Archive for June 7th, 2009

More On 7 Years of Mozilla Releases

June 7th, 2009

Two artifacts from the Mozilla 1.0 release have got my mind spinning. They are the Mozilla press release for Mozilla 1.0, thoughtfully reprinted in part in an article by Glyn Moody at ComputerWorld, and the T-shirt Tristan posted.

First I noticed how consistent how core message has been. Here’s a couple of excerpts: is excited about releasing the Mozilla 1.0 code and development tools to the open source community, and providing developers with the resources they need to freely create and view the presentation of their content and data on the Web,” said Mitchell Baker, Chief Lizard Wrangler at “As the browser has become the main interface between users and the Web over the past several years, the goal of the Mozilla project is to innovate and enable the creation of standards-compliant technology to keep content on the Web open.”


Mozilla 1.0 will be available in the following languages (with more to follow): Asturian, Chinese, Dutch, Estonian, Galician, German,Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Polish, Slovak, Sorbian and Ukrainian.

The message from 7 years ago was focused at developers and not so much on consumers, but it’s the same message. Open content and data, standards, Mozilla as a platform enabling many people to innovate, the importance of the browser to the general state of the Web, and the importance of a multi-language Web — these are key themes today as then.

Second, I’m struck by how we have expanded our reach by reaching out to consumers as well as developers. In the early days, the idea was that Mozilla would build technology, and others (such as Netscape) would build products. In fact, in the the very early days some people felt that Mozilla would release only source code, that even releasing an executable version was beyond the scope of the project. Clearly we’ve come a long way.

Tristan’s shirt shows the developer focus. How does one announce the release of a product? By closing a bug, of course. How does one represent this on a t-shirt? By printing the URL of the bug-tracking system. Today we complement the developer focus with a consumer focus as well. That’s a big change.

Finally, I must have worked on that press release in the cold and funky downstairs computer zone in my house — 2002 was during the period in which I was a volunteer at Mozilla after being “laid off” by Netscape / AOL in the fall of 2001. Next week I’ll move to a new Mozilla office. It’s a long way from 2002.

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