Evaluating Commercial Open Source Projects
Thursday April 22nd, 1999
A recent Forbes article characterized Mozilla as a "flop". The article had so many inaccuracies that I felt a rebuttal was required. At the same time, I felt that some light needed to be shed on the differences between commercial Open Source projects and "all volunteer" Open Source projects. What follows (click "Full Article" below) is a rebuttal to the assertions in the Forbes article and my opinion on what can reasonably be expected from a commercial Open Source project.
As always, the opinions are my own, and do not reflect the opinions of mozilla.org (which MozillaZine is not affiliated with).
#29 Re:Evaluating Commercial Open Source Projects
by Randy Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Friday April 23rd, 1999 4:50 PM
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I'm amazed by the responses I see here. In what possible way can Mozilla be considered a success?
Of course, it can't. The real point is that it's probably too soon to say it's a failure.
But unbridled enthusism for Open Source is no substitute for common sense. So far, Mozilla has chewed up about $20 million dollars in resources (130 X $150,000/year), and it has not kept up with the competition. And that's the real question -- can open source compete head-to-head with the big, bad, so-called best of the proprietary-source products?
So far, the Forbes article is undeniably correct -- Mozilla is losing the race with Microsoft. What does Mozilla's lack of success bode for Open Source? Selectively, it may mean that those products that depend on short time-to-market may be unable to compete with tightly managed commercial products. It's too soon to tell. But there *is* writing on the wall. And I think the Forbes article did a fine job of updating business managers of that fact.