The Mozilla Manifesto

The Mozilla Manifesto


The Internet is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives.

The Mozilla project is a global community of people who believe that openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet. We have worked together since 1998 to ensure that the Internet is developed in a way that benefits everyone. We are best known for creating the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We create communities of people involved in making the Internet experience better for all of us.

As a result of these efforts, we have distilled a set of principles that we believe are critical for the Internet to continue to benefit the public good as well as commercial aspects of life. We set out these principles below.

The goals for the Manifesto are to:

  • articulate a vision for the Internet that Mozilla participants want the Mozilla Foundation to pursue;
  • speak to people whether or not they have a technical background;
  • make Mozilla contributors proud of what we’re doing and motivate us to continue; and
  • provide a framework for other people to advance this vision of the Internet.

These principles will not come to life on their own. People are needed to make the Internet open and participatory - people acting as individuals, working together in groups, and leading others. The Mozilla Foundation is committed to advancing the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto. We invite others to join us and make the Internet an ever better place for everyone.


  • The Internet is an integral part of modern life—a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
  • The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
  • The Internet must enrich the lives of individual human beings.
  • Individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.
  • Individuals must have the ability to shape the Internet and their own experiences on the Internet.
  • The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
  • Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.
  • Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability and trust.
  • Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial profit and public benefit is critical.
  • Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.

Advancing the Mozilla Manifesto

There are many different ways of advancing the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto. We welcome a broad range of activities, and anticipate the same creativity that Mozilla participants have shown in other areas of the project. For individuals not deeply involved in the Mozilla project, one basic and very effective way to support the Manifesto is to use Mozilla Firefox and other products that embody the principles of the Manifesto.

Mozilla Foundation Pledge

The Mozilla Foundation pledges to support the Mozilla Manifesto in its activities. Specifically, we will:

  • build and enable open-source technologies and communities that support the Manifesto’s principles;
  • build and deliver great consumer products that support the Manifesto’s principles;
  • use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform;
  • promote models for creating economic value for the public benefit; and
  • promote the Mozilla Manifesto principles in public discourse and within the Internet industry.

Some Foundation activities—currently the creation, delivery and promotion of consumer products—are conducted primarily through the Mozilla Foundation’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.


The Mozilla Foundation invites all others who support the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto to join with us, and to find new ways to make this vision of the Internet a reality.

A lot has been happening over in Mozilla-land, and to help figure out how to approach it, I’m starting with some ideas.

Is this true?

Hmmm. Probably. Because every government in the world is expected to user technology, and therefore the internet by extension, to administer their Earth regions.

How important, I wonder. Ten years ago, what the internet as important? Tens prior to that? Is the internet’s importance increasing? Sheesh, that’s a major issue, ne? If it is increasing… I don’t know if folks can keep up with that. Folks are going to be hurt, the more we rely on the internet and less on the person we are interacting with in any given interaction.

:thinking: :grimacing:

What is the Mozilla project? It isn’t simple, that’s for sure. There are companies involved, and they sometimes spin off or buy other companies. 1998 in this context is just an indicator that the Mozilla project today likely looks very different than when it started.

This is really interesting, and I’d like to know more.

I recall, as a contemporary observer, Mozilla developed several tools that were at times critical for development on the web. I’d like to enumerate Mozilla’s “world-class open source software”.

I’d also like to know what “communities of people” refer to. Because if Mozilla is for-profit, those are are called “customers”.

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This is where I start looking askance: “commercial aspects of life” is presumed. I’m not sure that makes sense.

I’m having difficulty pinning down the who “Mozilla participants” are. Firefox users? Mozilla employees?


This seems prudent. I don’t know it is, but it seems like that shape. I hear pride goes hand-in-hand with morale, which is important for groups of people.

Hey, this is happening right now. :slight_smile:

Okay, let’s see what we’ve got…

Now we get to the principles. There are 10, and not enumerated in this doc, but I’m talking about them separately so I will refer to them as HOLY MOZILLA COMMANDMENT number N.

Principle number 1:


How much has life changed prior to the early 80s (yeah, I happen to know more about internet history than you, I’m pointing out that it wasn’t moving the needle for all those sectors until at least as late as the 80s [how many internet businesses or educational resources were available in Stranger Things?]).

I’m not sure I can answer to the truth of this statement. I tend to think folks could get on without the internet, but maybe it is truly a dark age when we can’t spew our opinions into each other’s thoughtstreams at the speed of fiber’d light.

My serious point is: I’m not using this principle to build upon. Further examination:

  • education - Which part of education is the internet supporting? It’s been a political sinkhole used to store so much trash it is now a mountain, and only now is “modern life” being held accountable. Home school much, America? Kinda sucks that we all cranked into building ADHD-capitalist-monsters, huh? The curriculum for it is brutal, but wait, you have all the support you need, just jump on this Zoom real quick…
  • communication - Yeah, fair point. I guess. Kinda the internet’s wheelhouse, ne?
  • collaboration - I want to believe collaboration increased because of the internet. My personal collaboration hasn’t improved since the 90s, so I’ll just finish typing this into personal forums and hop back on jabber to chat with friends. :face_with_monocle:
  • business - :roll_eyes: Not sure what to say here. I want folks to have meaningful lives, but businesses seem incapable of providing that, and all my ideas on the subject tend to be radical in the political as well as TMNT sense, so I’ll just note that the “business” of the web is messy AF and the more Mozilla acts like a “business” the more everyone I know hates it.
  • entertainment - “Entertainment” is business speech for “profitable culture” and I reject that. I don’t want starving artists; I want artists on universal basic income and don’t want to be distracted by hyperreal myths until it gets done.
  • society as a whole - I’m aware of this being true if one accounts for empires using the internet to subjugate the rest of the world in proxy war games. Oh shit, 1984 ya’ll! The good world-building parts, not the psychosexual-babble and just so much drinking. Anyhow, yeah, not sure society is benefiting greatly from the internet. For certain values of “society”.


Maybe I’d just say something like, “The internet affects us all—our education, communication, ability to organize and collaborate, to create and share our culture, and will continue to shape our society as a whole.”

That sounds great. I’m not sure it’s true.

Is it a global public resource? Can it be, with ICANN and USA running it? How does China’s censorship work? Is there a Chinese internet? Hmmm, are there language or culture based internets?!

I want the intenet to be a global public resource. I’m not sure it ever has been. It would be nice for it to be open and accessible.

Ah, this type of sentiment trips me up, similar to A beastiary of ethical-licenses. When it isn’t actionable for me, or I can’t describe how it is actionable for another, it just becomes more text to process.

What does it even mean to “enrich an individual life”? What? We don’t require that of other media, but we sure aim high for the complicated one that hardly anyone understands…

  • “Writing must enrich the lives of individual human beings.”
  • “Radio must enrich the lives of individual human beings.”
  • “Talking must enrich the lives of individual human beings.”
  • “Television must enrich the lives of individual human beings.”


I completely agree.

Sounds good, but vague enough to not be practical. I suppose that’s what a “principle” is, otherwise it would be a “plan”. :thinking:

I love this statement. What it needs is an addendum explaining how capitalism, in hindsight, does not support this when unless they are profiting, hence removing public resources from the stewardship of private companies.

Google is basically the contemporary poster child of this, but we used to talk about “Ma Bell” and other ICT companies in this way. And also in every era of industry “barony” before, where the few screwed over the rest of us for profit.

This is why I criticize:

You can’t let business and entertainment concerns determine how we create protocols and standards, or we lose.

This is contentious, for certain values of “open source”. But this is the recurring theme in the manifesto: we support capitalism, too! And “open source” is hardly a nice phrase these days, without another qualifier (perhaps that’s the “free and…”).

Gee, this is kinda complicated: basically, we have indicators (in large part the other major browser players, it so happens…) that companies are ultimately exploiting “open source” as cheap labor. As a hobby it exists for privileged users, and reinforces negative behaviors. Open source is a brainfuck, and individuals can not win.

Okay, so… I want to state such a sentiment as this principle, but I believe it is untrue. Perhaps at the time it seemed that way, but in hindsight, it hasn’t worked out. Open source promotes corporations to close their webs around labor pools without investing. They do not see the Internet as a public resource, but as platform of markets, each to be played at the detriment of people and their rights (and scarily enough, it is also a detriment to their ability to think freely and avoid cultural, educational, and political back-sliding).



Socially responsible software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.

Yeah, that sounds great. Maybe not far enough.

Participation, accountability and trust require transparent community-based processes.

Well… not really sure how much to rail against this.

It basically comes down to this: “commercial involvement” equates to “business practices”, and because business practices are legally mandated to protect the interest of their property over human dignity, unless a commercial entity goes out of their way to signify they follow different practices, such as being a coop or acting in “social purpose”.

Therefore, no, “commercial involvement” should not be balanced against public benefit. That is a capitalist view of development, where old money invests in the future, but the entire system is rigged to favor those with power, hence the great scam of evaluating “commercial involvement” against “public benefit”.

I propose rejecting such a balance. It puts us in the frame of mind to give companies short term gain (via whatever is important to them: becoming a monolithic platform, harvesting user data, etc) at the expense of long term public benefits. Rather, support should be given to commercial endeavors based on measurable success in providing a public benefit.

With that framework in mind we could have standards bodies operating with resistance to corporate buy-outs, demanding they serve the public.

Well, this just supports my prior point: it’s a framework, a point-of-view. I don’t default to a position where “public benefit” is required to be magnified: I require it be secure and distributed.

In the case “public benefit” and “capitalism” are incompatible, public benefit wins. Well, I think so.

This is some swell copy. Well, not the second sentence, I had to read it three times to understand what it was saying, and honestly I’m still not sure… but it ends on a great note, and encourages an ecosystem.

Just one problem: I don’t agree with the manifesto. I know I have hindsight, but the principles are based on companies not acting like companies, which is a mistake we keep collectively making.

I uphold a loftier version of the manifesto, so now I’ll need to document it proper so I can include an nice section on Advancing itself. :face_with_monocle:

By the time I’ve gotten here I know I am not fully aligned with Mozilla. As far as I can tell, they’ve acted along the guidelines enumerated; a lot of it is subjective, sure, but it isn’t like Mozilla is the enemy of users, as so many are these days.

It feels like something crafted in Silicon Valley. No matter how idealistic, it is blended with the “California Ideology”, and all the accompanying weaknesses.

Is it customary to end a Manifesto with an invitation? Hmmm, has someone tracked that? Do we have a database of Manifestos somewhere?!


In closing, these were some notes on my reading of the manifesto. Discuss, or don’t. But we need more web user agents, made by more people.