Mozilla is re-establishing a Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group in hopes of soothing controversy about its enterprise deployment stance.
the enterprise to know it cares.
re-establishing a Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group as a place for
enterprise developers, IT staff and Firefox developers to discuss the
challenges, ideas and best practices for deploying Firefox in the enterprise,"
read a July 19 post on The Mozilla Blog
. "The group will have conversations on the discussion list
and during in-person meetings as well as during monthly phone meetings."
next meeting will focus on "the release cycle and how enterprises can use
Firefox in a way that fits into their own testing and release cycles." While
the online discussions themselves will apparently "preserve the privacy of the
participants," Mozilla will make summaries of those discussions public.
renewing its enterprise focus after a bit of controversy in June, when its
release of Firefox 5 worried enterprises still figuring out how to adopt
Firefox 4, released a mere three months before. "I have 500,000 users on
Firefox 3.6," read a much-circulated comment by IBM's John Walicki on a June 21 blog posting
by Firefox developer and consultant Michael Kaply. "I'm now
in the terrible position of choosing to deploy a Firefox 4 release with
potentially unpatched vulnerabilities, reset the test cycle for thousands of
internal apps to validate Firefox 5 or stay on a patched Firefox 3.6.x."
If that wasn't
problematic enough, Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for various Mozilla
projects, wrote the following in a June 23 comment on Kaply's blog: "Enterprise
has never been (and I'll argue, shouldn't be) a focus of ours."
"Until we run out of people who don't have sysadmins and enterprise deployment
teams looking out for them, I can't imagine why we'd focus at all on the kinds
of environments you care so much about."
erupted from there. Microsoft was quick to leap at Mozilla's opening, with an
executive very publicly asking Walicki to consider jumping back to Internet
in no position to question a competitor's approach to customer engagement and
support," Ari Bixhorn, director of Internet Explorer, wrote
in a June 23 posting on his blog
"I did want to take the opportunity to clarify the Internet Explorer team's
commitment to, and support for, our corporate customers."
continued its fire extinguishing over the next few days. "Enterprises are built
of people," Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs tweeted
June 28, "and Mozilla is fundamentally about people. We support Firefox users
wherever they are."
organization also reflected some of the blame back on the enterprise.
"One aspect is
that Mozilla is mostly not composed of enterprise IT staff," Mike Shaver, vice
president of Mozilla's technical strategy, wrote in a June 28 posting on his blog
. "This means that we rely on prospective deployers to tell
us what their specific needs are, and hopefully contribute help in meeting
deployment specialists, he insisted, have been less than transparent.
on a few occasions to collect this information-what sets of features would lead
to which deployments with what user impact-but have had a lot of trouble
getting that information into our product planning in a usable way," he wrote.
"A surprising (to me) number of institutions will not talk on the record about
what they need, which makes it pretty hard for them to join a community
conversation about what is worth investing in."
Now comes this
Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group as an apparent way for the organization
to start that conversation. With Firefox squeezed in the marketplace between
Internet Explorer and a host of sprightly upstarts like Google Chrome, the need
for controversy-free deployment is likely higher than ever.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter