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.
My first answer is that Mozilla WILL be the new end-user distribution, though perhaps not "traditionally supported". We have had some sniffs of this change from the Mozilla Meetings Minutes (mmm...), and this is also borne out by what Gerv has been saying plus the revamp of the front page to look more like a "distribution" page and not a "project" page. It's just a browser, after all, and the Mozilla/Firebird tips pages set up by enthusiasts or Moz-hackers in their spare time are already very useful for newbies. Why not community supported? It already is.
Off-topic: I love how the Mozilla releases (with screenshots!!!) are front and center on Mozilla.org now!
My second answer is that there is nothing stopping RedHat, Sun, IBM, or any number of others from releasing a supported, even commercial distribution of Mozilla. I could see IBM or Sun or even RedHat doing customized and Mozilla rollouts for companies who have service agreements with them. Maybe they won't offer end-user support to non-customers, but then again did AOL really do that?
Free end-user support has always mainly been what one can find on the web. Who is going to pay per-instance charges for web browser support?
I'm not certain AOL ever really "traditionally supported" Netscape. Don't get me wrong: they paid for development for quite a long while, which is *really* cool especially for an ultra-evil Old Media company that fused with an ultra-evil Dot-Bomb to create Voltron's arch-enemy "Twaol" (no idea how to pronounce that). I'm just saying they never sold Netscape, never signed software distribution contracts with corporate clients for it (not really a services company anyways, are they?), and never really pimped the releases up.