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Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"? 564

Posted by timothy
from the are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Over the years, Mozilla's reliance on Google has continued to grow. Indeed, in its report on Brendan Eich's promotion to CEO of Mozilla, the WSJ noted that "Google accounted for nearly 90% of Mozilla's $311 million in revenue." So, with its Sugar Daddy having also gone on record as being virulently opposed to Proposition 8, to think that that Google's support didn't enter into discussions of whether Prop 8 backer Eich should stay or go seems, well, pretty much unthinkable. "It is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8," explained Google co-founder Sergey Brin in 2008. "We should not eliminate anyone's fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love." Interestingly, breaking the news of Eich's resignation was journalist Kara Swisher, whose right to marry a top Google exec in 2008 was nearly eliminated by Prop 8. "In an interview this morning," wrote Swisher, "Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said that Eich's ability to lead the company that makes the Firefox Web browser had been badly damaged by the continued scrutiny over the hot-button issue, which had actually been known since 2012 inside the Mozilla community." Swisher, whose article was cited by the NY Times in The Campaign Against Mozilla's Brendan Eich, added that "it was not hard to get the sense that Eich really wanted to stick strongly by his views about gay marriage, which run counter to much of the tech industry and, increasingly, the general population in the U.S. For example, he repeatedly declined to answer when asked if he would donate to a similar initiative today." So, was keeping Eich aboard viewed by Mozilla — perhaps even by Eich himself — as a possible threat to the reported $1 billion minimum revenue guarantee the organization enjoys for delivering search queries for Google?"
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Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"?

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  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:40AM (#46669419)

    I understand the Church seems to think it has a monopoly on marriage as they are they most common institution to perform the ceremony. I also understand that many politicians will read the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. However it is not the government's role to decide who can and can't be together.

    So why not abolish marriages from governments?

    Have the government only recognise civil unions. Treat all civil unions equally. Introduce a reciprocal relationship with the Church's marriage so that any marriage performed by the church ends in a government recognised civil union. Finally provide other non religious methods of registering civil unions.

    Everyone's happy. Except for those in government who think the Church's view that two dudes shouldn't touch each either. But to them I say one of the tenants of modern democracy is the separation of Church and state and go find another job where your bias and lack of impartiality doesn't affect the people who you are supposed to represent.

  • by dugancent (2616577) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:42AM (#46669431)

    Obama changed his mind, did Eich?

    Either way is has no bearing on this issue as it's a company that can do as they wish. If Google wanted to cut them off for it, it's their right. Mozilla would collapse without google.

  • Re:The new Hitlers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:42AM (#46669433)

    Basically, you're a dumbass.

    You're defending the actual supremacist, who donated money to take away people's rights, and pretending those who do stand for equal rights and no longer want to tolerate the actual nazi's are the oppressors.

    Think it over.

  • by Severus Snape (2376318) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:44AM (#46669443)
    Mozilla do Google the favour, not the other way around.
  • Re:The new Hitlers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by guygo (894298) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:48AM (#46669465)
    If such ideology as yours was what this world really wanted, we would still be trading with an Apatheid government in South Africa. As you note, history is full of examples where economic pressures have been used to create social change, but unlike you I see that as a normal expression of the hallowed "free" market. I don't see anyone going to the guillotine, do you? Or are your just being hyperbolic in order to be completely out of our solar system?
  • Virulently? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:50AM (#46669475) Homepage Journal

    The link to the text "virulently opposed to Proposition 8" has nothing do with backing the claim that behaved "virulently". Weasel words: score -1 for the summary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:53AM (#46669489)

    Sealed lips and a medium-sized monetary contribution is "virulent"? Please.

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:57AM (#46669511) Homepage Journal

    Obama said that to get people like Eich to vote for him. After he was elected, he rightly threw them under the bus.

    It must be terrible being bigots on the wrong side of history. No one gives you credit for standing up for what you believe in, all they think about is how you're the kind of douchebag who would take away something that costs you nothing but makes so many people so happy.

  • by Rambo Tribble (1273454) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:58AM (#46669519)

    ... considering marriage a "fundamental right" would seem a slippery slope. Does an atheist have a fundamental right to be ordained a priest?

    To be clear, I think Eich was scapegoated, but am of the opinion it is unfair to deny marriage to gays. I am only concerned here with what seems to me to be excessively broad definitions and the fallout that may result.

  • Re:The new Hitlers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @10:59AM (#46669525) Journal
    Have you heard of 'perspective'? It's a fascinating notion, really.

    In addition to making certain flavors of artistic realism possible, it suggests that 'a guy facing pressure to resign from his cushy leadership gig' and 'being sent to the guillotine by fanatical Jacobins' may actually be meaningfully different things. Cutting edge theory stuff, here.
  • by beelsebob (529313) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:02AM (#46669553)

    Because lots of people who are not religious (or of other religions) feel that "marriage" is an important thing in their life, and "civil union" is not. The bottom line is that the church can not, and does not have a monopoly on the word. The government shouldn't give to them.

  • i don't understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:03AM (#46669557) Homepage

    i'm sorry but i genuinely fail to see the importance of any of this "personal view" stuff. a technically-competent person who has been with it almost since the beginning: they were the CEO of Mozilla for about a week. someone as technically competent as brendan should have absolutely no difficulty firewalling personal from professional: why do we have to have idiots believe otherwise? could someone therefore please explain to me in simple language what's really going on?

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:07AM (#46669589)

    If I still lived in California I would also have been "virulently opposed" to prop 8, but I hate the idea of judging someone's employability based on how they vote. To suggest that Google would treat Mozilla differently simply based on a single-issue stance of its new CEO is really selling them short. They invest in Mozilla for strategic reasons. (Mozilla isn't some sort of lazy couch-crasher that Google supports because of Mozilla's charming personality.)

    And for that matter, I don't think we should judge products based on the ideology of the people who created them. To save us some time, I'll get straight to a Hitler example, noting that Hitler personally played an important role in the design of the VW Beetle. But hippies can still drive Beetles without thereby supporting Hitler.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:08AM (#46669597) Homepage Journal

    With respect, the issue with Eich was co-funding the pro-Prop 8 campaigns, which were objectively homophobic and hate-stirring. His private views about whether gays should be allowed freedom of association aren't so much a problem as the very real judgement and respect issues reflected in his actions.

    Obama did not fund Prop 8 campaigns. He did not dog-whistle with statements saying we needed to "protect children" from "homosexual marriages" (coupled with some plausible deniability but absurd explanation that all they mean is that children would be fooled into thinking that heterosexual and homosexual marriages are equal.)

    I keep saying people here are missing the point. This is about judgement and respect. I don't think Eich would have been considered for the post if he supported a hypothetical "Atheist" campaign that called Christians idiots and Christian leaders charlatans. (I'm not aware of any such campaign ever existing, but trying to come up with an example of something that technically could come from the left that would be equivalent.)

    It's about judgement and respect. You need to be overflowing with both qualities if you want to be a CEO. Eich made a terrible mistake that brought into question both in his case, and compounded it by never distancing himself from what he did.

    As I've said before, if he'd said something like "My private views about gay marriage aside, I never intended to demean or smear gays, and it was an error on my part to donate to campaigns that turned out to do just that", I think he'd still have the potential to be CEO.

  • by bricko (1052210) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:14AM (#46669633)
    The hypocrisy of two of OkCupid’s co-founders, Sam Yagan and Christian Rudder. We searched the federal campaign-contribution database and found that Yagan gave to two candidates who opposed same-sex marriage: $500 to then-Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, a Republican, in 2004; and $500 to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign who also opposed gay marriage at the time. According to Wikipedia, 7,001,084 people voted for Prop 8. Why do any of those people still have jobs? Shouldn’t they all be forced to resign? And why should they have the privilege of living in California at all? I say round them up and move them someplace where they won’t do any harm.” One reason why rich white guys like Eich are being targeted so viciously is that the many black churches who supported Proposition 8 — and, indeed, put it over the top — are out-of-bounds for criticism. Uh oh: 60% of Intel employees who donated in Prop 8 debate supported banning gay marriage. “Exit question: When do we get a list of Silicon Valley donors to Obama’s campaign circa 2008, when he was still formally against traditional marriage? True, he didn’t support Prop 8 or other attempts to legally ban SSM (a strong signal at the time that his stated view was a lie), but the whole point of the equal protection argument against traditional marriage laws is that you can’t reserve ‘marriage’ for straights without implicitly slapping a second-class-citizen stigma on gays. Obama was willing to do that, at least rhetorically. Let’s have the names.”
  • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:42AM (#46669837) Homepage
    Thank you for the information but none of that really means anything. Donating to pat buchannon and ron paul? last I checked neither of them were anti gay

    in 1990 having the views that homosexuality and aids went together was the mainstream thought at the time. Many many people in 1990 had the same thoughts, scientists even believed as much at the time

    just for the record as well anti gay marriage != anti gay

    Having said all of that it looks like this guy is a little deeper than I wanted to give him credit for, while I dont personally feel he did anything on the grounds of losing his job over, I can see why others would want to force the man into hiding
  • Re:The new Hitlers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spike hay (534165) <blu_ice&violate,me,uk> on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:45AM (#46669859) Homepage

    Hypocrites .. that's what I think those that support gay marriage are. They don't give a flip about equality, they only want to force their moral beliefs on those that disagree, and enable a very small group of select people to get benefits. If they truly wanted equality, they would fight to ELIMINATE all benefits tied to being married.

    Interesting that you seem to be directing all of this hate to "gay hypocrites" instead of people who support straight marriage. Do you hold the same opinion about civil rights activists who fought to repeal mycegination laws? I don't think there should be special benefits to getting married, but given that civil marriage exists, there is no rational reason to restrict it to straights. Extending it to more people is a good thing, right?

    Also, let's get real. Marriage-like benefits will not be extended to anything other than romantic pairings anytime soon, or ever. It's just how it is.

  • Re:The new Hitlers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmac_the_man (1612215) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:45AM (#46669865)

    But I have the perception, rightly or wrongly, that nearly every top executive position (even at nonprofits) pays a salary that is not commensurate with the person's work or value to the organization, and that these positions are instead used as a reward for people who the company directors happens to like.

    So, I am comfortable with Eich, or even someone more hateful, being paid a high but appropriate salary for doing lots of good work for the company. But if, as I believe, most of the CEO's salary is a reward from the board of directors for being the person they like the most, then I feel justified in throwing a fit if I don't like him the most.

    Immediately before being promoted, Eich had been the Chief Technology Officer at Mozilla. He's also the guy who invented Javascript. Do you really think he didn't make an technical contribution to Mozilla's products?

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:54AM (#46669939) Homepage

    To further your point, if they really thought Eich was so bad they would quit using Javascript. But that would come at a *real* cost, unlike hounding him out of his position which can be done for free.

    Makes it all the more pathetic.

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grant_Watson (312705) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:13PM (#46670097)

    His donation to Proposition 8 has been known literally for years. He was CTO before his promotion to CEO; he had a seat on the board of the Mozilla Foundation, as is natural for its co-founder. None of his gay subordinates or coworkers seems to have levied any accusations of unfairness against him in all that time. One of the Mozilla bigwigs commented that she was surprised to learn of the donation when it came out, because Eich's friendliness and evenhandedness toward gay employees defied her stereotype of a Proposition 8 supporter.

    Eich had no trouble getting along with those who didn't share his views, but it seems that not everyone reciprocated.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:20PM (#46670155) Homepage

    "So I don't want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we've been going," he told the Guardian. "I don't believe they're relevant."

    If only everyone lived by this creed the world would be a better place. He was correct, his donation in private has NOTHING to do with the job he has been doing at mozilla for 15 years. Why only now do they make a big deal about it?

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:33PM (#46670253)

    Obama changed his mind, did Eich?

    Obama didn't change his mind. He chose the most politically acceptable stance based on the climate at the time. Although I disagree with Eich, I trust him more than I do Obama. When Eichs views are unpopular and it may affect his job, he shuts his mouth. When Obamas views are unpopular and it may affect his job, he lies.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:43PM (#46670353) Journal

    There seems to be this general idea, expressed in one form or another by the libertarians around here, that free speech ought to mean consequences free speech; that someone can take various socially questionable if not outright bigoted positions, and that no business superior, investor or the like should have any right to mitigate the harm you may cause.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:53PM (#46670429) Journal

    What is happening now with gay rights is what happened with racism in the 60's.

    That's utter bullshit. I'm sure blacks in the south would have loved if the only problem they had in the world was not being able to get the tax breaks and entitlements that come from a state recognized marriage.

    Is that was passes for oppression, these days? I'm inclined to go lynch 10,000 homosexuals, just so people would get to see what real discrimination looks like...

    Such a first-world problem, that a group not getting the tax-breaks and incentives (that were always meant as incentives for child-bearing families) passes for discrimination these days.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:55PM (#46670447)

    Those people aren't haters.

    I'M a hater.

    I hate you. All the gay activists, I hate you. I didn't use to. And note I don't hate gay people, just the gay activists (both straight and gay). Because you're now fucking evil. Not because you're gay. Not because of anything you do with your bodies in the privacy of your bedrooms.

    But because you have castigated and caused to be fired ("resigned", my ass) someone because they dared to express themselves via the previously accepted political process by which people in a democratic society decide controversial issues like this. He gave money to a campaign -- a campaign that WON, by the damn way -- and you don't like it, so you hounded him out.

    And now, I hate you. I've uninstalled Firefox, not that that will matter a whit, but I can't stand looking at it anymore, as it is a tool of people I loathe now.

    I used to be against gay marriage, but only in the way I was also against gay-people-falling-into-lion-pits; I liked gay people and didn't want them to go through anything as horrible as marriage. Or lion pits. Now.... go ahead, get married. Suffer, fuckers. (But please don't fall into lion pits; you might land on the lion.)

    So let me leave you with this thought...

    First they came for the Gays, and I did not speak out -- because the Gays had become annoying bastards who never shut up no matter how much they gained, so frankly the fucking assholes had earned it.

    Then they came for the Minorities, and I did not speak out -- because I was tired of paying for so many of them to sit at home and churn out babies, so getting rid of them would improve my life one hell of a lot, not to mention cut down the murder rate.

    Then they came for the Feminists, and I did not speak out -- because they'd told me all my life that they didn't need a damn stinking man to protect them, so I didn't protect them.

    Then they came for me -- and offered me the position of running the death camps where the Gays, Minorities, and Feminists were being exterminated, and I took the job, because hey, they'd told me I was evil all my life... and now I would teach them the true meaning of the word.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @01:05PM (#46670537) Journal

    Obama changed his mind, did Eich?

    Lovely... So you're saying we get a whole 2-year window to jump on the latest bandwagon, before we get branded as bigots, fired from our jobs, and ostracized by the public at-large?

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @01:15PM (#46670631) Homepage
    on another note, if he was forced to resign as we all assume, I wonder if he doesnt have a lawsuit against them for removing him over his religious beliefs.
  • by malkavian (9512) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @01:29PM (#46670739) Homepage

    Where, oh where does he epouse the views that Gays are inferior to non-gay? You're setting up a straw man argument right there.
    This is nothing to do with that at all. What's actually happened as an extension of all the racism laws is that if you're an ethnic minority, you actually get to be recist to everybody, and that's legally ok (affirmative action anyone? It's not positive discrimination of a small group, it's negative discrimination against a majority).
    It seems that everyone seems to be saying "You're white, therefore you're racist".. Yet if your skin isn't white, you can throw around racial epithets and people fight your corner.. After being up in front of a tribunal for calling a co-councilor in Bristol "A coconunt" (brown on the outside, white on the inside, which is apparently a standard parlance in the Black/Ethnic Minority groups, and perfectly acceptable in their eyes, one councillor brown said in her defence, shocked that she was charged with being racist "I can't be racist because I'm black".
    That's the view in the political factions all to often..
    So perhaps that is what's happening with the LGBT scene these days.. They're generally socially accepted these days, the same as anyone else (actually, probably more so than me, because I'm an introvert by nature).. Just when someone isn't happy with it, they get a huge spitting mob behind them.
    Another great example, a Gay couple wanted to stop in a B&B. When they said they wanted a double room together, the old lady running it said no.. She didn't want unmarried people sharing beds under her roof. There was a national scandal, and the landlady was hauled through the courts, and had the national newpapers hounding her (and making her quite ill). What came out at the end of this was that she didn't let _any_ unmarried people, gay, straight, whatever share beds (officially) under her roof as it made her uncomfortable. Everyone else was ok with this, or went elsewhere (she provided alternative places very locally that would cater to this quite happily).. Gay people stayed there and were happy (and she never had objection to that, or asked, or batted an eyelid if it was brought up). It was a Gay couple that decided that her wishes about unmarried sexual behaviour didn't apply to them. They made it all a political showcase, dragging her through the mud, even when it was made plain to them it was about anything but their being gay or not.
    That's the problem with this focussed "anti-homophobia", "anti-racist" thing. It's gone from being a way of stopping very serious discrimination into being a weapon of discrimination against those you have a personal problem with.

  • Re:The new Hitlers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Saturday April 05, 2014 @02:25PM (#46671109) Homepage

    You bring up two topics: the morality of gay marriage, and the completely separate issue of the financial and legal benefits the the USA government bestows on married couples.

    You make a persuasive argument against the government giving special rights and benefits to married couples that are denied to other long term, stable relationships. I agree with you that the government has no business doling out special rights to some couples because they made a commitment called marriage while similar commitments are denied these benefits.

    It is my opinion that government should not give any financial benefits simply because your are married. Further, I think the government should get out of the marriage business completely. Marriage, outside of religious ceremonies, should be replaced by civil contracts.A lot of people don't really understand that when they get married they are agreeing to a huge and convoluted legal contract. A range of simpler contracts should be available that spell out the rights and privileges of both partners: power of attorney, child custody and guardianship, shared assets, and how to dissolve the partnership would be some of the key things to include in these contracts..

    The moral issue is should being gay be treated like being a red head, or being black, or being white, that is something that the law should prevent everyone from discriminating against.

    In this case I disagree with you and say that being gay should be something that no one, and no law, can use as something to justify discrimination. Being gay is like having blue eyes, something you are born with. All government programs, civil rights, etc... should be available to gay people just as if they were straight.

    And hospitals do NOT decide the rules about who can visit and who has the right to make medical decisions those are all laws - laws that currently discriminate against a lot of people. rules governing wills, child custody, etc... are also generally unfair to anyone other than straight couples.

    Gay people are not forcing their morals on anyone. They are asking to be treated equally before the law. Asking for people to stop discriminating against yourself is not forcing your morals on anyone; it is asking for the law to be fair.

    Finally, gay people are not "greedily" grabbing benefits they are just asking for the same benefits others already have, and you so eloquently argued that everyone should have. Are you saying that all committed, long term relationships should get benefits, except gay ones? That would hardly be moral.

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @02:41PM (#46671213) Homepage Journal

    Now, I think if Eich simply apologized for his Prop 8 support, it would have been quite different.

    It wouldn't have been. How do I know? Because he did, and that didn't stop the criticism.

    He pledged not to change Mozilla's current policies towards LGBT individuals. It wasn't enough, and the OKCupid thing happened in spite of his assurances that nothing was going to change under his leadership.

    Now you're probably right that his personal views didn't change, but he was committed to not changing Mozilla as an organization. It still wasn't enough to stop OKCupid's childish little ploy.

  • Re:The new Hitlers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattskEE (925706) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:13PM (#46671875)

    And how is your fight against heterosexual marriage going?

    Since there is no credible movement to end legal marriage for opposite sex couples the only equitable approach the government can take is to extend marriage rights to cover same sex couples.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @07:47PM (#46673025) Homepage Journal

    No, it has nothing to do with his job performance, but he is now the public face and representative of a corporation.

    I think this is a convenient, facile excuse. How many people, when they want to look at the values of Mozilla, will Google Brendan Eich? How many will look at the wider group of people that form Mozilla, and how many will look at the Mozilla website?

    The idea that one guy at the top of a company is seen as representing the *whole* company and all its values is pretty dumb, and just not true.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @07:56PM (#46673071) Homepage Journal

    It's about judgement and respect. You need to be overflowing with both qualities if you want to be a CEO.

    Hahahahahahaha. You think Jobs had a lot of respect for other people? You think Ballmer had lots of respect and good judgment??? If anything, these are qualities that American CEOs tend NOT to have, which is why they got to the top of the greasy pole.

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