Firefox - Governance

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Context

From Jeremy Malcom:

"The Mozilla and OpenOffice.org projects, amongst the most successful and highest-profile of all open source projects, provide a slightly different example of hierarchical ordering in open source software development.In these cases, the authority is not that of an individual, but a corporation: originally Netscape Communications in the case of Mozilla, and Sun Microsystems in the case of OpenOffice.org.

As well as leading development, Netscape originally held the “Mozilla” trade mark (as Linus Torvalds does for “Linux” in various jurisdictions), and until 2001 required modifications to its source code to be licensed under terms that exclusively exempted it from the copyleft provisions applicable to other users. Similarly, Sun required (and continues to require) contributors to the OpenOffice.org project to assign joint copyright in their work to it.

This kind of collective hierarchical control over an open source software project can also be exercised by a civil society organisation. The non-profit Mozilla Foundation, for example, succeeded to the rights of Netscape, such as the trade mark and rights under the Netscape Public License. Membership of its governing body (or “staff”) is by invitation only."

Source: Book: Multi-Stakeholder Governance and the Internet Governance Forum. Jeremy Malcolm. Terminus, 2008, draft of chapter 4