Tue May 04 2010

Dear Mozilla,

It is not the first time I read about how Chrome is beating Firefox in the browser race. Every time it happens, however, I can’t help but think two things: 1) that I’m contributing to the numbers by being one of the Chrome converts, and 2) that the good old days are sadly just that - old days.

I remember Phoenix (I can’t believe it’s been eight years), and how promising it was - it was fast, open, with great standards support. Then you were forced to change name to Firebird - people weren’t very fond of that name either. Then the second and final name change, to Firefox. Things were great for a while, there. Phoenix was built as an alternative to the Mozilla suite, which installed a number of things real users just did not need. Launching the browser was a delightful experience - it was a great combination of simplicity and raw power. It was beautiful.

Now allow me to fast-forward to today: you’re hard at work at version 3.7 of Firefox, with 4.0 on the slate soon. Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt left for Facebook; Dave Hyatt left for Apple. Firefox slowly (but surely) slowed down to the Mozilla Suite-like speeds. Firefox has personas, and themes. I, as I’m sure you’re guessing by now, don’t need themes (just as I don’t need many of the things in the 3.0 cycle). I need the fastest browser I can get, I need it to keep pushing the envelope and complying to standards - why not 100% on the acid 3 test yet, by the way? Chrome, fortunately for me, fills that gap. It is both fast and standards compliant. It feels light even with extensions. I love it almost as much as I loved Phoenix back in the day.

Which brings me full circle to Phoenix (now not the browser but the mythical bird). You guys need to reinvent yourselves and come back from the “ashes” of what Firefox is today. What Hyatt and Ross did one day for the Mozilla Suite, Chrome has done for Firefox and just like you guys slowly bit off IE’s market in the past, so is Chrome slowly biting at your potential share gains, month over month. There’s a ton of really smart people working at Mozilla today. If only you could focus on getting us, your community, a light, fast browser again I would jump onboard again in a second.

Thanks for listening.