Subject: Re: Mozilla For Profit?
From: Brian Behlendorf <>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2005 12:26:40 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 3 Aug 2005, Anthony Long wrote:
> Was wondering if some of the Mozilla board members on this list and others 
> could weigh in on why the change and how the new corporation intends to make 
> money and also thoughts on similar strategies for other consumer-facing open 
> source projects like

As the press release and articles hopefully make clear (aside from horrid 
headlines like "Mozilla Turns For-Profit", ugh) the change was made 
because we felt the Foundation was looking at doing (and being asked to 
do) too many things that were inappropriate for a 501c3 to do.  Such as, 
take the revenue that can come from the default list of search links in 
the upper-right-hand search box and the the default Firefox home page.

We could have wrapped ourselves in a cloak of righteousness and ignored 
all that, as Apache does, but Apache gets away with that because it 
doesn't have to have a paid staff.  Mozilla, since its inception and 
likely indefinitely, requires a full-time paid staff to focus on release 
engineering, QA, core development, and even things like marketing/PR and 
standards involvement.  This is not to dismiss the value of the volunteer 
community at all, but we're a long ways away from being able to depend 
entirely upon volunteer staff, and even a debate as to whether we should. 
We also shouldn't have to depend upon the largess of large companies to 
pay full-timer salaries - resulting in people who could disappear at any 
time a CEO decides that investment isn't producing a return.  At the same 
time, we want to see a commercial ecosystem develop around Mozilla. 
After looking at a lot of options, and consulting with a *lot* of others, 
we felt this taxable-sub idea was the best balance between all these 

So this changes the Foundation into something that is more Apache-like 
than before - lighter weight, focusing on policy and IP issues and the 
community, and more appropriate for the purpose of a 501c3 non-profit.  In 
the process it creates a commercial entity charged not with producing a 
return for investors, but in serving the purpose of the non-profit.  It's 
no doubt an experiment.  :)