Mozilla (stylized as moz://a) is a free software community founded in 1998 by members of Netscape. The Mozilla community uses, develops, spreads and supports Mozilla products, thereby promoting exclusively free software and open standards, with only minor exceptions. The community is supported institutionally by the not-for-profit Mozilla Foundation and its tax-paying subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.
|Founded||March 31, 1998|
|Founder||Netscape Communications Corporation|
Mozilla's products include the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, Firefox OS mobile operating system, Bugzilla bug tracking system, Gecko layout engine, Pocket "read-it-later-online" service, and others.
On January 23, 1998, Netscape made two announcements: first, that Netscape Communicator would be free; second, that the source code would also be free. One day later Jamie Zawinski, from Netscape, registered mozilla.org. The project took its name, "Mozilla", after the original code name of the Netscape Navigator browser — a portmanteau of "Mosaic and Godzilla", and used to co-ordinate the development of the Mozilla Application Suite, the open-source version of Netscape's internet software, Netscape Communicator. Jamie Zawinski says he came up with the name "Mozilla" at a Netscape staff meeting. A small group of Netscape employees were tasked with coordination of the new community.
Originally, Mozilla aimed to be a technology provider for companies, such as Netscape, who would commercialize their open-source code. When AOL (Netscape's parent company) greatly reduced its involvement with Mozilla in July 2003, the Mozilla Foundation was designated the legal steward of the project. Soon after, Mozilla deprecated the Mozilla Suite in favor of creating independent applications for each function, primarily the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client, and moved to supply them directly to the public.
Mozilla's activities have since expanded to include Firefox on mobile platforms (primarily Android), a mobile OS called Firefox OS, a web-based identity system called Mozilla Persona and a marketplace for HTML5 applications.
In a report released in November 2012, Mozilla reported that their total revenue for 2011 was $163 million, which was up 33% from $123 million in 2010. Mozilla noted that roughly 85% of their revenue comes from their contract with Google.
At the end of 2013, Mozilla announced a deal with Cisco Systems whereby Firefox would download and use a Cisco-provided binary build of an open-source codec to play the proprietary H.264 video format. As part of the deal, Cisco would pay any patent licensing fees associated with the binaries that it distributes. Mozilla's CTO, Brendan Eich, acknowledged that this is "not a complete solution" and isn't "perfect". An employee in Mozilla's video formats team, writing in an unofficial capacity, justified it by the need to maintain their large user base, which would be necessary in future battles for truly free video formats.
Eich CEO promotion controversy
On March 24, 2014, Mozilla promoted Brendan Eich to the role of CEO. This led to boycotts and protests from the LGBT community and its supporters, as Eich previously donated US$1,000 of his own money in 2008 in support of California's Proposition 8, a California ballot proposition and state constitutional amendment in opposition to same-sex marriage. Eich's donation first became public knowledge in 2012, while he was Mozilla’s chief technical officer, leading to angry responses on Twitter—including the use of the hashtag "#wontworkwithbigots".
Protests also emerged in 2014 following the announcement of Eich's appointment as CEO of Mozilla. U.S. companies OkCupid and CREDO Mobile received media coverage for their objections, with the former asking its users to boycott the browser, while Credo amassed 50,000 signatures for a petition that called for Eich's resignation.
Due to the controversy, Eich voluntarily stepped down on April 3, 2014 and Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla Corporation, posted a statement on the Mozilla blog: "We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality." Eich's resignation promoted a backlash as he seemed to have been forced out of the company.
OkCupid co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan had also donated $500 to Republican candidate Chris Cannon who proceeded to vote for multiple measures viewed as "anti-gay", including the banning of same-sex marriage. Yagan claims he did not know about Cannon's stance on gay rights and that his contribution was due to the candidate being the ranking Republican participating in the House subcommittee that oversaw Internet and Intellectual Property matters.
According to Mozilla's manifesto, which outlines goals, principles, and a pledge, "The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities". Mozilla's manifesto mentions only its beliefs in regards to the Internet and Internet privacy, and has no mention of any political or social viewpoints.
The Mozilla Foundation pledges to support the Mozilla Manifesto in its activities. Specifically, we will:
- Build and enable open-source technologies and communities that support the Manifesto’s principles;
- Build and deliver great consumer products that support the Manifesto’s principles;
- Use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform;
- Promote models for creating economic value for the public benefit; and
- Promote the Mozilla Manifesto principles in public discourse and within the Internet industry.
Firefox is a web browser, and is Mozilla's flagship software product. It is available in both desktop and mobile versions. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards. As of late 2015, Firefox had approximately 10-11% of worldwide usage share of web browsers, making it the 4th most-used web browser.
Firefox began as an experimental branch of the Mozilla codebase by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt and Blake Ross. They believed the commercial requirements of Netscape's sponsorship and developer-driven feature creep compromised the utility of the Mozilla browser. To combat what they saw as the Mozilla Suite's software bloat, they created a stand-alone browser, with which they intended to replace the Mozilla Suite.
Firefox was originally named Phoenix but the name was changed so as to avoid trademark conflicts with Phoenix Technologies. The initially-announced replacement, Firebird, provoked objections from the Firebird project community. The current name, Firefox, was chosen on February 9, 2004.
It has been announced that Mozilla is going to launch a premium version of the Firefox browser by October 2019. The company's CEO, Chris Beard, has been quoted by The Next Web to say that "there is no plan to charge money for things that are now free. So we will roll out a subscription service and offer a premium level."
Firefox for mobile
Firefox for mobile uses the same Gecko layout engine as Mozilla Firefox. For example, version 1.0 used the same engine as Firefox 3.6, and the following release, 4.0, shared core code with Firefox 4.0. Its features include HTML5 support, Firefox Sync, add-ons support and tabbed browsing.
A fork of B2G, KaiOS, has continued development and ships with numerous low-cost devices.
In September 2018, Mozilla announced that its VR version was ready for consumers to download. Called Firefox Reality, the browser was built entirely for virtual reality. It is currently available on the Oculus.
Thunderbird is a free, open-source, cross-platform email and news client developed by the volunteers of the Mozilla Community.
On July 16, 2012, Mitchell Baker announced that Mozilla's leadership had come to the conclusion that on-going stability was the most important thing for Thunderbird and that innovation in Thunderbird was no longer a priority for Mozilla. In that update Baker also suggested that Mozilla had provided a pathway for its community to innovate around Thunderbird if the community chooses.
SeaMonkey (formerly the Mozilla Application Suite) is a free and open-source cross platform suite of Internet software components including a web browser component, a client for sending and receiving email and Usenet newsgroup messages, an HTML editor (Mozilla Composer) and the ChatZilla IRC client.
On March 10, 2005, the Mozilla Foundation announced that it would not release any official versions of Mozilla Application Suite beyond 1.7.x, since it had now focused on the stand-alone applications Firefox and Thunderbird. SeaMonkey is now maintained by the SeaMonkey Council, which has trademarked the SeaMonkey name with help from the Mozilla Foundation. The Mozilla Foundation provides project hosting for the SeaMonkey developers.
Bugzilla is a web-based general-purpose bug tracking system, which was released as open-source software by Netscape Communications in 1998 along with the rest of the Mozilla codebase, and is currently stewarded by Mozilla. It has been adopted by a variety of organizations for use as a bug tracking system for both free and open-source software and proprietary projects and products, including the Mozilla Foundation, the Linux kernel, GNOME, KDE, Red Hat, Novell, Eclipse and LibreOffice.
On February 27, 2017, Pocket announced that it had been acquired by Mozilla Corporation, the commercial arm of Firefox's non-profit development group. It is an application and web service for managing a reading list of articles from the Internet. It is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Kobo eReaders, and web browsers. The application was originally intended only for desktop computers.
Firefox Send is an online service to share files for free.
Firefox Private Network
Firefox Private Network is a subscription-based VPN and a free privacy extension.
Network Security Services (NSS) comprises a set of libraries designed to support cross-platform development of security-enabled client and server applications. NSS provides a complete open-source implementation of crypto libraries supporting SSL and S/MIME. NSS is licensed under the GPL-compatible Mozilla Public License 2.0.
AOL, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems/Oracle Corporation, Google and other companies and individual contributors have co-developed NSS and it is used in a wide range of non-Mozilla products including Evolution, Pidgin, and LibreOffice.
Gecko is a layout engine that supports web pages written using HTML, SVG, and MathML. Gecko is written in C++ and uses NSPR for platform independence. Its source code is licensed under the Mozilla Public License.
Firefox uses Gecko both for rendering web pages and for rendering its user interface. Gecko is also used by Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and many non-Mozilla applications.
Rust is a compiled programming language being developed by Mozilla Research. It is designed for safety, concurrency, and performance. Rust is intended for creating large and complex software which needs to be both safe against exploits and fast.
Rust is being used in an experimental layout engine, Servo, which is developed by Mozilla and Samsung. Servo is not used in any consumer-oriented browsers yet. However, the Servo project developers plan for parts of the Servo source code to be merged into Gecko, and Firefox, incrementally.
Mozilla VR is a team focused on bringing Virtual reality tools, specifications, and standards to the open Web. Mozilla VR maintains A-Frame (VR), a web framework for building VR experiences, and works on advancing WebVR support within web browsers.
On 26 April 2018, the first experiment from their Social Mixed Reality efforts was released; Hubs, a multi-user virtual space in WebVR.
Mozilla Persona was a secure, cross-browser website authentication mechanism which allowed a user to use a single username and password (or other authentication method) to log into multiple sites. Mozilla Persona shut down on November 30, 2016.
Mozilla Location Service
This open-source crowdsourced geolocation service was started by Mozilla in 2013 and offers a free API.
Mozilla Webmaker is Mozilla's educational initiative, and Webmaker's goal is to "help millions of people move from using the web to making the web." As part of Mozilla's non-profit mission, Webmaker aims "to help the world increase their understanding of the web, take greater control of their online lives, and create a more web literate planet."
MDN Web Docs
In July 2017, Mozilla launched the project Common Voice to help make voice recognition open to everyone. Visitors to the website can donate their voice to help build an open-source voice recognition engine that anyone can use to make apps for devices and the web that make use of voice recognition. The website allows visitors to read a sentence to help the machine system learn how real people speak, as well as validate the read sentences of other people.
Mozilla publishes Common Voice data sets under a CC-0 license.
IRL - Online Life is Real Life
On June 26, 2017, Mozilla launched its own podcast named IRL - Online Life is Real Life that explores popular stories from the web that deal with issues of the internet that affect society as a whole.
The Mozilla Community consists of over 40,000 active contributors from across the globe. It includes both paid employees and volunteers who work towards the goals set forth in the Mozilla Manifesto. Many of the sub-communities in Mozilla have formed around localization efforts for Mozilla Firefox, and the Mozilla web properties.
There are a number of sub-communities that exist based on their geographical locations, where contributors near each other work together on particular activities, such as localization, marketing, PR and user support.
In 2017, Mozilla created a Wireless Innovation for Network Security (WINS) challenge that awarded a total of $2 million in prize money to innovators who used its decentralized design to create wireless solutions for post-natural disaster internet access. This challenge also envisioned to connect communities which lacked internet access.
The Mozilla Reps program is a volunteer-based program, which allows volunteers to become official representatives of Mozilla. Volunteers are required to be 18 years or older in order to participate in the program. Activities under the program include recruitment for contributors, workshops, and attending Mozilla summits.
Conferences and events
The Mozilla Festival is an annual event where hundreds of passionate people explore the Web, learn together and make things that can change the world. With the emphasis on making—the mantra of the Festival is "less yack, more hack." Journalists, coders, filmmakers, designers, educators, gamers, makers, youth and anyone else, from all over the world, are encouraged to attend, with attendees from more than 40 countries, working together at the intersection between freedom, the Web, and that year's theme.
The event revolves around design challenges which address key issues based on the chosen theme for that year's festival. In previous years the Mozilla Festival has focused on Learning and Media, with the 2012 festival being based around making. The titles of the festival revolve around the main theme, freedom (as in freedom of speech not free beer), and the Web.
MozCamps are the critical part of the Grow Mozilla initiative which aims to grow the Mozilla Community. These camps aim to bring core contributors from around the world together. They are intensive multi-day summits that include keynote speeches by Mozilla leadership, workshops and breakout sessions (led by paid and unpaid staff), and fun social outings. All of these activities combine to reward contributors for their hard work, engage them with new products and initiatives, and align all attendees on Mozilla's mission.
Mozilla Summit was the global event with active contributors and Mozilla employees who collaborated to develop a shared understanding of Mozilla's mission together. Over 2,000 people representing 90 countries and 114 languages gathered in Santa Clara, Toronto and Brussels in 2013. Mozilla had its last Summit in 2013 and replaced them with smaller all-hands where both employees and volunteers come together to collaborate.
- For exceptions, see "Values" section below
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