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.

#83 Re: Re: Mozilla should get Netscape browser brand

by Dobbins

Saturday July 19th, 2003 8:03 AM

You are replying to this message

AOL/TW is a different company than the premerger AOL was, and it has a very different management team than it had a year ago. TW bought a lot of smoke and mirrors in that merger, AOL's value was far less than TW thought. Once that became apparent the AOL people were forced out of top management postions. AOL had reasons to look on Microsoft as a competitor. TW (who are running things now) have reasons to establish good relations with Microsoft. TW has a lot of IP in the form of Movies, TV shows, and music, and rightly or wrongly feels the value of those assets is comprimised by file sharing. They want DRM in windows, and they want a say in how it's implemented. That is why the lawsuit with Microsoft was settled. After that settlement supporting no longer made a lot of sense to the TW people who are running AOL nowadays. I Think the Mozilla foundation was lucky to get as much as they did. TW could have simply pulled the plug leaving them without the 2 million bucks, without the domain, without the trademarks, and without the hardware they have been using. The foundatation could have been left with the same thing I have, a copy of the code, and nothing else, so I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and try to get more out of TW. I do however think that the Mozilla foundation needs to look at marketing and come up with a new trademark that gives joe sixpack a clue about what the software does. Netscape and Internet Explorer obvisouly have something to do with the internet. Mozilla and the bird names offer no clues.