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ComputerWorld: Mozilla gambit reveals risks of open sourcing

Oct 18, 1999, 18:50 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mike Cusumano)

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"There has been much ado recently about the open-source movement following the success of the Linux operating system and the Apache Web server. However, Netscape's sorry experience with open-source software development -- it has yet to finish the next version of its browser -- reveals how messy this approach can be for a public company."

"...Mozilla's development process has created difficulties that the truly open software initiatives, Linux and Apache, haven't experienced."

"Netscape insists on owning and distributing the software on its own terms. As a result, few outside developers have been willing to spend a lot of time writing code for Mozilla... the complex Navigator code base... grew from a few tens of thousands of lines to more than 3 million lines by Version 4. Netscape rushed those versions to market and lacked time to adequately modularize the code."

"The bottom line: Open-source development hasn't helped Netscape keep the Navigator browser alive, and it may not be an effective way for any commercial company to manage product development."

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