The Truth about Mozilla

Financials be Damned

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on October 22, 2007

Remember when I first posted about Mitchell Baker’s desire to become the richest person in open source history? Of course not, that’s this post; until now I’ve only pointed out the places where Mitchell’s greed has clawed its way through Thunderbird to the surface.

The Lizard received feedback that posting about the greediness of Mitchell Baker isn’t particularly nice. To be sure, I fully understood what I was saying, and those of you who find my words offensive should stop reading this blog. Those statements were made intentionally to raise the profile of a few truths that are kept fairly quiet in the Mozilla community.

Mitchell Baker is the chairperson of the board of directors for the Mozilla Foundation. She’s also the chairperson of the board of directors for the Mozilla Corporation. She’s also the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. See where I’m going with this? No? You’re a moron. You also failed U.S. history, apparently. You’re looking at Mozilla’s own version of an interlocking directorate, a form of corporate control commonly associated with the robber barons of the Gilded Age, particularly as they sought to get around the restrictions of early anti-trust legislation. Mitchell is, hands down, the most powerful person within Mozilla. Just as with the robber barons, disagree with her and you’re fucked. More importantly for the premise of this post, for each of those positions, she undoubtedly gets paid.

Let’s look closer. In 2005, Mitchell received compensation totaling $115,660 for sitting on the board of the Foundation and leading it (see PDF page 7). But 2005 was the year the Corporation split off from the Foundation. As a result, Mitchell made an additional $181,042 for being the head of that organization (see PDF page 27). Finally, Mitchell received $50,659 from the Foundation for providing back-office support (see PDF page 36). That means, if the Lizard can do math, Mitchell received a total of $347,361 in compensation for the year of 2005. Of course, that amount includes benefit contributions and is not entirely cash in her pocket.

It is now October 20, 2007, the 293rd day of 2007. The financials for 2006 have yet to be published. Of course, financials for 2005 were posted on January 2nd of this year, so we all might be waiting another 74 days to see what the Foundation doled out in 2006. Would anyone be surprised if Mitchell was making closer to $500,000 this year (2007). Five hundred thousand dollars. For $500,000 you can buy 500,000 cheeseburgers from McDonalds, 500,000 blank DVDs, or 1 Mitchell Baker.

The “market” has dictated that Mitchell is worth $500,000 a year. Since the Mozilla Foundation is accountable to the world at large (the Lizard ❤ non-profits) and I am a member of this world, I want to know what she does for that money. I’ve seen occasional appearances at events and posts to newsgroups and to her blog that outline new policies, but do we really think that’s worth $500,000 a year? Who sets that price? The board of directors, of course.

Now do you see where I’m going? The board of directors for the Mozilla Corporation (maybe Foundation) decide the salary of the CEO of the Corporation. The chairperson of that board is the CEO who’s getting paid.

The Mozilla Corporation generates $5 million a month. That’s $60 million a year. Half a million dollars go to Mitchell. It’s about goddamn time we find out what that money is getting us.

(Aside: The Lizard would be most thankful to anyone who provides the Foundation’s financials for 2006. Is there really any reason financials need to take 293 days? Maybe it’s time to read some non-profit law.)

7 Responses

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  1. Liz said, on October 23, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Go to and put in CEO as the job title for Mozilla’s zip code, which is 94043

    Only 25% of CEOs in the area make less than $560,736, that is, more than 75% of people with Mitchell’s job description make $60k more than your projected salary.

    So I guess no, we shouldn’t be surprised if she only makes $500k this year. She could no doubt be making a lot more somewhere else.

  2. Fake Lizard said, on October 23, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Liz, you’re missing the point. Ms Baker could be making millions a year for a good CEO position, but she’s at a company founded on open source and the good charity of donors and the public. She’s not at a Fortune 500 company with billions of dollars in revenue (Google skews your CEO numbers). She’s at Mozilla. Is it “right” for her to receive such an incredible salary? Maybe. Regardless, she damn well better be held accountable by the public and the company she works for to ensure that she’s actually earning it and not wasting money set aside for the public good.

  3. […] of legal professions afford a scalable grasp of increasing power inside organizations? Are their pointers to this? My skepticism of organizational operations and the functionality of certain professions in […]

  4. ][ stefano maffulli said, on December 5, 2007 at 1:43 am

    Managing non-profit organization is real business

    After many years working in a non-profit organization I became convinced that the main difference between for-profit business and non-profit business is in the availability (or lack thereof) dividends. Add that for-profit companies prefer not to pay di…

  5. crazycasino said, on January 11, 2008 at 8:22 am

    [[ … See where I’m going with this? No? You’re a moron. …]] I honestly think that the author of his post it THE moron here. 😛

    Ofcourse a NGO leader should be remunarated accordingly as the people in its industry / area etc …

  6. Ossy said, on June 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    you all fucking nuts, she shudnt be earning that money, and I feel sorry for the developers

  7. Ionut said, on November 4, 2009 at 3:21 am

    yeah, i hear what you’re saying. i’m surprised most people don’t mind it. after all, almost all of the positive reviews firefox and tb receive are because of the add-ons available for them, i.e. because of the work of some people who give up their free time to develop them, a lot of the time without receiving any compensation (maybe a few thank you’s from users)

    of course it’s immoral for her to be making half a million dollars in a year, when most people who develop for mozilla receive squat.

    but you know what they say.. people are morons

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