The Mozilla Battle Cry Words From Chris Hofmann
Posted on 12 Nov 1999
by Daniel Cody (djc)
Rated 3.05 (Ratings: 4)
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"Netscape is dead." "Mozilla was a fluke." "Microsoft wins again." "The war is over."
There's been a lot of mainstream press lately indicating that the browser war has long been over with Microsoft Internet Explorer emerging as the victor over Netscape Communicator after a long drawn out battle.
ZDNet recently asked the question, "Has Communicator lost the browser war?" and an older News.com article points out that the development of open source Mozilla has largely been a failure because "the lion's share of the Mozilla work is still done by Netscape/AOL engineers." A recent Slashdot.org feature article suggests (somewhat ludicrousy, IMO) that because Netscape is such a terrible browser, the Linux operating system will never become mainstream (I didn't know that was the goal of Linux in the first place) and lose 'the war' to IE, and therefore Windows.
They, as well as the rest of the naysayers, are all wrong. Mozilla won't fail because of lack of outside developers, Linux won't lose momentum because Netscape 4.x crashes, and one browser will never dominate the Web like Netscape did in the mid 90s. Web Developers will never start designing sites that only cater to one browser as the ZDNet article suggests. Think about it: what e-commerce site will stop taking your money untill you use IE? Sounds crazy right? Exactly.
So why all the predictions of doom for Netscape?
Although the latest release of Netscape Communicator is version 4.7, the foundation for Communicator 5.0 has been in the works for over a year and a half now in a product we know as Mozilla. Since most of us have heard about the fact that its open source, highly customizable, fully standards compliant, and all-around coolness, I'll skip the usual intro. If you haven't heard of it before, our good friend Taylor wrote a good article, "Why designers should care about Mozilla" that ran a couple of months ago in Webmonkey.
There are many reasons that Mozilla will in be (and already is in terms of an open source project) a monumental achievement, but I don't have the prose to adequately put them into words. To help me out, I recently talked to Chris Hofmann, one of the lead engineers for the Mozilla project, about the future of Mozilla, why it will be a success, and what kind of response they've received from outside developers.
"..at the most recent milestone we had over 8,000 downloads of the source file packages. It's amazing to think what the future will bring when you have source code for the most popular software application in the universe in the hands of 8,000 software developers that are learning, tweaking, poking at, extending and improving the code."
Thanks to Chris Hofmann for taking time out of his busy schedule and Catherine Corre from AOL for her help with PR. After Milestone 11 is released and some other engineers and managment types have some more time to talk, I hope to take questions from evolt.org members to them and get some responses (watch thesite for details on this), so stay tuned. If you have questions or comments for me personally, please drop me a line or let everyone know what you think of Mozilla's future below.