Steve Case, chairman and chief executive officer of America Online, has pledged his support for mozilla.org, the open source group within Netscape Communications which helps oversee the development of its Web browser software.
In an e-mail sent last Wednesday to mozilla.org team member Jamie Zawinski, Case indicated that AOL plans to back the open source group after his company's planned merger with Netscape goes through.
"We're very supportive of mozilla.org; indeed, we're hopeful that our involvement might rally even more support among developers in the open source community," Case wrote.
Ever since AOL said last week it plans to buy Netscape, the open source community has been watching closely to see what will become of mozilla.org. The group has become something of a beacon for the open source community since Netscape went public with the source code to its Communicator browser earlier this year.
"We certainly realise that platform innovation comes from the work of thousands of passionate developers, and we share your view that the agenda of Mozilla is and should be set by those who contribute to it," Case wrote in the e-mail. "We will contribute too -- in part, by maintaining the autonomy of mozilla.org."
Referring to a remark made by Netscape executive vice president and general manager Mike Homer that Mozilla is larger than Netscape, Case wrote: "I know it's larger than AOL, too."
Case sent his e-mail in response to a commentary by Zawinski posted on the mozilla.org Web site, titled "Fear and Loathing on the Merger Trail", in which he speculated about the possible ramifications for the Mozilla group of an AOL-Netscape merger.