Jamie Zawinski's "Fear and Loathing on the Merger Trail"
Tuesday November 24th, 1998
by Brian <email@example.com>
Wednesday November 25th, 1998 6:09 PM
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Even though I've seen a lot of people write articles that try to put this into a rosy context, I still don't see it. There's a couple of facts that are inescapable: AOL has a bad reputation among people in the computer industry (especially open source folks), AOL is known even less than Microsoft for innovation, Netscape stock has doubled in value in the past week.
If I were a software engineer who worked at Netscape, I would have bought as many shares of stock as I could since day one. Right now I would be sitting and waiting a few months and see how things pan out. If and when I realized AOL even gave the slightest hint of not Doing the Right Things (making things proprietary, firing friends, etc) I would be selling my stock for a bunch of money. Then, I'd move to Greece for a few years and take a break (whilst calling my friends on my Iridium phone and talking to them about y2k issues).
If Netscape suffered a brain drain I wouldn't be surprised. At this point there's a lot of programmers not worrying where their next meal is coming from.
And like other's have mentioned, there's a ton of code sitting out there for a bunch of people to get together, develop, and market. Just look at Cygnus and egcs.