Thoughts on PPK’s take on Web developer relations management in the mobile world

Peter-Paul Koch (PPK) wrote a blog post yesterday about his thoughts on Web developer relations management in the mobile world. Since I work for Mozilla, that he mentions, and I was also remotely involved in the discussion he refers too, I wanted to express my thoughts.

PPK is outlining his thoughts and experiences when organizing the Mobilism conference and trying to get devices/sponsorship, and his take on various players out there. When it comes to Mozilla, he is basically frustrated for not getting any replies in time about the possibilities of getting Boot to Gecko devices to the conference. I can relate to the annoyance of not getting replies, and I’ve written about my thoughts in The decency of replying to e-mails.

Eventually he reached out to me and said he didn’t hear anything back about sponsorship from Mozilla (no devices mentioned in that e-mail), and we had a direct e-mail discussion back and forth, all in the same day. I contacted people at Mozilla who should know, and to my knowledge, they got back to him soon after that.

No, unfortunately there weren’t any devices for him. Boot to Gecko is a very fresh initiative, only started six months ago, and we just managed to produce a handful of devices to demo at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. As PPK is very well aware of, and in the mobile world especially, partnerships and various deals are essential for success and getting any traction and therefore our first step had to be to do that for Mobile World Congress.

The operating system, and implementation on a few devices, is in a very early stage, and to my knowledge, no devices have been handed out to anyone external to the project. Mozila doesn’t produce hardware, we are doing the software part, and we share what we can. I personally covered all we could share with the Boot to Gecko announcement and Gaia, Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko user interface.

Additionally, all the code for Boot to Gecko and code for Gaia is open source, and available for anyone to experiment with and try out. Paul Rouget set up Gaia on his web site, which anyone can do by just taking the code for Gaia from the GitHub repository. And that’s what can be done at this time.

When we can share devices, more information and tools for web developers, naturally we will do so! Humbly we learn along they way, and we constantly strive to get better. We also have a number of ideas for how to move forward, and we would love to share as much as we can! Because that’s how Mozilla is as an organization, and that is how I am as a person.

So, for PPK to go from that to tell an entire organization to fuck off? For not getting replies from one person?

I’ve known PPK since the end of the 1990s, we’ve met and been co-speakers at a number of conferences, and I believe we have always felt a mutual respect for each other’s work. But for something like this to work out, we need to act professionally about this.

We need to speak in a reasonable tone, be realistic and continue to show respect and initiative to work together.

So, hugs to you PPK, and I look forward to a sensible discussion and collaboration moving forward.


  • Pavel Ivanov says:

    I think the same thing like Robert. There is so many online demos of B2G and Gaia 🙂 all the code is open source …

  • fpiat says:

    “Additionally, all the code for Boot to Gecko and code for Gaia is open source, and available for anyone to experiment with and try out”

    Do you really think that as a single person has enough time for looking, understanding, experimenting with the six month work of a team on such a topic?

  • Robert Nyman says:




    Enough time for what goal, exactly? I showed all that we as Mozilla can offer now. You can see all code and progress in real time on GitHub, and you can can check out and work with that code yourself as well. Something no other mobile operating system offers.

    Of course we would like to hand out devices as well. But Boot to Gecko is in its infancy and we have a long way to go with partners, hardware providers and more before we are there.

  • Andrew says:

    I read his post yesterday and came away feeling like PPK was acting like a petulant, spoiled child. “You don’t give me a device? I’m gonna blog something bad about you!”

    Aside from that on the subject of dev rel, he basically gives Apple a free pass for absolute horrible/non-existing web dev rel and then goes on to say he hopes Android dies. I’d hazard an absolute wild guess he might be biased in some ways, do they call this Stockholm syndrome?

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Being Swedish myself, I’d refrain to comment from anything in regards to the Stockholm Syndrome… 🙂

    I agree, and hope, that Apple would step up in terms of web developer relations and openness about the web implementations they work on.

  • kju says:

    I would say that ppk’s reasoning is inconsistent. For Opera he accepts that a downloadable software is enough. But as others have pointed out, both Android and B2G are downloadable software as well, which can be executed on your standard PC if you want. Of course testing on an actual device is still better, but same goes for Opera which does not necessarily behave the same on different platforms.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    It’s hard to compare, though, since Opera is a web browser while Android and Boot to Gecko are operating systems. But yes, there are many ways to test things, even if I agree that actual devices definitely are the best.

  • Gilles says:

    I would have thought someone knowing PPK, or at least follow his blog, would have known by now that when he is frustrated, which he clearly stated, he says it how he thinks it and that’s what can make his posts so refreshing to read, sure he said the F word but that’s the message he heard back as well through Mozilla silence.

    It’s not the first time he uses it and it sure wont be the last 🙂

    Bottom line is Mozilla never replied to him and he is now getting judge for his personal opinion on a bad experience he had with Mozilla by someone from Mozilla, sure maybe saying F*** is not the most constructive way to do things but it still is more constructive than silence, at least it express a frustration which can be build on.

    That, in my eyes, gives him more credits that it gives Mozilla.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    He’s getting “judged” by his actions and his reactions, just like it goes for any other person out there.

    The turn of events are all described above, so I won’t reiterate that again. If I were to list all the persons and organizations that haven’t replied to an e-mail, the list would be very long.

    As I said in the post: telling an entire organization to fuck off for not getting a reply from one person (but from a number of others in Mozilla, mind you) is in my opinion not fair nor balanced.

  • […] PPK jammert, dass er nicht von allen Herstellern kostenlose Mobilgeräte zum Testen bekommt. Wir bekämen zwar auch gern kostenloses Spielzeug nachgeworfen, können uns aber nicht drauf einigen, ob dieser Ansatz wirklich so ohne weiteres skaliert. PPKs Primärziel, Mozillas B2G, ist jedenfalls entschuldigt. […]

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