“Mozilla” is sometimes used to refer to the free software/open source project that was founded in order to create the next-generation Internet suite for Netscape. The Mozilla Organization was founded in 1998 to create the new suite. On July 15, 2003, the organization was formally registered as a not-for-profit organization, and became Mozilla Foundation. The foundation now creates and maintains the Mozilla Firefox browser and Mozilla Thunderbird email application, among other products.
Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross began working on the Firefox project as an experimental branch of the Mozilla project. They believed the commercial requirements of Netscape’s sponsorship and developer-driven feature compromised the utility of the Mozilla browser. To combat what they saw as the Mozilla Suite’s software bloat, they created a pared-down browser, with which they intended to replace the Mozilla Suite. On April 3, 2003, the Mozilla Organization announced that they planned to change their focus from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox and Thunderbird.
The Firefox project has undergone several name changes. Originally titled Phoenix, it was renamed because of trademark issues with Phoenix Technologies. The replacement name, Firebird, provoked an intense response from the Firebird free database software project. In response, the Mozilla Foundation stated that the browser should always bear the name Mozilla Firebird to avoid confusion with the database software. Continuing pressure from the database server’s development community forced another change; on February 9, 2004, Mozilla Firebird became Mozilla Firefox.
The Firefox project went through many versions before 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004. In addition to stability and security fixes, the Mozilla Foundation released its first major update to Firefoxversion 1.5on November 29, 2005. On October 24, 2006, Mozilla released Firefox 2. This version includes updates to the tabbed browsing environment, the extensions manager, the GUI, and the find, search and software update engines; a new session restore feature; inline spell checking; and an anti-phishing feature which was implemented by Google as an extension and later merged into the program itself.