Mozilla Foundation Statement of Direction

March 6th, 2007

One major set of goals for the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors is to articulate a crisp Statement of Direction for the Mozilla Foundation, to engage in a dialog with the Mozilla community about direction, and to define the overall scope and increase the visibility of Mozilla Foundation activities.

The first iteration of the Statement of Direction is below. It is intended to be one step more specifically focused on the Mozilla Foundation than the Mozilla Manifesto. I expect to end up with (a) a statement of principles regarding the Internet we hope to see that many groups can use to verify our activities are on the right path — the Mozilla Manifesto; and (b) a Statement of Direction from the Mozilla Foundation as to how the Foundation itself will advance the Manifesto. And then we can turn to the specific actions to be undertaken.

1. The mission of the Mozilla Foundation is to create and promote the Internet as an open platform that supports the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto.

2. As described in more detail in the Mozilla Manifesto, an open Internet is one where:

  • People can participate at all levels, with low barriers and without the need to “buy into” a centralized agenda, data source, hardware or software system
  • Open standards are the basis of key technologies
  • Open source software is available for key activities
  • Open alternatives for key Internet activities are competitive with closed, proprietary offerings and with desktop-centric offerings
  • Heterogeneous environments are possible – we don’t all need to use the same hardware, software or data sources
  • People can make and implement decisions about their online experience and their data

3. Building an open Internet requires many actors. The Mozilla Foundation will focus on the areas of our particular strength and expertise.

  • The Mozilla Foundation’s DNA is in building software and building communities; in essence we are building part of the Internet itself.
  • We build (software, communities, the Internet we dream of) by empowering people to help themselves and to work together in a loosely coupled way with maximum transparency.
  • We work primarily in areas that touch individual people. We can think of this as the “user experience” aspect of the Internet.

4. The Mozilla Foundation seeks to effectuate these goals both by building broadly-used products that impact Internet development as a whole, and by empowering people to act in highly decentralized, experimental ways. The work of creating general consumer products that influence broad aspects of Internet development is currently handled through the Mozilla Corporation. The Foundation plans to increase its direct involvement in other activities which enable people to participate in the development and enjoyment of the Internet in a decentralized, self-directed manner.

5. The Mozilla Foundation can do this through any number of programs: grant making, supporting other projects, being the “voice” for users, increasing its operational activities, etc. We’re not yet sure which of these is the right thing, though there is a very strong interest in grant-making, prizes, etc.

6. The next steps are refinement of this statement, and putting the relevant resources in place to develop more specific plans and then to execute well.

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