I mentioned in the preamble the increase in numbers of manifestos regarding new expression on the Internet. This is perhaps for several reasons. One: the Internet is a form of communication that lends itself to the openly-addressed, participatory, and polemical writing style of a manifesto. Two: it is also a form of publishing that allows such groups to easily distribute such documents. Three: specific to this example and others, the Internet is a place where the rules and standards governing its use have yet to be set and are still being argued, often passionately.
Open-source and other related issues is one of these debates, and there are several manifestos taking a number of different stands on the issue. A perhaps more well-known example is The Mozilla Manifesto, a document of guiding principles for the Mozilla Foundation.
We'll ignore most of the substance of the manifesto, so as not to get bogged down in details. However, it is interesting to note the very organized form of the piece: almost as if designed by programmers and those knowledgeable in the computer sciences. It even includes language for extending the document itself, and information on how to follow steps to what comes next (in computer language, GOTO: ).
The document is self-referential in other ways, such as in providing information on how to get involved even at the basic levels, in this way reinforcing its open-source goals. It is also currently available in seventeen languages from its main web-page, and provides information about how to help translate into more languages.
All in all, the form represents its content, seeking to provide open, accessible content to the widest number of people, and for them to be able to use it to its fullest extent. As a manifesto, it is fairly unique in this dedication to its own design. However, one might argue that this also limits its ability to be a polarizing, convincing document; but then again, it seems to be written more for information, and the polemical arguments on open-source issues can no doubt be found in quantity elsewhere.
The Mozilla Manifesto, v0.9
The Internet is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives.
The Mozilla project is a global community of people who believe that openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet. We have worked together since 1998 to ensure that the Internet is developed in a way that benefits everyone. We are best known for creating the Mozilla Firefox web browser.
The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We create communities of people involved in making the Internet experience better for all of us.
As a result of these efforts, we have distilled a set of principles that we believe are critical for the Internet to continue to benefit the public good as well as commercial aspects of life. We set out these principles below.
The goals for the Manifesto are to:
- articulate a vision for the Internet that Mozilla participants want the Mozilla Foundation to pursue;
- speak to people whether or not they have a technical background;
- make Mozilla contributors proud of what we're doing and motivate us to continue; and
- provide a framework for other people to advance this vision of the Internet.
These principles will not come to life on their own. People are needed to make the Internet open and participatory - people acting as individuals, working together in groups, and leading others. The Mozilla Foundation is committed to advancing the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto. We invite others to join us and make the Internet an ever better place for everyone.
- The Internet is an integral part of modern life–a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
- The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
- The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.
- Individuals' security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.
- Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.
- The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
- Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.
- Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.
- Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.
- Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.
Advancing the Mozilla Manifesto
There are many different ways of advancing the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto. We welcome a broad range of activities, and anticipate the same creativity that Mozilla participants have shown in other areas of the project. For individuals not deeply involved in the Mozilla project, one basic and very effective way to support the Manifesto is to use Mozilla Firefox and other products that embody the principles of the Manifesto.
Mozilla Foundation Pledge
The Mozilla Foundation pledges to support the Mozilla Manifesto in its activities. Specifically, we will:
- build and enable open-source technologies and communities that support the Manifesto's principles;
- build and deliver great consumer products that support the Manifesto's principles;
- use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform;
- promote models for creating economic value for the public benefit; and
- promote the Mozilla Manifesto principles in public discourse and within the Internet industry.
Some Foundation activities–currently the creation, delivery and promotion of consumer products–are conducted primarily through the Mozilla Foundation's wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.
The Mozilla Foundation invites all others who support the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto to join with us, and to find new ways to make this vision of the Internet a reality.---
Here on Welcome to the Interdome, we're trying something new: a curated blog exhibition. There are many blogs that treat themselves as an ongoing exhibition of any number of topics. Welcome to the Interdome largely follows the interests of its author, wherever that may lead. But, for the next series of twenty-or-so posts (in hopefully quick succession) we're going to showcase some various manifestos found around the Internet. They are not comprehensive, not even representative of the full-breath of material that exists. But, they each represent something interesting about the form, and will be accompanied by curated comments.
None of the manifestos posted are posted with explicit permission. They are all found published on the web, free for any to read, and links will be provided to the original location. I am showing them out of the original context here, to first analyze the content. Then, one may proceed to the original site to look at other interesting things like host site, format, font, pictures, and other available materials.
We invite you to read, and to comment if you like. If you want to or have written your own manifesto, send it along! If it's interesting/funny/different we'll through it up there.
If at any time you want to see the full exhibit, click the tag "Manifestos Exhibition", below. That should take you to all the relevant exhibits, that all have the same tag. The preamble to the exhibition can be found here.