Mozilla Foundation and Garage Science

This is the second in a series of posts on the inspirations for Garage Science, and what we can learn from them to make Garage Science awesome.

There is a good (29%) chance that you are reading this post using Mozilla Firefox. Unlike other popular browsers, Firefox was not developed by a software company. Firefox exists thanks to a community of volunteers, who contributed their time and experience to create a product that competes with the best in the industry.

The Mozilla Foundation provides support and leadership for Firefox, and other open-source projects. Its mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web. Its history begins in 1998, with the release of the Netscape browser suite source code. It is a non-profit organization, supported by individuals and a variety of companies. Oh, and they also have a blog.

Mozilla’s volunteers create shiny working products. This is no piece of cake! Volunteers come in with different amounts of experience and time to contribute. Experienced hackers often have different (legitimate) ideas about the project. While diversity is great for innovation, it needs to be managed. Mozilla’s solutions are its governance and policies. For example, members of the community get the right to resolve conflicts based on their contributions, by becoming Module Owners, Super-Reviewers, and even Benevolent Dictators.

How is Garage Science like the Mozilla Foundation? Well, it:

  • Has passionate volunteers
  • Gets tangible results
  • Benefits a wide public
  • Promotes openness, innovation and opportunity
  • Is governed as a meritocracy
  • has a non-profit nature

How is Garage Science different from Mozilla?

  • Mozilla does web. We do science.
  • Most Mozilla volunteers work from their home or office. We work together in Science Garages.
  • Mozilla promotes innovation by competing with industry. We promote science by supplementing academic research.
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