|Next: The Revenge of the Up: Freeing the Source Previous: Behind the Curtain|
It was a week and a half before the end of March 1998, and the deadline was closing in fast. There was a general sense that there needed to be a party to celebrate the code release, but nothing had been done about it. In keeping with the rest of this project, the bash would become a groundbreaking event that invited the public into Netscape's world, shields down.
In a meeting Jamie laid out his plan to rent out a nightclub in San Francisco, invite the world, and broadcast it over the Net. ``You mean invite non-employees to the party? But we've never done that before!'' In character with the rest of the project, after a pause the reaction was ... ``Why not?''
The party will not soon be forgotten. Jamie rented out one of the biggest nightclubs in San Francisco, The Sound Factory, on the night of April 1st. DJs (including Apache founder Brian Behlendorf) gave away thousands of mozilla.org T-shirts, software, and items from NetObjects, Macromedia, Digital, Be, Wired, and unAmerican Activities.
When the doors opened for the ``Mozilla Dot Party'' at eight, there was already a line. An hour and a half later, the place was filled to its fire-code maximum of two thousand, and the line wrapped around the block. People were being waved in twenty at a time as others departed, and by the end of the night, over 3,500 had passed through the doors, including free software gurus like Brewster Kahle (founder of WAIS) and Eric Raymond. Hundreds more synched their watches and toasted Mozilla around the world. The virtual partygoers included a group of over a hundred at The Waag castle in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and various individual groups in Norway, Montreal, Canada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Alabama.
Inside, three projection screens scrolled the code at roughly sixty lines per second. (At that rate, the party would have had to linger more than seven hours to see the full million and a half lines of Mozilla code.) During the second of two sets played by the Kofy Brown Band (featuring a Netscape engineer), Eric Raymond, who had flown in from Philadelphia for the party, jumped on stage and surprised everyone with a flute solo. Toward the end of the night, a dozen CDs of the Mozilla Source Code, Signature Edition (CDs signed and numbered the night before by the Netscape Build Team and members of mozilla.org) were thrown to a lucky few in the crowd. The lizard was free!