This evaluation represents the most comprehensive and objective attempt thus far to capture and measure the impact of the MOSS program and the role that it has played in the open source ecosystem over the last five years. Through the process of interviewing dozens of internal and external stakeholders, we heard a clear call for support from the community: people see MOSS as a unique and critical resource and want to see it continue. Over the years, there have been moments of transition and a number of inefficiencies which have prevented the program from reaching its full potential. But through the process of conducting this evaluation, we were continually reminded of the program’s value and the clear reputational benefit it provides to Mozilla.
In comparing MOSS funds side-by-side, we were surprised and impressed by the results of the COVID-19 Solutions Fund, which was quite unlike anything we’ve previously done under the banner of MOSS. The COVID fund reached a wider audience than expected, encouraged far more applications than anticipated and resulted in awards that had a clear, immediate impact. We believe that these results speak to the successful aspects of the program’s design: coordinated outreach and marketing, a fast turnaround time and an agile approach to the program’s execution. This has shown that with a few tweaks, there’s an opportunity for MOSS to fund innovative approaches to pressing problems and to help Mozilla reach new technical audiences.
As for the primary MOSS tracks, there’s an opportunity to simplify and restructure the program to make it more legible to external audiences, better leverage internal strengths and enhance the program’s contributions to Mozilla’s strategic goals. Dependency support should be moved to MoCo, where it can integrate with Mozilla engineering and better support both existing dependencies and new innovation; mission-aligned funding should continue to be administered by the Foundation, with a greater focus on pan-Mozilla strategic alignment; and security audits should remain at the Corporation and receive the staffing, structure and resources to become a proper program. We believe that the above recommendations will enhance the efficiency, responsiveness and impact of each MOSS track beyond what’s possible within the current structure of MOSS. By breaking up the program and reorienting each of its component parts toward specific strategic goals, we could maximize our resources and impact, in order to support Mozilla’s goals for years to come.