The Future: The Mozilla Foundation and the End of Netscape

Thursday July 17th, 2003

There's a lot of confusion surrounding Tuesday's creation of the Mozilla Foundation and the disbanding of the Netscape browser development team.

While a major loss, the end of Netscape does not mean the end of Mozilla. There is no way that AOL can revoke the Netscape and Mozilla Public Licenses and make the code proprietary. The Mozilla code will continue to be available to all. AOL has also agreed to transfer the Mozilla trademark and other intellectual property (much of it dating back to when Mozilla was Netscape's mascot) to the new Mozilla Foundation. Netscape-owned hardware (such as the servers) will also be transferred to the new organisation. AOL will continue to employ some Netscape staffers, such as Asa Dotzler, for a couple of months to help with the transition.

The Mozilla Foundation marks the first time that the Mozilla project actually has a legal existence ( was always just a more informal group). This new organisation, which is hoping to gain non-profit status under California law, will continue's work of guiding development. Teams such as staff, drivers, reviewers and module owners will continue to work as before. In addition, there will be a new Board of Directors, made up of Mitchell Baker, Brendan Eich, Christopher Blizzard and some new faces, including Open Source Applications Foundation head Mitch Kapor. The Mozilla Foundation will be funded by donations from individuals and companies, such as Sun Microsystems and Red Hat. AOL will provide $2,000,000 of funding over the next two years.

Up until this point, has produced builds of Mozilla for development and testing purposes only, with end-users encouraged to download distributions from vendors such as Netscape. However, the new Mozilla Foundation plans to target end-users directly. The beginnings of this strategy can be seen with the redesign of the front page.

#34 Re: A great idea, indeed.

by Kovu <>

Thursday July 17th, 2003 4:05 PM

You are replying to this message

"This would essentially be a difference of labeling only; none of the advertising cruft that has been added to the Netscape browser would be included."

That's pretty much all 7.1 is, aside from the AIM/ICQ/Radio and other optional features. This is what makes me think that when Firebird goes 1.0, AOL will at that point release Netscape Navigator 8. Rebranding Firebird to Netscape canNOT be THAT difficult.

As far as Mozilla getting the Netscape brand, it won't happen. That would be like spinning Netscape off as a new company. Besides, Mozilla is now part of an open source foundation, Netscape was really always a commercial company. There's a direct conflict between the two and that's why I honestly think this will never happen.