[linux-elitists] Netscape/Mozilla followup

Rusty Foster rusty@kuro5hin.org
Thu May 11 13:42:47 PDT 2000

Hi all, I'm Rusty Foster from Kuro5hin.org. I've been following the
discussion about the Mozilla image blocking story here (via the web
archive) and I thought you'd like to know that we're still trying to get
questions answered and put together a coherent followup story about the
whole thing. We requested (repeatedly) an interview with Steve Morse and
Blake Ross. Ross didn't respond, and Morse finally referred us to
Catherine Corre in Netscape PR. So we sent a list of questions to her,
and to Mitchell Baker at Mozilla. The email we sent Corre follows, and
apart from tiny changes to make it mozilla-specific instead of
Netscape-specific, the one sent to Baker is identical. If anyone here
has any issues that they feel are still unanswered and that we don't
address in the below email, please send them on to me and we'll include
them in any followup correspondence. Thanks!


Mail to Catherine Corre:

Ms. Corre,

I am an editor at Kuro5hin (www.kuro5hin.org), a reader driven news
weblog. What I mean by reader driven is that the stories we post are
submitted by the readers to a submission queue, where registered
account holders vote on whether or not they are posted to the main site.

On Monday, May 8th, a reader submitted a story regarding a Bugzilla
posting explaining the reason for the removal of the image blocking
feature from the Mozilla web browser. It was voted forward very quickly,
and generated some rather heated discussion. You can find the story as
published at

The story was subsequently picked up by several sources, including
Advogato and Slashdot, and there was a lot of confusion and questions
which seemed to remain unanswered. We are putting together a follow-up
story, in an attempt to get the events of the original story clear, and
also to clarify for our readers the relationship between Netscape, AOL,
and the Mozilla project.

In the original bugzilla post, Blake Ross quoted Steve Morse of Netscape
as having said that the feature "went the way of management decree."
(http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=35981). In a later email to
Ben Woodard of VA Linux, Mr. Morse confirmed this quote as being
accurate and having come from him
(http://zgp.org/pipermail/linux-elitists/2000-May/000385.html -- see
the bottom of the forwarded message).

Mr. Morse later denied having said this in numerous places, including
personal email to Rusty Foster of Kuro5hin, and in a subsequent post to
the Bugzilla record (http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=35981),
where he says "Please don't go attributing any other quotes to me --
they just aren't true!!!". This seemed to many to be a denial of his
having said the "management decree" quote.

While the assumption was made by the reader who posted the story that
"management" meant AOL management, Ross said in several posts that it
was not related to AOL. Ross strongly implied that it was Netscape
management who made this request, in his post at

We have tried to clear up the series of events with Mr. Morse and Mr.
Ross, and have been directed to forward all questions on the matter to

There is still quite a bit of confusion regarding this and related
matters which I am hoping you can help clear up. In particular, it would
be most helpful if you could answer (or point me to someone who can
answer) the following questions:

     * Did Mr. Morse actually say that the feature was disabled by
       decree"? Why was this quote confirmed, and then later denied?
     * Who made the request to remove the image blocking feature? Was it
       Netscape management, Mozilla project management, AOL, or someone

     * Why was the request made? Did the decision to remove it have
       to do with Netscape's concerns about potential loss of
       revenues on Netcenter and its other web properties?

     * What is the nature of the relationships between Netscape and AOL,
       Netscape and Mozilla? Does AOL make requests/demands regarding
       features, or is Netscape autonomous in this regard?

     * Similarly, what is Netscape's position regarding features
included or not
       included in the browser? Does Netscape merely request the
inclusion or
       exclusion of features, or is the Mozilla team bound in some
       (whether by convention or contract) to make changes deemed
desirable by
       Netscape? What is the process followed if a conflict arises?

     * If it is decided that a feature is not appropriate for a Netscape
       browser, what is Netscape's postion regarding the inclusion of
       feature in non-Netscape branded versions of Mozilla?

This information will be used for a follow-up story to be posted by next
Wednesday. Any additional information you can furnish that may be
pertinent would also be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.


Alan Ratcliff

Rusty Foster

|      Rusty Foster       | "You can never entirely stop being what   |
|   rusty@kuro5hin.org    | you once were. That's why it's important  |
|    rusty@intes.net      | to be the right person today, and not put |
| http://www.kuro5hin.org | it off till tomorrow."        -Larry Wall |

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