Identifying Success Factors for the Mozilla Project

  • Robert Viseur
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 404)

Abstract

The publication of the Netscape source code under free software license and the launch of the Mozilla project constitute a pioneering initiative in the field of free and open source software. However, five years after the publication came years of decline. The market shares rose again after 2004 with the lighter Firefox browser. We propose a case study covering the period from 1998 to 2012. We identify the factors that explain the evolution of the Mozilla project. Our study deepens different success factors identified in the literature. It is based on authors’ experience as well as the abundant literature dedicated to the Netscape company and the Mozilla project. It particularly highlights the importance of the source code complexity, its modularity, the responsibility assignment and the existence of an organisational sponsorship.

References

  1. Bach, P.M., Carroll, J.M.: FLOSS UX Design: An Analysis of User Experience Design in Firefox and OpenOffice.org. In: Boldyreff, C., Crowston, K., Lundell, B., Wasserman, A.I. (eds.) OSS 2009. IFIP AICT, vol. 299, pp. 237–250. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker, M.: The Mozilla Project: Past and Future. In: DiBona, C., Stone, M., Cooper, D. (eds.) Open Sources 2.0, The Continuing Evolution. O’Reilly Media (October 2005)Google Scholar
  3. Bar, M., Fogel, K.: Open Source Development with CVS. Paraglyph Press (2003)Google Scholar
  4. Baysal, O., Davis, I., Godfrey, M.W.: A Tale of Two Browsers. In: MSR 2011, May 21-22 (2011)Google Scholar
  5. Berners-Lee, T., Cailliau, R., Luotonen, A., Nielsen, H.F., Secret, A.: The World-Wide Web. Communications of the ACM 37(8), 76–82 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ceruzzi, P.E.: Aux origines américaines de l’Internet: projets militaires, intérêts commerciaux, désirs de communauté. Le Temps des médias (18), 15–28 (2012)Google Scholar
  7. Champeau, G.: Mozilla interroge sur son avenir et ménage sa communauté. Numerama, 23 août (2011) Google Scholar
  8. Comino, S., Manenti, F.M., Parisi, M.L.: From planning to mature: On the success of open source projects. Research Policy 36(10), 1575–1586 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corley, J.K., Hunsinger, D.S.: Why are People Using Google’s Chrome Browser? In: CONISAR Proceedings (2011)Google Scholar
  10. Cusumano, M.A., Yoffie, D.B.: Competing on Internet time. Touchstone (2000)Google Scholar
  11. Cusumano, M.A.: Extreme programming compared with Microsoft-style iterative development. Communications of the ACM 50(10), 15–18 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. de Laat, P.B.: Copyright or copyleft? An analysis of property regimes for software development. Research Policy 34, 1511–1532 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dalle, J.-M., Masmoudi, H., den Besten, M.: Channeling Firefox Developers: Mom and Dad Aren’t Happy Yet. In: Russo, B., Damiani, E., Hissam, S., Lundell, B., Succi, G. (eds.) Open Source Development, Communities and Quality. IFIP, vol. 275, pp. 265–271. Springer, Boston (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dalle, J.-M., den Besten, M.L.: Voting for Bugs in Firefox. In: FLOSS Workshop 2010 (2010)Google Scholar
  15. Descombes, S.: Saga Netscape/Microsoft: histoire d’un renversement. Journal du Net, 23 août (2002)Google Scholar
  16. Di Penta, M., German, D.M.: An Exploratory Study of the Evolution of Software Licensing. In: ICSE 2010, Cap Town, South Africa, May 2-8 (2010)Google Scholar
  17. Elie, F.: Économie du logiciel libre. Eyrolles (2006) Google Scholar
  18. Fitzgerald, B.: The transformation of open source software. MIS Quarterly 30(3), 587–598 (2006)Google Scholar
  19. Gonzalez-Barahona, J.M., Robles, G., Herraiz, I.: Impact of the Creation of the Mozilla Foundation in the Activity of Developers. In: Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Mining Software Repositories (2007)Google Scholar
  20. Grosskurth, A., Godfrey, M.W.: Architecture and evolution of the modern web browser. Preprint submitted to Elsevier Science (2006)Google Scholar
  21. Halloul, R.: Le réseau stratégique et la concurrence illustrés par le cas M/N (Microsoft versus Netscape). Innovations (21) (2005) Google Scholar
  22. Hamerly, J., Paquin, T.: Freeing the Source: The Story of Mozilla. In: Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution. O’Reilly (January 1999)Google Scholar
  23. Harrison, W.: Eating your Own Dog Food. IEEE Software (May/June 2006)Google Scholar
  24. Hernandez, E.A.: War of Mobile Browsers. Pervasive Computing, 82–85 (2009)Google Scholar
  25. Iansiti, M., MacCormack, A.: Developing products on Internet time. Harvard Business Review, 108–117 (Septembre-Octobre 1997) Google Scholar
  26. Khomh, F., Dhaliwal, T., Zou, Y., Adams, B.: Do faster releases improve software quality? An empirical case study of Mozilla Firefox. In: 9th IEEE Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), pp. 179–188 (2012)Google Scholar
  27. Krishnamurthy, S.: About Closed-door Free/Libre/Open Source (FLOSS) Projects: Lessons from the Mozilla Firefox Developer Recruitment Approach. Upgrade 6(3) (June 2005) Google Scholar
  28. Krishnamurthy, S.: CASE: Mozilla vs. Godzilla - The Launch of the Mozilla Firefox Browser. Journal of Interactive Marketing (2009)Google Scholar
  29. Liotard, I.: Les nouvelles facettes de la propriété intellectuelle: stratégies, attaques et menaces. Management & Sciences Sociales (4), 1–14 (2007)Google Scholar
  30. Midha, V., Palvia, P.: Factors affecting the success of Open Source Software. Journal of Systems and Software 85(4), 895–905 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mikkonen, T., Taivalsaari, A.: Apps vs. Open Web: The Battle of the Decade. In: Proceedings of 2nd Workshop Software Eng. for Mobile Application Development (MSE 2011) (2011)Google Scholar
  32. Mockus, A., Fielding, R.T., Herbsleb, J.D.: Two case studies of open source software development: Apache and Mozilla. ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology 11(3) (July 2002)Google Scholar
  33. Montero, E., Cool, Y., de Patoul, F., De Roy, D., Haouideg, H., Laurent, P.: Les logiciels libres face au droit. Cahier du CRID (25), Bruylant (2005) Google Scholar
  34. Nurolahzade, M., Nasehi, S.M., Khandkar, S.H., Rawal, S.: The role of patch review in software evolution: an analysis of the Mozilla Firefox. In: Proceedings of the Joint International and Annual ERCIM Workshops on Principles of Software Evolution (IWPSE) and Software Evolution (Evol) Workshops, pp. 9–18 (2009)Google Scholar
  35. Raymond, E.S.: The Cathedral & the Bazaar (Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary). O’Reilly Media (2001) Google Scholar
  36. Reis, C.R., Pontin de Mattos Fortes R.: An Overview of the Software Engineering Process and Tools in the Mozilla Project. Working paper (February 8, 2002) Google Scholar
  37. Roberts, J.A., Hann, I.-H., Slaughter, S.A.: Understanding the Motivations, Participation, and Performance of Open Source Software Developers: A Longitudinal Study of the Apache Projects. Management Science 52(7), 984–999 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sebenius, J.K.: Negociating Lessons from the Browser Wars. MIT Sloan Management Review (Summer 2002) Google Scholar
  39. Shankland, S.: Firefox: 1 billion downloads only part of the story (July 31, 2009), http://news.cnet.com
  40. Stearn, B.: XULRunner: A New Approach for Developing Rich Internet Applications. IEEE Internet Computing 11(3), 67–73 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. van Gurp, J., Bosch, J.: Design Erosion: Problems & Causes. Journal of Systems & Software 61(2), 105–119 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Viseur, R.: Associer commerce et logiciel libre: étude du couple Netscape / Mozilla. In: 16ème Conférence de l’Association Information et Management, AIM, Saint-Denis (France) (25 mai, 2011)Google Scholar
  43. Viseur, R.: Forks impacts and motivations in free and open source projects. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications (IJACSA) 3(2) (February 2012)Google Scholar
  44. Wang, J., Carroll, J.M.: Behind Linus’s law: A preliminary analysis of open source software peer review practices in Mozilla and Python. In: 2011 International Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), May 23-27 (2011)Google Scholar
  45. Wang, T., Wu, L., Lin, Z.: The revival of Mozilla in the browser war against Internet Explorer. In: ICEC 2005, pp. 159–166 (2005)Google Scholar
  46. West, J., Gallagher, S.: Patterns of Open Innovation in Open Source Software. In: Chesbrough, H., Vanhaverbeke, W., West, J. (eds.) Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm, ch. 5. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2006)Google Scholar
  47. Zawinski, J.: Resignation and postmortem (March 31, 1999), http://www.jwz.org

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Viseur
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Mons (FPMs)MonsBelgium
  2. 2.CETICCharleroiBelgium

Personalised recommendations