As some of you know, I’m not a huge fan of Firefox’s typographic capabilities. But you would have expected the mainstream media here to have fêted Ben Goodger, the lead developer on the browser—or at least the man who took it to launch. Though London-born, Mr Goodger was raised in New Zealand and is a University of Auckland graduate. I am sure Kiwi computer geeks know this, but why I had to learn about it through an American book is beyond me.
Mr Goodger has, essentially, changed the face of mid-decade computing. When Firefox came out, it quickly racked up 10 million downloads. And while I don’t use it as my browser of choice (I prefer Maxthon), its share of the market is signiﬁcant, in providing a challenge to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
He may have gone off to Google these days, working in California, but I was surprised to only be able to dig up 10 articles on the man in the Google News archive, though he has a healthy level of actual Google references. Yes, some of these are from Kiwi newspapers. But the fact is, a man like Mr Goodger should have received a lot more press in New Zealand while he was here—given his contribution, he should be in the public consciousness. Never in Firefox’s three years have I ever heard its proponents here tell me of the domestic connection. Yet New Zealanders are usually quick to point out when foreign-born folks make it big here: Sam Neill, Keisha Castle-Hughes and Anna Paquin come to mind in the acting business. They may not be born here, but they are true-blue (a New Zealandism meaning genuine, not Conservative) Kiwis in the minds of folks here.
Meanwhile, reality TV stars seem to get more press.
Little wonder that late-1990s research on this country’s nation brand showed that New Zealand was weak (in perceptions) in science and technology. We could have ﬁxed it then. Labour has stepped up to the plate with Dr Cullen’s latest budget with some tax breaks, but then it has “only” been in power for eight years to ﬁgure this out. In this tourism-focused, celebrity-worshipping and sport-mad environment, Mr Goodger’s world-changing contribution just wasn’t cool enough for the MSM. Posted by Jack Yan, 09:30
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