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People who had been involved in open-source projects before realized that the code had to have a place to live. The night after Netscape announced that it would free the source, Jamie registered a new domain name with Internic and drew up a chart on how distributed development projects work. Mozilla.org was born.
There's a pattern that all successful open-source projects follow, not necessarily by design. There tends to be one person or group that does coordination. People work on whatever aspect of the code they care about, scratching their own itches. At the end of the day, they have something that works a little better for them. But what happens a month later when a new version of the software comes out? Their fix is gone, and they're back to square one -- or worse, because the software may have changed.
The result is that developers want to get their patch included in the main distribution. And if there's just a pile of source code floating around and a bunch of people working on it, eventually someone will stand up and say, ``I might as well collect a bunch of patches and do a release.'' When the next person comes along wondering how to get his patch into the next release, he'll say, ``I don't know who else to give my patch to, so I'll give it to that guy. He seems to be doing a good job of it.'' And as time goes by, that person becomes the maintainer.
For this open-source project, the horse was put in front of the cart. Mozilla.org was conceived and designed to fill the role of maintainer from the outset. Since the role would be filled one way or another, we decided to create the infrastructure to become the clearinghouse.
In the next months, mozilla.org began to set up an organization, getting funding and machines, posting mailing lists, and developing the underpinnings necessary to make it work. The mission was simply to get the organization off the ground and functioning. It was crucial that there be a central depot in operation as soon as the source code was released. And if we weren't prepared, in six months time, we'd be watching someone else do it. Netscape is not known for sitting around and watching the other guy.
Giving away the source code meant Netscape was collaborating with the Net. And there was a crucial concept that had to be accepted: the Netscape Client Product Development Group and mozilla.org were not the same organization. Mozilla.org's goal is to act as the coordinator for all of the people worldwide working on the software. Product Development's purpose is to ship products -- Netscape products based on the Mozilla code. Since both groups are working on the same product, interests can overlap. But the group behind mozilla.org knew that it would be disastrous for the Net to look at the organization and say, ``These people only have Netscape's interests in mind and they're only about shipping Netscape products.'' This would mean that mozilla.org had failed in its goal to be a good maintainer. The separation had to be real and the Net had to know it.