How 'free' is Mozilla?
All software from mozilla.org may be obtained free of charge:
- All our products may be downloaded for free.
- You may also obtain some programs on CD for a small fee.
Unlike other software that is billed as 'free', our software has no hidden costs:
- No restrictions
- All software from mozilla.org is a fully unencumbered and you may continue to use it for as long as you wish to do so. Our software is not shareware and you will not be asked to pay a registration fee.
- No adverts
- Our software will not require that you view adverts in order to use it.
- No spyware
- Our software will not attempt to collect personal information about you or the way you use your computer
- No intrusive behaviour
- Our software does not attempt to install shortcuts to "partner software" or fill your bookmarks with unwanted links to commercial sites.
- No limits
- You may run as many copies of Mozilla software as you like. You may copy it between different machines and you may give it to your friends. In fact, as long as you are just redistributing unaltered copies of the program, mozilla.org puts no restrictions on what you may do with software from mozilla.org.
Free as in Freedom
The freedom of our software goes beyond simply providing software cost-free. Freedom is a core part of our development philosophy.
- run the program, for any purpose
- study how the program works, and adapt it to their needs
- redistribute copies at will
- improve the program, and distribute the altered version.
With free software, you are not locked into the products of one company. You are free to control your own future.
All the source code for Mozilla is available under the Mozilla and Netscape Public Licenses, which are accepted as free software licenses by the Free Software Foundation and approved as open source licenses by the Open Source Initiative.
The spirit of the MPL is that you are free to use Mozilla code in your applications and products – including proprietary products – provided that you make available any modifications you make to the actual Mozilla code base itself.
It is this freedom to modify and redistribute the code that makes Free software different from other types of software which are provided without charge. Because our source code is open, many users of the software are able to make improvements to the code which add new features or fix bugs that they have found. These improvements are then incorporated into future releases of the software so they benefit everyone.
How can I contribute?
Obviously the development of software isn't cost free, even if that software is provided for free. The Mozilla Foundation maintains a great deal of hardware and software required for the day to day running of the Mozilla project. It also employs some of the key developers working on the project. Some of the Mozilla Foundation's income is provided by satisfied users who have decided that Mozilla software is so useful in their day to day life that they would like to contribute back to the project.
Apart from financial support, the Mozilla project also encourages users to get involved with other aspects of the project, including quality assurance, documentation, code development and extensions, marketing, and community support.
- Overview of mozilla.org, its mission and getting involved.
- The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond – why the open source process results in better software.
- Freeing the Source: The Story of Mozilla by Jim Hamerly and Tom Paquin with Susan Walton, from the book Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution.
- The websites of the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation.