Archive for December, 2010

Revised Mozilla Public License — Beta 1

December 21st, 2010

In March of this year we kicked up a process to update the Mozilla Public License. We recently released the first beta of the MPL 2.0 and we believe that this beta is now feature complete, meaning that it addresses all major known issues. Of course if there are policy changes that come up and need to be made we will address them. We’ve kept both OSI and the FSF appraised of our efforts. We’ll be submitting the final versions for approval, and we believe that the MPL 2.0 meets all requirements for approval of these organizations.

When we launched this process I said the goals are to

make the MPL easier to use and incorporate a decade’s worth of experience. In particular I’m hoping to modernize and simplify the license while still keeping the things that have made it and the Mozilla project such a success.

Here’s what we’ve done:

  • Simplified and shortened, reducing the MPL by about a third (Luis tells me that specifically this draft reduces the length from 3702 words to 2289)
  • Made the notification requirements dramatically simpler and easier to fulfill
  • Modified patent language to be more in line with other major open source licenses, while still maintaing the patent defense clause
  • Improved compatibility with other licenses, making it easier to incorporate Apache code into Mozilla, and modernizing language regarding (optional) GPL compatibility
  • Improved globalization, including removal of many US-specific terms and concepts
  • Removed “Original Software” and “Initial Developer” concepts.

You can find detailed information on the beta 1 draft and how to participate at our MPL update website. We welcome general discussion through the governance-mpl-update mailing list, and specific comments through the co-ment web commenting tool.

Now is also a good time to distribute the Beta elsewhere. If you know of other MPL users who have not heard of the process, please reach out to them and let them know what we’re doing.

We’re eager to make the MPL the best it can be.

Mozilla Decision-Making Process

December 20th, 2010

Last week the Wall Street Journal issued a correction of a factual error central to a story about Mozilla. It’s good to have the official correction for obvious factual errors; this is a mark of journalistic integrity. However, the correction is flawed itself: it notes a key error in the factual underpinnings of the article, but does not reassess the article. Even with the correction, the story still conveys an incorrect impression of the Mozilla decision-making process. I’d like to address this so that everyone touching Mozilla — the thousands of people choosing to build Mozilla products like Mozilla Firefox, the hundreds of millions of users of Mozilla Firefox, and anyone interacting with Mozilla — understands how mistaken this suggestion is.

The story stated that Mozilla removed a feature we believed to be good for users because of pressure from an advertising industry executive. This is not accurate in any shape or form. It’s not accurate about any particular company. It’s not accurate about the particular executive named. It’s just wrong.

Decision-making at Mozilla is based on the criteria in the Mozilla Manifesto — the set of values that underlie all work of the Mozilla project, including Mozilla Firefox. Sometimes people think we’re naive — or even lying — when we say these values are what drive us as we build consumer products. However unusual it may sound, these values are the foundation of our work. Mozilla is a public-benefit, mission-driven organization that uses our products to move our mission forward. We use our products and our development method to increase individual empowerment and give each of us more ability to be in control of our online lives. Our decision-making process reflects this. This process may be difficult to understand, since most software organizations base decisions on maximizing profit. Our challenge is to explain this better.

Our decision-making process may be different from what people expect. That’s fine — Mozilla is an unusual organization. Hopefully, the future will see more public-benefit organizations sharing some Mozilla traits, and hopefully our goals and decision-making process will become less unusual.

Please Participate in the “State of Mozilla” Survey

December 8th, 2010

Recently we posted our annual “State of Mozilla” which describes what we have been working on and plans for the immediate future. I want to make sure that the plans laid out in the State of Mozilla reflect and inspire the people who identify themselves with Mozilla and our mission. I am asking that you help me make sure of this.

We’ve put together a short survey. I hope you will take 15 minutes and help me understand how well the State of Mozilla reflects your view of Mozilla. (If you’ve already received the survey through via email please respond to the email request.)

The survey has a place to write your thoughts as well as respond to specific questions to make things easy. If you prefer to send your thoughts separate from a survey or leave comments here then feel free to do so. But please don’t let that prevent you from completing the survey now. And if for some reason the survey is difficult for you, it would be great if you could simply jump to the second to last question (if there anything else you’d like to say) and let us know about the difficulty.

The survey does not ask for your name. The survey does have an optional place for you to put any information you want us to know — your locale, your main roles within Mozilla, your name, or anything else you’d like us to know as we look at the responses.

Please help us make Mozilla the best we can be!

Thank you, Mitchell

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