"ON OCT. 19, a very simple e-mail announced the release
of Version 1.0.5 of the Nautilus graphical shell and file manager.
There were a few new features in the latest release, but nothing
earth-shattering. In fact, the release was entirely unremarkable
except for one small fact: Eazel, the company that created
Nautilus, ceased operations more than three months prior to this
The Nautilus product was an open-source project created by
Eazel. It brought the promise of a slick new interface for the
Gnome desktop. But when the dot-com bubble burst last year, Eazel
found itself in financial hot water. After battling to stay alive,
Eazel succumbed to market conditions, and on May 15 it closed its
doors for good.
If this were the world of closed-source software, this event
would have been devastating to customers. Any customer who had
employed this software would be scrambling to find a replacement.
Plans and cost estimates would be hastily constructed to migrate to
a different product. And then there would be the questions to be
answered from senior management, "How could you let this happen to
us? How could you let us rely on such a fragile company?""