There has been some handwringing over the Mozilla's Foundation $66.8 million in revenue in 2006 and how most of it comes from Google.
The New York Times asks whether Mozilla's success will spoil Firefox. Others, like our Dana Blankenhorn, wonder if success spoils open source. There's also a decent amount of Techmeme chatter.
Overall, this worry about Mozilla and the money factor is misplaced. OMG! Mozilla has a portfolio! Let's put Mozilla's revenue in perspective. Simply, put Mozilla's revenue is a rounding error when compared to its largest rival, Microsoft. The money Google pays to Mozilla is also a rounding error. Simply put, Mozilla's cash hoard is chump change.
And if you took that money away it's quite possible that Mozilla would stand no chance. In fact, if the Google economy didn't exist Mozilla would be in trouble.
In the New York Times story Noam Cohen argues:
Part of Firefox’s appeal was its origins as a nonprofit venture, a people-powered revolution involving the most basic Internet technology, the Web browser. Also, because the core code was open, Firefox could tap into developers’ creativity; they are encouraged to soup up the browser, whether by blocking ads from commercial Web sites, a popular add-on, or by creating “skins” to customize the browser’s appearance.
I'd argue that Firefox's appeal was really due to Microsoft's inability to create a good browser. Of course, some of the open source religious types just hated Microsoft. If Mozilla's browser stunk no amount of money would give that thing traction.
Mozilla is deemed the first corporate open-source project, but is that so worrisome? We won't mention Red Hat, which seems pretty corporate and open source to me.
I fail to see how more resources at Mozilla is such a bad thing. Sure, Mozilla isn't some underdog using guerilla tactics. But who cares?
However, this Mozilla angst does touch on a broader issue. Open source has grown up. It has gone corporate. It's legit. And it drives the religious types crazy. They were there for a revolution not some vast server consolidation job. Call it growing pains, but Mozilla having a little dough in your pocket isn't something to mourn about.