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.

#77 Re: Mozilla should get Netscape browser brand

by lazytiger

Friday July 18th, 2003 3:54 PM

You are replying to this message

That makes sense. But in the case of Mozilla & Netscape, I think AOL has everything to gain and nothing to loose by allowing the Mozilla Foundation to use the Netscape brand as I've explained in other threads under this subject. AOL wouldn't be giving the Mozilla Foundation the right to do whatever it wants with the Netscape brand. It would be an arrangement very similar to what already exists: Mozilla makes the code, and then it's given to AOL to slap the Netscape name on it along with some extras (AIM/ICQ, etc.). The only differences would be now that AOL has gotten rid of its in-house Mozilla/Netscape developers, the Mozilla Foundation itself would execute the simple task of developing a Netscape skin for it and hopefully we could rid it of all the annoying ad tie-ins. Hopefully, AOL would continue to create extensions for AIM/ICQ that could be added. AOL would still have control of how the Netscape brand is used and hopefully would help market it, as I've also explained in other threads (although I realize that getting rid of the annoying ad tie-ins and AOL's marketing strategies are inextricably linked... we can only hope for a change).

Well, this post is full of hope. That's all I can ask for.