Sure, it may have actually been around seven years ago now that Mozilla started accepting cryptocurrencies as donations, but with a tweet last week reminding folks of this fact, it seems that the company has stepped into a pile of public relations doo doo. Jamie Zawinski, who credits himself as “one of the founders of Netscape and Mozilla.org,” replied to the tweet and did not mince words.
Hi, I'm sure that whoever runs this account has no idea who I am, but I founded @mozilla and I'm here to say fuck you and fuck this. Everyone involved in the project should be witheringly ashamed of this decision to partner with planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters.
— j͕̠̦̪͕̓͛̊̾̄ͅw̧̧̳̪̘͊̋͗̾͢͠z̢̘̞͈̺̞̩̓̽̐̋͗̆̋̚͟͜ (@jwz) January 3, 2022
For my money, I think it was the “planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters” turn of phrase that really set Twitter aflame. After all, as we learned earlier this year, nothing moves the social media needle more than moral outrage.
Peter Linss, one of the creators of the Gecko browser engine on which Mozilla Firefox is based, also stepped in to back up Zawinski, saying that he was 100% with him and that Mozilla was “meant to be better than this.”
When Mozilla first announced it would accept Bitcoin donations in 2014, it cited Khan Academy, Electronic Frontier Foundation, United Way, Greenpeace, and Wikimedia Foundation among its moral and upstanding cryptocurrency-accepting compatriots. Of that list, just Greenpeace has since stopped accepting cryptocurrency donations, telling the Financial Times earlier this year that “as the amount of energy needed to run bitcoin became clearer, this policy [of accepting cryptocurrency donations] became no longer tenable.”
Now, after Zawinski’s biting wordsmithery and the subsequent Twitter storm, it would appear that Mozilla has also decided to reconsider. Mike Shaver, another Mozilla project founder, also tweeted his support, writing that he was “glad to see this reflection happening.”
Last week, we tweeted a reminder that Mozilla accepts cryptocurrency donations. This led to an important discussion about cryptocurrency’s environmental impact. We’re listening, and taking action. 1/4
— Mozilla (@mozilla) January 6, 2022
In a follow-up blog post to the ordeal, Zawinski doubled down on his condemnation of Mozilla’s cryptocurrency acceptance, writing that “cryptocurrencies are not only an apocalyptic ecological disaster, and a greater-fool pyramid scheme, but are also incredibly toxic to the open web, another ideal that Mozilla used to support” — an idea also espoused in many of the comments on the initial Twitter thread.
This is not only about the environmental impact. As a steward for the web you should also be taking into account whether crypto and blockchain tech contribute positively or negatively to the web and its community. Right now it is a massive negative influence and should be fought.
— a.m.c (@Sarksus) January 6, 2022
Meanwhile, although Mozilla says that it is pausing the ability to donate cryptocurrencies during its review, the donations page still lists BitPay among its payment methods.
As you can imagine, the replies to Mozilla’s tweets about reconsidering cryptocurrencies are also full of cryptocurrency devotees offering contrary claims — for instance, that cryptocurrencies require less energy than centralized banking, and that certain types of cryptocurrency are better than others — but for now, it seems that reconsideration, at least, is underway.
This is disingenuous. All those other industries actually do something with the energy they consume. They constitute the logistical infrastructure of modern civilization.
Bitcoin does nothing except manufacture pollution.
— David Glover-Aoki (@DavidCWG) January 7, 2022
This Week in Programming
- Python Takes TIOBE’s Top Spot (Again): While we’re at it — it is the first week of the year after all, when we have little more to do than recap the year past or predict the year ahead — the TIOBE Index came out this week with its “Language of the Year” award, which it has awarded to Python for the second year in a row. “The award is given to the programming language that has gained the highest increase in ratings in one year,” they explain. “C# was on its way to get the title for the first time in history, but Python surpassed C# in the last month.” Head on over to read about Python’s “triumphal march” and the rest of the eternal programming language popularity horse race to find out where your favorite language stands.
Visual Studio: "Do you trust the author of this repository?"
Absofuckinglutely not, it was me.
— Nick Craver (@Nick_Craver) January 5, 2022
- Visual Studio 2022 Gets Git, Integrated Chat and More: While Microsoft released Visual Studio 2022 to cap off 2021, it wasn’t meant to be a final release. This week, the company has not only released the Visual Studio 2022 17.1 Preview 2, which includes a bunch of new Git features, it has also integrated chat into Live Share for Visual Studio 2022. The preview comes with a whole bunch of new features, not the least of which being the four new Git features added this week: compare branches, checkout commit, multi-repo branching, and line-staging (interactive staging). That last one, it warns, is still in preview and has some known issues, but they also say that several more Git-related features are in the works, such as the ability to stage lines and chunks of code directly from the editor, the ability to un-stage lines and chunks of code, and the ability to refresh latency enhancements. As for integrated chat, each Live Share session can now have a context specific chat and the feature is included directly in Visual Studio 2022 itself, not the preview.
- A Look Back… at 1987: While we’re spending some time looking back, another post that caught my eye this week comes from former Perl Foundation member Ovid, who offered up a look at programming in 1987 versus today. As you might imagine — especially if you spent any time programming in 1987 — the verdict comes out on the side of progress, but it’s a fun read nonetheless.
- A Go 1.18 Mind Map: We know that many of you Goland aficionados (aka Gophers) are looking forward to Go 1.18 — seeing that it’s the first version of the language to include the long-awaited generics — and the Go newsletter this week included a fun way to peruse what’s new in the upcoming release. The Miro whiteboard of Go 1.18 offers a visual summary, links, videos, and all; and if nothing else is a fun experiment in how to explore what’s next for Golang. Oh, and while we have your attention, there’s also this blog post on Native Go compiling for Nintendo Switch that we thought we’d point out.
It's ok if you started programming at 8.
It's ok if you started programming at 38.
There's room for everyone.
— Verónica. (@maria_fibonacci) January 6, 2022