Note: this article has been updated since its initial publication and may be updated again.

So Mozilla Foundation has just announced a reorganization. I was honored to be invited to become a member of the advisory committee. Frank Hecker and Mitchell Baker have already blogged at length about the reorg, and I suggest that you read their prose along with the reorg FAQ if you want to know more about all this.

I'd like to explain what is about this reorganization by answering a few question that you may ask:

What is Mozilla Corporation?

It is great news as it makes the Mozilla project more agile by removing uncertainties. Mitchell explains why:

Non-profit law is reasonably well understood for traditional non-profit organizations like museums, universities and the traditional style of charities. But organizations like the Mozilla Foundation, which develops and distributes consumer software, are new in the non-profit world and the application of nonprofit laws to their activities is a developing area. We've found that this uncertainty makes responding to Mozilla Firefox's success very complex. It is difficult to know what relationships with commercial organizations make sense for a non-profit or how to structure them. It is difficult to know what activities the non-profit should and shouldn't engage in. It is difficult to determine what ways of generating revenue make sense for a non-profit and which ways of generating revenue are not appropriate.

What is not Mozilla Corporation?

This reorg is not a big change for the Mozilla Foundation employees and for the project itself. Asa is right on when he writes From where I'm sitting, not much is changing. I'm still working with all the same people and towards all the same goals.

Contrarily to what John Markoff wrote in The New York Times, it is not a way to offer "(...) service and support at a fee". Offering such service is now easier to do with the non-tax-exempt subsidiary, but as far as I know, it's not in the plans. (Oh, by the way, Mr Markoff, breaking an embargo is quite uncool).

It is not a way for Mozillians to get instantly and insanely rich: as stated in the FAQ, there will be no IPO nor stock options. There is only one shareholder, which is the Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla Corporation and Mozilla Foundation will share the same mission, which is to promote choice and innovation on the Internet.

It is not a purely commercial company, as states Mitchell:

Its purpose is not to generate a return on investment in the financial sense. It is not an investment vehicle or an IPO candidate. It is completely owned by the Mozilla Foundation to promote an open Internet, where consumers have choice and innovation thrives.

Why not forget entirely about creating the Mozilla Corporation?

This question is answered by Frank Hecker on his blog post on the subject:

rejecting all potential business opportunities would certainly remove any worry about to handle them, but then we'd be giving up income that could go to support the public purpose of the project and the Foundation.

Overall, these are very exciting news for Mozilla. When I was invited to participate to the Advisory Committee which oversaw the creation of Mozilla Corporation, I attended the many meetings by keeping in a small corner of my brain the idea that I was representing the "outside" community (I'm not an employee of Mozilla Foundation, and not based in the US), and was ready to defend the vision of the community in case it was needed, but it was not. I already knew that Mitchell, Frank and the other members of the committee were really "community-conscious" in their approach and did the right thing and have put in place a set of rule that will respect the original, public-interest approach of Mozilla Foundation. This is just one more reason for me to appreciate the Mozilla Project as a whole: great products, awesome technology, created by smart and deeply honest people working for the greater good. I wish there were more projects like this.