So many web technologies have come and gone over the years, and when their time is up, most go quietly. Last week Mozilla announced that Firebug has reached its end of life and will be retired as of their next Firefox release. While I haven’t used Firefox or Firebug in years, this is still a sad moment and one to look back on with thanks. Firebug truly did change the way we all developed the web. At a time when CSS was rising and we all fretted over Internet Explorer – Firebug made inspecting, debugging, and editing code easy. Right in the browser.
The beauty of open source
Reading the farewell post from Jan Honza Odvarko I was struck by an early decision from Joe Hewitt ( the original developer) to keep the project open source. As he was developing version 1.0 , Joe stated this:
The first announcement is in regards to Firebug’s licensing. As I was developing Firebug 1.0, I began to wonder if I should try to turn the project from a hobby into a business. When I proposed this idea on my blog, the response was very positive and reaffirmed my belief that Firebug could do well as a commercial product.
However, in the end, I just don’t feel like that is the right thing to do. I love working on Firebug because I know I’m making a lot of people happy and helping to advance the state of the art. That’s a lot more meaningful to me than just about anything else, and so, I’ve decided that Firebug will remain free and open source.
I am very thankful that he did. Goodnight Firebug.