Mozilla denies pushing CEO to resign

Mozilla denies pushing CEO to resign

Summary: In response to the outcry over his resignation, Mozilla has published an extensive FAQ on the resignation of its controversial short-term CEO Brendan Eich.

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Mozilla has denied that the board of the company, or its staff, pushed Brendan Eich to resign, stating he made the decision to leave on his own terms.

Eich resigned last week after less than two weeks as the CEO of the company behind the open-source web browser, Firefox. Fellow developers, community members and other tech companies such as OKCupid had questioned Eich's appointment as CEO after attention was drawn to a donation Eich made to the campaign supporting the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California in the 2008 election.

The CEO — who also invented JavaScript and had served relatively uncontroversially as Mozilla's chief technology officer for a number of years — had initially attempted to weather the storm of controversy. In an interview with ZDNet's sister site CNET last week, he said that he was a good fit for CEO, and Mozilla's inclusiveness should include people who hold his own views about same-sex marriage.

"I am CEO, and I'm confident I am the best person for the job right now. I serve at the board's pleasure. If that should change, I'll do something else. I don't think it's good for my integrity or Mozilla's integrity to be pressured into changing a position. If Mozilla became more exclusive and required more litmus tests, I think that would be a mistake that would lead to a much smaller Mozilla, a much more fragmented Mozilla," he said at the time.

But Eich's resignation came soon after, with the now former-CEO stating he was resigning, and would step away from the limelight.

Eich's resignation has sparked another round of controversy for the company, with many claiming that Eich's free speech was being impinged upon by gay activists. Those who had criticised moves to boycott the company's software because of Eich's beliefs are now themselves promising to boycott Mozilla because of Eich's resignation.

Firefox's Feedback page Inputs has been inundated with negative comments since Eich's resignation, recording over 59,000 negative comments in three days slamming the company for Eich's decision to leave Mozilla in the wake of the controversy.

Former Republican speaker Newt Gingrich described the movement against Eich as "new facism" against people opposed to same-sex marriage unless they decide to recant like US President Barack Obama has.

In response to the outcry, Mozilla posted an FAQ over the weekend, stating that Eich resigned on his own terms, and was not pushed by staff or the board.

"Board members and senior executives tried to get Brendan to stay at Mozilla in another role or to stay actively involved with Mozilla as a volunteer contributor. Brendan decided that it was better for himself and for Mozilla to sever all ties, at least for now," the company said.

The organisation said that fewer than 10 of the 1,000 employees in Mozilla had called for Eich's resignation, and many more supported the CEO to stay in the top job.

Even those who had originally spoken out against Eich have expressed sadness over his decision to leave. Rarebit founder, and one of the first to speak out against Eich, Hampton Catlin said in a blog post late last week that it was a "sad" victory, when all he had sought from Eich was an apology.

The whole episode is a massive distraction for Mozilla, as the company looks to expand its mobile operating system platform Firefox OS onto new devices and into new markets.

Topics: Open Source, Mobility

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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77 comments
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  • "when all he had sought from Eich was an apology"

    The man does not believe in gay marriage why should he apologize, for his beliefs?
    T0rpid
    • Crocodile's tears

      ... in its most obvious.
      LBiege
    • Apologize when you want to.

      He shouldn't apologize for his belief. The hope was that he had changed his views, as so many Americans have.
      Badge3832
      • Huh?

        Eich's beliefs are offensive, immoral, cruel, wrong and worst of all, utterly baseless. They are plain and simple bigotry. He has no place helming a socially conscious organization like Mozilla.
        x I'm tc
        • Said the thought police

          Is a person's preference for traditional marriage the only thing you want to look out for in a CEOs personal place in his mind? Or is there something else you want to list out beforehand before any person is appointed for the position?
          JOB83
        • You're the reason, dolt!

          You're the reason it's now called the "Gay Mafia". You're as bad or worse than gay haters. Idiot.
          howard.blake@...
        • WTH?

          Actually they are only an opinion, not attached to any particular group of people, but an idea. Same sex marriage. He was against an issue, whereas you are attacking a person. To attack an issue is a right. To have a differing point of view, or opinion is a right. The amount of effect an opinion or differing point of view has on a person or a group of people...NONE. You sir, lack any sense of tolerance...unless someone believes exactly has you do, which makes you a bigot. Tolerance says you agree to disagree, and as stated by others, fight for someone's right to disagree...as they fight for your right to disagree with them.
          lngrj42
    • Not only does he have nothing to apologize for...

      ... it's ludicrous to think he should apologize for a belief that he acted on more than 5 years before being appointed Mozilla CEO, that he may or may not hold any longer.
      dh1760
    • Why apologize?

      Because he's a bigot.
      x I'm tc
      • Re: Why apologize?

        And in what way are you less bigoted than him? You hate gay haters and he hates gay marriage. You both hate which makes you both bigots. Are you going to apologize?
        oscardetoy@...
        • Why indeed.

          All things are not equal in your response. He hates gay marriage, which is an idea or institution. The person you replied to hates gay haters, which are a group of people. One attacks an idea, or belief, while the other attacks people. One does not attack people, while disagreeing with ideas or beliefs, while the other would probably kill people if he could get away with it. Which shows tolerance? (Hint: the former Mozilla CEO shows much tolerance. He used political action in the democratic tradition to attempt to defeat an idea. He did not go crazy and attack, blackmail people, or plan on how to hurt those who support gay marriage when it ultimately failed. Yet here we have those who "won" trying to destroy him. Where is the tolerance?)
          lngrj42
  • My own view

    My own view is that it makes no sense to put the seal of God, on behavior God deems egregiously wrong. All that is going to do, is tick God off. It is one thing not to condemn gay behavior; it is another thing entirely to ascribe God's blessing to it. Also liberals in the media should think twice about furiously promoting gay behavior as okay, since every society where such behavior has becomes prevalent, becomes diminished soon after.
    P. Douglas
    • re:

      Your imaginary sky bully is a concept that has been rendered increasingly by a few centuries of scientific inquiry.
      Sir Name
      • re:

        Oops. Meant to say increasingly obsolete.
        Sir Name
        • Drive by Atheism...

          You can always count on it to add nothing to the conversation.
          Bad_Ashe
          • Atheism, etc.

            Atheism has been ruled to be a religion by the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, in the U.S., atheists receive the same right to free speech as do "other religions".

            Since I'm on the topic of free speech, I'll trot out this somewhat recent incident:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Schiller#Resignation_From_NPR
            "In March 2011, Vivian Schiller resigned as president and chief executive of National Public Radio amid controversy surrounding a former NPR fundraising executive who derided the "tea party" movement as a collection of "gun-toting" racists and "fundamentalist Christians" who have "hijacked" the Republican Party."

            http://www.npr.org/2011/03/09/134400600/NPR-CEO-Resigns
            "Mr. DAVE EDWARDS (General Manager, WUWM; Chairman of the Board, NPR): As we looked at the situation that was unraveling now, while the board felt very confident in what Vivian has accomplished, we felt that the series of unfortunate events that have since occurred have now become such a distraction to the organization. And we felt that that hindered her ability to lead and represent public radio."

            In this particular case, the President and CEO of National Public Radio resigned for the actions of another NPR employee. Dismissing Ron Schiller (unrelated to Vivian Schiller and already on his way out of NPR) should have ended the matter.

            See? It cuts both ways. So much for Newt Gingrich' "new fascism".
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Two Things...

            The "new fascism" is alive and well. The fact that it cuts both ways is kind of the point. Despite your clear need to divide this down political lines, fascism is fascism, be it right or left.

            The problem here is in your example. It simply isn't equivalent.

            NPR is a supposedly neutral "news organization" funded by taxpayer dollars. When one if its corporate fundraisers is caught (on company time, no less) slandering a good portion of the taxpayers who support it in order to help raise outside funds for the organization, someone is going to take the fall.

            Ron Schiller was leaving anyway, so his resignation was meaningless. Someone had to be accountable to the taxpayers and it was at the top. To beg for taxpayer money out of one side of your mouth while disparaging a large portion of that taxpayer base out of the other side of your mouth is not going to end well for a publicly funded organization.

            It's bad enough that NPR is so clearly partisan on their actual broadcasts; It's a slap in the face to those who are forced to fund it via taxes just so they can support the evangelizing of political positions they don't agree with.

            Easy solution, get NPR of the government nipple.

            Cheers!
            Bad_Ashe
          • "Political lines"

            Bad_Ashe:
            "Despite your clear need to divide this down political lines, fascism is fascism, be it right or left."

            No, it was Newt Gingrich that made this a political issue. I merely pointed out that "it cuts both ways". Did you bother read the article and check out recent links to Newt Gingrich on Mozilla?! His use of the phrase "new fascism" is a joke.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Pointing and Cawing...

            I didn't write that you made it a political issue; fascism is fundamentally a political issue. I said you clearly wanted to divide it down political lines with your Gingrich quote, which you mocked.

            I could care less what anyone else thinks of Gingrich's quote, but this new trend of fascism-as-tolerance is alive and well with a good amount of newspeak to go along with it. So in that regard his comment stands.

            The rest of your piece attempted to point at those on the right side of the aisle and say "look, look, they do it too." As I stated, right or left is meaningless, fascism is fascism.

            The problem with your post, as I pointed out, is that your example isn't equivalent, and I laid out why. If you wanted to engage the substance of your post and mine, you would have attempted to strengthen your original claim.

            Either way, with this Mozilla incident the levee has broken and legal-but-suppressed political discrimination is now overt, and has now hit the mainstream thanks to the progressive left.

            Cheers!
            Bad_Ashe
          • Bad_Ashe: "your Gingrich quote"

            From the article:
            "Former Republican speaker Newt Gingrich described the movement against Eich as "new facism" against people opposed to same-sex marriage unless they decide to recant like US President Barack Obama has."

            See? You really didn't bother to read the article.
            Rabid Howler Monkey