The only reason everyone expects free browsers is due to Micro$oft’s strategy of integrating IE with Windows, which is then bundled with 95% of the PC’s sold on the market. If IE were Micro$oft’s main product I can guarantee everyone would be paying for IE as well.
Mozilla’s UI codebase is fundamentally different from Opera’s. To create a cross-platform application – the most popular cross-platform browser for quite a while – the Mozilla project initiators thought it wise to create something called XUL, a language for app-development which removes the necessity to use any platform-specific widgets or other stuff I have no name for. This has resulted in the perceived bloat in the codebase and app size of Mozilla products, drawing criticism. Yet the project’s initiators could not have been sure in the beginning that all the targeted platforms are going to have all the stuff needed for this application to work, so they included everything in the application itself, minimizing the need for external, platform-specific libraries which may or may not be there. Thus they created lots of difficult work (some say now: needless) for themselves, but the point is, that they managed to do it, though yes, it took time, and the application takes more space. However, since the applications is open source, YOU can un- and re-do all of it!
Open source projects are ALL about creator’s satisfaction, not user’s satisfaction. The last thing may come as a bonus, but it’s never the original goal. It’s only a side-effect of an app-developer’s creation, if the developer happens to be a user of the very same app (which in open source projects is mostly the case, so the bonus is there, but it doesn’t come in the format of YOUR preference).
Spent some time today morning reading an Opera forum thread on open sourcing Opera. Was a good read, and these are some interesting snippets from the various posts. Well, although the read was good, I got bored quickly. I get bored very fast reading all these (quite baseless) arguments on My Way Better Than You Way.
Live, and Let Live! That’s all I say. :)