MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Mozilla today announced a new initiative to stimulate innovation in Internet mail and communications. Mozilla plans to develop Internet communications software based on the Thunderbird product, code and brand. The new initiative also aims to nurture a robust developer ecosystem in order to drive improvements through open source and community innovation, in the tradition of the Firefox web browser. Dr. David Ascher, currently CTO and VP Engineering of ActiveState, will join Mozilla to establish a new company focused on mail. Ascher has been an active member of the Mozilla community since 2000, initially as the lead of Komodo, a Mozilla-based integrated development environment (IDE). He is an established leader in the open source community, including his role as a director of the Python Software Foundation. "Innovating in mail and communications advances our vision of choice across the spectrum of Internet software," said Mitchell Baker, Chair, Mozilla Foundation. "David has been a respected member of the Mozilla community for many years and we're excited that he is joining Mozilla to lead this important effort." In July 2007, Baker delivered a call to action soliciting community feedback about the future of Thunderbird. After an active public discussion, the Mozilla Foundation board approved the creation of a distinct new Mozilla Foundation subsidiary dedicated to developing, innovating and improving Internet mail and communication software. Mozilla will provide US$3 million seed funding to establish this new company. Millions of people around the world rely on Thunderbird as their primary mail application. Nothing will change for current Thunderbird users. Mozilla will continue to provide Thunderbird users with regular security and stability updates as it establishes its new initiative, and remains committed to the needs of Thunderbird users. About Mozilla Mozilla is a global community dedicated to building free, open source products and technologies that improve the online experience for people everywhere. We work in the open with a highly disciplined, transparent and cooperative development process, under the umbrella of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. As a wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation organizes the development and marketing of Mozilla products. This unique structure has enabled Mozilla to financially support and cultivate competitive, viable community innovation. For more information, visit http://www.mozilla.com.