Documentaries I Like: Code Rush

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On the fortieth anniversary of the moon landing, many of us are watching historical video and reliving the experience. What was it like to work on a team with a goal that was (forgive the pun) out of this world? The moon landing might have been impossible, or killed the crew, and even if it did work it required everyone working on it to give everything -- for years. The closest I've come to such projects in my daily life is in software development -- with work weeks that expand to fill every hour of every day, and goals that are extremely optimistic (generally, "Do something no one has ever done before, immediately, and do it cheap!"). We're not exactly putting a man on the moon, but sometimes we do make something pretty useful.

Today let's take a look back at a documentary called Code Rush, an inside look at Netscape Communications just before its takeover by AOL. Filmed from March 1998 through April 1999, this documentary shows the roots of today's Firefox browser (which is based on Mozilla, a browser that was launched during filming). It also shows some personal turmoil as employees of Netscape realize they're about to be swallowed by AOL, which wasn't exactly the hippest company around. But most importantly, it shows the process of shipping Mozilla 1.0, the free browser that led to today's Firefox (which many of you are using to read this post). What's it like to write and ship software? Kinda complicated, it turns out. Have a look in this excellent documentary, posted in its entirety online below. (Note: you can also find higher-resolution downloadable versions at Project Code Rush).

Code_RU3H from john koten on Vimeo.

Note: I previously mentioned Code Rush just over a year ago, but the film was pulled from the internet after a rights dispute. It's back online (and in better quality now) with permission from everyone involved, so now you can enjoy it without worry that it'll disappear.

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July 20, 2009 - 11:22am
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