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Mozilla has announced its Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) programme to promote free software and open-source projects in India. As part of the initiative, Mozilla has set aside about INR 1.4 crore as funds for projects based in India or programmes that support open source in the present year.

The NDA government had released a policy as part of its Digital initiative, which invited the use of open source software. Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager of Mozilla Corporation, told ET that the government set an example through the open-source policy. “There are opportunities to further develop that down to the school level, as we know that computer science development are major topics of interest in Indian universities and spreading understanding of open source philosophy and technologies.”

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MOSS supports the Open Source and Free Software movement, with a yearly budget of around USD 3 million. Mozilla acknowledges that its birth happened from the Free Software movement and still pledges allegiance to it.

“Mozilla was born out of and remains a part of this movement, and we prosper because of its technology and activism. And we know that open source software remains a key part of the Internet and is essential for the online life of choice, innovation and opportunity we seek to build,” the MOSS site says.

Calling it ‘giving forward to projects whose goals are in alignment with ours’, MOSS is initiating ‘Global Mission Partners: India’, a pilot effort to target their resources on India’s regional open source community.

The programme is being launched in the form of an awards programme of the Mozilla Corporation, which will select and fund final award recipients. MOSS is administered in part by the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit owner of the Mozilla Corporation.

Mozilla’s India-specific programme is open to any open source or free software project that is involved in an activity that boosts Mozilla’s mission in a significant way. The applicants must of course be based in India. The winner will receive an amount of INR 1,25,000, but it can go up to INR 50,00,000.

The award applications, which are to be submitted by a leader of the project, should involve a project to write or enhance some software or software documentation under an OSI open source and/or an FSF free software license.

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The project origin must be India, either an individual resident in India, or a company or non-profit registered in India. The programme aims to get applications from groups without any current connections with Mozilla, as well as from communities outside the English-speaking free software world. Hence, applicants do not require a Mozillian supporting them. They do, however, require endorsement from a renowned figure from a wider software community to which the project must belong to.


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