I think this is how it’s supposed to work… right?


I swear… the amorphous blob of people, patches, and passion that is Mozilla never stops churning.
I leave for a long-weekend-mini-vacation1, and the world completely changes: some taggable, hour-long YouTube video has everyone talking2, my desk gets moved3, a friend gets engaged, and Mozilla is killing XUL Runner.
Except… we aren’t. Not really.
Looking over Planet, there’s a lot of “platform” discussions going on. I’ve seen Mark Pilgrim’s “silly season” post referenced a number of times. To be sure, it’s a great post (and relevant, too), but one Mark’s other posts, linked from “silly season” really resonated with me: Freedom-0.
In that post, Pilgrim writes:

WordPress is Free Software. Its rules will never change. In the event that the WordPress community disbands and development stops, a new community can form around the orphaned code. It’s happened once already. In the extremely unlikely event that every single contributor (including every contributor to the original b2) agrees to relicense the code under a more restrictive license, I can still fork the current GPL-licensed code and start a new community around it. There is always a path forward. There are no dead ends.

I could go on about how I was confused, because it didn’t seem like I was reading the same post everyone else was reading.
But with shaver and Benjamin’s clarifications today, I don’t think I need to say anymore.4
I will, however, say: that’s what’s wonderful about the freedom of open source: the fact that those interested in a project can build up a community out of interested developers, can build a project out of a CVS repository/IRC server/mailing lists, and can build a product out of a bunch of bits.
I personally have always found XULRunner to be a very interesting project. I always thought it was neat that you could download this little bundle of binary bits, write up some JS and XUL, connect it with some XPCOM components, and get an entirely new app out of it all. And all the stuff we expect out of current (non-browser) applications—HTML rendering, network connectivity, platform independent I/O, an update mechanism—were just there.
I just wanted to add: count me among the members of the Mozilla Community that are interested in XULRunner and seeing it succeed.6 Materially, I’d love to contribute the time to make sure that XULRunner has the build (and eventually release) resources it needs.
As shaver notes, “As XULRunner itself is about 1000 lines of code that differs from Firefox, the bulk of the work is likely to be in build, packaging, update and other “meta” areas, I suspect.” I suspect he’s right, most certainly because Firefox really is built on top of XULRunner, even if that separation isn’t as clear as we like, and it’s not packaged entirely how we’d like. It’s not like we could have Firefox release, but a so-completely-broken XULRunner build, that XR was unusable.
(I was going to run out and start setting up trunk Tinderboxen for XULRunner but then I noticed “Oh right… we already have those.”)
So I guess others interested in XULRunner in the XULRunner Community will have to tell me how, as an individual contributor, I can best and most effectively be of assistance.
1 I had the best two hour massage…
2 I say this not to sound dismissive; however in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I started drinking scotch about fifteen minutes in, and the more I drank, the more it all made sense.
3 Admittedly, to a nicer location
4 Except to point out that we’ve been faced with this [perceived?] specter before, and not only did the “nightmare scenarios” never come to pass, even if they had, it wouldn’t have mattered.5
5 Ok, I’m done. Really.
6 Whatever we decide that means.