Mozilla
Mozilla
Industry Open-source software
Founded February 28, 1998; 19 years ago (1998-02-28)
Founder Netscape Communications Corporation
Products Mozilla Application Suite
Divisions
Website www.mozilla.org
Zilla Slab, Mozilla's typeface since 2017

Mozilla (stylized as moz://a) is a free-software community created in 1998 by members of Netscape. The Mozilla community uses, develops, spreads and supports Mozilla products, thereby promoting exclusively free software and open standards, with only minor exceptions.[1] The community is supported institutionally by the Mozilla Foundation and its tax-paying subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.[2]

Mozilla's products include the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, Firefox OS mobile operating system, Bugzilla bug tracking system, Gecko layout engine and others. During 2017, Mozilla acquired Pocket, a "read-it-later-online" service.[3]

History

On January 23, 1998, Netscape made two announcements: first, that Netscape Communicator would be free; second, that the source code would also be free.[4] One day later Jamie Zawinski, from Netscape, registered mozilla.org.[5] The project took its name, "Mozilla" after the original code-name of the Netscape Navigator browser - a portmanteau of "Mosaic and Godzilla"[6] and used to co-ordinate the development of the Mozilla Application Suite, the open-source version of Netscape's internet software, Netscape Communicator.[7][8] Jamie Zawinski says he came up with the name "Mozilla" at a Netscape staff meeting.[9][10] A small group of Netscape employees were tasked with coordination of the new community.

Mozilla's former logo, as designed by Shepard Fairey in 1998.

Originally, Mozilla aimed to be a technology provider for companies, such as Netscape, who would commercialize their open-source code.[11] When AOL (Netscape's parent company) greatly reduced its involvement with Mozilla in July 2003, the Mozilla Foundation was designated the legal steward of the project.[12] 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.[13]

Mozilla's activities have since expanded to include Firefox on mobile platforms (primarily Android),[14] a mobile OS called Firefox OS,[15] a web-based identity system called Mozilla Persona and a marketplace for HTML5 applications.[16]

In a report released in November 2012, Mozilla reported that their total revenue for 2011 was $163 million, which was up 33% from $123 million in 2010. Mozilla noted that roughly 85% of their revenue comes from their contract with Google.[17]

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[18]codec to play the proprietary H.264 video format.[19][20] As part of the deal, Cisco would pay any patent licensing fees associated with the binaries that it distributes. Mozilla's CTO, Brendan Eich, acknowledged that this is "not a complete solution" and isn't "perfect".[21] An employee in Mozilla's video formats team, writing in an unofficial capacity, justified[22] it by the need to maintain their large user base, which would be necessary in future battles for truly free video formats.

In December 2013, Mozilla announced funding for the development of non-free games[23] through its Game Creator Challenge. However, even those games that may be released under a non-free software or open source license must be made with open web technologies and Javascript as per the work criteria outlined in the announcement.

In January 2017 the company rebranded away from its dinosaur logo in favor of a logo that includes a "://" character sequence from a URL, with the revamped logo: "moz://a".[24]

Eich CEO promotion controversy

On March 24, 2014, Mozilla promoted Brendan Eich to the role of CEO. This led to boycotts and protests from the LGBT community and its supporters, as Eich previously donated US$1,000[25] in 2008 in support of California's Proposition 8, a California ballot proposition and state constitutional amendment in opposition to same-sex marriage.[26] Eich's donation first 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".[27]

Protests also emerged in 2014 following the announcement of Eich's appointment as CEO of Mozilla. U.S. companies OkCupid and CREDO Mobile received media coverage for their objections, with the former asking its users to boycott the browser,[28] 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[29] 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."[30] Eich's resignation promoted a backlash from conservatives who felt he had been forced out of the company internally.[]

OkCupid co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan had also donated $500[31] to Republican candidate Chris Cannon who proceeded to vote for multiple measures viewed as "anti-gay", including the banning of same-sex marriage.[32][33][34][35] Yagan claims he did not know about Cannon's stance on gay rights and that his contribution was due to the candidate being the ranking Republican participating in the House subcommittee that oversaw Internet and Intellectual Property matters.[36][37][38][39][40]

Reader comments on articles that were published close to the events were divided between support for OkCupid's actions and opposition to them. Supporters claimed the boycott was justified and saw OkCupid's actions as a firm statement of opposition to intolerance towards the gay community. Opponents saw OkCupid's actions as hypocritical, since Eich is also the inventor of JavaScript, which is still required to browse OkCupid's website, and felt that users should not be punished for the actions of Mozilla and suspected that OkCupid's actions were a publicity stunt.[38][41]

Values

According to Mozilla's manifesto,[42] which outlines goals, principles, and a pledge, "The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities". Mozilla's manifesto mentions only its beliefs in regards to the Internet and Internet privacy, and has no mention of any political or social viewpoints.

Pledge

According to the Mozilla Foundation:[43]

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.

Software

Firefox logo

Firefox

Firefox is a web browser, and is Mozilla's flagship software product. It is available in both desktop and mobile versions. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards.[44] As of late 2015, Firefox had approximately 10-11% of worldwide usage share of web browsers, making it the 4th most-used web browser.[45][46][47]

Firefox began as an experimental branch of the Mozilla codebase by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt and Blake Ross. They believed the commercial requirements of Netscape's sponsorship and developer-driven feature creep compromised the utility of the Mozilla browser.[48] 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 so as to avoid trademark conflicts with Phoenix Technologies. The initially-announced replacement, Firebird, provoked objections from the Firebird project community.[49][50] The current name, Firefox, was chosen on February 9, 2004.[51]

Firefox Mobile

Firefox Mobile (codenamed Fennec) is the build of the Mozilla Firefox web browser for devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.

Firefox Mobile 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. Its features include HTML5 support, Firefox Sync, add-ons support and tabbed browsing.[52]

Firefox Mobile is currently available for Android 4.0.3 and above devices with an ARMv7 or x86 CPU.[53][54]Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe, has said that it's unlikely that an iPhone or a BlackBerry version will be released, citing Apple's iTunes Store application approval policies (which forbid applications competing with Apple's own, and forbid engines which run downloaded code) and BlackBerry's limited operating system as the reasons.[55]

Firefox OS

Firefox OS (project name: Boot to Gecko also known as B2G) was an open source operating system in development by Mozilla that aims to support HTML5 apps written using "open Web" technologies rather than platform-specific native APIs. The concept behind Firefox OS is that all user-accessible software will be HTML5 applications, that use Open Web APIs to access the phone's hardware directly via JavaScript.[56]

Some devices using this OS include[57] Alcatel One Touch Fire, ZTE Open, and LG Fireweb.

Thunderbird

Thunderbird is a free, open source, cross-platform email and news client developed by the volunteers of the Mozilla Community.

On July 16, 2012, Mitchell Baker announced that Mozilla's leadership had come to the conclusion that on-going 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 community to innovate around Thunderbird if the community chooses.[58]

SeaMonkey

SeaMonkey logo

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 standalone applications Firefox and Thunderbird.[59] SeaMonkey is now maintained by the SeaMonkey Council, which has trademarked the SeaMonkey name with help from the Mozilla Foundation.[60] The Mozilla Foundation provides project hosting for the SeaMonkey developers.

Bugzilla

Bugzilla logo

Bugzilla is a web-based general-purpose bug tracking system, which was released as open source 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, GNOME, KDE, Red Hat, Novell, Eclipse and LibreOffice.[61]

Components

NSS

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 open-source implementation of crypto libraries supporting SSL and S/MIME. NSS was previously tri-licensed under the Mozilla Public License 1.1, the GNU General Public License, and the GNU Lesser General Public License, but upgraded to GPL-compatible MPL 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.

SpiderMonkey

SpiderMonkey is the original JavaScript engine developed by Brendan Eich when he invented JavaScript in 1995 as a developer at Netscape. It became part of the Mozilla product family when Mozilla inherited Netscape's code-base in 1998. In 2011, Eich transferred the nominal ownership of the SpiderMonkey code and project to Dave Mandelin.[62]

SpiderMonkey is a cross-platform engine written in C++ which implements ECMAScript, a standard developed from JavaScript.[62][63] It comprises an interpreter, several just-in-time compilers, a decompiler and a garbage collector. Products which embed SpiderMonkey include Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and many non-Mozilla applications.[64]

Rhino

Rhino is an open source JavaScript engine managed by the Mozilla Foundation. It is developed entirely in Java. Rhino converts JavaScript scripts into Java classes. Rhino works in both compiled and interpreted mode.[65]

Gecko

Gecko is a layout engine that supports web pages written using HTML, SVG, and MathML. Gecko is written in C++ and uses NSPR for platform independence. Its source code is licensed under the Mozilla Public License.

Firefox uses Gecko both for rendering web pages and for rendering its user interface. Gecko is also used by Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and many non-Mozilla applications.

Rust

Rust is a compiled programming language being developed by Mozilla Research. It is designed for safety, concurrency, and performance. Rust is intended for creating large and complex software which needs to be both safe against exploits and fast.

Rust is being used in an experimental layout engine, Servo, which is developed by Mozilla and Samsung. Servo is not used in any consumer-oriented browsers yet. However, the Servo project developers plan for parts of the Servo source code to be merged into Gecko, and Firefox, incrementally.[66][67]

XULRunner

XULRunner is a software platform and technology experiment by Mozilla, that allows applications built with the same technologies used by Firefox extensions (XPCOM, Javascript, HTML, CSS, XUL) to be run natively as desktop applications, without requiring Firefox to be installed on the user's machine. XULRunner binaries are available for the Windows, GNU/Linux and OS X operating systems, allowing such applications to be effectively cross platform.

pdf.js

Pdf.js is a library developed by Mozilla that allows in-browser rendering of pdf documents using the HTML5 Canvas and JavaScript. It is included by default in recent versions of Firefox, allowing the browser to render pdf documents without requiring an external plugin; and it is available separately as an extension named "PDF Viewer" for Firefox for Android, SeaMonkey, and the Firefox versions which don't include it built-in. It can also be included as part of a website's scripts, to allow pdf rendering for any browser that implements the required HTML5 features and can run JavaScript.

Shumway

Shumway is an open source replacement for the Adobe Flash Player, developed by Mozilla since 2012, using open web technologies as a replacement for Flash technologies. It uses Javascript and HTML5 Canvas elements to render Flash and execute Actionscript. It is included by default in Firefox Nightly and can be installed as an extension for any recent version of Firefox. The current implementation is limited in its capabilities to render Flash content outside simple projects.

Other activities

Mozilla VR

Mozilla VR is a team focused on bringing Virtual reality tools, specifications, and standards to the open Web.[68] Mozilla VR maintains A-Frame (VR), a web framework for building VR experiences, and works on advancing WebVR support within web browsers.

Mozilla Persona

Mozilla Persona was a secure, cross-browser website authentication mechanism which allows a user to use a single username and password (or other authentication method) to log into multiple sites.[69] Mozilla Persona shut down on November 30, 2016.[70]

Mozilla Location Service

This open source crowdsourced geolocation service was started by Mozilla in 2013 and offers a free API.

Webmaker

Mozilla Webmaker is Mozilla's educational initiative, 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."[71][72][72]

Mozilla Developer Network

Mozilla maintains a comprehensive developer documentation website called the Mozilla Developer Network which contains information about web technologies including HTML, CSS, SVG, JavaScript, as well Mozilla-specific information. In addition, Mozilla publishes a large number of videos about web technologies and the development of Mozilla projects on the Air Mozilla website.[73][74]

Common Voice

In July 2017, Mozilla launched the project Common Voice to help make voice recognition open to everyone.[75] Visitors to the website can donate their voice to help build an open-source 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.

In Real Life (IRL)

On June 26, 2017, Mozilla launched its own podcast named "In Real Life" (IRL) that explores popular stories from the web that deal with issues of the internet that affect society as a whole.[76]

Community

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[42] in the Mozilla Manifesto. Many of the sub-communities in Mozilla have formed around localization efforts for Mozilla Firefox, and the Mozilla web properties.

Local communities

Mozilla spaces, London

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.

Mozilla Reps

Mozilla Reps logo

The Mozilla Reps program aims to empower and support volunteer Mozillians who want to become official representatives of Mozilla in their region/locale.

The program provides a simple framework and a specific set of tools to help Mozillians to organize and/or attend events, recruit and mentor new contributors, document and share activities, and support their local communities better.

When joining the program, a Mozilla Rep agrees to take on the following responsibilities:

  • Represent Mozilla in their country/region
  • Promote the Mozilla Project and its mission
  • Build on and support existing/future local community efforts and programs
  • Inspire, recruit and support new contributors
  • Support and mentor future Mozilla Reps
  • Document clearly all their activities

Conferences and events

Mozilla Festival

Speakers from the Knight Foundation discuss the future of news at the 2011 Mozilla Festival in London.

The Mozilla Festival is an annual event where hundreds of passionate people explore the Web, learn together and make things that can change the world. With the emphasis on making--the mantra of the Festival is "less yack, more hack." Journalists, coders, filmmakers, designers, educators, gamers, makers, youth and anyone else, from all over the world, are encouraged to attend, with attendees from more than 40 countries, working together at the intersection between freedom, the Web, and that years theme.

The event revolves around design challenges which address key issues based on the chosen theme for that years festival. In previous years the Mozilla Festival has focused on Learning, and Media, with the 2012 festival being based around making. The titles of the festival revolve around the main theme, freedom (as in freedom of speech not free beer), and the Web.

MozCamps

MozCamps are the critical part of the Grow Mozilla initiative which aims to grow the Mozilla Community. These camps aim to bring core contributors from around the world together. They are intensive multi-day summits that include keynote speeches by Mozilla leadership, workshops and breakout sessions (led by paid and unpaid staff), and fun social outings. All of these activities combine to reward contributors for their hard work, engage them with new products and initiatives, and align all attendees on Mozilla's mission.

Mozilla Summit

Mozilla Summit are the global event with active contributors and Mozilla employees 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 has since its last summit in 2013 replaced summits with all-hands where both employees and volunteers come together to collaborate the event is a scaled down version of Mozilla Summit.

See also

References

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External links


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