Netscape to put code on new site

The company is launching a special team and companion Web site for those seeking information about its free browser source code.

Netscape Communications(NSCP) announced today it is launching a special team and companion Web site to be the resource center for those seeking information about its free browser source code.

The new team and site, Mozilla.org, will "promote, foster, and guide open dialog and development of Netscape's client source code," according to the company.

Last month, Netscape said that it would open up its source code to the masses, a move that developers applauded because it would make it easier for them to create software for the browser.

"This is kind of the next shoe falling," said Tom Paquin, a Netscape fellow. "In order to cultivate the community of free software development, developers need a central place to have their discussions, to debate how things should go...Simultaneously, the community needs steering, guidance, and more importantly, coordination. Mozilla.org is a place for those things to happen."

Developers will be able to download the source code on Mozilla.org, post their own enhancements, and participate in newsgroup discussions as well.

The first code will be released March 31, just two months after Netscape declared that it would be making the code available. In doing so, "Netscape can expand its client software leadership by integrating the best enhancements from a broad array of developers," Marc Andreessen, executive vice president of products, said in statement.

Paquin noted he realizes that some may interpret the move to develop a central clearinghouse for the free source code as a rearguard action. But he emphasized that Netscape based its program on other open systems, such as that for the Linux operating system.

"We recognize that if we don't participate in the free source community in the manner they are used to, they will be less inclined to help us out," he said.

The "Mozilla" name comes from the code name given to Netscape's first browser and is now something of a legend as a mascot, with several Web pages dedicated to it.

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