with AOL and Netscape. It says Mozilla is independent, while it primarily receives money from Netscape. Yeah, Netscape just DONATES the money. Yeah right. They want something in return. Namely a browser for AOL.
Mozilla's page with the corrupt and copyright violating licensing agreements.
AOL Test May Renew Browser War
Exactly What is AOL Up To?
The Future of Netscape