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 mozilla.org 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 (mozilla.org was always just a more informal group). This new organisation, which is hoping to gain non-profit status under California law, will continue mozilla.org's work of guiding development. Teams such as mozilla.org 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, mozilla.org 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 mozilla.org front page.
I hope Dave is free now or soon to license it to the Mozilla Foundation, and provide a good contribution for Mozilla merchandise. I see this as a good source of revenue for Mozilla Foundation, Dave and of cool stuff for Mozilla users.
As a starting point, CafePress, the provider of MozillaZine merchandise could be the provider for Mozilla.
Wouldn't it be great if he could also lead a design team for Mozilla?