Weekend Discussion

Friday April 28th, 2000

What does Open Source mean to you in terms of user feedback? Does it mean that you are given more power to interact with the developers? That you are given more power over those developers? That the end-user takes on a more active role in determining the direction of development?

And the big question (which feeds off a discussion in a forum today): what kind of responsibility do third party developers have to meet the deadlines of commercial entities who are utilizing their Open Source code? What if these deadlines are being advocated by end-users? What role should the end user play in directing the time of volunteer coders?

For example, should the third-party volunteers implementing XSLT or SVG or MathML have a responsibility to meet the deadlines of Netscape 6? Even if Netscape didn't promise the technology for the 6 release? What if end-users are telling them that they need to get it done for that release? How much can or should an end-user expect in this situation? How much responsibility should the volunteer developer feel to deliver?

We're interested in feedback from both end-users and developers. Let us know what you think. It's a complex question, but one that I think needs a public airing.

#19 Re: Volunteers, deadlines, and control

by briansmith <>

Sunday April 30th, 2000 8:16 PM

You are replying to this message

The difference between this project and most other open-source projects is that traditional open-source projects have also been "open-marketting" projects. A lot of Mozilla's decisions are made by marketing folks at Netscape, not just Netscape's developers. From what I've been told on the n.p.m.* newsgroups, they are the ones that make decisions about features and deadlines. I don't think this is necessarily good or bad, but it would be nice if we had the same access to the marketers that we have to the developers. In particular, it would be nice to know what features they are planning on keeping for Netscape 6 having--will XSL(T), MathML, SVG, Java, etc. be easily accessible to the majority of people installing it? Even if those features are completed by feature-freeze time, Netscape might decide not to include them ("they make the download too long", "they aren't used by many people", etc.)

About deadlines: obviously, Netscape _can_ give an outside developer a deadline, but they don't have much control over whether s/he meets it. If they were seriously requiring a deadline for a particular feature, I think they would pay their developers to work on it or pay the outside contributors to ensure that deadline was met. (I believe they are already paying some outside contributors to work on the project.)