back to article Mozilla creates paid-for subscriptions for web doc library

The Mozilla Developer Network, which hosts free, open access to web standard documentation, tools, samples and other good stuff, is going pay-for-play with a premium subscription plan that adds new personalization features.  The Firefox maker announced today the subscription service, called MDN Plus, saying it will add three …

  1. PriorKnowledge

    I don’t get it

    Our web browsers are mostly open source software using public APIs based upon what is written in W3C standards documents.

    Why would anybody pay Mozilla for anything?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: I don’t get it

      You see the article...its the bit after the headline but before the comment button. Try reading it.

      1. PriorKnowledge

        Re: I don’t get it

        I read the article and that's precisely why I don't get it. But you sound like their perfect customer!

        Meanwhile, I have these things called RSS Feeds, History. Bookmarks and Work Offline. It works with the free documentation we already have and has been available since the release of Internet Explorer 7.

        Do I need to spell things out even more?

  2. TM™

    I feel for Mozilla. Their contribution to IT is massive, but they're in a really tough position to monetise it. The big players with the money naturally prefer people to use their own browsers that best protect their income streams and give their browsers away for free (at the point of use) so there is no incentive for people to pay Mozilla for the same thing.

    The fact is Mozilla, amongst others, is saving us from a bleak future where browsing is controlled by big corporations, but that future would take years to materialize if Mozilla were to disappear today. By then it would probably be too late to resurrect a free browser because said corporations would have tweaked the standards to require something akin to secure boot that requires a large, 'trusted', corporate entity to work (for our own safety you understand).

    It's a long stretch but I guess the guaranteed privacy route is the only way to go, but then you have to restrict functionality in a browser that was once totally open source. Tough one.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      I certainly don't feel for Mozilla.

      They've taken a decent browser, removed a ton of useful features, made it harder to use, then they wonder why people no longer use it.

      The sooner they can burn in Hell, the better.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        I think burning in hell is a little strong, but certainly they should invest the money in putting back the features that made Firefox different, and useful, instead of chasing the coat tails of Chrome.

        If I wanted Chrome, I'd be using Chrome. I chose Firefox for it's capable and powerful extensions, especially with regards to blocking content and cookies and filtering the dross that comes down the line... yeah, about that...

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        > They've taken a decent browser, removed a ton of useful features, made it harder to use

        They have yielded to the all-too convenient "I do as I want, if you want something different, feel free to do it yourself" mentality of many open source developers. Which is fine if you do something on your spare time without being paid, but not if you make a salary out of it. In this case, sorry, you're a paid employee like any other.

        Mozilla would fare much better if they fired all those people paid to not listen to their customer base, and went back to what they were back when they took over from Netscape and crossed swords with MSIE: Mean and lean and in tune with their real users, not with some idiotic marketing fantasies.

        And not having their worst enemy be their main sugar daddy would certainly help with that: Being Chrome's anti-monopoly insurance is not a way forward, only downwards. I for one am happy for this means to fund them, I only hope they won't waste that money in futilities.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Fully agreed. Mozilla as it currently exists is more part of the problem than part of the solution.

      3. StinkyMcStinkFace

        yes, let them burn

        People seem to be forgetting that Mozilla announced their censorship model that is baked into the product. They block what you can browse, at the browser level, even before plug-ins or extensions.

        I think burn-in-hell is an appropriate response to that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I would like to believe Mozilla yet stand valiantly between us and dystopia, but given the course of the past several years I'm forced to conclude they're kept on life support only so Google has something to point to and say "look, we don't have a browser monopoly!"

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Obviously. Why else would Google fund their only competitor? They need a competitor, but they need him to be insignificant. Definitely not standing in their way of controlling the web.

        That's why Mozilla needs to break free while it's still time. At some point they will become an empty shell wasting time with meaningless side projects just to pretend they still exist.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Fire Fox. . . savour of the universe!

          I can beleive I am saying this, but in an odd way it would have been better if MS had used Firefox technology for their browser. You would at least have had some balanced competition. The current situation is way too unbalanced.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: Fire Fox. . . savour of the universe!

            Upvote for the title, because I'm listening to an 80s station and, guess what's actually playing right now? (Open fire! All weapons! - yes, it's a world of ham)

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Mozilla as a corporation has made an awful lot of mistakes and wasted oodles of money on side projects that no one was really interested in.

      The work on the browser and in the various bodies around the development of the web, including documentation, has been outstanding. I'm not heavily involved in web development at the moment but, should the need arise, I'd certainly be interested because good technical documentation is hard to write and, therefore, usually hard to find.

    4. Paul_Canada

      Apple supposedly values privacy and security, so it would be great if Apple (Safari) would ditch their Webkit nonsense and hop on the Gecko bandwagon. WebKit has fallen behind Blink and Gecko engines, it should be called SafarIE.

      Switching to Gecko would:

      1. Bring Safari into the 21st century: feature complete + not buggy.

      2. Non-Mac devs: ensure websites work in Safari via Firefox.

      3. 2 teams: faster development cycle for Gecko.

      4. Bring in decent extension support.

      5. Ensures that Blink doesn't just take over everything.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge


        You make no commercial arguments for the switch. Apple has largely frozen browser development because it has achieved what it needs: a runtime to replace Flash for music and video content.

        Switching to Gecko would be a huge wrench for Apple's team. It is far easier for it to pick bits of Blink and make it work with Webkit.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile firefox has forgotten how to open PDFs. But yes let's focus on stuff nobody wants.

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Wfm. Did you file a bug or just to yourself?

      1. DomDF

        Works for me about half the time, which isn't great.

  4. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    As a regular MDN user, none of the paid-for features interest me. I just don't see their use. Sorry.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      > As a regular MDN user, none of the paid-for features interest me

      A somebody who doesn't even know what "MDN" is, I love the potential feature allowing me to fund Mozilla and thus allow it to eventually break free of the Google deadlock.

      (Yes I know, I hear those violins in the background too. They will probably announce shortly they will focus all their resources creating a dog walking service (or some such)... It's indeed quite likely they are already beyond help and all the good people are long gone. *sigh*)

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        You're right: nowhere in the article does it explain what MDN is.

        It's the Mozilla Developer Network and it's a site that documents the webs' standards. At the moment, it's the best site for web docs on the web. Hopefully monetisation and corporatisation won't ruin that. (I don't want tutorials, I just want an easy to digest version of the standard along with a link to the standard.)

        I actually, thought MDN had been spun off from Mozilla and none of the money would go to help Mozilla. But it appears the spin off is a separate organisation called Open Web Docs, and that:

        Any revenue generated by MDN Plus will stay within Mozilla. Mozilla is looking into ways to reinvest some of these additional funds into open source projects contributing to MDN but it is still in early stages.

        [Press release]

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