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The Rise and Rise of Mozilla

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One of the most interesting developments in recent years has been the rise of Mozilla. Not Mozilla the browser, aka Firefox, which has become a serious challenger to Internet Explorer: that's old hat. Less well known is the way that Mozilla the organisation has turned from a rather desperate and leaky lifeboat for the open-sourced Netscape Navigator code into a mighty battleship blasting hither and thither against outposts of proprietary software.

Here's a good example of what's going on. As I wrote recently, Adobe has joined the SQLite Consortium, which was set up by Symbian and Mozilla. Mozilla's Chief Lizard Wrangler (no, really), Mitchell Baker provides some fascinating background to that move:

A while back Richard Hipp contacted Mozilla to see if we had some time to talk to him about sustainability models. He had a problem we at Mozilla were familiar with- difficulty in getting organizations to fund the development of the core. At Mozilla we have seen this repeatedly- many companies understand why it’s important for them to fund development of the particular aspects of Mozilla that specifically benefit their business. It was much harder to find companies that would fund the core development applicable to all users of Mozilla code.

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