MozillaZine

Mozilla Foundation Announces Creation of Mozilla Corporation

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005

The Mozilla Foundation has announced the creation of the Mozilla Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary that will continue the development, distribution and marketing of Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird. Unlike the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, the Mozilla Corporation will be a taxable entity (that is, a for-profit rather than a non-profit) but the Foundation is eager to emphasise that it will pursue the same public benefit goals as the Foundation itself and will not be driven purely by revenue goals.

The change will not affect the day-to-day development of Mozilla, with the current system of module owners, drivers, reviewers and super-reviewers staying in place. End-users are unlikely to notice any difference either, though the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation will eventually have separate websites. At the moment, only Firefox and Thunderbird will be developed under the auspices of the Mozilla Corporation; other projects, such as Camino and SeaMonkey, will continue to be overseen by the Mozilla Foundation.

Most of the Mozilla Foundation's employees will move to the Mozilla Corporation. Chief Lizard Wrangler Mitchell Baker will become the President of the Mozilla Corporation, while Brendan Eich will take up the role of Chief Technical Officer. The Mozilla Corporation will have its own Board of Directors, appointed by and responsible to the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors. Mitchell Baker will sit on both boards, while Red Hat employee Chris Blizzard will move from the Foundation's board to the Corporation's. Reid Hoffman (no relation to Chris Hofmann), who has been involved with many Internet companies, will also have a seat on the board of the Mozilla Corporation.

By moving product development out to a new subsidiary, the Mozilla Foundation hopes to be able to concentrate on project and policy issues. Mozilla veteran Frank Hecker will lead the Foundation's activities in his new role as the Director of Public Policy. Gervase Markham will remain at the Foundation and Zak Greant will also join the team. Joi Ito will take a seat on the Mozilla Foundation's Board of Directors.

The creation of the Mozilla Corporation should eliminate some of the thorny legal and tax issues that have been caused by the revenue-generating potential of Firefox and Thunderbird. The Mozilla Corporation will now handle all relationships with commercial companies and its status should allow more flexibility in this area. It is hoped that the income from the Mozilla Corporation will help the Mozilla project (including both the Foundation and the Corporation) to be more self-supporting, though donations will still be welcome.

While the Mozilla Corporation will be a for-profit, the Mozilla Foundation is keen to stress that it is not selling out. The Mozilla Foundation will ultimately control the activities of the Mozilla Corporation and will retain its 100 percent ownership of the new subsidiary. Any profits made by the Mozilla Corporation will be invested back into the Mozilla project. There will be no shareholders, no stock options will be issued and no dividends will be paid. The Mozilla Corporation will not be floating on the stock market and it will be impossible for any company to take over or buy a stake in the subsidiary. The Mozilla Foundation will continue to own the Mozilla trademarks and other intellectual property and will license them to the Mozilla Corporation. The Foundation will also continue to govern the source code repository and control who is allowed to check in.

The decision to establish the Mozilla Corporation was made by the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors, taking into account the feedback of the Mozilla Advisory Committee, which consisted of members of the Mozilla community and figures from the open source and entrepreneurial worlds. The Mozilla Corporation was registered as a legal entity this week and several valued Mozilla contributors were informed of the changes last night. Some members of the press have also been briefed.

The Mozilla Foundation has posted a press release announcing the creation of the Mozilla Corporation. There is also section of the mozilla.org site devoted to the reorganisation with a FAQ and links to weblog posts. A podcast will be hosted from OSCON 2005 at 5:00pm Pacific Daylight Time today (1:00am UTC on Thursday). Mitchell Baker has written a weblog entry about the Mozilla Corporation and Frank Hecker has a post on the Mozilla Foundation changes and his role in them. Meanwhile, Daniel Glazman has posted a bullet point summary of the Mozilla Corporation and Mozilla Advisory Committee member Tristan Nitot promises to offer his perspective on the reorganisation later today.

Update: It now appears that the podcast will take place tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (1:00am UTC on Friday).


#1 Firefox n' Thunderbird are for sale ?

by FLAMEX <neonuk3@gmail.com>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 6:00 AM

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Hey, So, is Firefox and Thunderbird are for sale later or just going to be freewares just like before..?

#2 Re: Firefox n' Thunderbird are for sale ?

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 6:07 AM

Reply to this message

"Hey, So, is Firefox and Thunderbird are for sale later or just going to be freewares just like before..?"

They will always be free.

Alex

#22 Re: Firefox n' Thunderbird are for sale ?

by aquarichy <aquarichy@gmail.com>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 12:40 PM

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They are not so much freeware (free as in beer) as they are Free Software (free as in beer AND speech). If the Mozilla Overlords ever wanted to SEIZE control and create a non-Free version, the source code until that point would still be free, and the community would surely fork to support the new Free version. If you have heard of TuxRacer, look at its history, and note the new Planet Penguin Racer.

#3 man

by saltycrayons

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 7:06 AM

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2 or 3 years ago, who would have thought this would have happened?

#4 Already have a website

by Racer

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 7:18 AM

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It looks like they already have set up <http://www.mozilla.com> - although it doesn't have much on it yet.

#5 Re: Already have a website

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 7:27 AM

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"It looks like they already have set up <<http://www.mozilla.com>> - although it doesn't have much on it yet."

If, like me, you've visited mozilla.com recently, you'll have to clear your cache before you can see the new site. Otherwise you'll be sent via your cached redirect to mozilla.org.

Alex

#6 Ok... so this is scary.

by imforumman

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 8:18 AM

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So, after reading all that, I still don't get what this is good for. I didn't ever develop any Moz product, but I've been (beta)testing gecko for ever and I even sent some of little money to the MoFo. I kinda feel MoFo has not been quite honest with all of us, if such a thing is declared one day out of the blue without there having been a public discussion beforehand. No, open source is not democracy, but this does feel a little like those responsible for many other peoples coding and other hard work are doing strange things that have not been discussed and should not be discussed, just accepted.

Doesn't feel bad, but it does feel a little not-so-good.

#7 It is a good thing...

by pencap

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 8:31 AM

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This is a good thing... If you read the whole article it is simply to establish a corporate entity to basically pay employees, seperate tax issues and also provide a means to add corporate support to enterprises that are looking for that. While this may look as a bad thing, it is a very good thing and as they said end users will hardly see a difference.

#11 Re: Ok... so this is scary.

by virtual

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 9:04 AM

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This is disappointing, but not for the conspiracy-theory reasons some people seem to think. I think that people are suffering from the Hollywood created belief that anything 'corporate' must necessarily be evil. That's just Cr@p. Corporations are just entities created for tax purposes.

It sounds like the gov't or a tax auditor just go a little over-cautious about some of Mozillas revenues. That isn't completely unreasonable. There have been case in the past where people have setup not-for-profits to shelter taxable revenue. Although Mozilla is clearly on the level, its great success appear to have drawn the IRS's attention to certain sources of revenue. Just protecting public interest and all that stuff.

The disappointing thing is that this could take cash out of the hands of developers and put it into the hands of the government. Hopefully the accountants can structure the costs so that the corporation is break-even and won't lose any money that could be used for development and promotion.

#12 Re: Re: Ok... so this is scary.

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 9:11 AM

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I agree with pretty much everything you said but would just like to say that as far as I'm aware the IRS hasn't been looking into the Mozilla Foundation. However, I understand that the Foundation people were getting bored of having to have a tax attorney present in every meeting involving revenue.

Alex

#13 Re: Re: Re: Ok... so this is scary.

by virtual

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 9:20 AM

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That was just a blind guess on the IRS thing. I guess its good thing they are taking preemptive action before the IRS starts sniffing around. Damn tax lawyers are worse anyway ;)

#45 Hollywood corporate evil?

by tepples <tepples@spamcop.net>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 6:56 PM

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"I think that people are suffering from the Hollywood created belief that anything 'corporate' must necessarily be evil."

If that's a Hollywood-created belief, then why haven't Hollywood's customers (ticket buyers and DVD buyers) thought of the Hollywood movie studio corporations as evil?

#64 Re: Hollywood corporate evil?

by Kelson

Thursday August 4th, 2005 9:33 AM

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Oh, Hollywood's customers *do* think the studios are evil. Just like music buyers think the RIAA and co. are evil. They want the products, though, so they buy them anyway. (Though the experience of going out to a movie is getting very frustrating, and with cheap DVDs only a few months away, why go to the expense and aggravation of seeing a movie in the theater?) Just like American movies and music are still very popular in countries with high levels of anti-Americanism.

Not everyone looks at every financial transaction they make as a political statement.

#52 Re: Ok... so this is scary.

by ameerirshad

Thursday August 4th, 2005 2:22 AM

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Well as MoFO is a foundation, and foundation are non-democratic by nature! The most ideal organisation form if you want to avoid people to get a say in your business, but remain a "social face". With no offense to MoFo or many other foundations, but it's hard to act against their policies, as a foundation, by it's nature, prevent any "democratic" intervention. The only organisation form which would allow "membership" and "members voting" is a "Association", and most of the open source organisations on the internet are no associations but foundations. I guess this is to defend their identity, as an association mostly has open membership, and many associations fall into oblivion after a period of time. Foundations are normally founded by people with strong ideas, who then elect their heirs, something which can't be done in an association structure!

#53 Re: Ok... so this is scary.

by ameerirshad

Thursday August 4th, 2005 2:33 AM

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Well as MoFO is a foundation, and foundation are non-democratic by nature! The most ideal organisation form if you want to avoid people to get a say in your business, but remain a "social face". With no offense to MoFo or many other foundations, but it's hard to act against their policies, as a foundation, by it's nature, prevent any "democratic" intervention. The only organisation form which would allow "membership" and "members voting" is a "Association", and most of the open source organisations on the internet are no associations but foundations. I guess this is to defend their identity, as an association mostly has open membership, and many associations fall into oblivion after a period of time. Foundations are normally founded by people with strong ideas, who then elect their heirs, something which can't be done in an association structure!

#8 Also SeaMonkey?

by Nomax

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 8:38 AM

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Read on the Mozilla.org website:

"What is the Mozilla Foundation announcing today? The Mozilla Foundation is creating a new wholly owned taxable subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation, to do product development and distribution for Firefox, Thunderbird, and related branded products based on the Mozilla open source code base."

So it includes SeaMonkley since it's a branded product. I still believe Mozilla Suite is THE best suited internet software for corporate environment. So I hope SeaMonkley will gain full hotline support.

#9 Re: Also SeaMonkey?

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 8:44 AM

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"So it includes SeaMonkley since it's a branded product."

No, it doesn't. SeaMonkey will continue to be developed by the community of SeaMonkey developers with support from the Mozilla Foundation.

Alex

#10 Thou Dost Protest Too Much

by ndebord

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 8:48 AM

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And I believe in the tooth fairy too.

"While the Mozilla Corporation will be a for-profit, the Mozilla Foundation is keen to stress that it is not selling out."

N

#31 Re: Thou Dost Protest Too Much

by mlefevre

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 3:06 PM

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It may be for-profit. but it will be entirely owned by the non-profit Foundation. So any profit it makes either has to be spent (what it can be spent on is less restricted than if a tax-exempt non-profit was spending it though), or it will end up with the Foundation. In terms of evil activities, the kind of thing they want to do is the sort of thing they are already doing (e.g. business relationships with google and heavy product marketing of Firefox).

Of course if you think that the stuff they've been doing with Firefox is selling out, then this would be "bad" too. But as far as I can see, it's changing the structure to match what they are already doing.

#14 Great news

by aspr1n

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 9:24 AM

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I think this is great news. All the MPL/GPL code will still be controlled by the foundation, but now Moz Corp. can generate revenues for funding the continuation of Mozilla the foundation. I think this is a great longterm strategy. asp

#33 Re: Great news

by naylor83 <d.naylor@swipnet.se>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 3:27 PM

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Yeah, I agree. Mozilla can now rake in the BIG $$, ££ and €€ from the big guys, in order to continue to serve the people of the online world.

#15 will

by zed260 <zed260@gmail.com>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 9:55 AM

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firefox still be free or what

#16 Turnip Truck

by supafunc

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 10:18 AM

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I too am shocked. Shocked!

#17 (The funniest part)

by supafunc

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 10:21 AM

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And I'd be willing to wager that those behind the technical change actually believe that nobody in the world will ever try to take over the Mozilla Corporation. Hmm, great products built for free and marketed by the coolest people in the world.

Every major corporation and set of investors BETTER be trying to scam on this new corporation...people are driving back from the beach right now to do exactly this, I assure you.

#18 (The funniest part)

by supafunc

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 10:53 AM

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And I'd be willing to wager that those behind the technical change actually believe that nobody in the world will ever try to take over the Mozilla Corporation. Hmm, great products built for free and marketed by the coolest people in the world.

Every major corporation and set of investors BETTER be trying to scam on this new corporation...people are driving back from the beach right now to do exactly this, I assure you.

#19 makes me care less about Firefox

by jkrumm

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 11:06 AM

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A corporation sounds like a terrible strategy. It takes away the real difference between Firefix and the other for-profit browsers. It almost makes me look forward to the release of IE7. Certainly I'll feel less guilty about using it if I like it better.

#20 Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by jkrumm

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 11:12 AM

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I meant Firefox, not Firefix, though feel free to "brand" any security updates as a Firefix.

#23 Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by insanebaka

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 12:47 PM

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Why? The Mozilla Corp won't be be putting the software market into a choke hold like Microsoft nor will they be stealing your hard earned money.

#97 Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by gwalla <gwalla@despammed.com>

Sunday August 7th, 2005 6:29 PM

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Yet.

#24 Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by Lyx

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 12:56 PM

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Ah, so you *really* used firefox because of the tax-status of the makers? You used firefox, because the makers were *not allowed* to make money from it (and later invest it into developtment)?

Do you care about the product, or about other peoples money? Does that mean that you do consume brands, instead of the product.... in other words, that you are just a "fanboy"? Is that enough to classify someone as a blindfolded zealot?

Very interesting reasoning :)

- Lyx

#27 Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by jedbro

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 1:41 PM

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Let me get this straight.

A non-profit organization that fund and governs some opensource code (free!) decides to create a comercial entity to help raise more funds for a few of their products, and help them pay for more developers (while still keeping everything free and opensource), etc. in order to have a better product and get more people to use it.

And this (almost) makes you want to choose a different product that is a) closed source b) Has been monoplative in the past, and c)Has left you out in the cold, dry without signifiant updates for 4 years.

Wow, you are smart! I should hang around you more often!

*sign*

#40 Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by jkrumm

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 5:04 PM

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There's no reason they have to be a "corporation" to pay staff. How about a workers cooperative? And plenty of non-profits get huge, with very large, well-paid staffs. Of course, many of those non-profits are as unaccountable as corporations. Watch the documentary The Corporation and you'll see why calling any part of this project a corporation is a bad strategy, even if the aim is to do good.

#42 Re: Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by jedbro

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 6:07 PM

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No, they already had a large paid staff, but the point is they think they will be able to raise more money having both a Non-profit as a for-profit entities which then translates into more and better marketing, staff, and resources.

Either way, your point is moot, threatening to careless and go back to a different corporation that has a terrible track record in this area is completly ignorant.

Maybe if you actually read the pressrelease and the blogs of the Mozilla board directive, you would actually have a clue as to why and how this is being done.

#60 Re: Re: Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by Edam

Thursday August 4th, 2005 7:18 AM

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Woa! Steady on!

I think jkrumm's words were "It *almost* makes me look forward to the release of IE7". I'm sure he/she wont actually be going back to... that... thing.

There's a good reason people have a knee-jerk reaction to Corporations. Ok, so Moz.Corp. will be entirely owned by MoFo and it's mission will still be to "promote choice and innovation on the Internet", but I must admit that I'm equally unsettled by the decision. Part of the allure of MoFo, FF, TB, et al., is that they *arn't* for profit. The reason IE6 is so rubbish (and I'm sure IE7 will be too) is because it was written for profit alone. There is a purity in developement not being driven by comercial gain.

I'm not saying that I think Mozilla have sold out - please dont misunderstand me. I just fear for something that for me is very much at the forefront of the revolution of quality, well-written, free open source software battling against corporate rubbish! Thunderbird and Firefox (and their predecessors) were written for the people!

Even people who think this is a good move must admit: "Mozilla Corporation" just *doesn't* have the same ring to it...

#68 Re: Re: Re: Re: makes me care less about Firefox

by insanebaka

Thursday August 4th, 2005 11:01 AM

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People, people Mozilla still not a microsoft type corporation. I dont see Mozilla putting activation software into their products. That idea that some people actually think Mozilla has been an evil corporation is plan stupidity

#98 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: makes me care less about Firef

by gwalla <gwalla@despammed.com>

Sunday August 7th, 2005 6:31 PM

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I remember being young and naïve like you.

#21 How will they make money?

by RJF <eternallySecure@gmail.com>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 12:39 PM

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Will they sell products, or will their revenue come from tech support?

#34 Re: How will they make money?

by naylor83 <d.naylor@swipnet.se>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 3:36 PM

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Revenue probably mainly from other corps, such as search-engines.

#25 Ms Baker heads to new entity?

by mitrich <mitrich@optonline.net>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 1:01 PM

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I believe that it is a poor idea for the C.E.O of a non-profit to be the C.E.O of a related for-profit entity. While there may be no improprieties, it smacks of conflict of interest.

I think that there is a conflict of interest when an individual engaged in the work of a non-profit organization becomes involved with a for-profit entity involved in the work.

The motives of the person are always questionable as the work goes forward, even when a non-profit, e.g. a school, church, synagogues raises supporting funds by selling goods or services for a profit. Abuses are possible even in the latter case, e.g. a clergyman taking a kickback from the vendor supplying the institution with goods or services, such as prayer books, food, gifts for the gift shop. A school purchasing agent can expect a kickback from the supplier of textbooks.

So, it’s certainly not just that irregularities can occur when the entities are separate, they can occur when it is all in one entity. Ms Baker, as the CEO of each entity, is almost automatically suspect, whether or not she would actually be improper. This is not totally dissimilar to elected officials having to put their assets into blind trusts or dispose of them.

This is not even really dissimilar from editorial departments having to be walled off from the business side of news media, or investment bankers needing to be walled off from stock brokers.

Many institutions, entities, of what ever sort, go out of their way to be sure that there is not even a hint, in how they look to the public, of impropriety, conflict of interest. And, by the way, Eliot Spitzer finds that even some of these entities are “dirty”.

I think that Mozilla’s decision to have Ms Baker as the C.E.O of both entities is ill-advised, an example of the immaturity of the organization. This suprises me because I believe that it is Mitch Kapor who is the titular head of the Mozilla Foundation.

#26 Re: Ms Baker heads to new entity?

by virtual

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 1:20 PM

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I dont think you fully understand what a conflict of interest is. In this context, a conflict of interest arises when the best interests of the CEO are not aligned with the best interests of the shareholders. This is largely an issue that arises in large public companies where you cant have the millions of individual shareholders all in the CEO's office to watch his every move, so the CEO maximizes his year end bonus instead of the company's profit. In this case, there is only one shareholder and that is MozOrg. In both positions MS Baker is responsible to MozOrg. Everyones interests are aligned so a clearly no conflict exists.

#30 Re: Re: Ms Baker heads to new entity?

by mitrich <mitrich@optonline.net>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 2:37 PM

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Thanks for your view. In this case, the issue is moot, as Ms baker has clarified that whe will not in fact heads two entities. Beyond that, your view is certainly correct in an ideal world; but this is not an ideal world. In any enterprise with the obvious importance of Mozilla, be it the Foundation or a new company, it is extremely important to recognize that there can be no hint of even the possibility of impropriety.

#38 Re: Re: Ms Baker heads to new entity?

by mirzmaster

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 4:43 PM

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MS Baker?! Uh oh, is this a new Microsoft plot? They've gone and created a heartless, monopolysing, software replica of Mitchell Baker that will turn the tide back towards IE!

Well... either that or it's Microsoft's newest idea for intelligent cookware. ;)

#28 There are different leaders

by mitchell <mitchell@mozilla.org>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 2:19 PM

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I am not going to be the CEO of both entities. I am now at the Mozilla Corporation. I remain on the board of directors of the Mozilla Foundation, but I am not the president and don't have an operating role at the Mozilla Foundation. Frank Hecker leads the Mozilla Foundation.

#37 Re: There are different leaders

by mitrich <mitrich@optonline.net>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 4:16 PM

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Again, thanks for the clarification. I just read a bunch of computerland media, from the US, the Register in England, ZDnet Australia, etc, and the press on this is very poor, esp the guy who called you Mr. Baker. It is Ms Baker, is it not? There is little to clarify that you will not be heading the Foundation. Some call you the head of the Foundation, or the President of the Foundation, or just say you will be the President of the Corporation. You guys are a really big deal, which is why I put up the post that I did, so you need for the press of all stripes to be accurate at least about who is playing in what sandbox.

#29 Ms Baker heads to new entity?

by mitrich <mitrich@optonline.net>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 2:23 PM

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Thanks for the clarification.

#32 revenue

by ratman

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 3:22 PM

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personally, i am not as concerned about the formation of a taxable corporation as much as what this implies about the amount and kind of revenue that mozilla is generating in the first place. clearly, this goes above and beyond just the mozilla store. what are these sources of revenue, and what is the potential for these revenue sources to affect, even indirectly, the development of firefox and thunderbird? the whole mess with the search engines was fishy enough as it is; i worry about what other corporate influences are involved that we in the community are not being told about. a corporation certainly won't make moz any more transparent, and only creates more distance between the foundation and the community.

#35 revenue

by ndebord

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 3:40 PM

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I agree. Today it is reasonably above board. No stock shares, no conflict over who runs what. But down the road, who knows? This is a slippery slope and where it ends nobody knows. Except to note that in the past, others have traveled this road and the end result has been easily anticipated: corporate greed.

Besides, this was the open source revolt against the monopoly of MR BILL. The definition of open source is transparency and non-profit and neither has been the case with the Mozilla Foundation for some time now. As Open Source, the Mozilla Foundation is not exactly the role model. Read the bylaws and you'll see the differencees between this and say, Linux or perhaps Apache. Mozilla is an offshoot of a commercial development (Netscape 4.xx) and as such it has always been driven by market considerations. No more so than now.

N

#39 Re: revenue

by Kelson

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 4:47 PM

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Funny, I thought the definition of open source was transparency and participation.

Profit or non profit doesn't enter into it.

#36 Re: revenue

by naylor83 <d.naylor@swipnet.se>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 3:41 PM

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I really don't feel worried about this whole thing. Mozilla will only agree to get paid for adding a search-engine if it benefits the user. I've read they say no to loads of offers from various corps out there. If Mozilla are this popular, and can bring in big moneys, that's only a good thing to me. It will strengthen Firefox and TB in the fight against IE7!

#41 A Mozilla cooperative.

by jkrumm

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 5:19 PM

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Mozilla could likely make much more money taking the high ground and more directly appealing to the generosity of its users. If they stayed non-profit or became a workers cooperative, payed all employees reasonable amounts and operated democratically (no CEO, for christ's sake) then they could appeal for users to become sustainers, regular monthly contributers of some amount, maybe offering a token premium. Sort of a public radio model, but more democratic, worker run, user supported.

This would make the browser distintcly different than the competition, like organic milk from the Organic Valley Cooperative, or Burley Bicycles, or Full Sail Ale, or my credit union.

#61 Re: A Mozilla cooperative.

by Edam

Thursday August 4th, 2005 7:38 AM

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hear, hear! That's the route I'd rather see the MoFo take.

Handing FF and TB over to a corporate subsidiary (wholey-owned, or not) certainly isn't bringing it closer to the comunity!

#81 Re: A Mozilla cooperative.

by bzbarsky

Thursday August 4th, 2005 9:21 PM

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> payed all employees reasonable amounts

What do you consider reasonable? How much should payroll for the current 40 or 50 employees be in your opinion, including benefits? (Note that any number below about $3 million would correspond to something below the poverty line for said employees; I would suspect that $8 million is the minimal reasonable estimate).

Now how many users do you think are willing to contribute money? And how much money do you think they're willing to contribute?

Also, how do you imagine this "democratic operation" is going to work, given that decisions need to be made in a variety of different areas? Do you expect the developers to vote on the legal issues? Do you expect the legal staff to vote on which bugs should block a release?

#82 Re: Re: A Mozilla cooperative.

by durbacher

Friday August 5th, 2005 2:37 AM

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No doubt about your posting in general, but...

> payroll for the current 40 or 50 employees[...] (Note that any number below about > $3 million would correspond to something below the poverty line [...]

Let's calculate: $3million/40 = $75,000 ("below poverty line"); $8million/40 = $200,000 Ok, I don't know how much of it actually could get into the pockets of the employees, but still I'm very obviously underestimating what software engineers in the US earn...

#90 Re: Re: Re: A Mozilla cooperative.

by bzbarsky

Friday August 5th, 2005 2:32 PM

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> Let's calculate: $3million/40 = $75,000 ("below poverty line");

Typically, the cost per employee to the employer is about double what the employee actually sees in pre-tax income. This comes about as a result of the taxes companies need to pay on the money they pay to employees (about 8% of the nominal salary just for Social Security and Medicare), the skyrocketing cost of health insurance (and any reasonable company would provide that as an employee benefit), the various other benefits companies typically provide, the need for office space and equipment for the employee, and so forth.

So $3 million / 50 = 60000. Half of that is $30000 in pre-tax income. The 2005 poverty line for a family of four for the United States is $19,350 in after-tax income. When you factor in the fact that MoFo is located in one of the most expensive areas of the country (last I checked, the housing prices for the area within about 50-60 miles of MoFo were easily 1.5 to 2 times the national average for equivalent housing; food and so forth are not quite as dear, but still more expensive than the average), I'm not at all far off.

> $8million/40 = $200,000

Again, I used 50 employees, which gives $160,000. Which means $80,000 in pre-tax take-home income. This is pretty low for a competent software engineer; I adjusted my estimate a ways down on the basis of some of the Foundation staff being QA people, who are typically paid less than software engineers are.

#99 Re: Re: A Mozilla cooperative.

by gwalla <gwalla@despammed.com>

Sunday August 7th, 2005 6:34 PM

Reply to this message

You're acting like a worker's cooperative is some newfangled, untested idea. They've been around for ages. If you want details, ask the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

#43 For-Profit Owned by Non-Profit?

by DERoss

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 6:19 PM

Reply to this message

The executives of the Mozilla Foundation need to check again with their tax attorneys. Under the Internal Revenue Code, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (e.g., the Mozilla Foundation) cannot own controlling interest in a for-profit corporation (e.g., the Mozilla Corporation) for more than five years, renewable only once for an additional five years. Study the history of the System Development Corporation (SDC) in the 1970s.

On the other hand, there is no restriction on a for-profit controlling a non-profit. However, the for-profit cannot own the non-profit, which is instead owned by the general public (not shareholders but everyone).

#44 Re: For-Profit Owned by Non-Profit?

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 6:31 PM

Reply to this message

This handy guide for tax-exempt organisations wanting to establish taxable subsidiaries seems to think this set up is acceptable:

<http://www.nysscpa.org/cp…0/dept/Dept.1202pg.57.htm>

Alex

#46 What "revenue-generating activities"?

by stu42j

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 8:04 PM

Reply to this message

I wish they would explain exactly what sort of "revenue-generating activities" they are planning to engage in that they are not able to as a non-profit. I think that the vagueness of this announcement is making people unnecessarily nervous.

#47 What is the business model?

by johann_p

Wednesday August 3rd, 2005 10:07 PM

Reply to this message

I do not get it - since this is supposed to be a for-profit company, how are they planning to pay the payroll of over 30 people and still make profit? Could the Foundation maybe tell the community about this? I do not see *that* question answered in <http://www.mozilla.org/reorganization>

#50 Re: What is the business model?

by durbacher

Thursday August 4th, 2005 2:09 AM

Reply to this message

Well, they are paying those 30+ people right now and already appear to have enough money to do so (at least they are hiring, not firing). So I guess having the chance to actually earn money and have more serious contracts with other companies will not worsen the situation.

#74 Re: Re: What is the business model?

by johann_p

Thursday August 4th, 2005 12:27 PM

Reply to this message

Yes, I know, but it still would be interesting to see their business model. That is one of the differences between NPOs and companies I would have thought -- companies should have a business model and in case of a company that is about an opensource community project it would be interesting *for the community* to know the model.

#48 Lack of transparency

by Kob

Thursday August 4th, 2005 1:13 AM

Reply to this message

There is one major thing (or lack thereof) in the announcement that bothers me: lack of material information about the methods and goals for the new entity. The public message was very brief, just describing the technicalities but not the why and how in any detail. When a company goes public, it requires to put up a prospectus. Clearly Moz Corp is not required to do that since they are a private corp, but it would alleviate a lot of the community concerns if they at least publish a brief business plan. In addition, seeing that instead of just braching out a small business unit to look after commercial opportunitues they actually transformed the whole group (more than 80% of people, leaving just an empty shell behind) overnight, my conspiracy theories start to raise head and I wonder if the new entity be more suitable to someone like Google to take over in its fight against Microsoft.

#49 So it's back.

by zhouij

Thursday August 4th, 2005 1:54 AM

Reply to this message

kind of like revive of the netscape. (I am talking about the real one, not the one that's under AOL.)

#51 Re: So it's back.

by durbacher

Thursday August 4th, 2005 2:13 AM

Reply to this message

Yeah, sort of. :-) But this time the "free" part is going to rule the "for money" part. Hopefully.

When thinking about the old Netscape times, though, I wouldn't go as far as Frank Hecker in his weblog: "Overall I think the project has a pretty good track record in striking a proper balance between commercial and non-commercial concerns"

At least in the AOL era I don't consider this track record "pretty good"...

#54 Business Plan?

by MvD

Thursday August 4th, 2005 4:17 AM

Reply to this message

How does Mozilla (both the foundation and corp) plan to gte money? And how are the paying for the existing jobs? I mean AOL gave $2M, but whats that? Enough for operating for around a year with 18 people. And Mozilla is older and larger than that! I mean really, how are they going to make money?

#55 If it walks like a sell-out ...

by MozillaTom

Thursday August 4th, 2005 5:36 AM

Reply to this message

I don't know all the tax implications and don't really have the time or motivation to do all the required research, but I know this change has put a really bad taste in my mouth, as it seems the almighty dollar takes the day once more. I say this from the perspective of someone who has worked in the healthcare industry for years and has watched time and again as once non-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans slowly reorganized into for-profit corporations. They all used a PR spin similar to Mozilla's current argument about how the change is really just cosmetic and will only result in a stronger entity and better products that would further benefit the community as a whole. And in every case, the CEO and all the corporate officers made out like bandits as the new "for-profit" entity eventually went public. And in every case, the for-profit entity that emerged was just as greedy if not more so than the for-profit competition that existed before them. Which leads to the one defining lesson I've learned in life, no matter the entity, be it an employer, a business I patronize, a public utilty, or some politician announcing the restructuring of the tax code - reorganization almost always means you're about to get screwed.

Now there is no denying the fact that the Mozilla Foundation is in an enviable position to exploit Firefox's success for commercial gain. But Firefox's success is due in very large part to the efforts of a motivated community of people who donated time, money, and creative energy to support the ideals of something bigger than themselves, a "public good" that everyone could benefit from. The mere fact that the Mozilla Foundation was a non-profit entity battling a convicted monopolist, with seemingly endless resources, and beating the monopolist at its own game - provided a truly inspirational story. The David versus Goliath story captured the fascination of the media and its audience and kept Firefox in the headlines and the download tally climbing.

Many article's I've read about the reorganization speak to MoFo's concerns, for good reason, about how the community will interpret the changes. These are valid concerns because deep down inside I think the key players within Mofo know, no matter how they would like to rationalize it in their minds, that on its face the changes are a sell-out to the spirit and ideals of the Mozilla community.

That said, will I continue to use Firefox? Without question! Will I ever feel the same loyalty and intrinsic motivation to the Mozilla cause or possibly any other open-source product? Doubtful!

#58 Re: If it walks like a sell-out ...

by MvD

Thursday August 4th, 2005 5:51 AM

Reply to this message

Dude, if you read the FAQ about the new corp, you will see that they can't really sell. Well at least they can't sell out just because they went partially corporate. The type of things that you are invisioning, is possible even with going coporate. MoFo owns 100% of Mozilla corp and will get all the profits from the Mozilla corp. Whats bad about that?

#62 Re: Re: If it walks like a sell-out ...

by Edam

Thursday August 4th, 2005 7:56 AM

Reply to this message

Dude, read the post again: "on its face the changes are a sell-out to the spirit and ideals of the Mozilla community". It's about ideals man!

There's a bad taste in my mouth too. That was ever so well written MozillaTom - I wish I was as able to express my concerns. Like you, I'll continue to use FF and TB. And like you, I'm not sure I'll ever feel the same loyalty to Mozilla again.

#70 Re: Re: Re: If it walks like a sell-out ...

by MvD

Thursday August 4th, 2005 11:21 AM

Reply to this message

What ideals? What has changed? Explain? You seem to fail to understand that just because Mozilla went partially corporate doesn't mean they are going evil. For all that it counts, if they wanted to go evil while being a 100% foundation, they would have already done that.

Mozilla's goal is still to serve the community. Only now they can actually make some money to pay people who are striving to achieve those goals. What's bad about that? If mozilla licensed its trademark to some spyware company and starting distributing Fx builds with a fuckload of spyware, that would be a sell-out. Now that would get me pissed.

#75 Re: Re: Re: Re: If it walks like a sell-out ...

by Edam

Thursday August 4th, 2005 1:56 PM

Reply to this message

Yeah, I'm not saying that Mozilla *has* sold out. The emphasis in my post was about "the spirit and ideals of the Mozilla community". Surely I dont need to spell out theideals that Firefox has (certainly in my mind) stood for? See the second paragraph (begining "Now there is no denying...") of the post we're replying to.

My point wasn't about packaging spyware and the likes, it was that going corporate (whether they then become evil, or not) is just not in the spirit of it!

I whole-heartedly welcome the idea of making enough money to pay the developers, but here's where I'm a little confused. Were Mozilla actually struggling financially? I fail to see how they could have been with so much publicity and interest in their software. Was it really financially unviable for them to have continued without reforming? And if not, then why form a corporation, especially given how the community would quite obviously feel about such a move?

I'm sure you're right in saying "Mozilla's goal is still to serve the community", but I wonder if Mozilla may have other motives brewing as well...

#76 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If it walks like a sell-out ..

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Thursday August 4th, 2005 3:35 PM

Reply to this message

"My point wasn't about packaging spyware and the likes, it was that going corporate (whether they then become evil, or not) is just not in the spirit of it!"

In what way are corporations inherently "not in the spirit"?

"Were Mozilla actually struggling financially? I fail to see how they could have been with so much publicity and interest in their software. Was it really financially unviable for them to have continued without reforming? And if not, then why form a corporation, especially given how the community would quite obviously feel about such a move?"

I gather that the Mozilla Foundation was doing quite well financially, which was part of the problem. As they're tax-exempt, non-profits are limited in the type of revenue they can receive and the kinds of business activities they can pursue. Corporations, which pay tax, don't have those restrictions.

Alex

#101 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If it walks like a sell-ou

by Edam

Monday August 8th, 2005 4:46 AM

Reply to this message

> In what way are corporations inherently "not in the spirit"?

I'm not suggesting that just because Mozilla have formed a corporate sibsidiary that thy are going to become evil, but the spirit of Mozilla had (for me anyway) been very much *not* about money. Almost against it in fact. Mozilla demonstrated that not only good, but the *best* software could be written *without* the need to try and amass money. By keeping money out of the equation (beyond the necessity to pay the employees) and by remaining a non-profit organisation, I'd always felt there was some kind of guarantee: The only reason we're writing this software is to benefit the community.

Obviously it's not up to me, and I dont resent Mozilla any for their decision. Good luck to them in fact! I guess I just feel a little disillusioned by it...

#56 If it walks like a sell-out ...

by MozillaTom

Thursday August 4th, 2005 5:46 AM

Reply to this message

I don't know all the tax implications and don't really have the time or motivation to do all the required research, but I know this change has put a really bad taste in my mouth, as it seems the almighty dollar takes the day once more. I say this from the perspective of someone who has worked in the healthcare industry for years and has watched time and again as once non-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans slowly reorganized into for-profit corporations. They all used a PR spin similar to Mozilla's current argument about how the change is really just cosmetic and will only result in a stronger entity and better products that would further benefit the community as a whole. And in every case, the CEO and all the corporate officers made out like bandits as the new "for-profit" entity eventually went public. And in every case, the for-profit entity that emerged was just as greedy if not more so than the for-profit competition that existed before them. Which leads to the one defining lesson I've learned in life, no matter the entity, be it an employer, a business I patronize, a public utilty, or some politician announcing the restructuring of the tax code - reorganization almost always means you're about to get screwed.

Now there is no denying the fact that the Mozilla Foundation is in an enviable position to exploit Firefox's success for commercial gain. But Firefox's success is due in very large part to the efforts of a motivated community of people who donated time, money, and creative energy to support the ideals of something bigger than themselves, a "public good" that everyone could benefit from. The mere fact that the Mozilla Foundation was a non-profit entity battling a convicted monopolist, with seemingly endless resources, and beating the monopolist at its own game - provided a truly inspirational story. The David versus Goliath story captured the fascination of the media and its audience and kept Firefox in the headlines and the download tally climbing.

Many article's I've read about the reorganization speak to MoFo's concerns, for good reason, about how the community will interpret the changes. These are valid concerns because deep down inside I think the key players within Mofo know, no matter how they would like to rationalize it in their minds, that on its face the changes are a sell-out to the spirit and ideals of the Mozilla community.

That said, will I continue to use Firefox? Without question! Will I ever feel the same loyalty and intrinsic motivation to the Mozilla cause or possibly any other open-source product? Doubtful!

#57 If it walks like a sell-out ...

by MozillaTom

Thursday August 4th, 2005 5:46 AM

Reply to this message

I don't know all the tax implications and don't really have the time or motivation to do all the required research, but I know this change has put a really bad taste in my mouth, as it seems the almighty dollar takes the day once more. I say this from the perspective of someone who has worked in the healthcare industry for years and has watched time and again as once non-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans slowly reorganized into for-profit corporations. They all used a PR spin similar to Mozilla's current argument about how the change is really just cosmetic and will only result in a stronger entity and better products that would further benefit the community as a whole. And in every case, the CEO and all the corporate officers made out like bandits as the new "for-profit" entity eventually went public. And in every case, the for-profit entity that emerged was just as greedy if not more so than the for-profit competition that existed before them. Which leads to the one defining lesson I've learned in life, no matter the entity, be it an employer, a business I patronize, a public utilty, or some politician announcing the restructuring of the tax code - reorganization almost always means you're about to get screwed.

Now there is no denying the fact that the Mozilla Foundation is in an enviable position to exploit Firefox's success for commercial gain. But Firefox's success is due in very large part to the efforts of a motivated community of people who donated time, money, and creative energy to support the ideals of something bigger than themselves, a "public good" that everyone could benefit from. The mere fact that the Mozilla Foundation was a non-profit entity battling a convicted monopolist, with seemingly endless resources, and beating the monopolist at its own game - provided a truly inspirational story. The David versus Goliath story captured the fascination of the media and its audience and kept Firefox in the headlines and the download tally climbing.

Many article's I've read about the reorganization speak to MoFo's concerns, for good reason, about how the community will interpret the changes. These are valid concerns because deep down inside I think the key players within Mofo know, no matter how they would like to rationalize it in their minds, that on its face the changes are a sell-out to the spirit and ideals of the Mozilla community.

That said, will I continue to use Firefox? Without question! Will I ever feel the same loyalty and intrinsic motivation to the Mozilla cause or possibly any other open-source product? Doubtful!

#59 Negative comments

by aspr1n

Thursday August 4th, 2005 6:26 AM

Reply to this message

There seems to be some very irrational comments on here and frankly most are utter nonsense.

1) How many of the protesters have donated to Mozilla the Foundation? Have YOU?

2) Where do you think they get the money to pay for developes, offices, hosting facilities etc? Money trees are hard to come by these days.

3) Open Source is NOT magic. Firefox still cost money to develop, test, deploy and market etc. The money has to come from somewhere. See point 1.

4) Why is it ok for MySQL, Redhat, Novell(SuSE) etc etc to make money - and have shareholders, but not Mozilla? Are they selling out?

5) The services they can offer are obvious, everything from custom extensions, builds and developer incidents to full blown enduser support for corporations.

6) As Mozilla the Corp is solely owned by the Foundation the money is invested back into points 2/3. Meaning better more reliable products, faster.

This was the only longterm viable solution open to Mozilla. AOL's money will (if it hasn't already) run out. T-shirts and mugs only go so far to creating revenue. Anyone suggesting that their loyalty to Mozilla will change obviously wasn't very loyal to begin with. Bye then.

#63 Re: Negative comments

by jedbro

Thursday August 4th, 2005 8:11 AM

Reply to this message

Very well said! For those who are still unsure about things, you should read what Mike Conner has to say:

<http://steelgryphon.com/blog/?p=55>

#65 Re: Negative comments

by Edam

Thursday August 4th, 2005 9:34 AM

Reply to this message

I think the number of "irrational comments" posted here are just a reflection of how many people feel passionately that this is not the direction they would have their beloved Mozilla take.

I refer you to the post by MozillaTom above - this is a community thing, and the bottom line is that this move just isn't in the interests of the community! All the servivces you propose they provide in order to pay their employees could all have been offered without forming a corporate subsidiary. There is only one reason to form a corporation: To get greedy. And despite the assurances from Mozilla that no one will notice the difference, this move can only distance them from the community.

For the record, I am an avid follower of Firefox and Thunderbird (and Mozilla as a whole) and I have made donations. I did so because I felt I was contributing to a group effort (Mozilla and the community) to overcome rubbish software by a greedy corporation. My loyalty has never actually been with Mozilla per se, but with the community. So from a personal standpoint, I really hope that Mozilla continue to represent the community and that this isn't the start of the "slippery slope" that it looks so suspiciously like.

#67 Re: Re: Negative comments

by virtual

Thursday August 4th, 2005 10:40 AM

Reply to this message

"There is only one reason to form a corporation: To get greedy."

COMPLETELY FALSE. This statement illustrates your complete lack of understanding about what a corporation is. People need to shed these myths that corporations are evil and greedy and absolutely no benefit to anyone. Corporations are just tax entities. The vast majority of corporations are small family owned and operated businesses. Is your local mom-and-pop corner store evil? Nope. Their just trying to put trying to put food on the dinner table and trying to put the kids through school. Is your local mom-and-pop corner store a corporation? Probably, because from a tax prospective its the right tool for the job. And there are many other jobs that it is the right tool for as well. Perhaps 'irrational' is not the right work to describe some of the comments on here - 'uninformed' fits better I think. Someone who thinks that Mozilla is greedy by trying to maximize the resourses it has to use in the development of Firefox is definately uninformed.

#71 Re: Re: Negative comments

by jedbro

Thursday August 4th, 2005 11:31 AM

Reply to this message

>>this is not the direction they would have their beloved Mozilla take.

What? Their beloved Mozilla can be found in the CVS tree, and checked out, modified, sold and compiled, whenever anyone wants.

We are talking about the foundation, the group who actually has to PAY people to keep the servers alive, handle trademarks, pay artists, organize people, pay a few developers and start iniciatives like DevMoz documentation, send developers to opensource conferences, etc.

The only thing that changes is how and where they can get funding from (read: more options). The only possible negative outcome to any of this would be the small chance that financially things get worse, so the community has to step up even more with donations, time, etc.

You seem to not understand this 'concept' of what a corporation is, and the different types that exist.

#72 Re: Re: Re: Negative comments

by jedbro

Thursday August 4th, 2005 11:36 AM

Reply to this message

"There is only one reason to form a corporation: To get greedy."

Or maybe "...: make some money so developers can support their families while working on a kick-ass opensource project" ??

Or should all opensource projects only rely on volunteers and spare time, and not try and make money to pay/hire developers?

You obviously have no idea as to how Linux/Apache and hundreds of other opensource projects are created a funded by multiple CORPORATIONS!!

#73 Re: Re: Negative comments

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Thursday August 4th, 2005 12:23 PM

Reply to this message

"There is only one reason to form a corporation: To get greedy."

No, it's because non-profits (which don't pay tax) are very restricted in terms of the type of economic activity they can do. Corporations (which do pay tax) have less restrictions. It's not much more than a tax designation.

Read this post from Brendan Eich to Slashdot:

<http://slashdot.org/comme…d=157930&cid=13234323>

Alex

#66 Corporations

by hendridm

Thursday August 4th, 2005 10:37 AM

Reply to this message

A new corporate entity. Get ready for the onslaught of audits initiated by Microsoft's favorite congresspersons as well as the lawsuits.

#69 revenue...

by pencap

Thursday August 4th, 2005 11:07 AM

Reply to this message

So many of you are so concerned about revenue and the future of the products.... As far as I see it this is the start of something very good. If you have ever started your own business and formed a legal entity you would understand this positioning. A not for profit company has to be extremely careful with every little thing that goes on, even with the salaries paid out, business purchases and company relations. What a corporation is going to allow is that to be much more open and probably cheaper in the longrun.

Now as a corporation they open themselves up to a whole new realm of business opportunities and areas where they can have more money coming in as well as adding services. Ways they can gain revenue: - Paid support for helping creating applications based off of mozilla - Custom programming to create new applications/extensions for businesses - Corporation builds and support services - Mozilla Classes on architecture

The list is pretty much endless. All which is driven by a free opensource product. With this approach there is several advantages and a way to make a good corporation and pay their employees a decent salary.

#77 Worst-case scenario

by Lyx

Thursday August 4th, 2005 4:15 PM

Reply to this message

So, lets asume the worst for a moment: mozcorp/foundation get influenced by their contractors and those corps from which their revenue comes, and become biased in terms of how fx/tb gets developed. They may also prebundle some stuff (i am not talking about spyware) which is not for the best of the community. This continues until the oh so great mozCommunity becomes annoyed by it and want a change........ guess what? It is open-source - the community could just fork it, and do their "community oriented mozilla products"..... so, if mozCorp/Foundation screws up, anyone can just pick it up and do it better.

What was the problem/danger again? Where is the eeevil corporation which stoeled your baby? Right, it doesnt exist. How about the following: if you disagree so much about what the foundation is doing, then why dont you do something better? I mean, the source is out there and i constantly keep hearing about the holy community - so why dont you do it? Or does that part of the community consist of only consumers who want something for free and voice demands, without giving back? If yes then you have no voice(read: STFU!).

- Lyx

#78 Worst-case scenario

by Lyx

Thursday August 4th, 2005 4:20 PM

Reply to this message

So, lets asume the worst for a moment: mozcorp/foundation get influenced by their contractors and those corps from which their revenue comes, and become biased in terms of how fx/tb gets developed. They may also prebundle some stuff (i am not talking about spyware) which is not for the best of the community. This continues until the oh so great mozCommunity becomes annoyed by it and want a change........ guess what? It is open-source - the community could just fork it, and do their "community oriented mozilla products"..... so, if mozCorp/Foundation screws up, anyone can just pick it up and do it better.

What was the problem/danger again? Where is the eeevil corporation which stoeled your baby? Right, it doesnt exist. How about the following: if you disagree so much about what the foundation is doing, then why dont you do something better? I mean, the source is out there and i constantly keep hearing about the holy community - so why dont you do it? Or does that part of the community consist of only consumers who want something for free and voice demands, without giving back? If yes then you have no voice(read: STFU!).

- Lyx

#79 Still loyal with some apprehension

by JoeS

Thursday August 4th, 2005 6:00 PM

Reply to this message

I contribute what I can, when I can. Bugzilla, nightly testing etc. My main interests are with Mail/News (Thunderbird) A few years back I saw some advanced features erroded due to Corporate influences. The first time I see this happen through Mozilla Corporation deals, I am back to the original open source, Seamonkey.

JoeS

#80 Still loyal with some apprehension

by JoeS

Thursday August 4th, 2005 6:15 PM

Reply to this message

I contribute what I can, when I can. Bugzilla, nightly testing etc. My main interests are with Mail/News (Thunderbird) A few years back I saw some advanced features erroded due to Corporate influences. The first time I see this happen through Mozilla Corporation deals, I am back to the original open source, Seamonkey.

JoeS

#83 corporate influence or "intended design"?

by Lyx

Friday August 5th, 2005 7:57 AM

Reply to this message

"I saw some advanced features erroded due to Corporate influences"

This sounds like they removed an advanced feature which you liked from TB/FX. However, in that case, could it be that you missed the whole point of FX/TB? The idea was to keep the standalone apps barebone with only the minimum which the average user needs - additional advanced features could individually be added via plugins(extensions). At this point, i should point out, that the foundation departed from this philosophy in some occassions(FX/TB has some features builtin which imho should be extensions). Anyways, if my above understanding is right, then what happened has nothing to do with corporate influences, but instead that FX/TB follow a philosophy, which is not the right one for you - or in other words: they were never intended for you. If my asumption is wrong, could you then please explain how corporate influence did something significantly wrong?

#92 Re: corporate influence or "intended design"?

by JoeS

Friday August 5th, 2005 4:34 PM

Reply to this message

This was a few years back, but the 'problem' was that images in mail/news were using css positional notation instead of html. Css attributes could not be handled when received by a certain 'client' . This was a condition in mail/news that was an advantage to me and others that used advanced editing in newsgroups. Granted, this was nice for 'me' and a small group of users, but the end result was that behavior was deemed 'unintended' and eliminated at the request of a large corp entity, that could be a potential contributor to Moz. Ipso facto: Money talks. What really rilled me up at the time was that you saw comments like 'ugh, this stuff is still getting in here' and, 'what's good for you is not necessarily good for the web' Well, what's good for me , and what's good for the web is not necessarily what's good for financial gain. If the choices are that we get a less robust product, or no product at all, then so be it. But then, this user has gotten the short end of the stick. JoeS

#84 corporate influence or "intended design"?

by Lyx

Friday August 5th, 2005 8:02 AM

Reply to this message

"I saw some advanced features erroded due to Corporate influences"

This sounds like they removed an advanced feature which you liked from TB/FX. However, in that case, could it be that you missed the whole point of FX/TB? The idea was to keep the standalone apps barebone with only the minimum which the average user needs - additional advanced features could individually be added via plugins(extensions). At this point, i should point out, that the foundation departed from this philosophy in some occassions(FX/TB has some features builtin which imho should be extensions). Anyways, if my above understanding is right, then what happened has nothing to do with corporate influences, but instead that FX/TB follow a philosophy, which is not the right one for you - or in other words: they were never intended for you. If my asumption is wrong, could you then please explain how corporate influence did something significantly wrong?

#86 Re: Still loyal with some apprehension

by jedbro

Friday August 5th, 2005 9:56 AM

Reply to this message

>>A few years back I saw some advanced features erroded due to Corporate influences

Really? What features were those?

If you can't support your argument with facts and specific details, your whole post was worthless.

#85 On forking

by hyyk

Friday August 5th, 2005 9:55 AM

Reply to this message

It seems like the creation of the corporation is so that they can do things more "officially." So instead of the way companies like IBM participate in certain OSS effort, (that is, give some money and provide some developers and then get some not so tengible assets, such as "influence" of the development direction), a company like Google can say... consult me on the browser source code and I will give you this much money... or put in this feature in firefox and I will give you this much money... (and this is perfectly fine right? as long as they keep the product open source...)

Now I have no problem with this move in and of itself since this is not the first time OSS is used this way. It's perfectly fine, even if someone just uses the Mozilla code and build a viral-type marketing vehicle out of it. (and let's face it folks, there are more sophisticated marketing method than pop-up ads...Netscape being a commercial brand of Mozilla also have pop-up blocker... and You don't think this can happen? Who's going to stop them? Moz Corp don't even have public shareholder to answer to.) However, was this a long term strategic move of some people within MoFo? Is this why there was a need to put all the supports behind Firefox and stop development on Seamonkey when there's clearly an audience for it? Is that what it takes for firefox and the like to be commercially viable (by having more resource for faster time-to-market)?

I keep reading about how people can fork FX if they don't like it. Well, here's the thing, may be seamonkey was such a threat. And I agree, Seamonkey is not necessary the most "mass-market-user-friendly" browser. But what I am talking about here is the competition of developers as a resource. Some folks keep forgetting that the large market share of FX don't make the browser and it seem like they believe Firefox = Mozilla Foundation. Why does seamonkey called seamonkey and not mozilla suite? Maybe "just forking it" is not so simple after all.

Again... if someone comes along and did this all by themselves without using Mozilla Foundation's resources and its legitimacy I wouldn't really care. But this really feels like a hijacking for me. MoFo, you got royally forked. They didn't just fork your browser project, they forked your resources, legitimacy and credibility. May be having all after tax profit going back to MoFo will make me feel better. And hopefully the drivers for FX will use its legitimacy responsibly. Why the concern? Because who cares about the threat of forking or losing support from OSS developer when I can hire someone to do the work.

#87 Re: On forking

by jedbro

Friday August 5th, 2005 9:59 AM

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Did you even read the pressrelease and blogs from the MoFo board members? If so, re-read them, as you are royaly confused.

#88 Re: Re: On forking

by hyyk

Friday August 5th, 2005 10:32 AM

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I did. But what do you want me to re-read? The unspecific, reassuring nature of spins? I guess time will tell what is really going on. Hopefully I am wrong.

#89 This is a strange choice.

by ronin65

Friday August 5th, 2005 11:03 AM

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There are many not for profit corporations/foundations which sell products and make money.

The essential distinction, though certainly not the only one, between a for profit and a not for profit corporation is what is done with the proceeds of any revenue generating activity.

#91 Re: This is a strange choice.

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Friday August 5th, 2005 3:04 PM

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"The essential distinction, though certainly not the only one, between a for profit and a not for profit corporation is what is done with the proceeds of any revenue generating activity."

In this case, the money (after expenses etc.) will stay within the Mozilla project as before. However, income to the Mozilla Corporation will be taxed in line with its status.

Alex

#103 Re: Re: This is a strange choice.

by ronin65

Monday August 8th, 2005 8:33 PM

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But to what end? Without a detailed review it is impossible to say, but I doubt that there is anything that they presently say they intend to do that could not be done as a not for profit.

#104 Re: Re: This is a strange choice.

by ronin65

Tuesday August 9th, 2005 2:47 AM

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But to what end? Without a detailed review it is impossible to say, but I doubt that there is anything that they presently say they intend to do that could not be done as a not for profit.

#93 Profit Motive = Good

by leebier

Saturday August 6th, 2005 8:16 AM

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Here's the thing about profit, profit can come ONLY from providing products customers want.

Customers buy a product because they find it useful (and worth the amount charged) and that creates profit Now, what Mozilla will be doing is something more like: Other firms pay Mozilla to include a feature or functionality in its products. However, the size of the payment depends entirely on how many people are using the product (certainly, some search engine won't pay MozCorp very much if there's only a few thousand users, and they pay a lot more if there's hundreds of millions), so the way to increase profit is to increase the number of users. The best way to increase the number of users? Make a product that consumers want. If they don't want it, if they don't think it's better than the other options, they won't download it and MozCorp won't make profit.

Bad products (or bad management methods) are punished for providing an inferior experience. If MozCorp lets the quality slip in relation to its competitors, it will go out of business and someone better will take their place. Despite the many attemps of MS to exercise (illegal) market power, even they couldn't overcome market forces. A group of people saw a position to create a better product, and as a result, have taken a large protion of IE's market share. Should MozCorp cease to be the best product on the market, it too will see its fates change. But there is NO BETTER WAY to align the interests of firms and customers than to make the firms dependent on pleasing their customers in order to survive. Greed isn't necessarily good, but profit motive is.

#94 Re: Profit Motive = Good

by Lyx

Sunday August 7th, 2005 5:37 AM

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You're forgetting the propaganda-aspect. Nowadays, products dont sell because users want them - typically in the corporate world, most products are sold by manipulating the demands of users - or in other words: by telling the consumers that they want it. Thats why marketing and advertisements are going rampage in the world: you can sell an inferior product with an effective marketing-campaign. I would even go as to say that 99% of sales in the world do not originate in the demand from users, but by manipulating users so that there is an artificial demand.

I'm not saying that mozCorp will or should go this route - the purpose of this post is simply to prove the argument of the previous post wrong.

#95 Re: Profit Motive = Good

by Lyx

Sunday August 7th, 2005 5:46 AM

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You're forgetting the propaganda-aspect. Nowadays, products dont sell because users want them - typically in the corporate world, most products are sold by manipulating the demands of users - or in other words: by telling the consumers that they want it. Thats why marketing and advertisements are going rampage in the world: you can sell an inferior product with an effective marketing-campaign. I would even go as to say that 99% of sales in the world do not originate in the demand from users, but by manipulating users so that there is an artificial demand.

I'm not saying that mozCorp will or should go this route - the purpose of this post is simply to prove the argument of the previous post wrong.

#96 Re: Re: Profit Motive = Good

by leebier

Sunday August 7th, 2005 3:18 PM

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"propaganda" may work... once...

Are you often a repeat customer of products you find inferior (for the price)? Sure, a catchy ad may get you to TRY a product, but you only become a repeat (and useful) customer if you want to continue purchasing the product. If customers don't think they're getting their money's/time's worth, they won't continue to buy it.

In any medium/long run sense, demand can't be artificial. People either want to buy the product or they don't, and experience with the product (or by recommendation, review, experience of friends, etc) will help them make that decision.

Now, people certainly DO buy lots of low-quality products, but either they find them to be worth the money ("I don't think the taste difference between Coke and RC Cola is worth the price difference") or they are unaware of better products for similar prices. The argument then isn't that there's too much advertising, but that there needs to be MORE, in order to make people aware of the other product.

Just because people choose to buy something you don't like, it doesn't mean a corporation (or parnership or sole-propritorship, for that matter) is swindling them out of their money or creating "artificial" demand, it just means they are making a different value judgement than you.

NOTE: The above arguments do NOT apply when firms are committing fraud, exercising illegal market power, or selling durable goods purchased only a couple of times in one's life.

#102 Re: Re: Re: Profit Motive = Good

by Lyx

Monday August 8th, 2005 5:37 AM

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"In any medium/long run sense, demand can't be artificial."

If the lifetime of the product is short enough, then the "surprise afterwards" does not matter that much. A new product will be trendy then and is said to do everything better (actually, the older inferior product is of advantage to market new products. Lots of marketing works in a way that it tries to psychologically degrade the current, and then presenting the product as the saviour which makes everything better). As you may notice at this point, and infinite loop of selling inferior products with strong marketing is created.

Granted, this does work less good with products which have a longer lifespan, so it may not apply to mozilla at all.

- Lyx

#100 This is not surprising

by gwalla <gwalla@despammed.com>

Sunday August 7th, 2005 6:43 PM

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Mozilla.org's betrayal of the community continues apace.

#105 Re: This is not surprising

by yellow5

Tuesday August 9th, 2005 6:09 AM

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Betrayal of the community?

You protesters act as if Mozilla is Marxism incarnate, and it's crumbling in your hands! I find it extremely sad that open source (and Mozilla by extension, no pun intended) has become your political symbol for anti-consumerism, when it actually has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with politics at all.

Part of me actually enjoys this. I read your pathetic protests and it makes me want to support the new Corporation even more, out of spite. I haven't contributed any of my money to the Foundation yet, but I am seriously considering doing so now that they've made such a bold, controversial (if you're nuts) move.

Like everything else, Mozilla is not the be-all, end-all. Personally, I don't think they will, but if they choose to become the "greedy, illegal corporation" that Microsoft has, there will always be another group to take their place. And life goes on. Deal with it, and find something to be happy about for a change =)

#106 Re: Re: This is not surprising

by gwalla <gwalla@despammed.com>

Tuesday August 9th, 2005 9:13 PM

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It has nothing to do with consumerism or anti-consumerism or Marxism. I don't know how you found references to any of that in the *one sentence* I wrote. Don't put words in my mouth if you don't want to put your foot in yours.

#107 Re: Re: Re: This is not surprising

by yellow5

Wednesday August 10th, 2005 5:26 AM

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My post refers to "protesters", plural. I took the time to read every post in this thread, and I responded to the general attitude of those who seem to have a problem with a simple business decision. So I meant nothing personal toward you..

But it begs the question.. If not because you have a problem with money actually being an issue when good work is done, why do you feel betrayed? Nothing implied here, I'm just curious.

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