A recent blog post reflects some concern over the number of serious resources available for code/patch review for Firefox.
This post, by one of the senior hackers involved in the evolution of the browser, perhaps shows more the frustration and difficulty encountered in light of the explosive growth of Firefox.
As with most successful open source projects – a huge amount of work is completed by volunteers. However, in many cases public and private companies also pledge senior developers to a project which costs them money (through allowing the developer to pledge time during work hours to contribute).
Of course this is not done out of pure altruism from a corporate perspective – the company often sees a real need for the application or technology and wants to benefit from its success.
This latter element also often can salvage a lagging open source project when volunteers run out of time and energy. Perhaps there is an additional angel waiting in the wings for Firefox.
The Mozilla Foundation did not respond to a request for a clear background on the review process for Firefox and if there would be paid developers at some point in the near future for the project.
Even if one is not a high level hacker who can jump into code for a major project – any of us who heavily leverage open source should find ways to contribute to projects we find value in. This can be accomplished in many ways – assisting with marketing, documentation, testing and qa, advocacy as well as working at the code level.