Full Article Attached Mozilla Bug Week

Monday October 22nd, 2001

Many of you are familiar with the Bug Day's that we started a few years ago. Well, with the number of people wanting to help out skyrocketing these last few months, and others have decided that a bug week was in order. They'll be running it from Saturday October 27th to Sunday November 4th, and they'll have plenty of smart people on hand to help folks learn the bug system, learn how to use the various other web tools, and of course, learn some tips on how to contribute code to the Mozilla effort. Click the Full Article link to get all the details.

#90 Re: Re: Re: Re: Newsforge - Learning from Mozilla

by strauss

Sunday October 28th, 2001 3:31 PM

You are replying to this message

> That depends on what you mean by "professional". <

True enough. I'm referring to software that lives up to current consumer expectations, which have risen dramatically since the release of Windows 95, a mass-market Macintosh clone.

> The GNU system is widely used to run mission-critical computers, because it just doesn't crash. <

I think you mean Linux rather than GNU per se, since GNU never managed to come out with a kernel. It's not widely realized that Linux development is professionally subsidized by various companies hoping to make money from it. Linux has a self-mythology that it just grew by decentralized volunteer labor, but without Red Hat paying the core kernel developers, it would not have gotten very far.

> *BSD doesn't crash either. <

But for it get up to current usability standards required a massive commercial effort by Apple/NeXT in the form of Mac OS X.

> Php is a far smaller security risk than ASP. <

Couldn't comment. But again, this is hacker-oriented stuff. I'm not disputing that open source and free software can produce good software for programmers. I use open source devlopment tools myself, and have given away development tools that I have written. But for open source to create software that successfully targets the average user seems to have required corporate subsidy so far.

> And so on. None of those things are even vaugely "nice" to use, but they have quality of a sort. <

Right, but not the kind of quality that concerns me. I've been developing applications and system software for ordinary people since the first year of the Mac and I don't yet see open source software catching up even to the level of usability we had back then. Most open source software is command line based! When I see open source getting close to a current usability level it always seems to have taken tens of millions of dollars of corporate sponsorship to get there, from companies like Red Hat, Netscape, Sun, Apple, IBM, the late Eazel, and so forth.

> You don't *need* corporate backing. But it does help. <

Not for development tools, you don't, although even there it does help (e.g., Cygnus). But for mass-market software, open source by itself doesn't seem to get to the finish line without serious commercial sponsorship.