Everyone loves Mozilla. Those who do not love it do not know what we’re talking about because they have not yet understood the value of the Mozilla project or have no desire to change the choice of products and services to which they are accustomed. Throw in the aggressive competition and that explains the decrease in the market share of Firefox. Obviously detractors of Mozilla do not understand the original goal of Mozilla; “we won the war”, as I was reminded of this article I read this morning on Medium.
After reading the article, some ideas have resumed the buzzing in my head (I started thinking about them from the last Summit), so I decided to explain them in this article.
From my point of view, the new strategy of Mozilla should rest on a solid pillar: emails! Email is the key to get into the heart of the users and open them all to the world of Mozilla. Having an email address has become essential for using various services on the Web, but most of the users are forced to use free but commercial services (Gmail, Outlook, etc), with many privacy issues associated with them.
I would like to propose a simple roadmap that could be implemented to further the Mozilla mission:
- Offer anyone a free email address (ideally with a mozilla.org domain, but would be fine also another domain such as mozmail.org, mozmail.com, etc.). The available space should not be huge (2 GB would be enough for most users), with options to expand the capacity of the mailbox by paying a small fee or actively participating in the Mozilla community. The revenue would make the project self-sufficient economically and users interested in their privacy would be happy to pay a small annual sum to have an email address owned by a nonprofit privacy-conscious organization (I for one);
- The email service could open the door for cloud storage services and technologies; Mozilla could offer secure online storage space, with emphasis on privacy compared to other profit oriented providers. Users would start with sufficient free storage space that is expandable by payment or through active participation in the community as in the case with the email by awarding bonus capacity for every recognizable contribution made;
- Take back the reins of Mozilla Persona to simplify and secure the log in on various websites; once again the email might be useful to have “all in the family”;
- Take back the reins of Thunderbird and promote the brand, using the desktop version and developing a Web version and an Android version. It would also be appropriate to rename the default email client on Firefox OS to Thunderbird, in order to use a brand identity already known by users.
Financial sustainability would be guaranteed by the payment for additional space from users who need it or organizations; this would cover at least part of the costs for the free email and storage provided to majority of the users. Moreover, with the higher revenue, it is possible to increase the number of employees to work on various projects such as Thunderbird and Persona.
As for the construction of the necessary infrastructure, it is possible to build on top of open source software already available and adapting them for our purposes, for example:
- Zimbra for email;
- ownCloud for storage space.
The proposed roadmap could help reconnect users to the Mozilla project more, providing them with an ecosystem they’d use in their everyday life. It would be great to see this come to life soon.
Disclaimer: This article merely presents ideas of the undersigned; they are not the official plans of Mozilla.