Archive for February, 2007

Firefox in All the Right Places

February 20th, 2007

Not long ago, I got a ticket while driving my son to school. He was mad about being a few minutes late to school, but I knew much more time would be required on my part 🙂

In California one can attend “traffic school” for a variety of traffic tickets. My infraction was stopping for a stop sign beyond the stop line rather than before the line, so I fell into the category of people permitted to attend traffic school. Doing so takes somewhere between six and ten hours, and prevents the long-term markers being placed on one’s record and a rise in insurance costs. The schools are independent businesses certified by each court system. Some are better than others.

California now authorizes a lot of schools to provide online courses, so I chose one of these. Fortunately, I chose a good one. They had thought of all the likely issues (such as — I need to finish in 24 hours — how do I do that?), had good customer support and a reasonable price.

Best of all, the website worked flawlessly. I was astounded. There are something like 14 chapters to read, four “security questions” to help make sure the student actually read the material, four quizzes and one final exam. Each section is timed, the time is displayed, and completing one automatically makes the next available.

At the end, I had to call the school to change where they send the completion certificate (after one completes the course this can’t be done online). Certificate delivery requires a signature, so I want it sent to work where there will be someone around to sign for receipt. Otherwise a trip to the post office is required.

Of course, customer support needed the address. I started with my name, and then “c/o Mozilla Corporation.” I spelled “Mozilla” very slowly and carefully because it confuses so many people. Not this time. The customer service representative perked up, “Mozilla? You work for Mozilla?” I replied “Yes, I do” and he continued “We all use Firefox here.” After some discussion he added “We support Firefox and, eh, Internet Explorer. But our webmaster and all of us use Firefox.”

Send that man something special!

The Mozilla Manifesto

February 13th, 2007

Here is the Mozilla Manifesto I described in my last post. I invite you to provide input through the Mozilla “governance” newsgroup.

You can also read a set of past comments and participate through the “mozilla.governance” Google Group.

The Mozilla Manifesto


The Internet is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives.

The Mozilla project is a global community of people who believe that openness, innovation and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet. We have worked together since 1998 to ensure that the Internet is developed in a way that benefits everyone. We are best known for creating the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class, open source software, and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We create communities of people involved in making the Internet experience better for all of us.

As a result of these efforts, we have distilled a set of principles that we believe are critical for the Internet to continue to benefit the public good as well as commercial aspects of life. We set out these principles in the Mozilla Manifesto presented below.

These principles will not come to life on their own. People are needed to make the Internet open and participatory — people acting as individuals, working together in groups, and leading others. The Mozilla Foundation is committed to advancing the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto. We invite others to join us and make the Internet an ever better place for everyone.


  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.

Advancing the Mozilla Manifesto

There are many different ways of advancing the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto. We welcome a broad range of activities, and anticipate the same creativity that Mozilla participants have shown in other areas of the project. For individuals not deeply involved in the Mozilla project, one basic and very effective way to support the Manifesto is to use Mozilla Firefox and other products that embody the principles of the Manifesto.

Mozilla Foundation Pledge

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.

Some Foundation activities — currently the creation, delivery and promotion of consumer products — are conducted primarily through the Mozilla Foundation’s wholly owned subsidiary; the Mozilla Corporation.


The Mozilla Foundation invites all others who support the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto to join with us, and to find new ways to make this vision of the Internet a reality.


Introducing the Mozilla Manifesto

February 13th, 2007

The Mozilla project is about more than simply producing new versions of Firefox. Firefox is important, of course, and our major focus right now. However, Firefox is also important to achieving a broader goal, and it’s important for the project to articulate that goal.

With the help of a number of Mozilla contributors, I have created a draft document called the Mozilla Manifesto. The Manifesto sets out a vision of the Internet as a piece of infrastructure that is open, accessible and enriches the lives of individual human beings. It includes a pledge from the Mozilla Foundation about taking action in support of the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto. It extends an invitation to others to join us, either by working directly with the Foundation or through other activities that support the Mozilla Manifesto.

The goals for the Manifesto are to:

  1. articulate a vision for the Internet that Mozilla participants want the Mozilla Foundation to pursue;
  2. speak to people whether or not they have a technical background;

  3. make Mozilla contributors proud of what we’re doing and motivate us to continue; and
  4. provide a framework for other people to advance this vision of the Internet.

The Mozilla Manifesto has been been presented to a set of several hundred contributors, resulting comments have been reviewed and incorporated where possible. I’ll post the current draft of the Mozilla Manifesto in a separate blog post; I invite you to provide input.

Looking for a General Counsel

February 6th, 2007

The Mozilla Corporation is looking for a General Counsel to join its executive staff. The Mozilla Corporation is focused on creating great software and maintaining choice and innovation in key Internet activities, such as the highly acclaimed Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird applications. The Mozilla Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting choice and innovation on the Internet.

The Mozilla Corporation

The Mozilla Corporation is at the heart of one of the largest open-source software development projects in existence. It includes a userbase of 70,000,000 people, paid and volunteer contributors numbering in the thousands, a range of spin-off projects, and a set of companies using Mozilla technology to build products. The Mozilla Corporation is also at the heart of the burgeoning innovation in web-based activities.

Mozilla Corporation employees work within a unique structure that combines open source DNA and development methodologies with extensive commercial involvement. Successful Mozilla Corporation employees are quick learners, excited by change, unbothered by ambiguity, motivated by personal excellence, happy when doing many things and highly dedicated to the success of the project.

The General Counsel

The General Counsel will provide legal, business and strategic advice to the CEO, management team, and Board of Directors regarding legal aspects of the company’s objectives. The General Counsel must have an exceptional understanding of software and Internet business transactions, intellectual property issues, and the trade-offs between legal and business risks, as well as a good grasp of corporate governance and other operational issues (HR, etc). He or she will be expected to:

  • Identify, articulate, execute and publicly explain legal initiatives to the management team, Board of Directors, employees, participants in the Mozilla project and the public;
  • Use expertise to create new and innovative solutions;
  • Lead industry-wide discussions and initiatives relevant to the Mozillla Corporation;
  • Work well with the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit parent of the Mozilla Corporation; and
  • Help shape business relationships between the Mozilla Corporation and commercial entities.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Significant leadership experience with management teams across a range of issues; preferably as a General Counsel
  • “Knock ’em dead” understanding of the software and online business and legal worlds
  • Proven ability to identify, design and implement creative solutions
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and team skills
  • An aggressive creative streak, coupled with extreme flexibility
  • Strong affinity for open, transparent, distributed work environments and for the goals of the Mozilla project
  • A driving interest in the overall health of the Internet and related public policy issues
  • Familiarity with and high interest in open source software

If you think you are this person, please contact Dan Portillo at

Schwab Social Entrepreneurs

February 5th, 2007

I spent last week in Switzerland attending two related events. The first was the annual gathering of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in Zurich, and the second was the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The WEF was founded by Claus Schwab in the 1970’s with the goal of improving the state of the world. In 1998 Claus created the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrepreneurs are people who use entrepreneurial techniques to achieve social or humanitarian ends. (Generally this means developing ways to help people help themselves rather than giving to charities which disperse funds or resources, but which don’t necessarily help the recipients to help themselves). Sometimes social entrepreneurship carries the idea of using market forces to cause changes as well. The Schwab Foundation has a more complete definition here, and a list of current Social Entrepreneurs can be found here.

The days I spent with these folks were fascinating; they are extremely creative and focused people. Nicholas Kristoff wrote a column in Sunday’s New York Times entitled “Do-Gooders With Spreadsheets” (registration required on to view). They understood intuitively the Mozilla Foundation’s role of keeping the Internet an open platform, where many people can plug in at different levels in a decentralized fashion. They understood that we generate revenue to support this goal, but that the mission is paramount.

A number of the Schwab Social Entrepreneurs have created organizations that generate revenue to support their mission. This is the first group I have found where a number of people have created financially self-sustaining mission-driven organizations. The Mozilla Foundation has been working on many of the same questions. It was invigorating to spend time with other people who are working through similar issues.

My husband, who attended both events (which are rare in inviting spouses) noted that the Social Entrepreneurs were among the most vibrant, affirming people he met at either event. I’ve avoided “Social Entrepreneurs” in the past because somehow the term created a barrier. But having met a few of them now, I find myself very drawn to this group.

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