Extend Firefox, for a prize: The joy of the bounty

Mozilla launches contest to encourage additional and improved add-ons for Firefox.

Mozilla has launched its Extend Firefox 3 contest, with some cool prizes in the offing, including a MacBook Air.

The purpose? To encourage additional and improved add-ons for Firefox, of course.

It's similar in many ways to Atlassian's bounty program, which is giving away six $5,000 bounties for individual plug-ins built for Jira, Confluence, and its other software.

Bounty programs have been around for years. The Ximian team used these somewhat effectively early on at Novell (and prior to that), which was my first experience with them. Since then, the number of bounties has grown considerably within the open-source world.

I personally am not a big fan of bounties because I don't think they go to the heart of why many developers write open-source code in the first place: pride of ownership, experimentation, intellectual pursuit.

But, if nothing else, they do call attention to a need: more plug-ins for Firefox and the Atlassian projects, in these cases.

It's not as if Mozilla is hurting for Firefox plug-ins. But it may be that it's trying to remind developers to update their Firefox 2 plug-ins for Firefox 3, and this offers a convenient, relatively inexpensive way to do so.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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