Open-Source talk

Cercle Suédois - Paris

October 16th, 2003

Tristan Nitot –

Mozilla Contributor –

OpenWebGroup project Leader –

OpenSource: a Definition

Original vision of software

Notion coming from Science and knowledge: the more you share, the more the value increases.

Freedom to share, distribute and contribute, with the program source.

See and


  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  2. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  4. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source codeis a precondition for this.

A few examples

On the server:

On the desktop:

The Mozilla effort as an illustration of the Open-Source Movement

What is Mozilla, the product?

A fast, secure, advanced Web browser, with e-mail client and html editor.

A few features:

Web browser:

Messaging client:


The Mozilla organization people

technical leadership and guidance
Module owners:
leading the development of a module of code
ensuring quality and efficiency of overall product
400 engineers have been granted CVS access
150 engineers check in code every month (some are the gateway for many more engineers).
Nightly build testers:
10 000 testers.
More than 40,000 total bug reporters
about 75-100 bugs get filed per day.
~2,000 have been granted advanced bug update rights.
Milestone testers:
500 000 testers (grown from 100 000 in 2001)

Contributor profiles tools

Tinderbox / Bonsai / CVS

Testing changes. If they fail, who did commit these changes into CVS?


Browsing the source


Bug report database. 200 000+ bugs reported so far.


Open-source is a viable complement to buying licenses to use proprietary software.


Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. So far, Open-Source software has been much superior in terms of security. (Apache vs. IIS, Linux vs. Windows, Mozilla vs. MSIE).
Independent of software vendor
if you're not happy with the feature set, edit the source-code! (Or hire someone to do it...)
Future-proof solution
Tendency to use open-standards, so that documents will remain usable in the future. In any case, the software will remain open. (This would not happen if the vendor goes bankrupt).
License cost may be zero
(free as speech, not free as beer). Let's not forget that licensing costs are marginal in a large IT project.


Need for training
(as for any software)
Need for technical support
many open-source projects have a commercial entity that offers such a service

Addendum: Learning more...

About Mozilla project :

About Free Software:

About Open Source Initiative

The Cathedral and the Bazaar

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