Mozilla offers $1 million to support open source and free software movement

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Mozilla is starting an open source-supporting award program with an initial allocation of $1 million. The company has long been a proponent of open source software, and now wants to give something back to the community on which it so heavily relies.

The Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) is described as a way of both giving back to the community, but also giving forward to up and coming projects that could benefit others. A key feature of the program is a focus on improving the security of open source software, and Mozilla is looking to identify up to ten projects to help fund by the middle of December.

The company has revealed a list of open source software that it itself relies on, and says that it is now time to "formalize a systematic way to provide a new level of support to this community". Details of MOSS have been added to the Mozilla Wiki and 'Mozillians' are invited to contribute to the program by suggesting terms.

Introducing the new program, Mozilla's Mitchell Baker said:

The Mozilla Open Source Support program will also encompass a component supporting increased attention to the security of open source and free software programs. Our initial allocation for Mozilla Open Source Support is one million US dollars. As we develop this program we will determine future allocations.

Projects are free to apply for an award from Mozilla, and the following criteria have been set out:

  • Awards should be jointly submitted by the leader of a project and an established Mozillian who will champion the grant.
  • The Mozillian may be (but does not need to be) a project contributor to the project they are championing.
  • The Mozillian must vouch for the usefulness of the software, commit to monitoring the project, and report on the effectiveness of the grant after the money is spent. They will also work with the application evaluation committee to help them assess the appropriateness of the grant to the needs of the project.
  • The money must be used to benefit the project, but it does not have to be used on things which themselves would directly benefit Mozilla.
  • Grant requests should be for the amount of financial support that helps accomplish a clear and current project goal. Projects that don’t have a need for funds at this time can be considered when such a need arises. A $10,000 grant request is just as valid as a $50,000 or $100,000 request. A previous award proposal, successful or unsuccessful, does not disqualify a project from applying again.
  • The project’s home can be anywhere in the world where we can make payment without undue burden. We have a reasonably strong preference for funding legal organizations rather than individuals representing projects, although exceptional circumstances could lead to some flexibility.

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