Mozilla Personas Gets a new Name (and it’s not BrowserID)

firefox personasFrom the ‘Obvious Choices’ files:

Last week, Mozilla officially decided to name its BrowserID effort for consumers as Persona. That choice left the existing Mozilla Personas community without a name, until today.

Personas is now being renamed…

Wait for it….


Uh huh. I shook my head too.

Years ago, the Mozilla community (myself included) were educated that Personas was different than a regular theme. It’s a message I bought into and believed – even though Mozilla no longer does.

“After a lot of thought, including consideration of the community poll results, we’re planning to make “themes” the name for custom visual changes to Firefox, whether through Personas or existing themes,” Amy Tsay the new Mozilla community manager for add-ons wrote in a mailing list post. “We think it’s easiest for a user trying to change Firefox’s look to go to a single place without worrying about the  difference is between a “theme”, a “background”, and a “skin”.”

Amy’s view makes sense, except for the simple fact that it’s not what Mozilla itself has been saying for years. To add further insult to injury, Mozilla is not fully respecting the votes of its own community.Mozilla ran a poll to see what users thought the new name should be 41 percent voted for skins and only 22 percent said themes.

So Mozilla – why ask for the community’s view if you’re not going to respect it?

In any event, the name themes does makes sense even though it does dilute all the brand equity they have created in Personas. I’m still shocked at how poorly Mozilla has handled this whole process, they’re a group that normally knows and does a whole lot better.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

News Around the Web