When Wired introduced me to the world as the creator of CivicSpace, I was a bit confounded. This was blatantly inaccurate and what made things worse was that they had even fact-checked that point with me and I’d explained that it was Zack Rosen and not me that had come up with idea. But apparently incorporating such a “minor” detail would have made for a less interesting read, so they stuck with their version of the facts.
Okay, fine. It’s not like I trust the media anyway.
But today in my daily news fix, an even more absurd lie is being perpetrated about the development of Firefox — and it’s more widely diffused than the story about me because Bloomberg News is spreading it through smaller papers:
- SunTimes: “Blake Ross, the 19-year-old who created the Firefox Web browser in his parents’ house in Miami…”
- NewsForge: “Blake Ross, the 19-year-old who created the Firefox Web browser in his parents’ house…”
It’s simply a mischaracterization of the worst kind to suggest that Blake single-handedly created Firefox. And it ignores the real story, which is that open source is a viable, alternative model for developing high quality products that meet real-world users’ needs. The story should not be about The Blake or any other single individual that helped forge Firefox (though they all deserve their 30 seconds of limelight). The story should be about an undercurrent taking shape on the internet that has been 30 years in the making: the open source development movement.
It pains me to read stories like this that simply do not reflect this new reality. I understand that it will take time, education and patience before things get better, but in the meantime, a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what Firefox really represents, which is the work of thousands of volunteers across the globe working under the egalitarian guidance of a few super-empowered individuals, one of which just happened to be Blake Ross.