Firefox Extensions to Save the World

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A dramatic title for a post I know, but Joe Solomon and other folks think that Add-ons have enormous potential for social change. A recent example is the KnowMore extension whick alerts you when you visit corporate sites to inform you of their environmental and social record. Quite frankly, every time I visit apple.com it makes me feel guilty about having their products!

You can show your support, here’s how:

I’m interested in the broader discussion on how Firefox as a whole and the Mozilla project can be an agent for change. This is something that was brought up quite a bit at the Firefox Summit. Mozilla, with it’s roots deep in the Open Source ethos, and not being controlled by a traditional corporate entity like the other major browsers, has a unique opportunity to lead the way here.

Please let me know of any other add-ons you think fit into this category.

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2 Responses to “Firefox Extensions to Save the World”

  1. Sveinung 1-Sep-2008 at 18:04 #

    In order to be an agent of change you could for example support web standards by releasing a browser that supports them well and make it popular. While you are at it you could also make it cross platform to support people on other platforms than the big ones and make it Free software so people could be empowered to change it them self, and perhaps even make it easy to extend. You could also make it secure to help people escape the Windows security issues that was driving people away from computers. You could for example call it… Firefox. If you really wanted to go far you could also help open up other areas, like video. You could do that by including Ogg Theora directly in the browser. Believe me. You are doing great already.

    When it comes to stuff like the KnowMore extension it is great as long as it remains an extension and is independent. If you include it in the default Firefox download it would be bad. That sort of information will always have a bias, and people don’t like to be told what to think unless they ask.
    An example: Government A expropriate the land of some poor peasants and give it to company B. A decentralist would be offended if KnowMore did not say “Accepted stolen land from government A” when visiting the company’s website. A centralist on the other hand would want the incident to be ignored or to say “Was given land by the people of A and created jobs” since in his view the government don’t steal since it has the right to take land from people. If Mozilla pick a position here it will risk alienating the one or the other.

    As individuals all men should fight injustice. But I think that it’s smart to have some organizations that only focuses on one area so people that disagree on other issues can cooperate towards that common goal. They can than join other organizations for their other goals. Mozilla have done a great job when it comes to making the world of computing a freer and better place. Please think twice before you do something that can endanger that work, even if it means that some customers will be unaware that a company accepts stolen land.

  2. kinger 8-Sep-2008 at 12:24 #

    Sveinung : I completely agree. Stick with what you are good at, and get better. I think the role that Mozilla can have however, and Open Source in general, is to inspire other in whatever field they are in to challenge norms and bring about change.

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