Mozilla Wars, Part 2: Eich Hangs Tough

by Maggie Gallagher

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich asks to be given the same tolerance and diversity extended to other members of the Mozilla community worldwide: “Beliefs that are protected, that include political and religious speech, are generally not something that can be held against even a CEO,” Eich said, in his first interview since the controversy erupted.

His two big messages?

 “One is — without getting into my personal beliefs, which I separate from my Mozilla work — when people learned of the donation, they felt pain. I saw that in friends’ eyes, [friends] who are LGBT. I saw that in 2012. I am sorry for causing that pain.

The other thing is imagine a world without Firefox. Mozilla is under a threat here. We don’t know how big. If Mozilla cannot continue to operate according to its principles of inclusiveness, where you can work on the mission no matter what your background or other beliefs, I think we’ll probably fail. A world without Firefox and without Firefox OS and without our approach to putting the user at the center of cloud services instead of having users get pulled into walled gardens — I think that would be a pretty dark world. I would encourage people to think about that, even if they have a hard time understanding me or meeting me at the Mozilla mission and working on the common cause. . . . If Mozilla became more exclusive and required more litmus tests, I think that would be a mistake that would lead to a much smaller Mozilla, a much more fragmented Mozilla.

We have a strong Indonesian community. We’re developing Firefox OS to go into market there. I have people there on the other side of this particular issue. They don’t bring it into Mozilla when they work in the Mozilla community. I met a lot of them at Mozcamp 2012 in Singapore. They don’t have quite the megaphone in that part of the world. But the Mozilla mission and our inclusiveness principles really must matter to include them too.”