Lessons from Mozilla

The keynote that stuck with me today at OSMB has to be that of John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla. His keynote stuck out from the rest because it was a refreshing and insightful look at some of the philosophy that is driving Mozilla today. He will be uploading his presentation to Slideshare soon, but here are some of the quotes I took away and some added comments.

Lots of Open Source projects are successful, but there is no clear model on how to get there.

This is something I sometimes feel needs emphasizing over and over again. Especially when I talk to companies interested in going Open Source and building a community. There is no “game plan” on how that may or may not work. It is an individual process that needs to take all the parameters of the underlying Open Source project and the company(ies) behind it into consideration. If there was a single way for an Open Source offering to become successful, then someone would be making millions.

40 % of the Mozilla code is contributed by non-employees

Again, another interesting point if you are trying to build a community around your Open Source project – how much of it has been developed from people outside your organization?

The strongest open systems are “Chaords” – with distributed decision-making, nodal authority and ways to route around

Look at successful open systems that adhere to these principles – Wikipedia or the Apache Software Foundation and the underlying projects for example.

Make it easy for your community to do important things

The best citizens [of a community] challenge the status quo

I would add to the last point that you also need to provide ways for members of the community to actually challenge what goes on inside the community and how the Open Source product is shaped.

In all a good presentation and I hope many of the attendees took away the key points.


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