Boris Mann’s Microblog

We're all in the same lifeboat

The hashtag #MozillaLifeboat is highlighting the ~250 people laid off by Mozilla.

Here’s Mitchell Baker’s official announcement.

Daring Fireball has further links and commentary, including that the layoff number is “about on-third of its workforce”:

Firefox was very popular, and Google paid Mozilla a small fortune to make Google search the default in Firefox because it was so popular. But then came Chrome. Why should Google fund Mozilla when Chrome is about 10 times more popular than Firefox, other than out of the goodness of their heart?

It is a very good thing for the world and the web that a truly independent browser exists from a privacy-minded company, but there’s not much of a business model for it unless it’s popular enough to get the dominant search engine to pay for placement.

The Open Web, open source, Web3, global Internet commons infrastructure. Security. Privacy. Data ownership. We’ve got a lot on our plate that is looking pretty concerning.

I pretty much felt the same in the early 2000s, facing down FUD from Microsoft vs. open source. And we … won? Sort of? Except now it’s time to reboot again, because the ad supported web and big tech owned open source is an awkward place to have ended up.

I don’t know Chris Riley who just got laid off and tweeted this, but I’ll bold the key part here:

It’s been a heck of a ride at @mozilla for the past 7 years. But this is where I get off the train too. I’m sad; I’m going to miss the people, a lot. For me, my calling to make the internet better will continue. I just need to find the right next venture for it. #MozillaLifeboat – @MChrisRiley

We’re all in the same lifeboat. Grab an oar and get involved.

“no amount of extra vitamins makes sugary vegetable oil healthy for you.” — Oatly: The New Coke

The article is likely a bit of an outrage generator itself. What about other oat milks? Nut milks also have high environmental impact, what else is out there?

Craigstarter - open source crowdfunding tool for Shopify

Craigstarter on Github

A free to use / edit / extend crowdfunding tool for Shopify with multiple goals and variants as campaign tiers.

Shopify is an absolute massive ecosystem. Blending crowdfunding with straight up sales is a really powerful way to more directly own your platform for the long term, whereas one-off Kickstarters you immediately need to plan for off-platform websites, sales, communications, etc.:

Kickstarter is an excellent way to run a crowdfunding campaign. But if you already have a community built up, and have communication channels in place (via a newsletter, for example), and already run an online shop, then Kickstarter can be unnecessarily cumbersome. Kickstarter’s 10% fee is also quite hefty. By leaning on Shopify’s flexible Liquid templating system and reasonable CC processing fees, an independent publisher running a campaign can save some ~$7,000 for every $100,000 of sales by using Craigstarter instead of Kickstarter. That’s materially meaningful, especially in the world of books.

This is particularly relevant because I’m in the midst of learning more about how to run and setup Shopify stores, both for work, and ideally for some side projects. Gathering interest from a group of people so we can collectively fund / buy things is exactly the kind of thing I want to do.

Via @pat

Public vs Common Goods in Open Source, responding to @tobie

Responding to @Tobie’s thread on examining open source as a commons.

In the context of digital abundance, the open source code itself can be infinitely copied.

1) open source code = public good

2) support, maintenance, etc. = common good

3) paying customers = common good (assuming multiple consultants or hosting services etc.)

From my understanding of @Dries’ Makers and Takers post, the distinction between a public good which can’t be depleted and a common good which can be, and must be protected, is key.

Commons Grid - Private Goods, Common Goods, Club Goods, Public Goods (from Dries' Makers and Takers)

The activity around open source code is a common good. It is provided by the maintainers and other contributors. @tobie mentions maintenance, but also documentation, marketing, communication, responding to issues, and so on.

The “consumers” of these activities may evolve into new contributors, so in one model providing this activity will grow the commons. And even the add to the public good of the code if the new contributors eventually provide code, too.

But taking time for these activities is a scarce resource, as Tobie points out. Sponsorship and similar types of funding can potentially “buy” more of a maintainer’s time, so they can provide more support for (2) – but isn’t really a business model or a commons management strategy on its own.

Finally, my third point from above. Dries made this point quite clearly: if you have multiple businesses built around an open source code base, the (paying) customers are a common good: they can (mostly) only be the customer of one business.

Approaches that restrict aspects of a project to paying users run the risk of making this no longer a common or public good, and yet Ostrom mostly proved that “good fences make good neighbours”. This is the challenge we face that @tobie highlights, and the ongoing experimental phase that I see open source at large moving into.

For a sustainable commons that goes beyond code, we need more makers than takers.

Went for an afternoon bike ride and ended up at Banana Grove Market on 22nd for the first time.

A mashup of an Italian deli and an Asian grocery in a really excellent way.

Checked in at Resurrection Distillery.

Catch Weight fish & chips plus distillery cocktails.

Ok shiny happy #pickling people, here’s some fermented rhubarb getting started, with orange peels and cardamom.

Back to important #pickling content. Lacto fermenting some tomatoes with garlic and some fresh green peppercorns.

I like this future where I can be emailing my local grocer and they’re asking if I want 6lbs of heirloom plum tomatoes delivered. Yes, obviously!

Plum tomatoes

The Changli is a $1200USD electric car that you can order from Alibaba. Jalopnik bought it and road tested it in the US.

I kind of want to do a bulk order to Vancouver…

Developer community chat tools: @swyx points out Slack ⬇️ and Discord ⬆️

Slack is Fumbling Developers and the Rise of Developer Discords by @swyx

Slack’s revenue is firmly linked to enterprise, so I don’t see this as a strategic error. It is, however, a fact that open developer communities are increasingly using Discord.

I also expect more Matrix adoption in the next 1-2 years.

Although Discord open sourcing at least server instances while still following their federation model could be interesting. Or interop with the Matrix protocol.

I have a draft post that I’ve been meaning to finish for months of how Fission uses Discord chat + Discourse forum. Soon!

Digital Abundance and creator compensation

Kyle Mitchell writes The Truth is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free as commentary to Nathan J. Robinson’s editor’s note in Current Affairs of the same name. “Quality” journalism is paywalled and the rest is free?

This point by Robinson on membership models seems key:

a podcaster who sells their product on Patreon rather than giving it away but filling it with mattress and “box-of-shit-a-month” ads has an important kind of freedom: they only have to please the audience, not the sponsors.

“Open Source”, funding, and digital works available at no cost have many parallels in industries beyond software, including journalism.

Kyle points out that not all creators should expect to be compensated just because they are creators:

I deserve…no compensation whatever for the bad musical improvizations, repetitive doodles, or unfunny or dead-end software libraries I churn out from time to time. Everyone, including me, should be fine with this.

Also, that in areas of creative work, especially those available digitally, “giving away” work may be the best strategy:

I happen to believe that in most areas of creative work, and in most adjacent industries, giving more away for $0 online would improve outcomes for most players, overall. Our business instincts and well-worn patterns haven’t quite kept up with the times, and never do.

I’m thinking a lot about digital abundance lately in this same context.

Read the whole thing. You can also sign up on Kyle’s Artless Devices forum if you want to discuss this further.

Last BC Day at Millers Landing

My parents have sold their house on #bowenisland. They move out in October, after 41 years living there.

This also means shutting down the Seven Hills B&B, which they’ve run for 25 years or so.

They’re lucky to not have to leave Bowen. They’re building a 4-Plex with 3 other couples, which is just 500m closer to Snug Cove from where they are now.

It was a lovely BC Day long weekend. But also a bit of an end of an era. My childhood home, that was always there for me, always “home”, won’t be around much longer. I’m lucky to have had it, and of course my parents and Bowen Island itself are still there.

Checked in at Tell Your Friends Cafe.

Another #bowenisland happening spot, my first time visiting in person.

Brought the charcoal BBQ over to Bowen. Beets, zucchini rounds, pork, Orbaek bratwurst, and some beef.

Checked in at Orbaek

New food option on #bowenisland. Rice bowls with great pickled veggies, plus house made meats.

Checked in at Skipper Otto.

A #biking pickup of #SkipperOtto fresh mussels.

Checking in at Jericho Beach.

#biking to Jericho. A beautiful evening in the sun.

Went for a walk after dinner. The blackberries are starting to ripen!

This is basically a pickle / fermentation appreciation account now. Bought this kit at Welk’s today, plus two more lids & springs.

New podcast: Value in Open, about doing #opensource for a living:

Any open source value creator is deserving of a fair share of the profits that their work generates for others. But figuring out reasonable ways to “collect” without running afoul of deeply rooted open source principles is an incredible challenge. – @erlend_sh

Checked in at Best Food’s Grocery.

Corner store popsicles while #biking — and a really great #mural by Jenn Brisson.

At the #Fission office

Checked in at Hime.

Take out from the #sushi #restaurant that’s close to the office.

Checked in at Kissa Tanto. Always order the pickle plate. Look how perfect this is, and so tasty.