Just saw on twitter that Brendan Eich steps down as Mozilla CEO.
We won’t even know if it would have been a good fit for Mozilla to face the challenges ahead with Firefox OS. But what I am sure of, is that there was definitely a mistake made by the board and by Brendan Eich, because they didn’t see it coming. The fact that he supported California anti-gay rights to marriage is known since 2012. He had plenty of time to think things through and to revert his action (for instance by counter-donating in support of marriage equality).
I wouldn’t have stopped using Firefox or promoting it just because of this. To put it bluntly, I do not care about Brendan Eich’s opinion on the matter of rights to marriage. However, I care about Mozilla’s approach and its ability to strive as a community of people building the web and advocating our freedom to build it, with free software. And I sure don’t want to exclude any good contributor because of race, religion, gender or opinion (or lack thereof)—as long as they do not contradict or weaken our common goal. My take is that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.
I have no particular sympathy for Eich. But the whole situation still leaves a bit of a bitter taste, or at least some sense of weirdness. It’s hard to process exactly and it’s hard to think how beneficial this outcome is. What progress has been made now that he’s out?
Also, isn’t this too harsh on the freedom to have your own private opinions? You might say it’s a bit of a stretch because the donation was made public; still I don’t really see this as being made in a public capacity. It’s good to be held accountable for what you do, and transparency is sometimes needed; but transparency can also be an enemy.
I prefer to convince people to change their minds through discussion rather than winning by “having their head on a spike” (in the case of Eich, this is an exaggeration).
In the end, I suppose the attitude that I have a problem with was along the lines of: “Eich is against gay marriage, so either he steps down as CEO or I stop contributing to Firefox/I boycott Mozilla/etc.” Especially taking into account all other signs that Mozilla is doing well on this as an organisation.