|Founded||March 31, 1998|
|Founder||Netscape Communications Corporation|
Mozilla (stylized as moz://a) is a free software community founded in 1998 by members of Netscape. The Mozilla community uses, develops, publishes and supports Mozilla products, thereby promoting exclusively free software and open standards, with only minor exceptions. The community is supported institutionally by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation and its tax-paying subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.
Mozilla's current products include the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client (now through a subsidiary), the Bugzilla bug tracking system, the Gecko layout engine, and the Pocket "read-it-later-online" service.
On January 23, 1998, Netscape announced that its Netscape Communicator browser software would be free, and that its source code would also be free. One day later, Jamie Zawinski of Netscape registered mozilla.org. The project took its name, "Mozilla", from the original code name of the Netscape Navigator browser—a portmanteau of "Mosaic and Godzilla", and used to coordinate the development of the Mozilla Application Suite, the free software version of Netscape's internet software, Netscape Communicator. Zawinski said he arrived at the name "Mozilla" at a Netscape staff meeting. A small group of Netscape employees were tasked with coordinating the new community.
Mozilla originally aimed to be a technology provider for companies such as Netscape, who would commercialize their free software code. When Netscape's parent company AOL greatly reduced its involvement with Mozilla in July 2003, the Mozilla Foundation was designated the project's legal steward. 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 next expanded, and also experienced product terminations, with Firefox on mobile platforms (primarily Android), a mobile OS called Firefox OS (since cancelled), a web-based identity system called Mozilla Persona (since cancelled) and a marketplace for HTML5 applications.
In a report released in November 2012, Mozilla reported that their revenue for 2011 was $163 million, up 33% from $123 million in 2010. It noted that roughly 85% of their revenue came 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 distributed. Mozilla's CTO, Brendan Eich, acknowledged that it was "not a complete solution" and wasn't "perfect". An employee in Mozilla's video formats team, writing unofficially, justified it by the need to maintain their large user base, which would be necessary for future battles for truly free video formats.
In 2020 Mozilla announced it would cut 25% of its worldwide staff of nearly 1,000 to reduce costs. Firefox has fallen from 30% market share to 4% in 10 years. Despite this, executive pay increased 400%, with Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s top executive, receiving $2.4m in 2018. In December 2020, Mozilla closed its Mountain View office.
Seeking new products and roles while sustaining commitment to Firefox though Firefox's market share has so far dwindled dramatically, Executive Chairwoman and CEO Baker, Chief Product Officer Steve Teixeira and Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman told Tech Crunch in November, 2022 that fundamental business models are being rethought, and new roles in the internet as a human institution, that Mozilla's next 25 years' plan was in search of specifying projects for revised detailed purposes. The one actual general vehicle implemented "has meant the launch of Mozilla Ventures, a $35 million venture fund that the organization plans to use to invest in products and founders who want to build a better, privacy-respecting internet."
The Mozilla Manifesto outlines Mozilla's goals and principles. It asserts Mozilla's commitment to the internet, saying: "The open, global internet is the most powerful communication and collaboration resource we have ever seen. It embodies some of our deepest hopes for human progress." It then outlines what Mozilla sees as its place in the development of the internet, stating "The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities". And finally, it lays out their ten principles:
- The internet is an integral part of modern life—a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment, and society as a whole.
- The internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
- The internet must enrich the lives of individual human beings.
- Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.
- Individuals must have the ability to shape the internet and their own experiences on it.
- The effectiveness of the internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation, and decentralized participation worldwide.
- Free and open source software promotes the development of the internet as a public resource.
- Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.
- Commercial involvement in the development of the internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial profit and public benefit is critical.
- Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention, and commitment.
According to the Mozilla Foundation:
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.
Throughout the 2020 year, Mozilla ran Mozilla Builders, "an experimental 'Fix-The-Internet' incubator program". It funded 80 projects through three subprograms: The Startup Studio, The MVP Lab and The Open Lab. The site for this program is now archived.
On November 2, 2022, at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal and simultaneously online, Mozilla announced the early 2023 launch of Mozilla Ventures, a venture capital and product incubation facility out of Mozilla for independent start-ups, seed to Series A which qualify under the ethos of the Mozilla Manifesto, with a starting fund of $35 million. Its founding Managing Partner is Mohamed Nanabhay who told Entrepreneur India the purpose is "to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurs from across the world who are building companies that create a better internet".
Mozilla Foundation President and Executive Director Mark Surman named the first 3 investment recipients in the Mozilla Ventures mode, in discussions before Mozilla Ventures was announced, as Secure AI Labs, Block Party and HeyLogin.
The Firefox web browser is available in both desktop and mobile versions. It uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards. As of late 2015[update], 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, who 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 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 was previously announced that Mozilla would launch a premium version of the Firefox browser by October 2019. The company's CEO, Chris Beard, was quoted by The Next Web: "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." In September, Mozilla revealed their new offering, Firefox Premium Support, at $10 per installation. However, shortly after news broke of the service, Mozilla removed information about it from the website. Computerworld reported that in an email statement, Mozilla claimed "the page outlining that these paid support services for enterprise clients will be available was posted incorrectly."
In October, 2023, Mozilla announced that consumer 'Firefox accounts' were renamed to 'Mozilla accounts', explicitly indicating a desire to bring the Mozilla brand into greater prominence even with the diminution of some Firefox branding:
Over the years, Firefox accounts expanded its role beyond being solely an authentication solution for Firefox Sync. It now serves as Mozilla's main authentication and account management service for a wide range of products and services, supporting millions of active account customers globally. As such, the original “Firefox” branding no longer accurately reflects the broad scope of Mozilla's offerings. The renaming is intended to create a more consistent brand experience across all Mozilla surfaces, driving higher awareness of the portfolio of Mozilla products.
Firefox for mobile
Firefox for mobile (codenamed Fennec) is the build of the Mozilla Firefox web browser for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Initially available on multiple platforms, it is now available in two versions: Firefox for Android and Firefox for iOS. Firefox for Android runs on the Android mobile operating system and 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. Firefox for iOS, which runs on the iOS mobile operating system, does not use the Gecko Layout Engine because of Apple's policy that all iOS apps that browse the web must use the built-in iOS WebKit rendering engine. Both version include features like HTML5 support, Firefox Sync, private browsing, web tracking protection, and tabbed browsing, and Firefox for Android also includes support for add-ons.
Firefox Focus is a free and open-source privacy-focused mobile browser for Android and iOS. Initially released in 2015 as only a tracker-blocking application for iOS, it has since been developed into a full mobile browser for both iOS and Android.
Firefox Lockwise was a password manager offered by Mozilla. On desktop, it was a built-in feature of the Firefox browser. On mobile, it was offered as a standalone app that could be set as the device's default password manager.
Firefox Send was an online encrypted file-transfer service offered by Mozilla. In September 2020, Mozilla announced that it would be decommissioned and would no longer be part of the product lineup.
Firefox Private Relay
Type of site
|Email service provider|
|Launched||April 9, 2020|
Firefox Private Relay provides users with disposable email addresses that can be used to combat spam (by hiding the user's real email address) and manage email subscriptions by categorizing them based on the party a particular address was given to.
Firefox Relay was first released as a Firefox add-on on April 9, 2020. Mozilla announced Firefox Relay Premium monthly subscription service, ending Beta version of Firefox Relay on November 19, 2021. In addition to this, users who benefit from the subscription can receive unlimited alias emails as
@relay.firefox.com Instead of the pseudonymous e-mail addresses provided,
@mozmail.com e-mail addresses have been switched.
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.
In January 2019, HTC announced its partnership with Mozilla, under which the Firefox Reality web browser has been made available on Vive headsets. In February 2022, Mozilla announced that Igalia had assumed stewardship of the project, whose name was changed to Wolvic. 
Some devices using the OS include Alcatel One Touch Fire, ZTE Open, and LG Fireweb.
Mozilla announced the end of Firefox OS development in December 2015. A fork of B2G, KaiOS, has continued development and ships with numerous low-cost devices.
Pocket is a mobile application and web service for managing a reading list of articles from the Internet. It was announced that it would be acquired by the Mozilla Corporation, the commercial arm of Mozilla's non-profit development group, on February 27, 2017. Originally designed only for desktop browsers, it is now available for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Kobo eReaders, and web browsers.
On July 16, 2012, Mitchell Baker announced that Mozilla's leadership had come to the conclusion that ongoing 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.
On July 11, 2023, the Thunderbird blog announced the release of a new version of Thunderbird called Supernova. It features a new, modernized, user interface, among other new features. Changes have also been made to the older underlying code structure to make "maintenance and extensibility easier".
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 free 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, KDE, Red Hat, Eclipse and LibreOffice.
WebThings is a framework that allowed management of IoT devices through a single framework, gateway and UI. It was based on W3C Web of Things standard. Since 2020, it is no longer affiliated with Mozilla. It was spun off as an independent project following layoffs in 2020. It was known as Project Things and allowed users to use a Raspberry Pi as a gateway for IoT management with decentralized software.
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 free software 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. Written in C++, it uses NSPR for platform independence. Its source code is licensed under the Mozilla Public License.
Firefox uses Gecko 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 developed by Mozilla Research. It is designed for safety, concurrency and performance. It is intended for creating large, complex software which must be both fast and safe against exploits.
Rust is being used in an experimental layout engine, Servo, which was developed by Mozilla and Samsung. Although Servo is not yet used in any consumer-oriented browsers, the project developers plan for parts of its source code to be incrementally merged into Gecko and Firefox.
sccache is a compiler caching tool, written in Rust similar to Ccache. It acts as a compiler wrapper to avoid unnecessary compilation, storing cached results on local disks or various cloud storage backends. sccache supports caching for C/C++C/ code, Rust, and NVIDIA's CUDA using NVCC (compiler).
Servo is a browser engine being developed for application and embedded use. In August 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to lack of funds and organization restructuring, Mozilla laid off most of the Servo development team. Servo then became part of the Linux Foundation, where development currently continues.
SOPS: Secrets OPerationS
SOPS is an editor of encrypted files that supports YAML, JSON, ENV, INI and BINARY formats and encrypts with AWS KMS, GCP KMS, Azure Key Vault, age, and PGP.
Taskcluster is a task execution framework supporting Mozilla's continuous integration and release processes. Initially designed for Firefox's automated builds and tests, it's a flexible, scalable open-source framework. Taskcluster is used extensively for building and releasing Firefox, Thunderbird, NSS and other Mozilla projects.
WebXR Viewer is an AR viewer that lets developers create and run AR experiences built with web technologies and ARKit.
Mozilla VR is a team focused on bringing virtual reality (VR) 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.
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
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 a free software 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.
IRL – Online Life Is Real Life
On June 26, 2017, Mozilla launched IRL – Online Life Is Real Life to explore popular stories from the web that deal with issues of the internet that affect society as a whole.
Eich CEO promotion
In 2008, Brendan Eich donated US$1,000 in support of California's Proposition 8, a California ballot proposition and state constitutional amendment in opposition to same-sex marriage. Eich's donation eventually 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".
Controversy later re-emerged in 2014, following the announcement of Eich's appointment as CEO of Mozilla. U.S. companies OkCupid and CREDO Mobile notably objected to his appointment, 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."
Push Notifications for Mozilla Blog without user consent
In July 2020 Mozilla forced push notifications, an advertisement for its own blog post about Facebook and Mozilla's #StopHateForProfit campaign. These notifications were sent without user consent and faced a backlash by Firefox users.
Mozilla and Meta (Facebook) partnership
In February 2022, Mozilla and Meta partnered to propose a privacy-preserving advertising technology. This faced a backlash on the internet because Mozilla partnered with the same company they were running a campaign against 2 years ago and given Meta's reputation, Mozilla was criticized for collaborating with them.
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.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2019)
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 connecting communities that 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 (MozFest) is a unique hybrid: part art, tech, and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. Journalists, coders, filmmakers, designers, educators, gamers, makers, youth, and anyone else, from all over the world, are encouraged to attend, with nearly 10,000 participating virtually in 2021 from more than 87 countries, working together at the intersection of human rights, climate justice, and technology, specifically trustworthy artificial intelligence.
The event revolves around key issues based on the chosen theme for that year's festival. MozFest unfolds over the span of two weeks, with more than 500 interactive sessions, films, talks, round-tables, hack-a-thons, exhibits, and socials. Topics range from privacy best practices, developing solutions to online misinformation and harassment, building free software tools, supporting Trustworthy AI innovations, and more. The titles of the festival revolve around the main theme, freedom, and the Web.
MozCamps are multi-day gatherings aimed at growing the contributor network by providing lectures, workshops, and breakout sessions led by Mozilla staff and volunteers. While these camps have been held in multiple locations globally in the past, none have occurred since 2014[update].
Mozilla Summit was a 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 gatherings, where both employees and volunteers come together to collaborate.
- For exceptions, see "Values" section below.
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