Baker shares her views on mass collaboration, navigating the open source community and AOL, Google and Microsoft
Core News Facts
• The fifth Open Voices podcast installation features a conversation with Mozilla Chairman, Mitchell Baker, and the Linux Foundation Executive Director, Jim Zemlin.
• Baker admits that Mozilla’s open source strategy was in direct reaction to market and competitive pressures and calls out Microsoft for illegal activities.
• As one of the first software projects to “open source” its technology, she explains how the Mozilla Foundation navigated community, licensing and growth issues.
• Baker also shares her opinions on the motivations and ingredients involved in mass collaboration, specifically around the Mozilla and other open source projects.
• Previous podcasts have featured conversations with Linus Torvalds, Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian and Oracle’s Edward Screven.
• The podcast series is one of many information sources the LF hosts or facilitates. Other activities include the recently released Guide to Participating in the Linux Kernel Community by Jonathan Corbet and the Linux Foundation study on Who Writes Linux and Who Supports It.
Baker on competition:
“We have always lived in a brutally difficult product landscape…In the late 1990’s, Netscape had gone from a position of having enormous market share for the browsers, probably as high as in the 90’s, I think, before Microsoft got involved, to a steadily declining market share. Partly because Microsoft is a great competitor and they’ve built some good products, and partly because they engaged in a campaign of illegal activities. And then you combine those and the Netscape market share had been dropping steadily for quite some time. So it’s clear that the way of producing a browser and how we were trying to keep choice and alternatives alive had to be done differently. Thus open source.”
Baker on mass collaboration:
“There is a sense, I would say, of community and bonding that is an extreme motivator. Sometimes people ask me why anyone would work on a software project if they weren’t getting paid for it. Well, think about how many people don’t like their job. Or, feel like they’ve got expertise that doesn’t get used. Or, their colleague or the management or the people they’re responsible for get in the way. Or, a company is going in a direction that doesn’t make sense and cuts off all the interesting projects and your advancement isn’t based on reputation or skill, it’s based on, you know who happens to like you. Well, we can mitigate or eliminate almost all of those things in an open source project. And so it turns out a lot people don’t want to be couch potatoes, right. And if you provide a setting in which something really interesting is happening and it matters; you can see that other people use it and it’s got really smart people working on it, and they will accept you if you find interesting things to do, and some of them will even help you. And you can see the results of that, you now, you can generate a reputation and have people interested in you and have your work used by millions of people. That rolls up into a pretty motivating package.”
Open Voices Podcast Series
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