On Mozilla and Brendan Eich

Two things have been clear to me for the past week:

Losing Brendan from the Mozilla organization and community is a terrible blow, and we’re all worse off for it.

Brendan could not continue as CEO.

It feels cheap and easy to talk about this now, as if to say “oh yeah, I felt this way the whole time.” But until Brendan stepped down, I had a very hard time deciding how I felt.

I worked at Mozilla in a technical role for nearly four years, while Brendan was CTO. I have had the privilege of meeting and talking with Brendan several times and, as acquaintances go, I’ve always liked him. I still absolutely consider myself a Mozillian, a Firefox user and Open Web advocate.

I’m sad that Brendan’s views on marriage equality haven’t changed. Or at least I assume they haven’t, because if they had, it would have been a very easy way out of this: “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.”

I’m sad that the choices, then, came down to damage the organization by leaving or damage it by staying. Even though I think he picked the path of least damage.

I’m sad that Brendan is leaving the community.

I’m scared that the Open Web may be viewed as a liberal or libertarian cause, and will suffer for it.

I’m concerned that people see Mozilla the same way they see Chick-Fil-A, and that there’s so much work to do just educating people on what Mozilla is.

I’m worried that Mozilla is, again, without a CEO. And simultaneously without 3 Corporation board members and one Foundation board member.

I’m happy that Mozilla is a messy, open place where this kind of discussion is in public, no matter how much easier it may have been to have in private.

I hope the community can heal, and FirefoxOS can win.

Ultimately, Brendan couldn’t lead the organization through this, and so I think his stepping down was the better of the options he left himself. This was a Pyrrhic “victory”. (Hampton and Michael Catlin have been particularly thoughtful and eloquent the past week; their posts are worth reading.)

And to all my friends, colleagues, and fellow Mozillians, I’m standing with you, the organization, and the mission.