WTF Mozilla?

It looks like I'm missing something here so I'd like someone to explain to me how Mozilla Foundation, a company into which Google dumps nearly $100 million a year, gets to produce Firefox (for which the only reason for using is that it sometimes sucks less than the competition), a mostly (still!) unifinished Thunderbird 3, and a couple of academic excercise-style projects?

Seriously, a company in which Google dumps nearly $100 million a year produced *what*? Firefox 3.6, a recently resurrected (and still not finished) Thunderbird 3.x and a couple of side projects which are not much better than academic exercises?

From the Mozilla financial statement it looks like more than $40 million was spent on "Software development". WTF? Where are the results?

And if I'm reading it correctly, $115 million was "Purchases of investments" - again, WTF? Someone is playing Wall street broker in a supposedly charitable, open-source company?

More: Mozilla apparently holds $1.8 million in "Furniture and office equipment" ???

Am I missing something here? Is all that considered normal?

Meanwhile, the FreeBSD Foundation is lucky if it scrounges over $300,000 a year and it basically supports an operating system. Whose results Mozilla uses.

#1 Re: WTF Mozilla?

Added on 2010-11-19T04:27 by JT

Just a wild guess. Patent lawsuit defense? Liberate/buy IP, have an open source product using the same technologies... Have a wider base of software/users in case of a major suit... Support extra brands - i.e. anything not IE in the market is good...

But I bet "broadening the IP universe beyond that of us and our competitors" is the main reason. It's a defensive IP reason, one that only makes sense in the broken IP regime we currently live under (which mostly makes about as much sense as medieval guilds).

Now... why someone wouldn't spend $3M on FreeBSD for the same purposes is beyond me.

Nor can I account for the quantity of $$$ involved.

But I'm pretty sure that the money makes sense from a high-level perspective within google. Look what happened to RIM.

#2 Re: WTF Mozilla?

Added on 2010-11-19T04:29 by G. Clifford Williams

In the words of Mr. Horse: "No sir, I don't like it"

#3 Re: WTF Mozilla?

Added on 2010-11-19T08:18 by Coté

Also, they may be saving all that money to fund themselves when/if Google stops paying them so much. That said, I have no idea how the balance sheet works at a non-profit like Firefox and if that's even possible. However, if I were in their position, I would assume that each year was the last year of that massive Google injection and start stock-piling to fund at least 5 more years of developement if funding was cut by 75% or more.

#4 Re: WTF Mozilla?

Added on 2010-11-19T09:39 by Martin Tournoij
Remember that the Mozilla Corporation is a for-profit company, *not* a non-profit foundation like FreeBSD. I think this may explain a very different mindset within the origination... Opera seems to be doing things cheaper though, according to wikipedia the total revenue was ~60M euro in 2008 ... They also produce better software, but let's not turn this into a religious discussion ;-)

#5 Re: WTF Mozilla?

Added on 2010-11-19T10:38 by lpetkov

try the latest beta and take a look at this:

#6 Re: WTF Mozilla?

Added on 2010-12-04T05:05 by sprewell

Well, browsers are roughly the same code base size as operating systems these days and as Chromium kills off firefox over the next couple years, the Google money is about to dry up, so don't expect Mozilla around for long. ;)

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