MozillaZine

Mozilla Still Good After 32 Days

Saturday July 27th, 2002

Timothy Dyck began using Mozilla about a month ago and he hasn't looked back since. In an opinion piece, the eWEEK journalist describes his favourite features and outlines some improvements he'd like to see in future versions.


#4 Re: What does mozilla.org think of this?

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Saturday July 27th, 2002 1:07 PM

You are replying to this message

"Do mozilla.org actually want to prevent end use of mozilla? With Netscape/Beonex/Chimera.. etc used instead?"

Do you want to see Mozilla developers, testers and project organizers so swamped in end user noise that they stop getting work done? Have you seen what end users did to the Mozilla developer newsgroups? Have you seen what end users did to IRC? You can hardly find a discussion of code in either of those forums (although IRC isn't as bad as the newsgroups because developers can easily take their discussion private, and do).

Do you want to see Mozilla developers, testers and project organizers stop developing, testing and organizing and instead focus their efforts on marketing and distribution? Should mozilla.org spend their time worrying about getting included on some magazine CD or trying to get banner and pop-up ads on major web sites?

The point is that end users cost. Getting them and holding on to them costs time and other resources that mozilla.org would rather devote to making the code better. Netscape, Beonex (not Chimera, which is another mozilla development project) IBM, RedHat and others offer support to end users of Mozilla-based products. They have the resources to handle that noise. They have marketing departments with marketing budgets. They have distribution avenues and advertising mechanisms and third party co-branding and OEM agreements. They are offering to pay the cost of end users and I, for one, think that's great.

If some end user wants to pick up Mozilla and drop IE I think to myself "great!" But the minute their testing value is outweighed by the time they cost in support and maintenance I change my mind and I no longer think "great!"

Many have argued that end users shouldn't cost developers and project organizers anything. "You just have to set up user forums and write FAQs and recruit volunteers to keep them out of the developer forums and you just have to help volunteers get started marketing and make some distribution arrangements with other open source projects and do what <insert random open source project here> does." the argument goes. But all of this is work. All of this requires organizing, funding, maintenance. mozilla.org simply doesn't have the resources. You mentioned the mozdeve evangelism project. I missed that completely but, with no real knowledge about what it intended to be, I'm glad that we don't have a seriously organized effort to get a lot of end users when we don't have a seriously organized effort to support those end users. I don't think I'd have anything negative to say about a mozdev project to organize, fund, set up and maintain an end user support system. Something like that is already desperately needed with the small (relative) numbers of end users we already have.

One last note so that it's clear what I'm not saying. If you contribute more back to the project than you take away (mozilla's team of 25,000+ bug reporters would qualify) then I encourage you to use Mozilla and I'll even spend some time to help you with Mozilla problems (including regular user questions). But the moment you start giving more than you take you cease to be an end user and you become a participant. mozilla.org does want more participants. mozilla.org doesn't want more people lowering the signal to noise ratio in the newsgroups and otherwise diminishing the amount of work that developers, testers, and project organizers can accomplish.

Think of mozilla as a technology organization. Remember that 3M commercial? "We don't make the things you buy. We make the things you buy better."

--Asa