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Mozilla Manifesto

Mitchell Baker has posted a draft of the Mozilla Manifesto. (There’s discussion of it here.) Here are the principles:

1. The Internet is an integral part of modern life — a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.

2. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.

3. The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.

4. Individuals’ security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.

5. Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.

6. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon technological interoperability, innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.

7. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.

8. Transparent community-based development processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.

9. Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.

10. Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.

There isn’t a sentence in it with which I disagree. And that’s the problem. It’s not disagreeable enough. I can imagine all sorts of organizations that I think are doing harm to the Net signing onto the first five principles without even checking with marketing first. The only two that would give anyone pause are #6 and #7 (although the telcos would have to do claim that—as per #5—making international phone calls counts as “decentralized participation worldwide”). Even then, they could say they are happy to have other people doing open source work, because that’s part of the balance that #9 endorses.

So, I guess I’d be more enthusiastic about the principles if they had more bite. Name the threats to principles #1-5. Declare that its openness in process and standards should make open source software the first choice to be considered when organizations serving the public good are making software decisions. Denounce the use of software patents. I hate to be, well, disagreeable about a set of principles I agree with, produced by a group I admire and whose software I use and am grateful for every day, but imo the manifesto needs to be more than a pat on the back and a big group hug. [Tags: ]

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