The non-profit Mozilla Foundation has created a for-profit subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation, that will focus on marketing and distributing the open source Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client.
The for-profit status allows Mozilla to undertake new projects that were out of bounds for the Foundation which are designed to ensure its long-term financial security.
"It is difficult to determine which ways of generating revenue make sense for a non-profit organisation and which ways are not appropriate," Mitchell Baker, president of the Mozilla Corporation, said on her blog.
"The Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity and is legally permitted greater freedom of action than the Mozilla Foundation."
But Baker stressed that the new corporation shares the Foundation's goals of furthering the use of open source software.
The Mozilla Foundation currently generates most of its revenues through a deal with Google that puts a link to the search engine on the browser's home page, and uses Google as the default search engine in the search toolbar.
Most employees of the Mozilla Foundation will be transferred to the new entity, which is expected to have a staff of 36. The Foundation will be left with a staff of three paid employees.
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