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Mozilla drafts Firefox vision statement

Firefox is facing competitive challenges with a new rapid-release development program--and now with a new attempt to rally people to its cause.

Firefox logo

What exactly is Firefox for?

With a new Mozilla chief executive, a new six-week rapid-release cycle, and new Firefox management, apparently the organization has concluded there's no time like the present to pin down an answer.

"Now that we have a solid base to work from, and greatly improved agility, it's a good time to look at the quickly-evolving landscape and chart our path forward," Jay Sullivan, Mozilla's vice president of product, said in a mailing list message on Friday. "To that end, I've tried to synthesize and distill countless discussions and ideas I've heard from throughout the Mozilla community over the last few years about where we should go with our products to further the Mozilla mission."

The result is a draft vision statement

Without further ado, here is the Firefox vision: "Discover, experience, and connect with apps, Web sites, and people on your own terms, everywhere."

Sullivan said he wants the statement to be "something we can use to guide priorities and road maps, and something we can rally around to grow our global community to advance the Web."

As rallying cries go, the vision statement is hardly up to the level of "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more...Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'" But to be honest, I can't ever remember reading a vision or mission statement that was anything but blah.

But for a bit more passion (if not Shakespeare's way with words), check what amounts to the Firefox vision's preamble:

"The next generation of innovation on the Web will be anchored by a browser that is an honest broker committed to the interests of the individual user and developer, providing amazing experiences that match those offered by proprietary platforms; and user control and developer reach and freedom that is superior to proprietary platforms. As Firefox has transformed the browser landscape before, it must do so again....

Mozilla is uniquely positioned to deliver experiences that put the needs of the user first, above profits and above exploiting their personal data. Mozilla is the only organization in the world that can credibly deliver a browser that meets this opportunity.

Mozilla faces serious challenges today, with Chrome's growth in usage picking up where Firefox's left off, with Internet Explorer competitive again, and with browsing on the very popular iPhone and iPad devices restricted to the Apple WebKit engine that powers Safari. But it's good to hear Mozilla is sorting out Firefox's raison d'etre.