Mozilla Corporation

For the most part, the news has been rather clear, though a few questions still remain.

  1. Who owns the trademarks? The Foundation or the Corporation? This doesn’t say if the corporation will be allowed to use the trademarks, or will inherit them. It hints at inheriting, though Asa makes it sound otherwise.
  2. Who ultimately has the final say? Is the Foundation ultimately still in charge? Or does the Corporation get the upper hand?
  3. Who do and module owners answer to? Foundation or the corporation? Mitchell said a while back

    The key responsibility is that the Module Owner’s job is to act in the best interests of the community and the project at large, not in the interests of his or her employer. Ben has lived with these responsibilities as a volunteer, a Netscape employee, a Mozilla Foundation employee and now as a Google employee. We’re confident that Ben will continue to help us drive great innovations in the browsing world.

    Speaking of Ben’s departure to Google. Now is the Foundation ultimately going to continue to lead the community? Or will the Corporation step into play here? Is it possible for the Foundation and Corporation to disagree? How will that be mediated?

  4. Since the creation of the Foundation, long term goals have been a bit more open (as opposed to Netscape). Will the Corporation be modeling it’s confidential information policy against the Foundation, or that of Netscape?
  5. Who is the property owner (office space, servers, other worldly possessions)? Corporation or Foundation (or some sort of split)?
  6. Is there any obligation (either by policy, or charter or contract) for the Corporations code to be open source? Or could they (in theory, don’t start the conspiracy train on me) fork it into a “Netscape” scenario? Who has a say in this (again Foundation or Corporation)?
  7. There’s some talk on the net about concerns regarding Mozilla’s Search relationships (and potential relationships). Does the Foundation have any say in potential business relationships? Can it prohibit or block them?
  8. Will SpreadFirefox be under the Foundation or the Corporation?
  9. Will products be moving to rather than Or will they stay the same?

The ultimate question here is how much control will the Foundation have over the Corporation. As a wholly owned subsidiary, the Foundation should have substantial say, though it’s not quite clear just yet how a Corporation status will effect policies, most of the discussion thus far has been on day to day operation or “the basics” (will Firefox still be free? etc.) Hopefully a MoFo or MoCo (oh boy do I like the abbreviations) representative will be clarifying things in days to come. I’ll update this post if they do (nudges Asa and Mitchell).

7 replies on “Mozilla Corporation”

There’s a lot more info in the post at Mozillazine. On trademark/copyright issues, for instance, “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.”

In order:

1. The Foundation will own the trademarks, the Corporation will be granted a license to use them.

2. The Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Foundation. The Corporation Board of Directors is appointed by the Foundation Board of Directors and is responsible to them.

3. I think drivers etc. will remain with the Foundation. The Foundation will continue to lead the community. Disagreements are unlikely as the Corporation is part of the Foundation and ultimately subservient to it.

4. Not sure what you mean by “confidential information policy”.

5. I imagine the property will be split, not certain though.

6. I am sure that the Foundation will ensure the Corporation keeps the code open-source.

7. Business relationships will now go through the Corporation rather than the Foundation. As the Foundation is ultimately in charge, I imagine it will have the final say (remember, everything the Corporation does has to be in the interests of the Foundation).

8. I imagine that Spread Firefox will be Corporation.

9. The Corporation products, Firefox and Thunderbird, will probably move to at some point.

I may have left the Mozilla Foundation but I am still the project lead for Firefox. Witness the 1.5 product plan, and my ongoing work on numerous areas of Firefox development. The same is true of Darin and Brian.

Think of it this way, had I left today instead of in January, I would be leaving the Mozilla Corporation and going to work for Google, but doing the same job for the *Mozilla Foundation*.

> Who do and module owners answer to? Foundation or the corporation?

I sure hope they will answer to neither. Module owners answer to drivers, drivers to, and that’s the top of the hierarchy. Where is a different entity from mf employees (although, it seems, nowadays largely identical)

I had a couple of the same questions; thanks, Robert, for asking, and Alex, Ben, and Biesi for answering.

The (apparent) conflation of with the Foundation over the past two years was always a bit confusing.’s Chief Lizard Wrangler also being the Foundation’s President and the Aviary project leads also being Foundation employees didn’t help shake the common misperception that the Foundation = rather than the Foundation = legal entity to support Mozilla project/ecosystem.

I’m not sure that having three separate entities now (two legal and one virtual) will lessen the common confusion without a bit of concerted effort, though. 🙁

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