Thursday, April 03, 2014

An Apology to Brendan Eich

Brendan, I’m sorry I did not get this out earlier. I had written much of which follows on April 1st and because of internet tradition of April Fools, I delayed posting this. You are a hero.

I support Brendan Eich. It saddens me to see the Mozilla community so divided. I am disappointed that Brendan stepped down.

This is personal for many. People have spoken of their pain. Many have acted on their feelings and beliefs. I don’t mean to lessen either.

I’m not from California and was not involved in the Prop. 8 campaign. I’m an older, straight, married, white male, so I do not have the perspective of being a minority. But, I have promoted “Diversity for better solutions” in public and private ways. Diversity is important.

Brendan Eich is a hero. He risked his career to fight oppression by co-founding Mozilla. At that time internet jobs were not so plentiful or lucrative as they are today. It was a big risk. Microsoft nearly succeed in monopolizing and stifling the internet. Firefox saved us from a tyranny.

Microsoft also nearly derailed JavaScript, a foundation technology of the internet and the disruption, startup world we currently enjoy. When Microsoft released JScript as part of Internet Explorer, it took nearly 10 years for the JavaScript community to recover. I know this personally.

As the creator of JavaScript, Brendan Eich could have turned his back on Microsoft. Surprisingly, many times over the years he reached out to Microsoft and started a dialog. Microsoft is now a supportive member of the JavaScript community.

Mozilla and JavaScript are primary reasons "software is eating the world”. They are the reason we have these new careers like Front End Developer. They are the reason we have new ways of telling the news with JavaScript Journalism. Mozilla and JavaScript moved the ball. They changed the world.

This is my perspective, perhaps a historical view. I’ve been active with JavaScript since 1995. I started the first software store in the world in 1979. I’ve seen how Microsoft damaged people’s lives. I’ve seen how Mozilla made a better world.

As an active member of the JavaScript community, in my view Brendan Eich has represented Mozilla very well for many, many years. He would have been a great leader of Mozilla.

Brendan is a friend. I first meet him at the Ajax Experience in 2006. We’ve hung out together at JSConfs. He’s offered to help me. It is an honor to know him.

I was surprised when I heard from a friend that Brendan had supported Prop 8. I am glad she talked to him about it. I disagree with Brendan on this as well. This does not mean we are not friends. I have friends that are Republicans. I have friends who don’t believe in climate change. I have a friend who believes man never landed on the moon and some evil conspiracy theories. 

It is ironic that a law meant to protect us from corporate influence has resulted in this outrage against a man who has successfully fought one of the biggest monopolies we’ve ever seen. Unintended consequences.

I am disappointed the Brendan stepped down as CEO of Mozilla. He has done wonderful work and think he had the vision to lead Mozilla into the future.

Best of luck to a good man.

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