Archive for March 10th, 2005

Community Transition Plan for Seamonkey

March 10th, 2005

There’s been a fair amount of discussion recently about Seamonkey and Firefox development. First, never trust the headlines! I’m frequently amazed by what I find.

It is true that the Mozilla Foundation does not plan to ship official releases of the integrated Mozilla Application Suite (also known by its codename of “Seamonkey”) after the 1.7.x line. It is true that there are a group of developers who remain interested in developing and releasing new versions of the Seamonkey project. This group has proposed a plan for continuing the Seamonkey project as a community effort. In essence, the proposal is that interested developers would do the work and the releases, and the Mozilla Foundation will supply infrastructure support (cvs, bugzilla, etc.) We support this plan and will work with the developers to figure out how to implement it effectively.

These developments represent the strength of the open source development model in action. One of the benefits of open source software is that consumers are not locked into the vendor; they have the flexibility to create, maintain and use the products they want. Here we see these freedoms in action.

The Mozilla Foundation will cease development of new features for the Seamonkey product. (We’ll continue with 1.7.x maintenance and security releases to support 1.7.x users.) This decision has been discussed at length, and I won’t go into the rationale — we believe it is the correct decision for the overall health of the Mozilla project. There is a user and developer base that remains interested in Seamonkey. In a traditional proprietary world those users and developers would be out of luck, stuck forever using the last version received from the vendor or forced into an unwanted upgrade. In the open source world this need not be the case, and Seamonkey is an example of this.

The community of people interested in Seamonkey are organizing themselves and beginning to plan the tasks for the next release. The Mozilla Foundation will provide infrastructure support as described in the Seamonkey transition outline.

Like many open source projects, the Mozilla project is characterized by contributors who are fervently devoted to the technology, the projects and the releases they believe important. It’s no surprise that a portion of our community remains attached to the Seamonkey suite — these are some of the folks that made Seamonkey so good in the first place. It’s no surprise that a group wants to continue developing new features for Seamonkey — this is the commitment that gives the Mozilla project the power to be effective. An active Seamonkey community project reflects the success of the Mozilla project as a whole.

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