Mozilla and GNOME

No doubt by now most have been reading up on the future of the Mozilla Foundation and the GNOME Foundation. A whole bunch of things are circulating. Some look very official, some sound official, some I question.

I’m personally 100% for the idea of GNOME and Mozilla Foundation working together. I think together they can avoid duplication, and more efficiently accomplish many things. Rather than work separately, and perhaps reinvent the wheel.

The idea has also come about that the two should perhaps merge. Personally, I’m not very confident that would be in the best interests of either foundation, and the web community in general. Here’s my personal reasoning, just to create discussion:

  • GNOME is focused on Linux. Mozilla is focused on cross platform. Being cross platform is one of Mozilla’s greatest assets. Neither should blur that focus. Both are important. Merging is a step towards Linux orienting, rather than orienting towards OS-neutral, which is where Mozilla should be.
  • Mozilla needs to keep focused on the web. GNOME needs to keep focused on the desktop environment. While they ultimately will meet at development, there will be separation for quite some time. Until then they should meet for the overlap. Each needs to focus on their specialization. There is overlap, but without question they are still separate, and won’t be 100% merged for years still. Remember, several years back we were all promised web kiosks. Still hasn’t happened.

Where could they really work together?

  • Well, remember that web kiosk? Think how well GNOME’s usability and UNIX experience could team up with Mozilla Gecko. It’s a match made in heaven. It’s the way it should have always been done.
  • XAML/Avalon – it’s quite a large undertaking. And both would benefit from a shared implementation. But again, each should orient towards their own (platform independence and GNOME’s desktop environment).

Ultimately, there is a lot to share, but I’m a bit hesitant to believe they would benefit from joining 100%. I think the alliance would be best as Apple and KDE over KHTML. They should share and share. But each has a different target. And each works towards their target. But when there is overlap, they do together. I’m hesitant to think that merging would be effective. A group can only have so many goals. I think some would have to be sacrificed in a merger. By staying separate they can harvest the benefits of cooperation, but still achieve their goals.

Mozilla as a browser on all platforms can convince many that they don’t need commercial apps, and break the windows ties. GNOME is apparently the next step in going Open Source in the workplace. See together they can complement each other. But as one, I’m not sure they would be able to cover all the bases. A baseball team doesn’t put all the players together. They spread out. But when needed, they help each other out, covering bases, etc.

Anyway. This is just my personal reflection thinking out loud. I’m curious what others think. This will change the industry in one way or another. I’m positive on that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *