Why Make Netscape Source Available for Free? Jim Peters <[email protected]> offers a suggestion for why Netscape is making the source code for Communicator 5.0 available for free on the Internet, as we mentioned in NetBITS-016:
Perhaps you don’t understand the motivation behind the free software community. If I had the source code for Navigator on my machine, and in using the browser I found a bug, my first thought would be to fix it, and my second thought would be to pass the fix back to Netscape. Similarly, if I found some feature lacking, then I might consider putting it in, and if it seemed to be working OK, I would pass it on to others. There must be hundreds of programmers like me dying to get their hands on Netscape’s source to iron out all those irritating problems.
This is the driving force behind Linux and many other open-development software projects, and it has made Linux an incredibly stable and mature platform in just a few short years. If Netscape can make its browser the best ever through the work of unpaid enthusiasts around the world, then surely both sides can be satisfied.