Posts Tagged with “Foundation”

Executive Director Search Committee

July 17th, 2007

I’m pleased to introduce the members of the search committee for the Mozilla Foundation Executive Director.

Dan Mosedale: Dan has long experience in Mozilla governance, as well as experience with multiple products, from the Mozilla Application Suite to calendar to Firefox. Dan joined Mozilla as a member of staff in the early, early days. Later he moved to the product group to work on LDAP and related capabilities. He spent a few years away from the project in daily life, but never in spirit. Dan returned to the Mozilla project a few years back when he joined Oracle to work on the Mozilla calendar project. Dan remained at Oracle as the lone Mozilla developer for some time after the Mozilla team there disbanded. He moved to the Mozilla Corporation a while back, worked as the lead calendar developer, and has most recently moved to working on Firefox.

Deb Richardson: Deb is a long-time member of the Linux world, and one of the founders of the Linuxchix. She came to the Mozilla project a few years back. Deb’s initial challenge was to create a useful developer documentation site. We had always known our documentation was poor. If you look today you can see the results of Deb’s efforts, now under the leadership of Eric Shepherd. The Mozilla Developer Center contains documentation for multiple aspects of the Mozilla project, from technologies to projects to products. Deb most recently turned her attention to product management, working on Firefox product planning.

Deb also has a significant interest in Mozilla organization and governance. It was Deb who took my initial draft of a document about the Mozilla vision, teased apart the separate threads, and created the structure for the parts that eventually became the Mozilla Manifesto. Many contributed to the Manifesto, but Deb’s early, giant contribution made a huge difference in getting this done.

Robert Kaiser: Robert has also been part of the Mozilla project for many years. He started as a localizer of the Mozilla Application Suite. Today he is the one of the leaders of the SeaMonkey project. The SeaMonkey community group took over ongoing development of the integrated mail/news client known as the Mozilla Application Suite when it was retired as an official project. SeaMonkey is a vibrant, successful community project with ongoing development work and project releases. Robert interacts regularly with other members of the Mozilla project across a range of topics.

Stuart Parmenter: Stuart came to the Mozilla project as a high-school volunteer. He joined Netscape in 1999 and has been working in the Mozilla world almost constantly since then. Not long after the Mozilla Foundation was formed Stuart joined Oracle to work on the Mozilla calendar team there. He moved to Mozilla a year or so later, returning to his original interest in graphics.

Stuart also has an interest in Mozilla project dynamics. Stuart lead the recent effort to review and restructure our code modules, as well as started the process of thinking about non-code modules. He’s been active in thinking about the role of super-reviewers and other governance mechanisms.

Bob Lisbonne: Bob is a long-time friend of the Mozilla project. Bob was involved in the launch and early days of the Mozilla project at Netscape, and has been involved in the browser space since the early Netscape versions. Bob has consistently provided reasoned and thoughtful advice to the Mozilla project, and joined the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors in late 2006. Bob is currently a general partner with the venture capital firm Matrix Partners. His involvement with Mozilla is a personal effort, not to be associated with or attributed to Matrix Partners.

Mitchell Baker: I joined the Mozilla project part time in 1998 and full time in 1999. I’ve been the general manager of the project (known as the Chief Lizard Wrangler) since 1999 and have been involved in a broad range of Mozilla activities. Together with Brendan Eich I lead the effort to form the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, and to articulate the Mozilla vision through the Mozilla Manifesto.

Welcome David Boswell

June 18th, 2007

David Boswell is joining the Mozilla Foundation this week. The details are in Frank’s post. I want to echo (amplify, really) the welcome. David Boswell has been involved with the Mozilla project for many years. When his experience with convinced him that more understanding of non-profit and organizations in general was necessary, he went back to school to learn. I remember writing a recommendation for David when he applied to the Colombia School of International and Public Affairs. At the time I thought, how cool is this?? Graduate study in a field other than computer science and still intimately related to Mozilla, open source and the type things Mozilla is trying to do.

Enough time has passed that David has finished his program. Even better, he’s back with Mozilla full-time. This strikes me as an important milestone for several reasons. To start with the obvious, it will be great to have David focused on Mozilla. We are working on building the Mozilla Foundation’s capabilities, and David is a part of this effort. (The Executive Director search is another part.) David has always been remarkably low key and effective. For a while I couldn’t understand how he could get things done in such a quiet, unassuming way. But he does, and it’s great. I’ll be talking with both David and Frank quite a bit this week to figure out some starting points for David. I’ve got a lot of ideas, the key is to be realistic!

Less obvious, but I think equally important, is the cross-fertilization of open source ideas and organizational activities beyond coding. David now has a rich background in open source activities, a world-class education to bring to bear, and an opportunity to combine those two to help move the Mozilla mission forward. And David is not alone. In just the last week or two, another long term Mozilla contributor has been accepted into the Business School at the University of California at Berkeley. He’ll attend the business school while continuing to work full time on open source activities. He too will have the chance to combine open source DNA with a world-class education and bring the resulting connections back to the open source world.

It’s exciting to see long term contributors bring open source expertise into the graduate educational system, and then to see them bring their education back to the open source world.

Please join me in welcoming David.

Search Committee Nominations Open

June 18th, 2007

It’s time to create the full search committee for the Foundation Executive Director position. I previously posted key requirements. I’ve included them again below, along with some criteria our executive recruiter has found to be important in the past.

If you are interested in being part of the search committee and believe you meet (at least most of) the criteria, please contact me. If you know of someone you would like to see be part of the search committee other than yourself, please let me know. In other words, nominations and self-nominations are welcome.

I thought about creating a clear process for nomination and selection, but decided we can (hopefully) start informally and create process as we go. The one process point that I will start with is that if you contact me privately, or nominate someone else privately, I won’t make those names public until the named person is OK with this. If you have strong thoughts regarding the process, you can post them here as comments or in the governance newsgroup (available via newsreader or mailing list, or via the browser).

So please don’t self censor based on shyness, or on your employer.

Everyone should have:

  • Deep understanding of the project and our culture.
  • Ability to communicate the needs of the organization.
  • History of “doing” things within Mozilla.
  • Broad respect from chunks of the Mozilla community.
  • Ability to internalize different perspectives.
  • Ability to work collaboratively, incorporating other perspectives.
  • High discretion, including perhaps willingness to agree to confidentiality obligations (we need to figure out how to treat candidates properly). However this is handled, we need a complete commitment to confidentiality.
  • Commitment to speaking with one voice as a committee.
  • Ability to be a liaison between the search committee and the Mozilla community.
  • High degree of flexibility.
  • Commitment of 15-20 hours for meetings and interviews.
  • Good people assessment skills.
  • Comfortable / excited about the focus of the job.

The group as a whole should have:

  • At least one very good scribe.
  • People with different background and focus areas for the project, (not everyone can be a Firefox only person; there should be one or more people who can articulate what it’s like to be on a non-Fx project) and views about staying broad.

Modules for “ staff” activities

June 13th, 2007

In the days before the Mozilla Foundation existed, the Mozilla project was originally managed by a group known as “ staff.” staff was a virtual organization which governed the Mozilla project in general, and did so increasingly unrelated to any employment relationship. staff managed the project’s day to day activities, and held responsibility for basic technology and policy decisions. Today, some of these functions live in the Foundation — stewardship of the assets, and release of products using the Mozilla name, as examples. So the old model of staff cannot continue unchanged in the world of the Foundation.

Nevertheless, we need a mechanism to address governance issues that are broader than any particular product or project issue. More specifically, we should identify the key activities of the Mozilla project, identify the decision-makers, define the scope of their authority and the criteria by which they are designated.

In the past I’ve thought of trying to modernize or reconstruct a group like staff — a group that would have a set of project-wide responsibilities and obligations. I’ve made several attempts at this. It sounds good in theory, but in reality turned out to be very messy. In the days of staff, there was no Foundation. Trying to create another group in the Mozilla world with another set of responsibilities that would overlap with, or maybe be governed by the Foundation’s Board where required by law, or maybe govern or direct the Board is very complex. And the idea of doing this in a way that people can understand and remember is even more difficult. I’ve stumbled at the effort a couple of times now and find the task pretty daunting.

So I have a new idea that is much more simple. I’m indebted to Mike Connor, who suggested something like it in a newsgroup posting a while back. (Needless to say, if you hate the idea, please leave mconnor out of it 🙂 )

My new idea is to identify the roles that staff used to play and make modules for these roles. We might have a “governance” set of modules, or a governance module with sub-modules. We’re in the process of creating modules for non-code topics anyway and so we could use a single type of mechanism for code, non-code and governance activities. We would determine governance related activities as well as activities the Mozilla Foundation now handles directly, like management of trademarks. We’d identify a module owner. We would also identify someone (a Peer, or a member) with an acknowledged voice in the Mozilla Foundation. We could do something like arranging for owners, peers or members for these modules to meet periodically with a Foundation representative. In any case, we would develop a mechanism for notifying the Foundation when an important issue has become contentious enough that escalation beyond the module owner is warranted. I’m not sure about the right mechanism here, but am pretty confident we can figure out something workable.

This path means the activities for which staff used to have authority are identified, we are clear about which have become Foundation / Corporation activities and which, if any, are related to employment. We have owners and a way for differing opinions to be expressed.

I like this approach because it allows us to address these issues within a structure and process that is already understood. It requires giving up some of the emotional attachment of a separate staff. I think this is manageable; keeping everything from our past intact will drag us into paralysis. And this offers a good chance of having a working process.

Thoughts more than welcome. Once again, I’m posting this in the governance newsgroup (available via newsreader or mailing list, or via the browser).

Foundation Executive Director Focus

June 13th, 2007

I’ve been reviewing the job description for the Mozilla Foundation Executive Director as part of ramping up the search process. It’s a great description; I like it quite a bit. It’s also long and complex. I thought it would be helpful to provide a summary of the main strategic goals we would like the ED to help us achieve. Here it is.

A primary role of the incoming ED is to expand the reach of the Foundation and its activities. In other words, to be a thought leader and help identify and develop strategic initiatives, and to oversee execution of these strategic initiatives.

We currently have a set of initiatives underway with our product and technology development and adoption — from products like Firefox and Thunderbird, to the technology of the Mozilla platform, to projects such as Seamonkey, Camino, and Bugzilla.

What else can we do? What else should we do? What other activities would make the Open Web a more lively, viable, interesting alternative? What other activities would encourage more people to participate in the Internet in alignment with the Mozilla Manifesto? How do we identify important activities? How do we try to achieve them? How do we do new things in a Mozilla-like way?

The Mozilla project as it exists today has a set of ongoing discussions. Is our product focus right? Should we make other, new products? How much attention should we give to the Mozilla platform, separate from any other focus? How do we promote the Open Web as a competitive platform to proprietary offerings? Is the distinction between products and projects quite right?

We expect the ED to participate as s/he gains experience and currency in the Mozilla world. But we don’t expect the ED to be, or be seen, as the judge of such questions. Actually, we hope that we move towards all sorts of new questions of focus and priority, based on new participants and new possibilities. This will be a mark of success.

Search Process for Executive Director

May 24th, 2007

I’m working on defining a search process for the Mozilla Foundation Executive Director. I’ve put an outline of my thinking so far in the mozilla.governance newsgroup, as that seems a better place for discussion. Take a look if you are interested in this topic.

Community, Foundation, Corporation

May 24th, 2007

Chris Beard’s recent post on being “knowable” helped crystallize some thoughts that have been running through my head, trying to find some form for expression.

These thoughts have been on the nature of “community” and its role in Mozilla. Sometimes I hear people talk about the Mozilla Foundation and/or the Mozilla Corporation as somehow distinct from the Mozilla community. I see things like “the Foundation and the community” or the “corporation and the community.” Even more pronounced, sometimes people tie the product — say Firefox, to either the foundation or the corporation, and then talk about the community as something different. Or they tie Firefox to the Corporation and view the Foundation and community as different, or separate, or outside of Firefox.

I think this overstates the role of legal structure and underestimates the fundamental role of community in all we do. The Mozilla community is not separate from Firefox or from any of the other activities in which Mozilla engages. The Mozilla organizations — Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Corporation, Mozilla Europe, Mozilla Japan, Mozilla China — have special responsibilities related to the resources they manage (Mozilla name and goodwill, infrastructure, revenue). These assets need to be managed for community benefit; the responsibilities need to be fulfilled as a member of the community, with two-way input and communication. None of these organizations can be successful by operating in a traditional sense.

This brings me back to Chris Beard’s blog. (Yes, there is a tie 🙂 ) Chris mentioned the problem that the word “corporation” has history and meaning that get in the way of people understanding Mozilla. People hear the word “Corporation” and then associate the Mozilla Corporation with other taxable corporations rather than thinking of the Mozilla Corporation as one of many tools for accomplishing the Mozilla vision.

This is unfortunate. We formed the Mozilla Corporation as a tool for accomplishing the Mozilla mission of an open and innovative Internet. It operates to promote the public benefit. It does not operate on standard for-profit principles. The Mozilla community (including those community members who are employees of the foundation and/or corporation) would not allow it to do so.

Our best estimates are that between 30 and 40% of the code in Firefox 2 was created by people who are not employees of any Mozilla organization. That’s a giant amount, particularly because we’ve hired a bunch of long time Mozilla contributors recently, and still the amount of code from non-employees is around a third of the product. Then there are the thousands of people who participate in related activities — testing, localizing, evangelizing — that develop and promote Firefox. There are also vibrant communities focused around other Mozilla activities, from Seamonkey to the Mozilla platform.

This set of people — volunteers and employees alike — is the heart of Mozilla, the life that makes us real and gives us impact. This community does not form to support a standard corporate endeavor. It forms to support the Mozilla mission. The legal organizations of the Mozilla world exist for the same reason. They are organizational centers to help the greater Mozilla community be more effective.

Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Role

May 22nd, 2007

As I mentioned a while back, the Mozilla Foundation is seeking an Executive Director. I’ve included the complete job description below. The search process for the Executive Director must be open, with significant community involvement. I’ll post a proposed plan for the search activities in the next couple of days for review and comment.

Information about the search as well as the job specification can also be found at the Mozilla Foundation website.

If you have thoughts on the job description, or on the proposed search process, please post them either as comments here, or as comments in the mozilla.governance newsgroup (available via newsreader or mailing list, or via the browser). And if you know anyone you think would be a good candidate, please contact Eunice Azzani at Eunice [dot] Azzani [at] kornferry [dot] com.


Executive Director


Mountain View, California


The Mozilla Project is one of the largest open-source software development projects in existence. Mozilla represents a user-base that is approaching 100 million people, paid and volunteer staff members, engineers paid by various employers to work on Mozilla, a volunteer population numbering in the thousands, a range of spin-off projects, and a set of companies using Mozilla technology to build products.

The Mozilla Project — which includes the Foundation and its wholly owned subsidiary the Mozilla Corporation — demonstrates that the open source development model is a vibrant addition to the traditional proprietary business models.

The Mozilla Corporation operates an extraordinarily transparent product development process and engages a global community of volunteer developers and enthusiasts to create and promote adoption for the browser. By harnessing the brainpower and creativity of a broad community, Mozilla has sparked a whole new wave of competition and choice on the Internet. At the same time, Mozilla has been able to provide Firefox users with a customizable and secure way to surf the Web — without the hassle of pop-up windows, adware and other nuisances.

Overview and Responsibilities

The Mozilla Foundation seeks an Executive Director with the passion to provide strategic leadership and vision for “an open Internet.” He/She should be motivated by the Foundation’s ability to connect people, technology and social possibilities.

The Mozilla community is made up of tens of millions of Firefox users, hundreds of thousands of contributors that are creating new technologies to ensure choice and promote innovation on the Internet. The Foundation with a current asset base of $35 million and the ability to leverage the work of Mozilla Corporation — is poised and ready to move to the next level which will focus on keeping the Internet open and accessible.


  • Serves as spokesperson for the organization and must be able to articulate and promote the Mozilla Foundation’s vision and mission.
  • Builds, motivates, and promotes a high quality staff.
  • Provides strong and innovative leadership in an open source environment with hands-on experience in running an organization, and developing and implementing programs.
  • Leads the long-range and strategic planning process of the Board of Directors, ensuring that benchmarks are established for measuring success and that the planning cycles recur as appropriate.
  • Implements and evaluates the action plan based on the approved strategic goals and opportunities.


  • A proven decision maker with the ability to set priorities, manage, and implement them.
  • Develops, establishes and maintains strong relationships with Mozilla Corporation and the Mozilla community.
  • Creates and develops programs within the Foundation to achieve the overall mission for Mozilla.
  • Develops strategic partnerships with appropriate organizations/people to advance the access and ease of the Internet.
  • Creates and encourages a collegial and participatory work environment where trust, integrity and open communication are valued.

Community and Board Development

  • Represents a strong cadre of volunteers, assuring their integration into the organization, culture, and leadership of the Foundation.
  • Provide avenues for full and open communication and collaboration with the community at large and promote an awareness of the diverse and changing needs of the community.
  • Initiates and encourages collaboration and cooperation among other organizations and leaders. Assists in building a shared vision of how to address and solve issues related to the Internet.
  • Develops Board meeting agendas, in collaboration with the Board Chair, and regularly provides information to the Board on activities in relation to the mission and progress toward the strategic goals adopted by the Board.
  • Provides information and recommendations to the Board for setting or revising the Foundation’s goals and objectives, operating policies, strategic planning and grant making priorities.
  • Qualifications

  • Ten years senior management experience in either the not-for-profit or for-profit environments that are technology driven.
  • Experience with open source environments is highly desirable.
  • Ability to channel and synthesize expectations and needs of multiple constituencies including users, developers and volunteers.
  • Should have an open and inclusive management style and be comfortable with working and resolving issues “in a fishbowl.”
  • Ability to manage personnel remotely.
  • He/she should have a high level of comfort and passion for technology and a sense of the possibilities of the Internet.
  • Experience in working with an international community of people and organizations.
  • A highly regarded professional stature and credibility, coupled with strong leadership skills.
  • Effective at leading and managing highly independent and self-motivated employees and volunteers.
  • The ability to prioritize and tackle multiple tasks and see the “big picture” are key. Maturity and sound judgment are essential.
  • Experience in setting strategic direction and driving it.

Personal Characteristics

  • Inspiring, creative and visionary about the Internet.
  • Entrepreneurial style and spirit.
  • Enjoys being in the company of technical people.
  • Excellent communicator with all people at every level, a leader and bridge builder.
  • Ability to work well under pressure and adapt easily to changing situations and priorities.
  • Good judgment and consensus building skills.


Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in experience is required.


A base salary commensurate with experience plus attractive benefits.

The Mozilla Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Please send your resume or recommendations to:

Eunice J. Azzani

Eunice [dot] Azzani [at] kornferry [dot] com

Mozilla Foundation Executive Director

April 18th, 2007

One of the great strengths of the Mozilla project is the dedication of its participants. Many people participate over a period of years — sometimes as volunteers, sometimes as employees — figuring out new ways to contribute.

Frank Hecker is one such participant. Frank has been active in the Mozilla project since the very beginning, helping with the project’s launch in 1998. He then participated as a volunteer for many years. When the Mozilla Foundation needed an Executive Director, Frank agreed to take on that role, becoming an employee of the Foundation. Frank has just noted his desire to change his role, to remain active with the Mozilla Foundation, and to help the Foundation identify its next Executive Director.

On behalf of the Mozilla project I want to thank Frank deeply for serving as the Foundation’s Executive Director and providing a much-needed anchor. The Mozilla Foundation would be far weaker without Frank’s dedication and efforts, which represent much of what is great about the Mozilla project. I am looking forward to working with Frank in the future. I suspect he will continue to do much of the same work he has been doing, particularly in the accessibility and grants area where he has been leading such great efforts.

The Mozilla Foundation has engaged an executive recruiter to help us identify good candidates and to conduct a healthy process for identifying, evaluating and ultimately deciding on the right person for its next Executive Director. We haven’t yet mapped out exactly what that process will look like, but we know it will be open, public and highly interactive.

Our recruiter for this selection process is Eunice Azzani, who has a great deal of experience in recruiting both non-profit and for-profit leaders. She specializes in finding “out of the box” individuals that want to make a difference and have a strong passion for the work they do.

Eunice has interviewed Mozilla Foundation and Corporation Board members, and is talking with a few other long-time and active contributors to get a general idea of a job description. We hope to have that description drafted shortly. The job description will be posted for public review and input. From there, we’ll figure out what’s a good process to make sure candidates are identified and evaluated in a way that represents the Mozilla communities. The Executive Director is responsible to the Foundation Board of Directors in an organizational and legal sense; and to the Mozilla community in a leadership sense.

If you have suggestions about how to run an effective, open process please raise them in the mozilla.governance newsgroup (available via newsreader or mailing list, or via the browser). For example, one early step I’ve been thinking of is to set up a method — IM, podcast, conference call, whatever — for community members to talk with Eunice directly. If you have suggestions about candidates or specific questions for Eunice, you can reach her at: Eunice [dot] Azzani [at] kornferry [dot] com.

The Mozilla Foundation has an enormous opportunity to improve online experience for tens of millions of people. The Executive Director we seek will have internalized the possibilities and bring both expertise and passion to achieving the Mozilla vision.

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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