AOL Cuts Remaining Mozilla Hackers
Tuesday July 15th, 2003
It has been learned through public and private sources that AOL has cut or will cut the remaining team working on Mozilla in a mass firing and are dismantling what was left of Netscape (they've even pulled the logos off the buildings). Some will remain working on Mozilla during the transition, and will move to other jobs within AOL.
The news isn't all doom and gloom, folks. I've been informed that the number of volunteer Mozilla hackers started eclipsing the number of Netscape hackers last month, and that a number of folks have already been snatched up by other organizations.
Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE: Looks like folks are starting to post to ex-mozilla.org.
UPDATE: I was told to stress that Mozilla will continue, and that many of the folks let go today will continue to devote time and energy to it. I'd like to wish all the best of luck, and I'd like to thank everyone for the amazing contributions that they have made over the past five years.
UPDATE #3: Some changes made to the main text above.
#4 Netscape 6/7 were too "similar" to Mozilla anyway
Tuesday July 15th, 2003 3:20 PM
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Perhaps one mistake Netscape 6/7 made was that the browser felt just too "similar" to Mozilla. Yes, I know it's the same codebase with some proprietary additions, but the average users firing them up side by side (particularly with the same skin) would only spot minor cosmetic differences between the two.
Ironically, Netscape 7.1 seemed to be the first time that a Gecko-based Netscape was released at about the same time as its codebase sibling (Mozilla 1.4) - prior to that, it had lagged by many months.
There's also the question of the monolithic suite vs. the separate apps - would AOL have prolonged the life of the former to the detriment of the development of the latter ?
I guess the only surprise about today's news is that it took AOL so long (several months) between the final nail hitting Netscape's coffin (the MS deal to use IE for AOL users for many users to come) and AOL dumping the Netscape brand. It's a sad day in the "browser wars", but Mozilla lives to fight another day.
However, what is going to replace Netscape as the most well-known "end-user browser" based on Gecko ? Mozilla.org constantly reminds us that it's for developers/testers only and not for end-users, but unless the new Firebird/Thunderbird combo steps up to the plate as an end-user browser, aren't we going to be left without an end-user Gecko browser to promote ?