Mozilla project not in trouble, manager says

Revealing an apparent disagreement among top managers in the Sun-AOL alliance, the director of Mozilla.org, AOL's open source browser development project, has denied a report in which a Sun official said the project may be modified.

Revealing an apparent disagreement among top managers in the Sun Microsystems-America Online Inc. alliance, the director of Mozilla.org, AOL's open source browser development project, has denied a report in which a Sun official said the project may be modified.

"We're in good shape," Mitchell Baker, the "Chief Lizard Wrangler" for the project, said in an interview at the Open Source Forum.

Baker was responding to a report yesterday that quoted Alan Baratz, president of Sun's software products and platforms division, as saying the Mozilla project was not working as well as expected and that it may be switched to a Java standards process.

"That (report) was Alan Baratz 's opinion," Baker said. "Alan doesn't speak for Mozilla or AOL. We do not plan to change our model."

In November 1998, AOL purchased Netscape Communications and announced an alliance with Sun to build Internet infrastructure and produce electronic commerce products. AOL also took over control of Netscape's Mozilla project which is overseeing the open source development of the next version of Netscape's Communicator Web browser.

The Mozilla project has encountered problems, as illustrated by the dwindling number of people publicly participating in the project. Even project founder Jamie Zawinski resigned in April citing a lack of direction in the group.

Baker defended the project, explaining that the adoption of a new layout engine for the browser slowed development last year and noting that increasingly more developers have participated in the project recently. Meanwhile, a beta version of Communicator 5.0 will be released later this year, she added.

Netscape Communications, in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-650-254-1500, or at http://www.netscape.com//. In Dulles, Virginia, America Online can be reached at +1-703-448-8700. Sun Microsystems, in Palo Alto, California, is at +1-415-786-7737, or at http://www.sun.com

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