Many Organisations Employing Mozilla Contributors

Sunday November 16th, 2003

For many years, Netscape provided several full-time employees to work on Mozilla. Since AOL pulled the plug on Netscape's contributions to the project in July, many have assumed that all the work is now done by volunteers. However, that is not the case and a variety of organisations have either expanded their Mozilla workforce or started hiring lizard-friendly employees for the first time.

The Mozilla Foundation now cuts the cheques for David Baron, Asa Dotzler, Brendan Eich, Ben Goodger, Chris Hofmann, Scott MacGregor, Myk Melez, Daniel "leaf" Nunes and Johnny Stenback, who are employed on a full-time basis, and Mitchell Baker, who works for the Foundation part-time. But the Mountain View non-profit is not the group that has been hiring recently.

Shortly after the layoffs, IBM quickly snapped up several ex-Netscape employees, including Darin Fisher, Brian Ryner and Doron Rosenberg, to add to their contingent working on Mozilla. Sun and Red Hat continue to employ Mozilla contributors and it's now well-known that is paying Daniel Glazman to work on Nvu, a new Composer-based Web publishing application.

Meanwhile, ex-Netscapers Kevin McCluskey, Rod Spears, Chris Karnaze, Peter Lubczynski and John Keiser have banded together to form Mozilla Consulting, a company that writes Mozilla enhancements to order. A similar, though older, venture comes in the form of the Mozdev Group, who offer Mozilla software development and technical consultation to small and medium-sized businesses.

Many predicted that Mozilla would not survive in a post-Netscape world. With just four months gone since AOL pulled out of the project, it's a little early to say what the long-term implications will be. However, it's clear right now that an amazing number of companies see Mozilla as something worth committing real cash to. And that can only be a positive sign.

Update: The Mozilla Consulting site no longer lists John Keiser as an employee, presumably due to his new job at Microsoft.

#1 NIce Work!

by nosebleed

Sunday November 16th, 2003 6:49 PM

Thanks to all the companies and organizations trying to keep Mozilla and other OSS alive! :)

#2 Aw Man! Another Typo!!!

by zookqvalem

Sunday November 16th, 2003 7:10 PM

Aw Man!!, another typo!!! This time with the word in the title, 'Organisation' which should be 'Organization'....

#3 Re: Aw Man! Another Typo!!!

by tve

Sunday November 16th, 2003 7:22 PM

I think that's proper English.

"...sation" = British English "...zation" = American English

#4 Re: Aw Man! Another Typo!!!

by nosebleed

Sunday November 16th, 2003 7:56 PM

Um, what difference does this make? It's no reason to go off-topic.

#5 Dont get it

by pepejeria

Sunday November 16th, 2003 11:13 PM

About this guys working for IBM, do they also provide bug fixes for Mozilla? Or do they only work on IBM:s own Mozilla browser? Also, I thought that Boris Zbarsky worked for Mozilla Foundation, i guess i am totally wrong?

#7 Re: Dont get it

by biesi

Monday November 17th, 2003 2:12 AM

>About this guys working for IBM, do they also provide bug fixes for Mozilla?


>Also, I thought that Boris Zbarsky worked for Mozilla Foundation, i guess i am totally wrong?

indeed, you are wrong

#8 Re: Re: Dont get it

by jgraham

Monday November 17th, 2003 3:02 AM

>>Also, I thought that Boris Zbarsky worked for Mozilla Foundation, i guess i am totally wrong?

>indeed, you are wrong

A slightly more informative answer: (I believe) he's doing a graduate maths course at MIT. The article doesn't mention that, as well as lots of people employed to work on Mozilla, a few key names are still volunteering their time. Boris is one, I believe Robert O'Callahan (roc) is another (although I might be wrong), and there are more.

#11 Re: Re: Re: Dont get it

by roc

Monday November 17th, 2003 7:31 AM

You're right. I'm still volunteering, although I probably could have obtained a paid Mozilla job if I wanted one.

#12 Re: Re: Re: Dont get it

by bzbarsky

Monday November 17th, 2003 9:36 AM

U. of Chicago, not MIT. MIT is where I did undergrad... ;)

#13 Re: Dont get it

by bzbarsky

Monday November 17th, 2003 9:40 AM

> About this guys working for IBM, do they also provide bug fixes for Mozilla?

You bet. Here's the list of checkins just in the last week by just bryner and darin:

And no, I don't work for anyone Mozilla-related.

#6 yep

by glazou

Monday November 17th, 2003 1:16 AM

Let's be clear here : only a company like AOL could do what it did...

Mozilla and Gecko are the most promising cross-platform development framework. The constant increase of Linux in big companies and governmental organizations (at least here in Europe) opens a set of excellent opportunities for Mozilla. If Mozilla is gold, XUL is platinum. I bet that the number of Web Services applications built on the top of Gecko using a XUL front-end (like the Amazon browser) will increase a lot in 2004. When AOL saw XUL back in november 2000, they decided that the technology was not mature. And they never changed their mind, even if XUL evolved a lot. As we say in French, only imbeciles never change of opinion. Hey, have you seen Minimo ?

I have no doubt that Mozilla will succeed, even if I was a little bit worried about Gecko's core evolution. I think that's where the Mozilla Foundation can make the difference, since they hired people able to make the core keep moving while the largest number of "external" contributors focus on the application layer. IMHO, that's a good strategy.

So I also have no doubt that we are in front of a quickly emerging market, and that companies working with/on Mozilla will have to hire in 2004, that more and more Mozilla contributors will be payed for their time, that the Mozilla Foundation will get from those companies the financial support it needs.

Long life Mozilla!

#17 They don't need to pay for it....

by duffbeer703

Tuesday November 18th, 2003 6:26 AM

I think Time Warner decided that it didn't want to make the investment necessary to compete toe to toe with Microsoft, since MSFT is working on it's own version of XUL. Particularly since Time Warner is looking to dump AOL to whomever wants it.

Mozilla's problem today is the same as Netscape's problem back in the good old days. Microsoft can knock off any new Moz feature that it wants and include it in the next Windows service pack or version update.

#20 They don't need to pay for it....

by bugs4hj

Wednesday November 19th, 2003 2:21 PM

"Mozilla's problem today is the same as Netscape's problem back in the good old days. Microsoft can knock off any new Moz feature that it wants and include it in the next Windows service pack or version update."

Ah, that's why the Mac and *nux platform is so well supported by Microsoft, right? It's not all windows you know. And don't we all know by now that Microsoft is one heck of a cloner? Who started the Windows development? Who developed Window NT in the first place? What was the best word processor for a long time? What is still the best editor today?

Interesting, anybody can steel innitial work, improve it a bit and claim they where first. What about copyrights? Even Open Source development is protected by copyright laws, but not all (mozilla) developers share that...

#9 a lot will depend on results

by jilles

Monday November 17th, 2003 3:51 AM

While it is good that these people have jobs and can continue to work on Mozilla I think it is a little early to claim that industrial support is well under way. It is certainly very positive that some companies are willing to put their money where their mouth is but I think a lot will depend on the return of this current investment. If nvu doesn't materialize or if other key mozilla components do not deliver on their promises (e.g. calendar is so far mostly vapor ware in terms of interoperability), I think mozilla adoption by industry will not become much better.

Certainly there are some great opportunities: - There is an enormous trend in the public sector (especially outside the US) to adopt open source. Mozilla is part of this trend for non MS platforms. - Internet explorer does not seem to have evolved in the past few years and is unlikely to do so in the coming few years: market share can be gained. - Apple seems to be moving away from MS products, this will stimulate adoption of alternative browsers by both users and developers. Alternative heere does not necessarily mean Mozilla but other than IE.

#10 Re: a lot will depend on results

by corwin

Monday November 17th, 2003 5:33 AM

Some examples of industrial use of Mozilla technologies :

#14 Mozilla Consulting?

by mlefevre

Tuesday November 18th, 2003 4:55 AM

Someone mentioned that they didn't think Mozilla Consulting ever got off the ground, and at least one of the folks mentioned has moved on to something else. Aside from putting up a webpage in July, I don't see any signs of them doing anything. Can anyone confirm the current status of Mozilla Consulting and those involved?

#15 Re: Mozilla Consulting?

by sipaq

Tuesday November 18th, 2003 6:03 AM

John Keiser was on IRC a while ago and he said, that Mozilla Consulting is just an empty nutshell. John Keiser works for Microsoft at the moment and as far as I know, Microsoft employees are not allowed to participate in open-source development (I believe that they allowed hime to continue his work on lxr, bonsai and tinderbox), so you won't see mozilla-related checkins from jkeiser in the future.

#16 Re: Re: Mozilla Consulting?

by FrodoB

Tuesday November 18th, 2003 6:22 AM

They can't participate in open source on their own time? Isn't that, shall we say, unenforceable at best? :)

#18 Re: Re: Re: Mozilla Consulting?

by jgraham

Tuesday November 18th, 2003 8:18 AM

Why? You'd have to be pretty good at hiding things to ensure that no-one realised that you had contributed to an open source project. If anyone finds out, there's a good chance it will get back to the people who care about employment contracts and such.

Sadly, it's quite understandable that MS wants to prevent employees contributing to Open Source projects; companies in general get upset if their employees work on projects that compete with the product the company produces, and Microsoft views all open source as competition, if not directly, then indirectly as an attack on their fundamental business model. On the other hand, it seems that not all companies have such clauses; Hixie and Hyatt still make contributions from time to time, despite the fact that they work on direct Mozilla competitors.

#19 Re: Re: Re: Re: Mozilla Consulting?

by FrodoB

Tuesday November 18th, 2003 9:16 AM

I understand why Microsoft would want such a policy, but I question whether such a contract clause could be enforced. More to the point, can companies control what their employees do outside work? I understand noncompete clauses, but most of them deal with not working for a competitor. Is contribution to a not-for-profit organization considered to be work for a competitor, I wonder?

(It's entirely possible that Microsoft has a much more strict noncompete clause than I am subject to, but I'm just curious how much control they can have over an employee's free time.)

#21 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Mozilla Consulting?

by fuzzygorilla

Thursday November 20th, 2003 11:38 AM

Actually, the non-compete clauses deal with trying to "Engage in any business or enterprise that develops, manufactures, or sells any product or service that competes with any product or service...." Yes, Mozilla would be considered a competitor who develops a product (and sells a product) that competes with Microsoft. Yes, this clause can be enforced during your employment.

It is not just an issue of competition. It is also an issue of "intellectual property". Most companies require an agreement to "make full and prompt disclosure to the Company of all inventions, improvements, discoveries, methods, developments, software, and works or authorship... whether or not during normal working hours or on the premises of the Company". [Yes, I took that from an employee document I have seen.] Some companies go further and require an agreement to "to assign... to the Company... all his/her right, title, and interest in and to all Developments... conceived by the Employee". [Yes, I took that from an employee document I have seen.] Do you really want Microsoft to have those sorts of rights to Mozilla? I don't think so.

#22 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Mozilla Consulting?

by FrodoB

Friday November 21st, 2003 10:27 AM

Fair enough. Although I wonder if it could be extended to all open source projects (I don't argue that contributing to Mozilla would be, at best, a bad idea contract-wise if you were employed there), as many of them are in areas Microsoft doesn't compete in. Guess that would depend on the specific wording.

All the more reason not to work in Redmond, anyway. :)

#23 If only there were a

by kb7iuj

Friday November 21st, 2003 8:04 PM

If I could work on Mozilla for my paycheck, that'd likely be a dream come true. In a sense, I envy the ex-Netscape crew who got snapped up by IBM & others, and are still working on Mozilla.

I'd really enjoy discovering a Mozilla-related jobs board somewhere.