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  • I talk to lots of people who come here

  • looking for the Silicon Valley experience

  • They arrive with one suit case in hand

  • when they head south on the 101.

  • Hoping to see it this place they've heard about

  • and its freeways, and its office parks

  • and its strip malls, and

  • it looks like every place they've ever been

  • end up wondering where are they come,

  • why did they come here,

  • what was that brought them

  • Code itself is the underlying thing that makes computers work

  • Why is it important to the world, it's because

  • it's the blood of the organism, that's our culture now,

  • it makes everything go

  • Technology has become a God of our society now

  • I mean I think that its--people stand in awe of it

  • and stand in awe of the people that make it

  • There's a sense that software is a kind of new frontier

  • it's you know it's the old gold rush metaphor

  • the California gold rush all over again

  • It's the kind of Hollywood of the Twenties.

  • This very small set of people is really defining

  • how our world's gonna be like

  • I mean you know the computer becoming ubiquitous

  • and the way we interact with the world

  • more and more mediated through the computer

  • is this very small group of people

  • defining what that world's gonna be like.

  • Netscape !

  • everywhere !

  • team !

  • fight !

  • Less than three years ago

  • a small team of engineers at Netscape Communications

  • created software that made surfing the Internet easy

  • and in the process change the face of computing

  • On this day however, the company is in big trouble

  • driven to the ground by its rival and software colossus Microsoft

  • Only a radical strategy will help save it.

  • "Let's hear a loud Mozilla !"

  • Mozilla ! Mozilla ! Mozilla !

  • Netscape is giving away its source code

  • to programmers outside the company

  • The source code is the secret formula for browsing the web

  • The code is named Mozilla and if widely adapted

  • it will make Netscape's code the Internet standard

  • drawing users to its other products

  • and restoring the company's sagging fortunes.

  • Our story focuses on team of engineers

  • who will come together in this building

  • Over the course of the next year

  • they will turn their lives inside-out to create Mozilla

  • and battle a giant competitor to save their company

  • and shape the future of computing.

  • Right now we have a problem with the work looks like it can't possibly be done

  • for the date we announced

  • so were just trying to

  • drill down on how doomed we are

  • and sometimes the only way to do that is

  • to get everybody in the room and stare each other in the eyes.

  • We said were giving you Netscape Communicator on 3/31

  • so if were not giving them Netscape Communicator on 3/31

  • we need a way to address that.

  • The goal is to get Mozilla to developpers by March 31th

  • a few shorts weeks from now

  • it is one of the most ambitious schedules in the company history.

  • - It's a joke

  • - I think we have been very exclusive

  • Michael Toy one of Netscape's first employees

  • heads the team that will prepare Mozilla for public release.

  • We're probably doomed, we're probably gonna fail

  • Microsoft is probably gonna squish us like bug anyway

  • but just cause were doomed doesn't mean

  • you know we cant get up in the morning and do work

  • All rise

  • the honorable Michael Toy presiding.

  • I'm pretty flip with my kids about what I do.

  • What do you do at work dad? Oh I don't know I sit in meetings

  • and feel depressed and I read e-mail.

  • Oh oh you got me !

  • But they think my office is the greatest place in the world though

  • It's like "Oh were going to your office ?"

  • "Oh yeah yippie I love going to your office !"

  • They play with the guns and there is free soda

  • and there is the giant balls

  • basically I work at Disneyland as far as they're concerned.

  • I talk about marathon versus sprint.

  • The hard part is to run with significant intensity the whole way

  • knowing that if you ever start walking

  • you're not going to make it and just keep the end in sight

  • and know that there's this urgency.

  • Jim Roskind an expert on software security

  • is brought in to enforce rigorous standards of engineering precision.

  • Imagine if you had a project

  • where you felt doom was imminent

  • all the different players wondering

  • are they pushed beyond their level

  • can they think of way of running faster,

  • can anyone help them ?

  • So there's lot of tension

  • and anxiety over making the schedule.

  • Jamie Zawinski, free source code evangelist

  • will enlist outside developers to Netscape's cause.

  • The free source thing is trying to change the rules, right.

  • There are people who have the free software religion,

  • the one thing they have in common is they're all hackers

  • they're all like writing code

  • so you hoping to tap in to all of those smart people

  • and get something from them, you know, so that everyone benefits..

  • I talk about 2 millions and 2 half millions lines of code

  • and everyone of them has to be gone over

  • carefully and in some cases twice.

  • With hundreds of engineers converging on Mozilla,

  • with new code to enable its release,

  • Tara Hernandez make sure

  • that their changes do not crash Mozilla

  • and brings everyones work to a halt.

  • This is how we keep track

  • of all the changes that are going in.

  • Green is good.

  • Lot of changes going on right here,

  • and wham, the build all died.

  • Ok, alright, bye.

  • We're doomed.

  • Some of the worst crashes are reserved for Scott Collins

  • a veteran code writer who stands by

  • for late night troubleshooting.

  • I've been here for about

  • I don't know, 60 hours or so.

  • Writing software is different from

  • selling real estate.

  • Selling real estate you sell the people

  • the people sleep at night.

  • When they go to sleep you have to stop selling real estate

  • Computers never sleep.

  • You can see my cube is decked out a little bit better than

  • all the people's.

  • I have a nice couch

  • little mattress under there I can sleep in

  • artwork from my children

  • I have control the light switches.

  • This is what I'd like to get if my wife truly love me

  • she'd let me have one.

  • Life is good.

  • Ok

  • Bug count.

  • Alright, there are a ton of bugs on here that

  • people just aren't doing anything about.

  • To give away its code

  • Netscape engineers must make thousands of bug fixes

  • Often minute changes that will allow the code

  • to be used by outside developpers.

  • Jeff Weinstein has, one, two,

  • three, four, five, six,

  • seven, eight, nine, ten,

  • eleven, twelve, thirteen.

  • One bug hidden in the mass of code

  • can stop everyone else's work

  • and can threaten the ship date.

  • I need someone to page Jeff Weinstein

  • and get him to call 2024.

  • Even a team of twenty people building a car

  • it's easy to step back fourty feet and look and go

  • "Hold it, that guy has not putting on the wheel"

  • You have fourty programmers working

  • they all come to you with code, a gigantic morass

  • of little details piled up on a disc

  • usually can even see the pieces whether they're doing it correctly

  • You have to assemble it into a whole

  • and then see if the whole works

  • and then you're not even sure of who gave you the bad bits.

  • That would be bad. Let's go downstairs, come on!

  • You're talking about a recipe.

  • Who gave you the bad flour.

  • Someone went out to grind flour,

  • and they had to all be exactly

  • the right size chunks of flour.

  • Someone else made chocolate chips,

  • they all had to be exactly the right size chunks.

  • You can't figure it out until you put it all together

  • you hand it out, and people go.

  • "I don't like the way this tastes"

  • And now you have to wonder,

  • with all these details coming together

  • which was the problem

  • who's causing the problem, how can you fix it?

  • You've got to ship on a certain time.

  • And now you have all this people,

  • you have the clock ticking and it gets pretty intense.

  • Since Netscape began

  • the amount of code making up Mozilla

  • has increased by a factor of 30.

  • The job of programming and debugging it

  • rests upon a precarious balance of science and art.

  • They talk about what they do as if

  • it was a kind of alchemy, a kind of wizardry.

  • It does remind me of athletics in that way.

  • You know why is someone a good baseball hitter?

  • Often the hitters themselves can't really explain it.

  • And often the best software people

  • cannot themselves understand why they're so good at it.

  • But I think make a great programmer is being raised techie.

  • My particular team at Netscape, I think we all grew up techie

  • We all grew up with computers around us somewhere,

  • so that we were exposed to them before we became

  • adults, if any of us are really adults

  • Jim is the most grownup of us.

  • A lot of my childhood from roughly age 6 to age 17

  • was around here.

  • Life was just a nightmare, this is a very, very scary place

  • the two school wasn't too bad.

  • Ah, but it meant it

  • you'd get to work on puzzles and problems.

  • All of the puzzling is math,

  • and that puzzling is the exact same feeling

  • the exact same problem that you go through

  • when you're programming.

  • When I was young it'd be building with erector sets and Lego

  • now the structures that you build are in software.

  • My mom is a first class geek too.

  • And so I have a unique experience of being able to talk

  • shop with my mom, cuz' she's a director of

  • really important stuff at Sun.

  • At Netscape one of the code words for is the average person

  • who is going to be able to use this software is,

  • "Well can my mom use it?"

  • Yeah, my mom can use it.

  • My mom can write optimizing compilers.

  • By the time I was 12 years old I was making 50 bucks an hour

  • programming computers.

  • People say what should I be should I grow up to be a...

  • I say computer programmer.

  • The thing about that makes it a youth culture

  • is one's capacity to throw one's entire life on the line

  • with these firms

  • Entire life commitment meaning

  • 24-7-365 work commitment.

  • It's throwing yourself into a thing

  • where you don't know if that job

  • is going to be around soon.

  • There's no stability in here.

  • So the very kind of weird irony

  • is that very people who are inventing the future

  • can't see their own future.

  • This is a monk-life existence

  • there are very few women in these societies.

  • These are male societies,

  • they are secret societies,

  • they function very much lik