Saturday, April 05, 2014

Mozilla, the Blue Bunny and me

Golly, it was good news when Brendan Eich stepped down Thursday as C.E.O. of Mozilla --- I'd been scared there for a while that I was going to have to boycott Firefox and go back full-time to Google Chrome, which for some reason has been running slow as molasses during a cold snap on this old computer lately.

My browser difficulties are related to Windows XP, which the computer runs. Microsoft support for that operating system ends April 8, but it stopped working with the new versions of Internet Explorer months ago. So I shifted to Google Chrome, an operating system I've had issues with for as long as it's been around, but which seemed to work well most of the time.

Finally, as Chrome slowed down --- I still use it for various purposes --- I changed to Firefox, to which my heart now belongs. It is perky and fast; love the symbolism of the fox chasing its tail around the world, which is what most of us do most days on the Internet.

Then Eich --- one of the co-founders of Mozilla --- was named C.E.O. and fox fur hit the fan. His detractors had known since 2012 that Eich contributed $1,000 to help pass Proposition 8, California's anti-gay-marriage measure, now consigned to history's dustbin. So that fact was trotted out again, to which was added the shocking revelations that he'd made earlier contributions to right-winger Pat Buchanan and libertarian nut job Ron Paul.

To be fair, much of the tempest was occurring within the Mozilla teapot. For various reasons, Eich had not been a popular choice --- three of six board members quit just before his appointment. Some of this had to do with Silicon Valley's intense liberality, both socially and politically; but also related was the fact many insiders at Mozilla --- maker of open-source software and heavily reliant on volunteers --- felt the new C.E.O. should have been an outsider equipped to deal objectively with some troubling inside issues.

Petitions were circulated, threats were made and eventually Eich resigned. This caused a degree of whiplash among fundamentalists and evangelicals, some of whom were calling for a boycott because Mozilla was too gay-friendly during the days when Eich was attempting to appease his critics with conciliatory statements. When he quit, driven from office by gay commandos it now was alleged, a rapid shift in ideological combat strategy was necessary.

I'm just glad I can keep using Firefox with a clear conscience.


Besides, I'm a really rotten boycotter. Still can't pass a freezer case filled with Blue Bunny ice cream without feeling intense guilt. 

Some years ago, when it became evident that Blue Bunny owners --- Blue Bunny is an Iowa firm headquartered in Le Mars --- were supporting the political campaigns of our state's right-wing political loons, a boycott was called for.

I was doing fine with that --- until Blue Bunny went on sale and was priced lower that my all-time favorite brand, Hy-Vee's upscale Skondra. Then, morally challenged as I am, I'd have to look both ways, slip a carton of Blue Bunny into my cart, pull a few other groceries over it, then wheel to checkout as rapidly as possible, hoping no one would notice.

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