The Future: The Mozilla Foundation and the End of Netscape
Thursday July 17th, 2003
There's a lot of confusion surrounding Tuesday's creation of the Mozilla Foundation and the disbanding of the Netscape browser development team.
While a major loss, the end of Netscape does not mean the end of Mozilla. There is no way that AOL can revoke the Netscape and Mozilla Public Licenses and make the code proprietary. The Mozilla code will continue to be available to all. AOL has also agreed to transfer the Mozilla trademark and other intellectual property (much of it dating back to when Mozilla was Netscape's mascot) to the new Mozilla Foundation. Netscape-owned hardware (such as the mozilla.org servers) will also be transferred to the new organisation. AOL will continue to employ some Netscape staffers, such as Asa Dotzler, for a couple of months to help with the transition.
The Mozilla Foundation marks the first time that the Mozilla project actually has a legal existence (mozilla.org was always just a more informal group). This new organisation, which is hoping to gain non-profit status under California law, will continue mozilla.org's work of guiding development. Teams such as mozilla.org staff, drivers, reviewers and module owners will continue to work as before. In addition, there will be a new Board of Directors, made up of Mitchell Baker, Brendan Eich, Christopher Blizzard and some new faces, including Open Source Applications Foundation head Mitch Kapor. The Mozilla Foundation will be funded by donations from individuals and companies, such as Sun Microsystems and Red Hat. AOL will provide $2,000,000 of funding over the next two years.
Up until this point, mozilla.org has produced builds of Mozilla for development and testing purposes only, with end-users encouraged to download distributions from vendors such as Netscape. However, the new Mozilla Foundation plans to target end-users directly. The beginnings of this strategy can be seen with the redesign of the mozilla.org front page.
I am more than satisfied to see that Mozilla has cut its ties by becoming an independent organization.
Even more, to see that Mozilla at last recognizes that IT IS an end-user product, like it or not, as it has been since its inception. And this is no good news from a developer's point of view. As it is obviously, more challenging to care about non-technical, non-developer users.
As much as I prefer the new homepage (and am hopefully waiting for a full website makeup), I must agree with other posters, and say that it looks a little bit cluttered.
I would also like to see fast options for selecting language and operating system (in a typical couple of drop-down boxes). The whole world has its eyes on Mozilla (no, I don't mean all the people in the world but people from all the world, I am not that lunatic); and many of them expecting a mother tongue version, which very probably exists, but should be easily accessible.
I would also suggest to remove Mozilla Firebird 0.6 download and references from the home page. It's my browser of choice indeed, but it's not ready for prime time definitely lacking an installer/uninstaller; plugin/components uninstall features, and other core features for a consumer product.
I would also suggest (maybe already in bugzilla, check it later) to feature a Basic Preferences and Advanced Preferences like other applications (GetRight for example) so everybody will be happy. Of course the product should ship with the basic preferences interface by default. A single click setting should expand the interface and let set (almost) every preference in Mozilla Browser.
Also there should be several plugins and components already bundled with the installer and optionally installable/downloadable.
When is the merchandising coming? The new logos? the new themes? design contests? icons? Hope all this things start mattering now.
I know there are never enough resources to do everything evryone wants. where are the numbers? I think it would help a lot if people could easily know what taks groups exist, how many developers, documenters, etc. are there so people may be more conscious, I would like to see ads saying: help wanted for:.....; profile:.....
Maybe all this things or some other are already available, but does somebody really thinks people massively go to the tinderbox, bonsai, lxr, the trunk and all the other code names there exist?
I believe there are lots of resources in time and skills among the community being wasted because of miscommunication. Hope this website lifting take this in consideration. Of course without affecting developers and tech savvy Mozilla community members who in fact contribute the most and for sure prefer the old interface and structure.
Another key feature I think would be Mozilla supporting ActiveX controls by default (with a big warning). And being able to detect a browser identification and mimic IE user agent for those sites blocking Mozilla but serving Netscape. Listen.com Rhapsody incredibly support Netscape and even Mozilla 1.4 but rejects Mozilla Firebird 0.6... Believe it... or not!
I am sure with this consumer orientation more tasks will come to scene and hope I can help in some of those.