The past and future of Planet

Do you use Planet Mozilla? Do you use it heavily enough that you rely on it? I’d like to hear about it, if so.

Can you tell me how you use Planet, what you expect from Planet, and maybe a bit about what Planet could be, I would be quite grateful.


  • mhoye (Planet Module owner.)

I have the planet feed on my feed list and I use it along with other feeds to keep up with all the news from different mozilla and mozillian blogs.

I like the idea of blog aggregation so much that I’ve been trying to get mozilla india to set up a planet for themselves.

That said, I rarely visit the planet on the web.

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Me too.

In Mozilla there is the problem of news fragmentation between videos on different channel, social network, personal blog and official blogs so the planet are very useful.

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I’ve written something longer about it here:

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I have the Planet on Feedly.

I find the Planet almost perfectly on-topic. Badly off-topic posts are very rare. This is very good.

There are many posts that are too technical and only people who are well-familiar with the Mozilla source code and engineering culture can find them interesting. I identify them by the title, and skip most of them, but I’m nevertheless happy that they are there because at least once a week or so there are posts of this kind which I do find interesting.

Updates from executives and big product managers (Mitchell, Asa, etc.) are usually all interesting.

Posts from extensions developers who get grumpy about major changes that require them to rewrite the extensions are great, too; they are sometimes angry, but they are passionate in a very good way.

So there. No complaints, really. If it stays as is, I’ll be quite happy.


I read planet via NewsBlur in feed mode and find it invaluable. For context, its “feed mode” displays stories/articles in their entirety one after the other, so I can scroll through them with my mouse, page through them with space, or hit “j”/“k” to jump between stories. I’ve found the signal-to-noise ratio of planet fantastic, but the ability to easily hit “j” to skip things I’m not interested in, and without much latency, has made for a fantastic UX.

From your blog post, I like “Improve Planet as a Planet”. As you say in your post, the webpage experience somewhat sucks, but maybe there’s some potential to do things like leverage or other re-publishing options for those who don’t use a feed reader and don’t like the raw web experience.

Thanks for taking on Planet Mozilla!

I <3 all planets (Mozilla, Ubuntu, Debian, OpenStack which is a newer project and still felt a Planet was neccesary)

Mike don’t kill our Planet :wink: we already have folks trying to push everyone off Mailman to Discourse and you don’t want to be that guy!

Under “improve planet as planet” option, I like the approach that River5 takes, that is, having various planets inside one planet. But this software is missing some features as of now and can’t be directly used.

Also, it is true that planet doesn’t completely serve its purpose for me (which is to keep up with all of the community) as all of the community is not blogging or is not added on planet.

A planet of my dreams would be one place where one can potentially listen to every mozillian out there about what’s happening in their lives.

My feelings are similar to @asutherland’s post above. I also follow the Mozilla planet in my RSS reader (NewsBlur). Nearly all of the posts are of interest to me, and it’s easy to skip over the ones that aren’t.

Honestly I don’t see too much that needs changing, but if we want to swap out the planet software for something easier to maintain, that’s seems like a good path. So I guess path 1 (leave it as is) or path 2 (improve it as communication hub) seem best to me.

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It seems that I’ve been reading Planet via Thunderbird since 2009. While the web interface clearly has issues for me, a news reader is already a lot better because it doesn’t display a huge list of blog posts all at once and indicates the ones you didn’t read yet (or marked for reading later). In addition to that, I’ve been fighting the noise on Planet with message filters, Air Mozilla announcements are removed for example - there is no way I’ll watch an hour of video for the slight chance of getting useful information. There are a bunch of other blogs being filtered out as well, these are writing about topics that are of no interest to me.

Regardless of the filters, the noise on Planet has been increasing over the years (or maybe I’m simply interested in fewer topics now). So I’m typically merely skimming the titles of the blog posts, only reading the ones that sound interesting. It’s still a lot better than trying to keep up with the mailing lists. I’m currently subscribed to two mailing list (amo-editors-internal and dev-addons) and it already feels like I’m wasting lots of time for very little gain here. I’d really like to have anything important that’s happening in the project in one place without having to go though all the surrounding discussions.

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Obviously in favor of #3, improve planet. Suspect there is a lot to be learned from modern news sites about things like “read more”, presentation of related articles, drawing in data from other sources (which articles are most shared on twitter?), etc. But most of them would probably really require a full rewrite; much love to jdub but that is a crafty old code base.

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I also like the Planet of Planets or, as I like to call it, “Federation of Planets” approach. I would like to explore this idea further, but unfortunately searching for that phrase isn’t giving me quite what I’m looking for :wink:

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Planet is one of my two important sources for news about new web technologies and explanations/examples (the other one is ).

What I liked from planet but which shows up less often:

  • Posts with interesting details about the Mozillians you interact with have mostly vanished, likely because people got older and are busy with other things.

  • Posts which showed what is up my Mozilla.

How I read planet:

  • In Thunderbird because there I can filter less interesting stuff in a secondary folder and especially keep some posts while I delete others because I e…g. have no time now to try something when I read it but later.

  • Reading schedule: When I find time. Can be twice per day, I can also skip 1 or 2 days and then check the new posts.

The sub-planets approach might only work with manual classification, the automatic tagging by the author didn’t work out (I am looking at, e.g. Planet UX).

I rarely visit Planet Mozilla but when I do, there’s always something of interest; and a likelihood that without Planet, I would have learnt that thing too late.


Would be good for a update to Planet as it seems dead old now compared to rival websites Mozilla uses #community-ops should take it over as would be good for them to keep it updated with the help of @mhoye