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Friday, July 22, 2005, 6:40 PM

Art of making successful software

Netscape was an open source attempt to kill the IE but Netscape succumbed. Firefox is another such attempt by Mozilla and is going good.

"Simplicity is the key to success everywhere", says Ross, You don't create a better browser for Windows users by developing it on Linux, would be my interpretation.

He shares rules for Creating Easy-to-Use Software:

Rule #1: all patches are not created equal. Second level of review that evaluates not simply whether the code is sound, but is it doing something useful. This is a departure from typical open source projects which gravitate to sound code belonging in the tree.

Rule #2: All users are not created equal. Firefox has a voting mechanism for bugs, but a lot of votes aren't necessarily heavily weighted if the source of the votes is regional or somehow. They also claim to be a meritocracy where peer respect is critical to having a voice in the community.

Rule #3: Make decisions and get a thick skin.

Ross suggests "the first thing we did in Firefox was throw out half the features, the second thing we did was copy the competition". The second issue is to have a brand that appeals to demographics outside of 19-25 males. Most of the Firefox promotion is occuring via word of mouth... blogs.

Some interesting stats about firefox:

Number of employees: 15

Revenues Source: donations, corporate sponsorships, and a $2m grant from AOL


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