Give it a break, already

I know I’ve been on a downer lately, so here’s something that, while not funny, is at least positive. How amazing is Mozilla? If you don’t know what it is, Mozilla is an open-source web browser that supports open web standards, runs well and has some very cool features that set it apart from the other major browser out there (I’m not leaving out Opera, but if you don’t know about Mozilla, will you know about Opera?). It’s open source, which means that it’s been written mostly by volunteers, with some oversight by Netscape (now AOL/TW) employees.

Its critics have pointed out that it’s taken three years to even approach a 1.0 version. I see their point, but I think they’re missing the amazing feat the Mozilla group has performed. If you look at the releases page, you’ll see a who’s who of Operating Systems. Not only does it support Windows, MacOS 9 and X.x, most flavors of Linux, most flavors of Linux, but also OS/2 and a myriad of others. On top of that concurrent development on those platforms, each build of Mozilla displays pages, with the exception of the fonts available on the system, the same. My site looks the same on Mozilla no matter if I look at it on Windows, Mac, Linux, an embedded version of Gecko (Mozilla’s rendering engine), or on my Solaris box. That is an amazing accomplishment that should make everyone who worked on the project proud.

Microsoft can’t get two versions of Internet Explorer to work the same. Their Mac and Windows browsers don’t even use the same codebase, and only really share a name. Mozilla is the first of its kind, and a great example of the power of a vibrant and mobile open source community.

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