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Mozilla Licensing Policies

Binary Components

Mozilla is and remains irrevocably committed to making free and open source software. We see this as the best way to advance our mission of preserving and promoting the open web. However, we also design and distribute our products to operate on both free and non-free, proprietary platforms with the goal of reaching as many users as reasonably possible. Developing products on non-free, proprietary platforms will often involve the use of OS vendor SDKs and other tools to develop for those platforms. In some cases, proprietary, non-free operating systems do not always contain all of the operating system components necessary for proper performance of our products and/or the SDKs impose terms that are inconsistent with our existing licenses.

When this occurs we may, under some circumstances, decide to include additional OS vendor code with the installer of our products designed for the proprietary platform to make our products work well on that specific operating system. This means some code included with the installer of our products on non-free platforms may be governed by licenses other than the Mozilla Public License. Binary versions of our products are distributed under the MPL, which allows bundling of proprietary code. Of course those who wish to compile the code without these components can do so from the source code repository. We believe this approach is consistent with other Linux distribution practices that may include binary elements, most notably drivers, and firmware support for network devices.

Some of the key factors in making such a decision include:

  • Whether the code provides OS level functionality that would normally be in the OS or which we have reason to believe will be there in the future;
  • The code is provided by the OS vendor or a trusted 3rd party;
  • Whether alternatives exist that provide a comparable user experience;
  • The terms under which the OS level code is available; and
  • Whether the inclusion of the code provides significant and important functionality for developers and/or users.

You can read the rationale for one such decision we have taken.

We will indicate in about:license whether any such code of this type is included in products designed for non-free platforms. If you have additional questions about this policy, please feel free to contact licensing@mozilla.org.