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This week in browser news

Firefox may be free and open source, but developers are still cashing in on the popularity of the Mozilla Foundation's new browser.

Firefox may be free and open source, but that isn't preventing developers from cashing in on the popularity of the Mozilla Foundation's new browser.

New businesses are cropping up to provide organizations ranging from museums to software companies to the U.S. Department of Defense with Mozilla-based applications--for a fee.

"With the popularity of Firefox and the economy rebounding, we've been swamped. We don't even advertise--clients find us and provide us with work," said Pete Collins, who last year founded the Mozdev Group in anticipation of demand for private Mozilla development work.

Pete Collins
Mozdev Group

The Mozdev Group is still a small shop--seven employees scattered around the globe, including two new hires. In response to demand, Collins intends to hire two more workers in January. In addition, hourly rates--which range between $75 and $100 per hour depending on volume--are going up.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, under pressure to add new features to IE, said it might do so by way of the browser's add-on mechanism.

The company has been steadfast in its insistence that it won't issue a new stand-alone IE, which saw its last major upgrade in August 2001. After sustaining a series of security crises with IE, Microsoft issued a major upgrade with the Windows XP Service Pack 2. But that IE update is available only to people who use Windows XP--about half the Windows world.

Microsoft has insisted that all hands are too busy working on the much-delayed operating system under development--called Longhorn--to revisit the browser. But now the company says that through the browser's add-on capability, it might add IE features that customers deem a "super high priority."