Who Owns Mozilla?
Continuing on a subject I rubbed up on in the MySQL / Sun / Oracle debacle
I had my suspicions when I checked out some of their projects, the fact they were 501c3 registered nonprofit (so they had the government OK to avoid taxes) and they were spending lots in recruiting some top notch talent.
Here is the Mozilla Foundation's disclosed funding, subsidies and corporate records. The Mozilla Corporation would be able to transfer assets to the Foundation and get a write off. Clever business model. The Mozilla Foundation itself has a net worth of only $11 Million with operating expenses of $2M a year.
They accept contributions, sell branded products and get a few government grants but that's not the real value of Mozilla.
It's important to establish that Mozilla is really two entities a non-profit and a corporation with disclosed ties to other companies domestic and foreign but the ties those companies have is privy information because of the business structure.
On their website they go into a bit of what they have to.
The Mozilla Foundation is a California non-profit corporation exempt from Federal income taxation under IRC 501©(3). The Foundation supports the existing Mozilla community, overseeing Mozilla's governance structure and managing shared resources like this web site. It also actively seeks out new ways for people around the world to recognize and steward the Internet as a critical public resource
The Mozilla Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, works with the community to develop software that advances Mozilla's principles. This includes the Firefox browser, which is well recognized as a market leader in security, privacy and language localization. These features make the Internet safer and more accessible.
The Mozilla Foundation has established relationships with a number of affiliated organizations around the globe that promote and support Mozilla principles, products and community.
* Mozilla Europe
* Mozilla Japan
* Mozilla Online (operates in China)
So what are the goals? Well here's their manifesto:
Quote:The Mozilla Manifesto
1. The Internet is an integral part of modern life–a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
2. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
3. The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.
4. Individuals' security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.
5. Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.
6. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
7. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.
8. Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.
9. Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.
10. Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.
is a corporation kind of like a church, it is non-taxable and confers a public benefit.
Global public resource can be interpreted as globally funded but at the same time their it promotes a commercial aspect - read PPPs or subsidy or leveraged market advantage. Making it mandatory constitutes a forced purchase of internet via public coffers. Commercial goals are not always limited to profit so that statement is somewhat ambiguous.
Transparent processes and accountability leans towards an end of anonymity and some sort of tracking when combined with their security statement.
Details on an MPL
Mozilla joins the OIN
started by IBM and they are very pro-patent.
OIN owns patents several processes for the Linux system and perhaps Mozilla as well. They label themselves as a protector but so did Sun Microsystems for MySQL.
Open Innovation Network Patents
Mozilla Pays for a Shield From Software Patents, Free Software Proponents Cautiously Sceptical
Mozilla becomes Open Invention Network licensee
Here's the announcement from Mozilla:
Quote:This week Mozilla joined Open Invention Network as a licensee. OIN is an organization which helps protect the Linux ecosystem by building a variety of defenses against patent attacks. These defenses include both traditional mechanisms, like defensive patent pools, and more innovative approaches, like the Linux Defenders project, which uses a variety of methods to proactively prevent the publication of particularly egregious patents. As a licensee, we’ll have access to OIN resources in case we’re threatened by operating entities with patents, and over time we’ll likely become more involved in providing our own ideas and resources to OIN projects.
Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. By joining, Mozilla receives cross-licenses from other OIN licensees, but more importantly, for the long term, it affords us a chance to work with OIN in reducing IP threats to open source development and innovation. This may include a defensive publications program that would make it harder for others to patent work created by Mozilla contributors, sharing defensive tactics, and cooperation to minimize patent threats.
This doesn’t mean we’re suddenly enthused about patents in any way, but OIN is doing some good work, and I believe that any protections that they afford Mozilla are on the whole more positive, and outweigh reservations about the patent the system.
I can't seem to find any registered Mozilla patents yet but I'd think they'd be under MPL. Here is some dissective criticism by OSS Watch of the Mozilla Public Licence.
The Mozilla Public License - An Overview
Mozilla just official announced they were getting into the cell phone (Mobile OS) market.
Mozilla is building it’s own open mobile OS
Here's a conversation with some Netscape insiders that were laid off following the acquisition by TimeWarnerAOL circa 2003.
The we had the anti-Trust ($750 Million) lawsuit against Microsoft that went to AOL to play with Firefox and it's other goodies so they came out ahead no matter what happened to The Mozilla Project that was once Netscape. All around the same time in 2003. Microsoft could write the payment off as a loss. Conceivably AOL Time Warner could have put that into the Mozilla Foundation as a Tax Shelter and they do fund it. The illusion of consumer choice persisted with a fresh new "open source" branded gateway they could control.
Her are a few other historical overview and a review critical of Mozilla from 2003:
Quote:Multi-Billion Dollar Theft: Mozilla
When I started this very site so not very long ago, I tested the main page with Netscape since I knew it was going to look a bit different than in the default Internet Explorer. And so it did. Then I tested it with the new browser on the block, Mozilla, that claimed to be web browser compliant and all the rest. (For someone with a website, I really felt good about Mozilla since it would make website making easier.) The differences from Internet Explorer that Mozilla had were the same as Netscape. In other words, my website looked the same in Netscape as in Mozilla. That's odd, I thought to myself. I went to a search engine, typed in "mozilla and netscape" and uncovered that Netscape funds Mozilla.Then I remembered a PBS page that showed the assests of this huge corporation called AOL-Time Warner. (That PBS page, was so ironically, about how huge corporations control our lives. Furthermore, the PBS show corresponding to the page was hosted by Douglas Rushkoff whose book Coercion I summarized.) Anyways, the diagram showed that AOL-Time Warner owned Netscape. The picture was clear: AOLTW -->Netscape-->Mozilla... The first essay I wrote on Mozilla was rampant with technical errors, so I dug deeper than before and uncovered a scandal that can be counted in the TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars.
From what I uncovered, I now know that the problem that will be exposed in this essay is much bigger than I ever thought before and that it IS already a reality.
In the beginning...
The Mozilla browser started when Netscape, the maker of the once popular browsers Navigator and Communicator, gave its code to mozilla.org. This "donation" was done so that Netscape would no longer have to spend millions on the drudge work of coding its browser. This drudge work was now to be done by unpaid enthusiasists. These volunteers, as Mozilla calls them, were fooled into working for free by false and vaue hopes of a better Internet through a supposedly better browser.
This better Internet is to be achieved by stripping the Internet Explorer browser of its monopoly.This goal by itself is not only noble, but it is correct. After all, the Internet should not be dominated by a single browser that could potentially stagnate development and progress on the Internet.
However, the problem is not with the goal but with the players behind the scenes. First off, Netscape is owned by the mega-congolmerate AOL-Time Warner (AOLTW). Thus, the original code that started the whole Mozilla project from Netscape is the property of a once $165 billion corporation. (Through stock drops and extremely poor performance, the stock value has quartered.) Secondly, AOLTW funds Mozilla and AOLTW is the majoritive money source behind Mozilla. Now why would a for-profit corporation throw out its money for something that seemingly does not make it any money? The real questions goes something like this: Is a publicly held corporation (meaning its only goal is to make the most money for its shareholders) being charitable or does it want something in return?
Things Really Smell Bad
Mozilla hides it real owner by proclaiming its browser's code to be open source. This falsely portrays Mozilla as a selfless and perhaps even as a non-profit company. However, the licensing agreement that outlines to what extent Mozilla is open source shows that something fishy is behind the scenes. This license states that any code added to Mozilla is also open source (Section 3.2. Availability of Source Code). This assures that all new improved code that is ever made off of the Mozilla source, always goes back to Mozilla. This is a very tricky situation since the commercial Netscape browser is still downloaded and used. This new breed of Netscape browser (version 6 and the new version 7) is based SOLELY on Mozilla's code with extra commercial features that further AOLTW's grip on the Internet. Isn't that something? AOLTW uses the code from Mozilla for its commercial browser Netscape, from which it makes money but mainly spreads its influence over the Internet. However, this is really a small scandal and its not the one that rocks the house.
As a small sidenote, let's turn our attention to a browser named Komodo. While it is based on the free code done by the free programmers at Mozilla, it sells for $300 (yes three hundred) per copy. Is this a kind of magic? From an open source browser that obviously is free, a private company changes a few things, and viola!, a $300 browser is born. Is this fair? People who do most of the coding and work get NO MONEY, yet some money hungry vultures sell basically the same thing for $300!!?? Well, this isn't the big fish we are looking for either.
House Rockin' Scandal, Fraud, Embezzlement, Theft, and [thesaurus.com]
The big scandal that makes issues like open source and taking advantage of your free labor source important has to do with AOLTW's internet service provider (ISP). This of course has to be the always reliable and never problematic America Online (AOL). Right now, when you log into your AOL screen name, if you have AOL as your ISP of course, the browser that you will use is Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Isn't that ironic? A corporation that owns Netscape, the archenemy of Internet Explorer, uses the enemy browser. Anyway, the people at AOL also noticed this great irony and want to change this. They could do this very easily only if they funded a group of misled programmers who are not paid for their work. Oh wait... AOLTW owns Mozilla so this is very clean and convenient. People from Mozilla have an open source license making it appear that Mozilla is for a better Internet. This way, many people are attracted and work for Mozilla for free. What they miscalculate is that AOLTW will sweep the code from them and use it in AOL.
And why is this bad? At least Mozilla still operates and its like a neccasary evil? Well this "necessary evil," as some from Mozilla itself have called it, is quite big when we count the monetary amount. Let's count AOL's total subscribers: one, two, three... 34 million. At a simple $20 rate per month with the 34 million subscribers, that's $680 million dollars a month. That's at least $8.16 billion per year. Sure AOL does not use Mozilla code yet, but it will with AOL 8.0 or 9.0.
The reason that is definite has to do with another AOLTW company, CompuServe (CS). CS used to be an independent company, but AOL gobbled it up before AOL and Time Warner merged. Anyway, CS is now the experimental AOL, meaning AOL tests things for CompuServe's 3 million customers and then for AOL. And in April CS started using a Mozilla clone. But wait, there's more! That adds another 3 million to our 34 million users of AOL. That means AOL is/will be making at least $8.9 billion per year off of code done by unpaid programmers. This figure does not count any money Netscape makes, any money that is gained by Netcape's influence, or how much third-part products such as Komodo rip off from Mozilla.
There is no other way of looking at it: Using code from people who do not get paid for it and then making money off of it IS theft and fraud. There is no justification or any necessary evil or anything, it is plain wrong to steal.
How big is $8.9 billion?
Pretty damn big: Enron and Worldcomm put together do not amount to this much fraud that AOLTW so cleverly thought of. It is larger than the income of small countries, it is enough to buy 200,000 luxury cars, 3.5 million PC's, and about 3 billion large bags of chips. If dollar bills were laid end to end they would reach in the hundreds of thousands of miles... So that's a pretty big fraud with the people getting screwed the most being the very programmers who make it. If AOLTW had some common sense, it would PAY the programmers by giving them a "few miles" of pavement of the hundreds of thousands miles of dollar bills.
Communism and Mozilla
Mozilla's logo and artwork (look in the evidence vault for examples) shows that Mozilla is a corporation that cares only about its image. The artwork is clear-cut communist imagery: Mozilla affiliates even admitted it. As Hitler or swastikas could not be used, as they rightly should not, where the hell does Mozilla get the idea to glorify a system that killed 100 million people and continues to opress well over 1 billion people? If we do not glorify a sytem that killed 6 million people, why embrace and promote one that killed 100 million. Another irony in this sea of ironies is the Mozilla mascot. The "t" in T-Rex stands for the Latin tyrannis which means tyrant. And what were the leaders of communism? Tyrants or dictators...
Conclusion and Far-Reaching Effects
AOLTW's entanglement with Mozilla and its utterly cold refusal to pay the very programmers that make its product shows a corporation wrapped up in selfish greed that harm society. AOLTW's shady actions shows a corporation that will go to any length to make an extra dollar. When AOL will use Mozilla's code in the AOL browser, a fraud of at least 7.2 billion a year will occur. Not if, but when and this amount is a minimum.
Another reason why AOLTW is a bag of crap has to do with its subsidiaries. Its music division, compromising of dozens of record labels, claims that anyone who downloads music off of the popular filesharing/swapping programs is a pirate. Let me be blunt: Who the hell is a pirate? Someone who downloads overpriced songs or someone who steals code then makes almost $9 billion? By the way, I also have an essay on why filesharing is legal.
So I uncovered a fraud that is worth more than Enron and Worldcomm put together... However, this is just the tip of the iceberg or a drop in the pond. With the hundreds of interests AOLTW has, it is unavoidable to have other scandals of this size. For example, how can CNN be unbiased when it should be investigating its parent company's abuses? How can Time magazine have unbiased reporting when they are owned by someone they should criticize? And the list goes on...
Review of the Main Points...This is what it all boils down to:
* AOLTW funds Mozilla solely for the purpose of misguiding progranmmers to make the AOL browser. This happened in CompuServe as it will soon happen for AOL.
* The fraud AOL will commit is inexcusable. There is no justification for not paying the programmers who make your product.
* Mozilla's logo and artwork is disgusting. If you don't think so, try replacing them with swastikas and maybe that will help in your understaning.
Message to those associated with Mozilla:
Anyone who works/volunteers for Mozilla is working/working for free for AOLTW. For workers who get paid, you are truly sell outs. For the volunteers, you are the backbone/unappreciated bitches of AOLTW's attempt at Internet domination, just as you accuse Microsoft of doing. And isn't that ironic quite a bit? Instead of Microsoft, you will throne AOLTW. And you won't even get paid, most of you anyway. But then again, what the hell am I talking about? I hate C++, the langauage behind Mozilla, and I am somewhat new to this Internet thing. So, listen to Mozilla's founder who resigned his Mozilla position after AOL bought out Netscape:
"But I'm supposed to be rooting for (AOL-Time Warner) over Microsoft? What's up next, Union Carbide versus Philip Morris?"
Well isn't that something. The founder of Mozilla was too disgusted to work for AOLTW and not an independent Mozilla and as a result resigned in 1999. It is easy to dismiss Zawinski's action as only attention getting. But why would someone who spent all that time with Netscape and Mozilla just abandon his work? What does that tell you about Mozilla in its current degenerative state? The managers are now money hungry moguls who fool the free labor...
In the end it's all about controlling the gateway
and the Mozilla option is not what it fronts to be. All the code made by well intended programmers that think they are working on an open source project is property of Mozilla a subsidiary of a multinational corporation.
Apple has been more straight forward about it with their iGadgets but Mozilla has a cloak of deception around its branding and mission.
Any other alternatives in the browser market?
There are no others, there is only us.