MOSS/Foundational Technology

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Mozilla currently relies on a number of open source and free software projects. In some cases the software produced by these projects is incorporated into Mozilla products. In other cases we run it as part of our infrastructure, or Mozillians use it to get their jobs done. The Foundational Technology track is open to such projects who are in need of funds.

Project Criteria

Awards should be jointly submitted by the leader of a project and an established Mozillian who will champion the award. The project/people need to meet the following criteria:

  • Award 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 award request is just as valid as a $50,000 or $100,000 request.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Mozillian champion may be (but does not need to be) a project contributor to the project they are championing.
  • The Mozillian champion must vouch for the usefulness of the software, commit to monitoring the project, and report on the effectiveness of the award after the money is spent (perhaps using a standardized form). They will also make themselves available to the application evaluation committee to help them assess the appropriateness of the award to the needs of the project.

We expect the vast majority of MOSS awards to be singular rather than regular - that is, support for doing a particular defined thing, rather than ongoing support for a project in general. However a previous award proposal, successful or unsuccessful, does not disqualify a project from applying again.

Selection Criteria

All criteria are indicative rather than determinative - that is to say, they will make us more or less likely to make an award, but none will guarantee a particular outcome.

  • How reliant is Mozilla on the project's technology?
  • Do others also rely on it outside of Mozilla products?
  • Is the technology unique? Are they doing something different?
  • What role does the project play in the open source ecosystem?
  • What sort of reputation does the project have in general, if any?
    • This includes reputation in technical, inclusion and other areas
    • Is the project known for something besides the code we are relying on?
  • Will this award make a significant impact on the project?
  • Is the level of funding appropriate for the task to be accomplished?
  • Does the person (or group) who will receive the money have a track record of delivering?
  • What does the champion have to say? Is the case compelling?

The minimum award for the Foundational Technology track is $10,000, and the maximum is $250,000.

Mozilla Champions

Applications need to be jointly submitted by the project and a Mozilla Champion. A Champion is an established member of the Mozilla community who knows the project concerned. Being a champion means you believe in the project and its impact. You believe that funds from a MOSS Award would make a meaningful difference in the success and effectiveness of the project. You believe the range of funds requested in the Award proposal is appropriate. And you believe that the project and/or the task fit the award criteria for the track you are applying for.

A champion does a few different things:

  • sponsors the project’s award proposal (it is akin to vouching for someone);
  • serves as the liaison between that project and Mozilla with regard to the award;
  • reviews the effectiveness of the award funds after an agreed upon period, to help Mozilla improve the effectiveness and impact of the MOSS program.

This review process might involve answering a set of standard assessment questions at the mid-point and at the end of the award period, and giving your written opinion of the overall success of the award. The time commitment should not be massive, but it will require thoughtfulness and honesty.

How To Apply

The application form is here. For application deadline information, see the main page.

If you need help completing your application, see the list of mentors on the main page. If you are looking for a good example, you can read the successful applications from Django and Mercurial.


What if my project doesn’t have a legal organizational home? I see this is disfavoured, and exceptional circumstances are required. What might count as "exceptional"?
You tell us. If a project doesn't have a legal organizational home, we will be handing a large sum of money to an individual with only limited accountability. This means a higher level of complexity and risk. So you need to describe why it's reasonable and important for us to accept that additional risk. We will listen because Mozilla is a pretty flexible organization, but we can’t promise the result will be as you hope.
What about tax?
Recipients are responsible to determine the tax implications of receiving an award, based on their respective countries’ tax laws and compliance requirements. Amounts applied for should be sized such that any tax or other liability that will be incurred is accounted for. Mozilla reserves the right to use different payment mechanisms or tax characterisations for different awards in the MOSS program based on a number of factors specific to the award.