Why Firefox is 100% organic software?

Since recently, Mozilla has started using the term organic as a way to describe Firefox. For example, the new mozilla.com prototypes feature trees, animals and balloons to suggest this, and the ongoing Firefox 3 T-shirt design contest has the organic theme as one of the specific concepts.

TreeHugger, a blog dedicated to all things green, has an interesting interview with Paul Kim, Mozilla VP of Marketing, about how the organic concept applies to software.

The reason consumers prefer organic goods in part are that they are better for you and your family. In a similar way, what we’re suggesting is that Firefox is better for you because it’s produced in a way that respects the user.

I don’t think this dilutes the term ‘organic’, but I’m also hoping your readers will give us this feedback. We have nothing but respect for the strides the green movement has made in reclaiming some semblance of sanity in something as core to the human experience as food production. If we can stand on the shoulders of giants that’d be awesome.

Part of the interview tries to clarify that Mozilla is not trying to steal the organic “brand”. Instead, it extends the concept to a product that is equally carefully produced. But I still prefer the original meaning of organic that  tells about not just Firefox but Mozilla the project: an alive entity that is made up of several organs (marketing, devs, engineers, QA, administration, communication), grows and multiplies into sub-projects, and is nourished by an active community.

So I think Firefox and Mozilla are organic with no need to stretch the concept to farming.

4 thoughts on “Why Firefox is 100% organic software?”

  1. It’s probably got more to do with the very natural substances the developers smoke while they’re doing their coding.

  2. “The reason consumers prefer organic goods in part are that they are better for you and your family. In a similar way, what we’re suggesting is that Firefox is better for you because it’s produced in a way that respects the user.”
    It would be horrible if this was the reason ‘organic’ was used because a lot of organic foods aren’t better for you or the environment. Most of organic food is more about marketing.

  3. The term “organic” is already nearly meaningless. I do not see the point of making it even more meaningless by, yes, diluting the term even more.
    What has been presented here to justify the term “organic” for Firefox could be worded equally well for Opera, Konqueror or even IE. This is silly. Stop it.

  4. Agreed. “Organic” can apply to any successful open source product, allowing that a community of constituents (users and developers) determines the output, similar to how organs work in a human body.

    Of course, organic could apply to successful corporations, but it wouldn’t apply as well to their products. Calling Windows or Oracle “organic” works about as well as calling a Ford truck organic. Closed source software development is not easily brandable, nor is it always bad for you. Finally, like processed food, it is necessarily everywhere.

    Still, Roman March noted that “organic” is losing its lustre from overuse, so maybe Mozilla’s clever marketing is a little late.

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