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Mozilla's Crowdsourcing Mystique

Jul 02, 2009, 22:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Douglas MacMillan)

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"Saunders is among hundreds of people who donate time and skills to Mozilla, the Mountain View (Calif.) company that releases Firefox and other open-source software. Even as Mozilla's internal staff has grown to 250, from 15 in 2005, an army of volunteers still contributes about 40% of the company's work, which ranges from tweaks to the programming code to designing the Firefox logo.

"How Mozilla channels those efforts is a model for a growing number of companies trying to tap into the collective talents of large pools of software developers and other enthusiasts of a product, brand, or idea. "There's structure in it," says Mike Beltzner, who runs Firefox. "But at the same time you allow people to innovate and to explore and [give them] the freedom to do what they want along those edges—that's where innovation tends to happen in startling and unexpected ways."

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