Should Mozilla be more like Eclipse?

Matt Assay is suggesting Mozilla should be more like Eclipse, specifically in terms of promoting commercial development on top of Firefox.

Well sometimes I wish Eclipse was more like Mozilla. 🙂 Things like SpreadFirefox, the scale of Firefox adoption and the revenue Mozilla generates is fantastic. Something I wish we could emulate at Eclipse.

However, I do think the Eclipse community has done a nice job of promoting the commercial adoption of the Eclipse platform and we all benefit from the ecosystem that has been developed. Is this something that could also benefit Mozilla?

IMO, Mozilla, Apache and Eclipse all have slightly different models for building open source communities and I think we can all learn from each other.

7 thoughts on “Should Mozilla be more like Eclipse?

  1. $53M! Imagine the Eclipse team we could build with that kind of dough.

    Maybe I’m just getting jaded by length of time I’ve been working on Eclipse and the “stuff” that happens behind the scenes, but having dedicated Eclipse developers who are only working on Eclipse with the commercial vendors as customers has a lot of appeal to it.

  2. Eclipse needs more evangelists and dedicated community members who aren’t self serving. The problem with a “commercial open-source eco-system” is that you tend to have people that all have their interests and they are self serving. Eclipse needs to work hard at cultivating an environment where the “greater good” is something everyone wants to be a part of, instead of serving their own interests.

    Pushing the whole “greater good” thing is something I personally spend a lot of my free time on because I care about growing Eclipse. How you cultivate more of that attitude is tough… some people just have that “open-source” attitude in them.

    We are lucky in Eclipse to have selfless people that help Eclipse grow outside their full-time commitments, whether they do it on IRC, newsgroups or other forums. I just wish we would have more of these type of people 😉

  3. Great points, Chris. From the board on down, the culture at Eclipse, is one of self-serving commercialism. As you say there are the exception. But when push comes to shove, we have need to meet the needs of our employers first if we want to stay employed. And they are demaning more for less as I feel they are starting to waver over the value proposition of committing so many resource to open source.

    I’ve had this discussion with a few people and everyone I talk to agrees. It would make more sense to have structure like Mozilla or the Linux Foundation, where the foundation employs open source developers as a service to commercial vendors who provide the funding. I fear that the current model isn’t sustainable in the long run.

  4. Doug,

    I am not convinced that having developers employed by the Foundation is the right way to go. By focusing on having contributed commiters, I think we have a much larger potential to scale. For instance the effort today on all of our projects would take a lot more than $50 million per year to fund. The key is to ensurce we have lots of diversity in the projects to spread the resource commitment. Something I know you have developed with CDT.

    Chris and Doug
    I agree we need more evangelist and I think that is where Mozilla has excelled. More of these people is always better.

  5. Ian, developers employed by the foundation might not be the solution, but what about more evangelists or community builders… whatever you want to call them? Wayne does a great job but having some more people may not hurt.

  6. I’ll agree with that (although I still fear big investors in Eclipse pulling out). At the very least we could use more community builders. The embedded space is a great example of that. Wayne is nowhere and that’s fine, but there should be some Eclipse evangelism there. There is distrust amongst the vendors in a highly competative market and having one community heavy weight doing most of the evangelism there isn’t necessarily the best for community building.

    But does the Foundation have the funds to hire more?

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