/ Mozilla

My thoughts on Brendan Eich's resignation as CEO of Mozilla

I am very disappointed to hear today that Brandan Eich stepped down from his new CEO position at Mozilla because of a donation he made six years ago to a campaign supporting a controversial opinion that will in no way affect his leadership of Mozilla. And it should be noted that Brendan did not resign because he was forced to by the board, but – rather – because he chose to out of his care for the organisation.

As a Computer Science student and someone who has been following the Web standards process since I was a young teenager, Brendan is one of my role models. He has shown a greater passion for Mozilla’s mission for a free and open Web than anyone. He was the perfect choice for CEO of Mozilla.

And yet, a vocal crowd in the Mozilla community have voiced their disdain that Brendan has been given the CEO position, due to his opinions on gay marriage that he never publicly discusses.

Now I’m not trying to make a point here that one side’s opinion on gay marriage is right or wrong. There is nothing wrong with people stating that they disagree with Brendan’s opinions. We live in a free world, and everyone should have the right to agree or disagree. It’s good that we can and do discuss these things. The problem – as another one of my Mozillian role models, Daniel Glazman, puts very well – is the “witch-hunt” that began after the CEO announcement.

But I think we [at Mozilla] also value democracy, and what happened during the last days seems to be a negation of democracy. One should be able to express legal opinions without having to face a witch-hunt-like repression.

Today, Mozilla is weaker because of this witch hunt. Mozilla, who is standing for the better of everyone on the Web, is weaker because some people thought it would be stronger without Brendan. This is ridiculous, this is a shame, this is a scandal. A small step for a few, a giant leap back for the Web.

Who said “Mozilla Community”? Who said Openness? Pfffff. I’ve been a Mozillian for fourteen years and I’m not even sure I still recognize myself in today’s Mozilla Community. Well done guys, well done. What’s the next step? 100% political correctness?

The fact that Brendan has had to resign as a result of this witch-hunt has made clear just how ruthless The Crowd can be. “Don’t share our opinions? Get out.”

It’s uncharacteristic for me to have such an emotional reaction to something like this, but Mozilla is an organisation that I have invested so much passion and trust in. I love this organisation, but right now I feel betrayed. Although there’s no doubt that Mozilla will recover from this dark image, at the moment, its core values and beliefs on inclusiveness and equality seem like nothing more than superficial fantasies.

As a Christian, this concerns me greatly. There are two professing and Bible-believing Christians I know of at Mozilla. Robert O’Callahan and Gervase Markham are two senior and highly respected programmers at Mozilla. They have inspired me throughout my teenage years because they have shown me that: one, Mozilla is an organisation that accepts everyone for their beliefs – including Christians, and two, that Christians in this 21st century world that we live in will not be victims of prejudice over their faith.

I no longer believe that it is possible for someone who identifies themselves as a Christian could ever have a high-profile position at Mozilla in the current environment. Roc and Gerv have not given their opinions on the discussion over Brendan’s gay-marriage views over the past fortnight, and I fear that is because they feel too at risk from those who would seek to disallow their views. But I’m certain that, if they would ever be suitable candidates for the CEO in the future, they could never be considered, because of the controversy with Brendan.

I will be graduating in two years. This whole controversy has brought me to question how my faith will affect my job opportunities in the tech sector in the future. Thank God that there is a group at Mozilla who are publicly professing their respect for Brendan’s beliefs – even if they disagree with him!

Now that Brendan is gone, we can only hope that Mozilla’s board can find someone who is equally as technically minded and passionate about the Open Web as him to take the roll of CEO. I really hope they can find someone suitable. In the meantime, I’m sure we’ll see that Mozilla will continue to push forward in keeping the Web open, and I still look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings for them.