Subject: Re: open source winter
From: (Frank Hecker)
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999 13:19:17 -0500

Kragen Sitaker wrote:
> OK, well, the high-profile failure is here, according to JWZ.  And it's Mozilla.

Much as I respect Jamie, I think he is being wrongheaded here and
viewing the Mozilla project through his own personal prism in terms of
what "success" or "failure" means.  If failure means (for example) that
Netscape didn't ship Communicator 5.0 in 1998 using the original
released source code (with no new layout engine, use of Motif rather
than GTK, limited or no modularity, etc.) then yes, in that sense
Mozilla has "failed".

However, in terms of where Mozilla actually is today, I suspect that
many people would consider it a success to be well along the path to
getting a fast, cross-platform, standards-compliant open-source web
browser (as well as a mail/news client and HTML editor) with relatively
small memory and disk footprints, that can be embedded in other
applications and cleanly extended to incorporate new modules (using
XPCOM), easily modified user interfaces (using an XML-based scheme),
third-party Java implementations (using OJI), and new local and network
data sources (using RDF).

As for the expectation that hundreds or thousands of non-Netscape people
would be doing development on Mozila (as opposed to just bug reporting),
I don't have enough hands-on experience with free software development
to know if that's a realistic expectation or not for a project that's
existed only a year as an open-source project. (Especially considering
that the project is only a few months past the decision to basically
rearchitect most of Mozilla.) However I do believe that it's not
unrealistic to expect Netscape to "dominate" a project for which it is
paying on the order of a hundred developers to work full-time.

Frank Hecker          Pre-sales support, Netscape government sales