Mozilla is launching a new division of the Mozilla Foundation that will be solely devoted to internet, mail and communications and will aim to nurture the growth of a robust open source community.

The division will be headed up by Dr David Ascher, previously chief technology officer and vice president of engineering of ActiveState.

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 Firefox.

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.

Mozilla will provide US$3 million seed funding to establish this new company.