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Mozilla is a free software community best known for producing the Firefox web browser. 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]

In addition to the Firefox browser, Mozilla also produces Thunderbird, Firefox Mobile, the Firefox OS mobile operating system, the bug tracking system Bugzilla and a number of other projects.


On February 23, 1998, Netscape Communications Corporation created a project called Mozilla (after the original code name of the Netscape Navigator browser which is a blending of "Mosaic and Godzilla"[3]) to co-ordinate the development of the Mozilla Application Suite, the open source version of Netscape's internet software, Netscape Communicator.[4][5] Jamie Zawinski says he came up with the name "Mozilla" at a Netscape staff meeting.[6][7] A small group of Netscape employees were tasked with coordination of the new community.

Originally, Mozilla aimed to be a technology provider for companies, such as Netscape, who would commercialize their open source code.[8] When AOL (Netscape's parent company) drastically scaled back its involvement with Mozilla in July 2003, the Mozilla Foundation was launched as the legal steward of the project.[9] 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 direct to the public.[10]

Recently, Mozilla's activities have expanded to include Firefox on mobile platforms (primarily Android),[11] a mobile OS called Firefox OS,[12] a web-based identity system called Mozilla Persona and a marketplace for HTML5 applications.[13]

In a report released in November of 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.[14]


According to Mozilla's manifesto,[15] 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".

At the end of 2013, Mozilla announced a deal with Cisco Systems whereby Firefox would download and use a proprietary (non-free) codec to play the H.264 video format.[16][17] Mozilla's CTO acknowledged that this is "not a complete solution" and isn't "perfect".[18] An employee in Mozilla's video formats team, writing in an unofficial capacity, justified[19] 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.[20]


Firefox logo


  Countries where Firefox is the most used browser

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.[21] As of April 2013, Firefox has approximately 20–21% of worldwide usage share of web browsers, making it the third most-used web browser.[22][23][24]

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.[25] 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.[26][27] The current name, Firefox, was chosen on February 9, 2004.[28]

Firefox Mobile[edit]

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.[29]

Firefox Mobile is currently available for Android 2.2 and above devices with an ARMv7 or ARMv6 CPU.[30] The x86 architecture is not officially supported.[31] 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.[32]

Firefox OS[edit]

Firefox OS (project name: Boot to Gecko also known as B2G) is 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.[33]


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


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.[34] SeaMonkey is now maintained by the SeaMonkey Council, which has trademarked the SeaMonkey name with help from the Mozilla Foundation.[35] The Mozilla Foundation provide project hosting for the SeaMonkey developers.


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. For instance Bugzilla is used by Mozilla Foundation, NASA, Yahoo!, GNOME, KDE, Red Hat and Novell.[36]



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 is triple-licensed under the Mozilla Public License, the GNU General Public License, and the GNU Lesser General Public License.

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 Google Chrome, Evolution, Pidgin, and


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.[37]

SpiderMonkey is a cross-platform engine written in C++ which implements ECMAScript, a standard developed from JavaScript.[37][38] 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.[39]


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.[40]


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.

Other activities[edit]

Mozilla Persona[edit]

Mozilla Persona is a secure, cross-browser website authentication mechanism which allows a user to use a single username and password (or other authentication method) to log in to multiple sites.[41]

Firefox Marketplace[edit]

The Firefox Marketplace is a marketplace for HTML5 applications. Its main purpose[citation needed] is to support Firefox OS.


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." [42]

Mozilla Developer Network[edit]

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 publish a large number of videos about web technologies and the development of Mozilla projects on the Air Mozilla website.[43][44]


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[15] 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[edit]

Mozilla spaces, London

There 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[edit]

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:

Conferences and events[edit]

Mozilla Festival[edit]

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 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 (lead by paid and un-paid 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For exceptions, see "Values" section below
  2. ^ "About the Mozilla Corporation". Mozilla Foundation. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Netscape Announces, a Dedicated Team and Web Site Supporting Development of Free Client Source Code". Netscape. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Mac vendors ponder Netscape gambit.". Macworld. 1 May 1998. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Zawinski, Jamie (1996). "nscp dorm". Retrieved October 12, 2007. 
  7. ^ Dave Titus with assistance from Andrew Wong. "How was Mozilla born". 
  8. ^ "Introduction to Mozilla Source Code". Mozilla. Retrieved 18 August 2012. "However, wants to emphasize that these milestones are being produced for testing purposes only." 
  9. ^ " Announces Launch of the Mozilla Foundation to Lead Open-Source Browser Efforts". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Eich, Brendan; David Hyatt (April 2, 2003). "mozilla development roadmap". Mozilla. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Better Browsing on Your Android Smartphone". AllThingsD. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Mozilla Releases Test Version of Firefox OS". PC Magazine. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Mozilla Marketplace is live, lets you run web apps like desktop programs". Engadget. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  14. ^ November 15 2012. Lardinois, Frederic. "Mozilla Releases Annual Report For 2011: Revenue Up 33% To $163M, Majority From Google."
  15. ^ a b "Mozilla Manifesto". Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Video Interoperability on the Web Gets a Boost From Cisco’s H.264 Codec". "Of course, this is not a not a complete solution. In a perfect world, codecs, like other basic Internet technologies such as TCP/IP, HTTP, and HTML, would be fully open and free" 
  19. ^ "Comments on Cisco, Mozilla, and H.264". "By endorsing Cisco's plan, there's no getting around the fact that we've caved on our principles. That said, principles can't replace being in a practical position to make a difference in the future."  - Christopher Montgomery wrote that piece in a personal capacity but he works for Mozilla and works in their codecs team
  20. ^ "Game Creator Challenge -Contest Terms and Conditions".  - submissions to the "amateur" category have to be released as free software, but not for the other two categories
  21. ^ "Gecko Layout Engine". July 17, 2008. Archived from the original on 2010-11-28. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Web Browser Market Share Trends". W3Counter. Awio Web Services LLC. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Top 5 Browsers". StatCounter Global Stats. StatCounter. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Web browsers (Global marketshare)". Clicky. Roxr Software Ltd. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  25. ^ Goodger, Ben (February 6, 2006). "Where Did Firefox Come From?". Inside Firefox. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Mozilla browser becomes Firebird". IBPhoenix. Archived from the original on September 14, 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-10. "We at IBPhoenix think that having a browser and a database with the same name in the same space will confuse the market, especially as browsers and databases are often used in the same applications" 
  27. ^ Festa, Paul (May 6, 2003). "Mozilla's Firebird gets wings clipped". CNET. Retrieved January 30, 2007. 
  28. ^ Festa, Paul (February 9, 2004). "Mozilla holds 'fire' in naming fight". CNET News. Retrieved January 24, 2007. 
  29. ^ "Mobile features". Mozilla. Retrieved 2012-06-26. 
  30. ^ "Mobile System Requirements". 
  31. ^ "Firefox Mobile supported devices". 
  32. ^ "Mozilla rules out Firefox for iPhone and BlackBerry". 
  33. ^ "Boot to Gecko Project". Mozilla. 2012-03. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  34. ^ "Two discontinued browsers". 21 December 2005. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  35. ^ "SeaMonkey trademarks registered!". 2007-05-22. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  36. ^ "Bugzilla Installation List". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  37. ^ a b Eich, Brendan (21 June 2011). "New JavaScript Engine Module Owner". 
  38. ^ "Bug 759422 - Remove use of e4x in account creation". Bugzilla@Mozilla. 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  39. ^ "SpiderMonkey". Mozilla Developer Network. 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  40. ^ "Rhino History". Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  41. ^ Persona, Mozilla 
  42. ^ About Mozilla Webmaker, Mozilla 
  43. ^ "Air Mozilla". Mozilla Wiki. 
  44. ^ "Air Mozilla Reboot, Phase I". 

External links[edit]