Mozilla, creators of the popular Firefox Web browser, turned 15-years-old on March 31. The non-profit looks to celebrate it in style as it looks back on what it, and the Web at large, has accomplished over the past 15 years.
Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, wrote a short post today explaining what spurred Mozilla to rethink the Web 15 years ago:
Looking back, Mozilla’s plan was as radical as the Web itself: use open source and community to simultaneously create great software and build openness into the key technologies of the Internet itself. This was something commercial vendors weren’t doing and could not do. A non-profit, community-driven organization like Mozilla was needed to step up to the challenge.
Baker emphasizes the importance of keeping the Web open multiple times, and says that Mozilla will play a central role in making sure the Web remains open for future generations:
In the coming era both the opportunities and threats to the Web are just as big as they were 15 years ago. As the role of data grows and device capabilities expand, the Internet will become an even more central part of our lives. The need for individuals to have some control over how this works and what we experience is fundamental. Mozilla can — and must — play a key role again. We have the vision, the products and the technology to do this. We know how to enable people to participate, both by contributing to our specific activities and coming up with their own ideas that advance the bigger cause of enriching the Web.
It’s an exciting time for Mozilla and the Web. Another two billion people will join the Internet community in the coming years. It’s critical that these people all have access to the openness and empowerment that the Web has brought to date. The browser is a necessary piece of making sure this happens; yet we need to do more.
Baker also mentions a couple of upcoming projects from Mozilla that he feels will help more people become intimate with the Web. The first is Firefox OS, Mozilla's mobile operating system. The second, and personally more interesting project, is Webmaker. This particular project will help people who have no experience in coding move from Web consumers to Web creators.
Looking forward to the future isn't the only thing Mozilla is doing on its 15th anniversary. The non-profit will also be sharing 15 facts about Mozilla throughout the day with the #Webstory hashtag. Mozilla encourages users to share their own stories about Mozilla, Firefox or just what the Web in general means to them with the same hashtag.
The Web has changed tremendously over the past 15 years, and Mozilla is no longer the only major alternative to Internet Explorer. In fact, the browser market is more diverse than ever before. Regardless, Mozilla and its Web freedom allies still have an important part to play as the Web continues to grow over the next 15 years and beyond.