Pick a Free OS

Interview with Mozilla engineering director Chris Hofmann

I have one more to add. When I know what book I want, I haven't found a faster way to find it and buy it than using the Mozilla Amazon Browser. The MAB really shows how useful and fast the combination of gecko Web services and XUL can be to let users perform specific tasks. I'm addicted to golf books and have gotten it down to 20 seconds to find and buy a book from Amazon. For most, it takes at least that long for half the home page to load on the regular Amazon service, let alone the searching, and checkout process.

Q: Reports in the media said that Mozilla 1.5 wasn't really a significant release. It was more of a bug fix.

A: We attempt to ship updates of all our technology on a regular and incremental schedule to enable others some flexibility in the version that they would like to use and deploy. Each quarter we pump out a milestone.

(Version) 1.4 is being widely deployed by Netscape, IBM, Red Hat, and others. Mozilla 1.5 includes about 1,000 bug fixes and changes over the 1.4 release, plus a couple of new features like spell-checking in mail and composer which many people have been asking for for a while.

1.6 is right around the corner with another set of 1,000 more features, bug fixes, and incremental improvements.

The quarterly release schedule fits with one of the open source principals that guide the project -- ship early and often, and listen to user feedback.

Q: With AOL planning to use Internet Explorer and spinning off Mozilla as a foundation, what is the future of Mozilla?

A: The future looks great. More and more companies understand the idea that locking into proprietary solutions has a significant long term cost. We are working with a variety of companies that want to build out key areas of the Mozilla technologies to solve different business application problems. They want to collaborate in the Mozilla code-base and use standards where possible and extend the standards where none exist. We have funding to start coordinating and organizing these efforts, and things are beginning to take off.

Q: Do you have more freedom and resourced than you had with AOL?

A: We are definitely pursuing lots of opportunities. We have been basically operating as a start up company in the last four months getting operations up and running, and looking for opportunities to grow the technology and get it deployed.

Q: Other than AOL, who are the other companies supporting Mozilla?