Firefox.logoFrom Inside Firefox:

The story of Mozilla is long and rich in detail. There are many perspectives. This is mine.

Getting Involved

I got involved with Mozilla because I loved the idea of working on something that had the potential to make an impact on millions of people. My friends and I lived in our browsers, so there was also a tangible payoff for contributions that made it into a shipping Netscape release. After switching gears on the layout engine, it looked like Netscape needed all the help it could get. In early 1999 only the most basic elements of the old Communicator suite were in place in the new browser; you could barely browse or read mail as Netscape’s engineers worked furiously to erect the framework of the application.

I thought about what I could offer. It was difficult — through my website I had taught myself JavaScript and HTML, but I did not know C++. Perhaps more importantly my AMD K6/166 was not really capable of compiling a codebase as large as Mozilla (even when it could almost fit on a floppy!). What I did notice though was that the user interface was being developed using something similar to HTML and JavaScript. Realizing that my fussiness and attention to detail could be useful, I began working on improving the UI. I became involved both polishing the developing browser front end and in the design of the XUL toolkit that rendered it. After a few months I was offered a job on the Browser team.

It was mid January, 2000, and I stood in the dimly lit international arrival lounge at SFO waiting for my ride. After a few moments a smiling man with a burst of reddish hair approached. It was gramps, and I had arrived.

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