Mozilla Foundation makes commercial move

Firefox development and testing will now be done by a commercial subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation

The Mozilla Foundation announced on Wednesday it is creating a commercial subsidiary which will be responsible for the development, testing and distribution of the organisation's open source products.

This body, called the Mozilla Corporation, is wholly owned by the Mozilla Foundation and will plough all its revenue back into the Foundation. Mitchell Baker, who has become the president of Mozilla Corporation, said the Foundation had decided to create a commercial subsidiary as its commercial activities were restricted through being a non-profit organisation.

"It is difficult to determine what ways of generating revenue make sense for a non-profit and which ways of generating revenue are not appropriate. The Mozilla Corporation has been created to address this. The Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity and so is legally permitted greater freedom of action [than] the Mozilla Foundation," said Baker in her blog.

The Corporation will develop and deliver Mozilla's open source products, including working on marketing and sponsorship activities. It will also be able to offer commercial services and support around the Firefox browser and the Thunderbird mail client, but Baker said it has "no plans" to do so at present.

The Foundation will predominantly focus on community-related activities, including formalising the governance structures of the open source project.

The Corporation, which will begin operations immediately, will not offer stock options to its employees and will not consider a public stock offering, according to information on the Mozilla Web site. Thirty-six of the organisation's employees will be transferred to the commercial arm, while three employees will continue to work for the Foundation.

ZDNet UK recently spoke to Mozilla community co-ordinator Asa Dotzler, at the Mozilla offices in California, about the history of Mozilla and Firefox, and the organisation's plans for the future.


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