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InfoWorld: Dance With a Dragon

May 23, 2002, 23:30 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Russell Pavlicek)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"Many remember the birth of the Mozilla project in 1999 when Netscape opened its Communicator code in the face of Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with Windows . Many also remember the ensuing catcalls at the open-source process when, after a year of hard work, Mozilla failed to reach the Version 1 plateau. Had the open-source process proved to be inadequate for producing a complex piece of software such as a browser?

"Not at all. Open source is no magic bullet. Making difficult software open source does not automatically bestow ease of maintenance and development. It's not like Tinkerbell's pixie dust, transforming everyday children into special youths capable of flight to faraway lands. Yes, open source adds potential to do great things, but only after hard work and insightful toil.

"For Mozilla, this amounted to a total reworking of the rendering engine (called NGLayout or Gecko). This was accompanied by a redesign of the user interface, the addition of numerous features, and intensive labor to ensure the result could survive on multiple operating systems in multiple hardware architectures. Yes, the lizard is as at home on your Windows desktop as it is under Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, or any number of OSes.

"In short, it took a heck of a lot of work..."

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