The "proudly non-profit" Mozilla Project is 15 years old this month.
The project started out as a release of the Netscape browser and email client/suite back on March 31 1998, at which point Netscape Communications Foundation formally created Mozilla.
The Mozilla name comes from a portmanteau of "Mosaic" (a web browser popular around the early days of the web) and "Killer" -- hence Moz-illa.
NOTE: NCSA's Mosaic broke away from the small pack of existing browsers by including features - like icons, bookmarks, a more attractive interface and pictures - that made the software easy to use and appealing to "non-geeks".
After Microsoft started shipping Internet Explorer for free, Mozilla's free release of the Firefox browser was in some ways made inevitable -- especially given that IE had a roughly 90 percent share of the market at the time.
Mozilla's plan was as radical as the web itself
"Looking back, Mozilla's plan was as radical as the web itself: use open source and community to simultaneously create great software and build openness into the key technologies of the Internet itself. This was something commercial vendors weren't doing and could not do. A non-profit, community-driven organization like Mozilla was needed to step up to the challenge," writes Mitchell Baker
According to open source news portal The H, "In 2004, Firefox 1.0 was released and started to have the impact on the web business that the organisation had hoped for. By 2005, it had been downloaded 100 million times and by 2008, it had managed to reach 20 per cent market share, a feat that didn't go unnoticed elsewhere as it was that year that Google announced Chrome, its own web browser."
Antarctica Firefox users
Mozilla has used this anniversary to highlight key methods that all users can adopt for contributing to further browser development.
The organisation points out that it has contributors on every continent, including Antarctica (where Firefox is used by 80% of people).
Today we know that three billion people have downloaded Firefox Add-Ons.
These Add-ons are intended to allow users to augment application features and handle new types of content.
"Developers can help Mozilla by adding new features, making our technology smaller and faster and making development easier for others. Tell us your favourite programming language and we'll find the project for you," says Mozilla
If you want to contribute to Mozilla you can explore the options here http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/