A new year of opportunities and risks for the open web

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We recently closed out a great year for the open web, with a number of important developments in 2015. Important open web changes and innovation included:

  • Public beta of Let's Encrypt Certificate Authority (encryption everywhere for free)
  • Netflix opened up HTML5 content viewing to Firefox on Windows
  • Mozilla gave away grants to support a variety of open source projects that benefit the open web
  • The demise of Adobe Flash as an unprecedented push for HTML5 adoption was championed by companies throughout the industry

Looking forward to 2016, one thing we can be sure of is that there is much opportunity—and, at the same time, risk—for the open web. I believe efforts like Let's Encrypt, which started and really heated up last year, will play a big role in making encryption everywhere more of a reality.

But at the same time, there is risk this year with web browsers like Mozilla Firefox continuing to face fierce competition from Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft, and this is putting extreme pressure on Mozilla to constantly find new ways to stay relevant in the open web it helped build.

Mozilla has already seemingly raised a white flag with Firefox OS by announcing late in 2015 to end partnerships with phone manufacturers, and to instead try to change Firefox OS into a IoT platform.

Mozilla is not the only organization pushing the open web forward that faces struggle and risk this year. Most recently, the EFF has jumped into a net neutrality debate with T-Mobile over its change of bitrate of certain video content viewed by T-Mobile users. This is a concern because net neutrality is part of the big picture in having an open web that is not dominated or controlled by a few, but instead diverse and open to all. Things like this and Facebook's Free Basics initiative are something advocates of the open web should be concerned about as we continue on in the New Year.

With all this risk and opportunity, how this year plays out will be interesting to watch, and I'll be sure to keep readers here abreast of the fascinating things going on in the open web, while also bringing new interviews with folks who help build and protect it.

What opportunities for the open web are you most excited about for in 2016? What risks do you feel the open web faces? Tell us below in the comments.

Benjamin Kerensa
Benjamin Kerensa is an internationally recognized open source evangelist, community manager, author and speaker with experience in systems administration, project management and open source development that spans a decade.

2 Comments

Good read!

Mozilla and Firefox will always hold a special part in my heart because its mission (open web) is different than any of the big 3 corporation-encumbered competitors.

I look forward to keeping up on Open Web. I find a lot of writings doing the "dazzle with brilliance or baffle them with b#$%" and in the end I don't fully understand what they are talking about. Your writing here (and elsewhere on the site) is understandable! Keep it up!

Great message. Although I use Chrome or Chromium, Firefox started the fight for open source browsers. Seeing companies like Mozilla come so close yet fall on major projects like Firefox OS when it needs help is something that we need to keep in mind with all open source projects. I am hopeful that 2016 will be the year for Linux and Open Source more and more.

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