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Brendan Eich steps down at Mozilla

Controversial Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich has left his position after concerns over his views on same-sex marriage came back into the public consciousness

Brendan Eich is an important member of the open source community. He invented JavaScript in the 90s, web technology that’s still widely used today. He’s done a lot of work on Firefox that has helped make it one of the best browsers for the last ten years. He also publicly donated a large sum of money to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, a law that banned same-sex marriage in the state of California until recently.

This last part has surfaced before in regards to Eich, and it did again recently when he was appointed CEO of Mozilla. The company prides itself on being open-minded, inclusive and equal, and many employees voiced their concerns over his appointment. OkCupid famously has a message that now pops up whenever you’re using Firefox to browse it alerting you to Eich’s beliefs.

The OkCupid message directed users to Google's Chrome as an alternative
The OkCupid message directed users to Google’s Chrome as an alternative

In a blog today, Mitchell Baker announced that Eich had stepped down from his position: “We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

Mozilla has yet to announce who will replace Eich as CEO. Eich himself had been attempting to defend himself over the past week, saying he leaves his personal beliefs at the door. Apparently that’s not good enough for everyone, which has resulted in this action.

We’re interested to see how Mozilla reacts to this over the next few weeks and months. While it is a PR nightmare, that’s not the main issue here and hopefully they address it further.