Netscape's Mozilla Group Cut From AOL

Posted on August 1, 2003

AOL has laid off 50 people involved with browser development at its Netscape unit and is terminating its involvement with the Mozilla Project. Mozilla provided a popular open-source browser alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. However, AOL also announced the launch of the Mozilla Foundation, which will continue Mozilla's open-source projects. AOL put $2 million into the new organization.

Mozilla.org said the new foundation that will continue to promote the development, distribution and adoption of the Mozilla standards-based web applications and core technologies, including the Gecko browser layout engine. The Mozilla Foundation will continue and expand on the efforts of mozilla.org, the group managing the daily operations of the Mozilla project since its inception.

"It has been a long-standing objective of the Mozilla team to create an independent organization so we can continue to lead and innovate," said Mitchell Baker, Chief Lizard Wrangler at mozilla.org, who will become President of The Mozilla Foundation. "We're grateful for the past and ongoing support of America Online, and we look forward to continuing to work with AOL over coming years. Mozilla was developed in an open source environment and built by harnessing the creative power of thousands of programmers on the Internet. Going forward, we will continue to partner with developers and industry leaders to keep content on the Web open."

To help launch the new organization, America Online has pledged $2 million in cash to the Mozilla Foundation over the next two years. AOL will also contribute additional resources through equipment, domain names and trademarks, and related intellectual property, as well as providing some transitional assistance for key personnel as they move into the new organization. Other industry leaders also offered their support to the new organization: Mitch Kapor, the new Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, is making a personal contribution of $300,000, and Red Hat and Sun Microsystems are among the companies planning to continue their contributions to the Mozilla project.

Mozilla.org, founded by Netscape Communications Corporation, is the group that exists to make Mozilla a successful open source project. Mozilla.org provides open source Internet client software that includes a browser, mail and news functionality, and a toolkit for developing web-based applications. Mozilla.org's flagship product, Mozilla, has received praise as a top web browser, with PC World's July issue honoring it as "Best of 2003" in its category. The Mozilla Foundation has been incorporated as a California public benefit corporation and is seeking to obtain 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization. It will continue to be based in Mountain View, California.

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