Firefox, Mozilla & Open Source -- Software Design at Scale

Mira Dontcheva   John Lilly and Mike Beltzner  Mike Beltzner , Mozilla Foundation

    {lilly | beltzner} at

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 3, 2009

Firefox 3 is a web browser used by at least a quarter of a billion people worldwide, in more than 60 languages, and is routinely cited as being one of the easiest to use and most flexible software products available today. It's also one of the largest open source projects in the world -- with thousands of contributors, thousands of community-built add-ons, and more than 40% of the code contributed by non-Mozilla employees. 

How can such an open project result in coherent end-user design? What happens as the community & user base scale? How do you find your way through the complexity and chaos? 

Mike & John will share their backgrounds (John went through the Stanford HCI program in the early 1990s) and perspectives on how the Mozilla project produces Firefox and other products: what works, what could be better, and what issues they've found themselves thinking about most recently.


John Lilly, CEO
As the chief executive officer of Mozilla, John Lilly is responsible for guiding the product and organizational development efforts for Mozilla Corporation. Before becoming CEO, John was Mozilla’s COO and focused primarily on day-to-day and international operations of Mozilla. Prior to his career at Mozilla, John was the founder, CTO and VP products of Reactivity, an XML Security company. He served as a senior scientist at Apple Computer Research Labs, and has held positions at Trilogy Software, Sun Microsystems and HP, among other companies. John is a regular speaker at industry events and serves on the board of directors of the Open Source Application Foundation and Participatory Culture Foundation. He is also a member of the board of library trustees for the City of Sunnyvale. He earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in computer science from Stanford University and holds five US patents.

Mike Beltzner, Director of Firefox
Mike Beltzner is responsible for coordinating the efforts of a  talented cast of thousands of people to ensure each thrilling Firefox  release is made with quality and love. He is a cognitive scientist and  teacher by education, usability specialist and product manager by  training, and an optimist and compromise-seeker by nationality. He  lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and his cat. 

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.