FLOSS Communities 3: Mozilla Foundation

libre software, mswl, mswl-devmotiv, mswl-intro

Hi folks!!!

Following the set of post about FLOSS communities, now is the turn of: Mozilla Foundation

1. Introduction

The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists for give support and leadership for the FLOSS Mozilla Project.
On February 23, 1998, Netscape created the Mozilla Organization to co-ordinate the development of Mozilla Application Suite. This organization was based mostly by Netscape developers but operated in independent way of Netscape.
When AOL left of invest to Mozilla Organization, the Mozilla Foundation was launched on July 13, 2003 to ensure Mozilla could be survive without Netscape.
The foundation set the policies that govern development, operates key infrastructure and controls trademarks and other intellectual property (IP).
The Mozilla Foundation is located in Silicon Valley, in Mountain View, USA.
Also exists some located sub-foundations like Mozilla Europe, Mozilla Japan and Mozilla
China whose mission is to help and promote and deploy Mozilla products and projects, they are independent but affiliated with the Mozilla Foundation.

2. Main work

With organizational and financial tasks mentioned previously, Mozilla Foundation also provides their own license, the Mozilla Public License (MPL), this license is weak copyleft license, so the products that use this, can be used also in privative works.
Usually all Mozilla projects are released under various licenses like as MPL, GNU LGPL and GNU GPL.

Mozilla Foundation have subsidiaries like:

  • Mozilla Corporation

On August 2005, the Mozilla Foundation launched the complete and owned subsidiary Mozilla Corporation for continue the develop and delivery of Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird16 The Mozilla Corporation takes responsibility for release planning, marketing and a range of distribution-related activities. Unlike the Mozilla Foundation, the Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity, which gives it much greater freedom in the revenue and business activities it can pursue.

  • Mozilla Messaging

On February 2008, Mozilla Messaging was launched, and as the Mozilla Corporation case, is the same model, it’s a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary of Mozilla Foundation.
Its focused in developing software to tackle the problems in Internet communication. On May 2008, Mozilla Messaging began the develop of Mozilla Thunderbird.

  • Mozilla On-line

Is a complete owned subsidiary from Mozilla Corporation which is based in Beijing.

3. Financing

The Mozilla Foundations accepts donations as source of founding. Initially, when the Mozilla Foundation was launched, AOL18 made an initial investment of 2$ million for two years, also AOL helped to the foundation transferring hardware, intellectual property and employing a three-person team for the first three months of existence. Mitch Kapor gave 300000$ to the organization at its launch. In 2006, Mozilla Foundation received 66.8$ million in revenues, of which 61.5$ million is attributed to “search royalties”.
The foundation did with Google a deal, in which Google became the default search in Mozilla Firefox and the default home page. And the foundation also earning money for the royalties generated. The contract with Google was extended in 2006, 2008 and the next expira-
tion is in 2011. Approximately 85% of Mozilla’s revenue for 2006 was derived for this contract, this amount is approximately of the 56.8$ million.

4. Internal structure

The Mozilla community are built by all persons who contribute in their projects.
The Mozilla project is governed by a virtual management team formed by experts from various parts of the community. Some people are working in Mozilla and other not. Leadership roles are granted based on how active an individual is within the community as well as the
quality and nature of their contributions. So, the meritocracy is the key for this community.

The different leadership and roles are:

  • Module owners and peers

They are responsible for leading the development of a module of code or a community activity. This role requires a range of tasks, including approving patches to be checked into the module or resolve conflicts among community members.

  • Super-reviewers

They are a designated group for review the changes made in any code. Check if the code follow the Mozilla coding guidelines. They follow the code reviewed by Module owners and decide if it’s correct or not.

  • Release Drivers

Release drivers provide project management for the projects. They gives instructions and guidance to the developers and decide which bug fixes are important for a given release and also they take decisions.

  • Bugzilla component owners

They are who receive the bugs report, and then give and select who Module owner is the attendant for each bug problem.

  • Benevolent dictators

Benevolent dictators are the people who has the last word in the case of disputes. Mozilla Project has two persons for this:

Brendan Eich, for the final say in any technical disputes.
Mitchell Baker, has the final say in any non-technical dispute.

For the contribution, in addition to the roles I must say:

  • To have rights to write in the repository, the developers have to sign the CVS Contributor form.
  • Have to be own code and have the employer permission for use.
  • All contribution code must be licensed under one of the FLOSS licenses used by Mozilla Project, usually, such as mentioned previously MPL, GNU LGPL and GNU GPL.
  • The commiters acceptance process is based in meritocracy and knowledge and must be sponsored by other commiter.

5. Some projects

The main projects by the Mozilla Foundation are the mentioned previously:

  • Mozilla Firefox

This is the most important FLOSS web browser, year-to-year has more people that use it. It’s available on many platforms like GNU/Linux, MS Windows, MacOSX, etc.

  • Mozilla Thunderbird

Is the Mozilla Foundation mail client and agenda, like Mozilla Firefox is available on many platforms.

  • Mozilla Seamonkey.

Is the all-in-one application, is a suite that includes a webrowser, a mail and newsgroup client, an HTML editor, web development tools, and an IRC chat client.

  • Others

Mozilla has other projects that can be get in the projects section in its website.


Mozilla Foundation in the Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Foundation
Mozilla Foundation. http://www.mozilla.org/
Mozilla Foundation, roles and leadership. http://www.mozilla.org/about/roles.html

And that’s all, see u my friends!!


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