>>If Apple, Google and MS take a proprietary technology and promote it to a dominant position, Mozilla and Opera will be forced to support it.
How so ? Mozilla, as I understand it, is a non-profit. So they don't have the usual "fiduciary responsibilities" cop-out. They aren't forced to support anything that would go against their mission statement.
>>That is sad but true, if you ignore a dominant technology, you will become irrelevant, even if it is nonstandard, proprietary or patented.
>>The only defense against this is to prevent nonstandard, proprietary or patented technologies from becoming dominant on the web.
The first logical step for this prevention would be, in my opinion, to not support it.
>>Becoming irrelevant isn't an option for Mozilla and Opera, because they would then lose any ability to promote open standards altogether.
In my opinion Mozilla's claim to fame in the current world of many fast competitive browsers, is being the champion of an open and unencumbered web.
If they can't do that, they're quickly becoming irrelevant already.
If they feel they are in not a position where they can say "no" to supporting known software patents, the current greatest threat to software freedoms, as a part of the web, what's the reason for their existence ? To produce a very popular browser ? There are several takers doing a good job in that department already.
I also feel that "irrelevant" and "less popular" are being used interchangeably in most arguments concerning this decision, even though they're not, and it confuses any argument.
They could become "less popular" for the time being, but I doubt very much they would become completely "irrelevant".
I understand Mozilla's predicament to a certain extent, but I don't feel pandering to commercial interests was in their (and our) own long term benefit in this case.