Mozilla Turns 10 Today

March 31st, 2008

Today is a special day.

March 31, 1998 is the date that Mozilla was officially launched. It’s the date the first Mozilla code became publicly available under the terms of an official open source license and a governing body for the project — the Mozilla Organization — began its public work. It’s always been known in Mozilla parlance as “3/31.” We’ll be celebrating Mozilla’s 10 year anniversary throughout 2008. Today I want to look at our first ten years, and a bit at the next ten years.

Ten years ago a radical idea took shape. The idea was that an open source community could create choice and innovation in key Internet technologies where large, commercial vendors could not. This idea took shape as the Mozilla project.

Mozilla was not the first group to pursue this idea. GNU/Linux and the BSD operating systems were already providing a very effective alternative at the server-side operating system level; the Apache web server was already proving that an open source solution could be effective even in areas where the commercial players were actively competing. Each of these gave strength to the idea that this new effort could be successful.

At its inception, Mozilla was:

  • An open source codebase for the software we call the browser
  • A group of people to build and lead an open source development effort — the Mozilla Organization (also known as “”)
  • A larger group of people committed to the idea — and the enormous work involved — in building a browser we all needed
  • An open source license granting everyone expansive rights to use the code for their own goals — the Mozilla Public License (which is now at version 1.1)
  • A website
  • A mascot (the orange T-rex, alternatively referred to as a lizard)

During the years since 3/31 we have taken that radical idea and proved its power. We have broadened the idea beyond anything imagined at our founding. And in the next ten years we’ll continue to be radical about building fundamental qualities such as openness, participation, opportunity, choice and innovation into the basic infrastructure of the Internet itself.

What have we accomplished?

  • Converted a closed, proprietary development process into a vibrant, transparent, open source project.
  • Grown into a massive global community, quite possibly the largest open source project in the world
  • Developed exceptional technology
  • Developed a set of long-term, vibrant projects — Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Camino, Bugzilla, Calendar –most, and possibly all of which have millions of users
  • Become the software provider of choice for over 170 million people
  • Proved that open source development can product great end user products
  • Brought the Internet to millions of people in their language
  • Moved the overall state of browser software forward dramatically
  • Become a technology platform others use to create products built on Mozilla technologies, and in some cases competitive with Mozilla products
  • Developed and implemented systems and community norms for a massive distribution of authority
  • Conducted all sorts of new activities in a transparent and participatory way, including product planning, marketing, public speaking, UI and organizational decisions
  • Developed a reputation that people trust and feel they have helped create
  • Developed a sustainability model using market mechanisms to support a public benefit mission
  • Become a significant force in the development of Internet technology industry-wide
  • Developed a sophisticated organization that can — for example — service, update and respond to 170 million users
  • Built and operated giant open-source web applications — where the source code that runs the application IS open source and available to others;
  • Articulated our mission in broad, non-technical term
  • Encouraged others to try open, transparent and collaborative techniques in a broad range of activities
  • Created public assets of enormous value

That’s a lot. And we’re not done yet. The next ten years have challenges and opportunities equal to those of our first decade. The Internet is now interwoven into modern life, and it will certainly grow to be more powerful. There’s no guarantee that it will remain open or enjoyable or safe. There’s no guarantee that individuals will be able to participate in creating or (for the general non-technical consumer) effectively managing their experience. There’s no guarantee that there is an effective voice for individuals benefiting from the increased power of the Internet.

Mozilla can and should fulfill this role. But not as a guarantor. Mozilla is an opportunity for people to make this vision happen. Mozilla is about opportunity and participation. Mozilla is people getting involved, “doing” things, creating the Internet experience we want to live with. We’re not alone in doing this. Other open source and free software projects play a strong role, as do other organizations focused on participation, collaboration, and openness.

We want the Internet to be an open environment, where it’s easy to innovate, and where individuals, small groups and newcomers all have rich opportunities to create and lead. So, we’ll build technologies and products that make this happen. Mozilla offers each person who wants to see this happen an opportunity to do something. Using Mozilla products is an important step in its own right — every person using Mozilla products makes our voice stronger. And there is much, much more that any one of us can do.

What do we know is ahead of us?

  • Hundreds of millions of people relying on us for the quality of their Internet experience
  • Ensuring that the Open Web itself remains the developer platform of choice for new web applications; providing a compelling alternative to closed, proprietary development environments
  • Bringing openness and consumer choice to the mobile environment as we have to the desktop world
  • Handling data in a more transparent, participatory way for general consumers
  • Bringing openness, paticipation and opportunity to more — and as yet mostly undetermined — aspects of Internet life
  • Evolving the “browser” to support the new things we’re doing on the Internet
  • Creating a new style of global organization: one where local involvement around the globe has increasing project-wide influence
  • Broadening the sustainability options for “hybrid” organizations — that is, organizations that support public benefit activities through market funding mechanisms as well as traditional fundraising

And these are just the things we can see today. Many of the best, most exciting activities of the next ten years will seem to come from nowhere. In reality they will come from people combining their own ingenuity with Mozilla tools, techniques, technologies to build new, wildly innovative aspects to life that none of us can imagine today. And because the Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization we are focused on creating the maximum possible public benefit rather than revenue. We don’t limit how people can use our technology to maximize revenue; we encourage people to challenge us to be better.

Opportunity, Challenge, Excitement, Fun

During much of our first ten years people “knew” that our goal of creating choice and innovation in the browser space was impossible. From that perspective we have achieved the impossible. It certainly wasn’t easy, but here we are today in a radically different setting.

The challenges before us are great. But the opportunity is many times larger. We have the ability to affect aspects of Internet architecture and user experience. We have the organization, we have the frameworks we need to work in, we have the voice. And most important of all, we have the Mozilla community. The many thousands of people actively engaged, and the multiples of that who support Mozilla goals and offerings.

It’s our world. Let’s make it great.

337 comments for “Mozilla Turns 10 Today”

  1. 1

    Pingback from Happy 10 Year Birthday Mozilla–Firefox-火狐浏览器中文网

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  2. 2

    Patounet said on April 3rd, 2008 at 2:04 am:

    10 years already!, super anniversary and long life at mozilla fondation, and thanks for The great browser Firefox.

    (from Belgium.)

  3. 3

    Pingback from Happy 10 Year Birthday Mozilla

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  4. 4

    Pingback from Web 2.0 News » 10 Years of Mozilla!

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  5. 5

    Kittux said on April 3rd, 2008 at 6:16 am:

    Happy Birthday too =)
    (because I was born too on this date > march 31)
    Thank you Mozilla !!

    (Reunion Island)

  6. 6

    Marcos Paulo said on April 3rd, 2008 at 7:12 am:

    Happy Birthday Mozillaaa!

    But… i’m Safari! 🙂

  7. 7

    Amigomr said on April 3rd, 2008 at 7:55 am:


    I’ve translated this article into Japanese:

  8. 8

    Pingback from Mozilla celebra su décimo aniversario « HispaSystem Group Blog

    […] […]

  9. 9

    Eugenio D’ Angelo said on April 3rd, 2008 at 3:43 pm:

    Dear Mrs. Mitchell Baker (Mozilla’s Leader)

    Could you be so kind to contact Mr. Jose de A. Pinheiro Machado ( Prodesp’s Ouvidor ) as Prodesp is a branche of the Sao Paulo State government and have 1300000 users …
    And Prodesp have Acessa Sao Paulo rooms but the Web Browser Mozilla Firefox installed there is the release 1.0.4 and it is not working well as it is an old fashioned release … It needs Urgently update ! Mr. Machado phone is 55 – 11 – 3315 – 0962
    Mr. Machado E-mail is:
    Could you clarify him that Mozilla Firefox Web Browser needs to be updated to a new release like the newest 3.0 Beta Test… as I have tried to enter in Nasa’s Site but a black banner saying: THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR BROWSER ! is displayed because they have not updated the Mozilla Firefox for a newest release ???
    Thanks in Advance for your Kind Co-Operation !

  10. 10

    edgar feickert said on April 4th, 2008 at 9:45 am:

    CONGRATULATIONS! and THANK YOU for this GREAT Browser which I use from 0.9 on as a replacement for IE due to security concerns at this time. I also Replaced Outlook by real great Pegasus Mail for a few Years, and use Thunderbird also from Versin around 0.9 on – it was not a real step forward, but a more stable. Which has turned out real great now in the latest releases. It improves without anoying users and make then tumb with new surfaces. One thing I still miss from Pegasus Mail is the Selective Download for Mails and deletion already on server.
    When I start my PC, Sunbird and Thunderbird say hello, and I miss another button in each of 3 Programs. This is “DONATION” to make me feel better when I use this Great Products working perfect and do not destroy or spy my system.
    I really hav to thank YOU

  11. 11

    DWiner said on April 4th, 2008 at 11:57 am:

    Happy birthday Mozilla 🙂
    Keep going…we love you!!!

  12. 12

    Pingback from Free Tools, Le meilleur des outils gratuits pour webmaster» Blog Archive » Mozilla Fundation, Joyeux 10 ièm anniversaire

    […] continuera encore quelques décénies… en français : Article en anglais : Blog de Mitchell Barker addthis_url = […]

  13. 13

    J.R. said on April 6th, 2008 at 4:00 pm:

    Happy Birthday–
    Thanks much for the great work. Been a fan from way back!

  14. 14

    Moz Fanboy said on April 7th, 2008 at 12:33 am:

    I’m a refugee, luckily seamonkey gave my asylum. But I want the Lizard back. No more friggin Firesomething here, thundersomething there.

    And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced!

  15. 15

    Pingback from In Honor of Mozilla’s 10th Birthday, JWZ Recreates Web of 1994 | Networking for Networkers

    […] Mozilla Turns 10 Today by Mitchell Baker via […]

  16. 16

    Zane said on April 8th, 2008 at 3:30 pm:

    Thanks for all the years of hard work mozilla kicks ass I think it sould be a word in the websters dictionary…

  17. 17

    Serkan said on April 8th, 2008 at 4:49 pm:

    Happy birthday Mozilla!

  18. 18

    Maurovic Christophe said on April 8th, 2008 at 7:17 pm:

    AU SECOURS!!! est-ce que quelqu’un porrait m’expliquer de quoi on parle sur ce site, vraiment, tout cela est du charabia pour moi. Que l’on m’explique (j’attend avec impatience car mon gros défaut c’est d’étre trop curieux).

    Tchao, Christophe de Rouen (Seine Maritime – France)

  19. 19

    calvin said on April 9th, 2008 at 12:22 am:

    i like firefox very much…………….happy birthday to you? may i know firefox at malaysia got member club?

  20. 20

    DDD said on April 9th, 2008 at 12:28 am:


  21. 21

    AGC said on April 9th, 2008 at 5:28 am:

    thanks to firefox..faster than ever (browser)..easy to use..

  22. 22

    FaT-HeY said on April 9th, 2008 at 11:10 am:

    i am sorry …
    happy birthday my default browser ,

  23. 23

    Euan Johnstone said on April 10th, 2008 at 4:47 pm:

    Huge thanks first to Mozilla for this tremendous browser and creating a platform for people to build all their fantastic extensions. Thanks to all those extension developers too…

  24. 24

    Thorsten said on April 11th, 2008 at 12:00 pm:

    Im born 31 March, 1992 🙂

  25. 25

    Meganadh said on April 16th, 2008 at 12:43 pm:

    Happy Birthday Mozilla.
    The best browser.
    Keep up the good work for all these years..
    Keep rocking…….. 🙂

  26. 26

    Phil said on April 19th, 2008 at 4:07 pm:

    That is awesome!!! keep up the good work!!! love mozilla

  27. 27

    kool said on April 19th, 2008 at 11:29 pm:

    mozilla rocks

  28. 28

    Jano Janahan said on April 21st, 2008 at 2:15 am:

    Happy Birthday Mozilla.

    As an early volunteer, and advocate of Mozilla, this is a big thing for me. I went through the initial code release. The mothballing of the old Netscape 5 code, which was a very bold and risky decision, but overall the “right” choice. The evolution of Raptor/NGLayout/Gecko. The dark times of 2000 to 2002. The horrid Netscape 6 release, based on beta Mozilla code, that nearly destroyed the reputation of Mozilla. Then finally the continued success of the finished products.

    I associated myself with Mozilla, not to take over the world, or create a browser with 90% share. Such a situation is not optimal. Instead the key was to help create a browser that supported the established standards, and also was relevent.

    In the end Mozilla achieved that. It created a respected browser that is relevent, and has been successful in promoting standards in other browsers too, even those competing against it.

    This has led to a better web experience for users, regardless of whether they use Mozilla or not.

    Well Done Mozilla! Here is to the next 10 years.

  29. 29

    James Alexander said on April 21st, 2008 at 3:31 pm:

    Hey everyeone, doing a bloody great job! Proving you dont need billions (!!!) to make good products. World could use more people like you!

  30. 30

    Andrea Vaccarella said on April 22nd, 2008 at 1:19 am:

    Thanks for the great work guys. Keep doing it well.
    We love you.
    Andrea V.

  31. 31

    Mei said on April 23rd, 2008 at 7:38 am:

    yeah! Congratz, mozilla! you guyz rock! keep the good work on. =)

  32. 32

    Pingback from Magyarország megnyerő! at stream of bytes

    […] Amazing… And we’re just 10 years old. […]

  33. 33

    Michael Subrata said on April 25th, 2008 at 5:21 am:

    very2 nice browser..i use this for almost 3 years.

  34. 34

    Donna Gleason said on April 26th, 2008 at 1:20 am:

    I have been working with your program 2 yrs.and I would like to commend your staff on the great care and assistance I’ve been given from them. This is going to produce so many more graduating students. Some students would not have been able to recover credits and this is life changing for them. My only concern is that students actually get frustrated sometimes because if the teachers are not monitering and paying attention to their work, when they are struggling over simple issues(wrong answers,or conflicking ones, capitalization, there are some bugs you definately need to work out) what is that saying to the student? They are working hard, they still deserve communication & feedback & recognition.

  35. 35

    jerry said on April 26th, 2008 at 4:49 am:

    Well your system software worked great till april 11,2008 hope you get it fixed so I can use it again new down load crashed computer when updated software, but your system was great before that!

  36. 36

    Benny Daon said on April 27th, 2008 at 2:00 am:

    I love FireFox

    “The best of organizations is like water,
    Which benefits all things, and does not contend with them,
    Which flows in places that others disdain,
    Where it is in harmony with the Way.

    So the lizard:
    Lives within nature,
    Thinks within the deep,
    Gives within impartiality,
    Speaks within trust,
    Governs within order,
    Crafts within ability,
    Acts within opportunity.

    He does not contend, and none contend against him.”

    (from lau tzu

  37. 37

    DigitaleWelten said on April 27th, 2008 at 6:38 am:

    All the best from DigitalWorlds!!!
    We use Firefox since it’s start!

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