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29 November 2010

FOSDEM 2011

Grey skies, drizzle, freezing temperatures, dark afternoons...

Yes, you guessed it: FOSDEM is around the corner!!

Thousands of FLOSS users and developers from all over Europe will converge in Brussels on February 5 and 6, 2011, for the 11th Free and Open Source Developer Meeting.

As every year, Mozilla will have its own DevRoom where Mozilla awesomeness will be showcased, discussed, shared and of course hacked during two full days. And as every year, we'll have a large booth manned by Mozilla staff and volunteers, where FOSDEMers will be able to talk to Mozillians, learn how to contribute to the Mozilla project and of course, walk away with some fresh Mozilla swag.

The big novelty this year, or rather, the big change from previous years, is that Mozilla Europe will only be sponsoring travel and accommodation for Mozilla DevRoom speakers and will not be sponsoring Mozilla contributors. As Tristan explains in his blog, this decision comes as we prepare plan and prepare for the next Mozilla Camp Europe 2011 (date to be confirmed) and future contributor events in 2011. This change in sponsorship policy aims at a couple of things:

- to de-emphasize FOSDEM as a Mozilla contributor meetup and focus more on the event as a unique opportunity for people from other projects to sit in the Mozilla DevRoom to learn more about Mozilla.

- to encourage Mozillians who make the trip to Brussels (and we strongly encourage all Mozillians to make the trip) to spend more time learning and sharing in other DevRooms.

- to allocate more resources for Mozilla Camp Europe 2011 to be able to sponsor more Mozilla contributors to attend the camp and to make it the "premiere" Mozilla contributor event in Europe (NB: i'll be blogging about it soon)

The official wiki has just been created and will be updated daily until the insanity begins in Brussels. Everyone interested in giving a talk in the DevRoom this year is strongly encouraged to submit a proposal to Brian King, veteran Mozillian and lead schedule architect this year (thanks Brian!!). Please submit your talk proposal to him by Friday, 15th January 2011 at: brian at mozdev dot org.

As always, if you have any questions, please ask away ! :)

16 November 2010

Notes from my week in Thailand (or Why meeting in person matters)

Yesterday, I got an email from Wichai "Cheng"Termwuttipreecha, a lead Mozilla contributor from Thailand and based in Bangkok, informing me that the Thai localization crew had just about finished localizing Firefox 4. This is awesome news. I want to stress this not only because it's an important milestone - only a few weeks ago, localization efforts were lagging behind and it looked far from certain that Fx 4 would be shipping in Thai - but because it comes after some very productive and insightful team-building meetups I was fortunate to help lead during my week in Bangkok.

Cheng's email landed in my inbox just as I was getting ready to write a little summary of my recent trip to South East Asia, where I flew to Bangkok late October to meet up with my colleagues Gen and Dietrich to participate in Barcamp Bangkok 2010. It was surely SE Asia's largest barcamp this year, gathering more than 1,200 techies from more than 20 countries for 2 days of geeking out, learning and sharing.

This barcamp was by far the most memorable one I've participated in, not so much for its sheer size and scope but for the incredibly eclectic mix of developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, journalists, web enthusiasts I met there. More than anything though, this BarCamp reminded me (or dare I say, made it blatantly clear to me!) of one thing: face-time and real-life interaction makes a world of difference when it comes to engaging with existing and potential Mozilla contributors. The talks we gave with Gen and Dietrich (ranging from an intro to WebGL and how to build your first JetPack, to community building efforts in Europe) attracted a lot of Barcampers and were very well received. By the end of the event, no fewer than a dozen people signed up to join the existing Mozilla Thai community and start contributing. Some focused on localizing MDC in thai, others started creating JetPack tutorials in Thai, while others worked on bug triaging.

Building on the momentum gained, we organized several meetups that same week with local Mozilla contributors to discuss the current state of the Thai community, key challenges the community faces, ways to strengthen and build the community and finally, to identify key goals to achieve for the next 6 months. With 15% Firefox market share, there's still a lot of work to do.

The 4 top priorities identified were:

  • localizing Firefox 4
  • empowering contributors, defining clearer roles and responsibilities
  • finalize the design of the Thai community portal and go live
  • preparing a community marketing plan in preparation for the launch of Firefox 4

By the end of the third and final meetup that week, the community had successfully defined a thorough roadmap for the next two quarters.

Item number one was to get Firefox 4 localized by mid-November. Status? DONE. (see first paragraph of this blog post.)

The rest of the roadmap looks like this (see google doc in Thai here):

Mid to end of November : hold a community meeting to discuss and agree on new organizational structure whereby clear roles and responsibilities are attributed to contributors.

End of November to end of December: hold a meeting to define and agree on final structure/design/content of community portal and produce content. Ideally, the community website will go live at the end of the year.

Early December to late January: produce a clear action plan for community marketing activities around the launch of Firefox 4 (ie. plan for several launch parties across the city, and a nationwide community marketing campaign online)

So yes, a very productive week indeed and the community made huge progress on many different fronts in very little time. Of course, that is not to say no progress would have been made had we not met that week, but what is that we got the ball rolling faster and in a clearer direction. I think this serves as great case-study which, I hope, Mozilla communities can use and find inspiration from. I think the main takeaways from working one week with the Thai community are three-fold:

  • identifying key priorities and then setting clear goals against each one of them helps everyone get more visibility on their respective tasks and makes everyone feel more comfortable taking owernship of them
  • defining a realistic roadmap puts everything into perspective, helps everyone plan ahead and work more effectively towards specific deadlines
  • spending time to meet and discuss in person helps strengthen the bond between contributors, creates trust and has a real galvanizing effect

I really want to put extra emphasis on this last point: meeting in person matters. Yes, it sounds obvious, but I think it's something we all too easily forget or brush aside at Mozilla, as we sit hunched over our computer chatting away on IM or IRC. Of course it's not always easy to meet (especially when living hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart) but if the opportunity does arise, then you should jump on it. That extra effort to meet and work together will go a long way.... My job at Mozilla, among other things, is to help facilitate these meetups and encourage Mozillians to work more closely (and productively!) together. If you are thinking of organizing  a local Mozilla meetup in your town or region, shoot me an email and I'll be more than happy to help any way I can.

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Special shout-outs:

  • Huge thanks to Cheng for being such a great host and for helping with all the logistics in Bangkok and a huge thanks to all who participated in the meetups. Also many thanks to Patipat "Keng" Susumpow (Mozilla Thailand's community lead) for the lengthy Skype follow-up calls to catch up. Such a shame you couldn't join us that week.
  • a very big hat tip to Viking Karwur (Mozilla Indonesia) for being such an amazing host in Jakarta and many thanks to the whole PestaBlogger crew! My stay was way too short (and so was my talk!) but so happy to have met you all and to have experienced my first PestaBlogger :) Can't wait to be back and continue where we left off!

8 October 2010

Learning from the Aviary.pl crew

I had the pleasure (and the privilege!) earlier this month to attend my first ever team meeting of Aviary.pl, Poland's vibrant community of localizers and open source advocates who brought Mozilla Products to the country. Tucked deep in a forest in central Poland, in the town of Lipie 200km north Poznan, 15 members made the trip for the 3 day meeting.

I've been working with the Aviary.pl crew ever since I joined Mozilla in 2008 but I had never actually seen the team "at work" together. Earlier this year, at the Mozilla Summit, I had a long chat with the group's president, Hubert, and kindly offered that I attend their next meeting. I happily obliged.

It was not only the opportunity for me to finally meet in person many members of Aviary.pl and indulge in Zubrowka, it was also an opportunity to attend their meeting as a note-taking observer, to see how they work and take back observations and ideas that I could share with other Mozilla communities.

Aviary.pl was founded in 2004 and work on the localization, testing and promotion of Mozilla products and other open source projects. Over the years, they've built an incredibly efficient, disciplined, organized and productive volunteer organization that I believe serves as a model that Mozilla communities around the world can learn from. What is it exactly that makes Aviary.PL such an admired community in tech circles in Poland and such a productive and successful one?

Aviary.pl's structure resembles that of a standard non-profit organization in Poland, with a governing board presided by Hubert, a supervisory board and a team of project leads working on specific areas (eg. Firefox, Thunderbird, QA, SUMO, Linux distributions, Gnome, Marketing etc...). But perhaps what makes Aviary.pl differ most from other Mozilla communities is the way it recruits its members, where each new recruit must go through an extensive interview process and then a 6 month trial period. This method of recruitment is rigorous, lengthy but the end result is a team of committed, disciplined contributors who have a strong sense of ownership of their project and of responsibility towards the group.

Their bi-annual meetings, which aim to review the status of all projects, identify challenges/opportunities and then define goals for the next 6 months, are themselves extremely rigorous and very well structured. Spread out over several days the meeting I attended proceeded in the following way:

  • Day 1: status update of the past 6 months - review of what worked, what didn't, ongoing challenges and opportunities, priorities, ideas
  • Day 2: Goal-setting for next 6 months
  • Day 3: Bug triaging/fixing

The full detailed review of what was accomplished during the productive meeting can be found (in Polish) on Hubert's blog post. You can also find notes in English taken by Joanna here.

The weekend spent in Lipie was hugely interesting for me and I look forward to sharing my experience working with Aviary.pl with other Mozilla communities  across Europe and around the world. Of course, there's no one magic formula to get a community to work effectively and grow the way Aviary.pl has, but if I had to summarize the roots of their success in 5 words, they would be: leadership, organization, discipline, friendship and Zubrowka fun.

A big thanks again to the whole Aviary.pl crew for being so welcoming, open and patient with my non-existent Polish. A special thanks to Hubert and Joanna (for organizing the whole event) and to Gandalf, for promising to never perform a flying-armbar on me :)

(for photos of the meeting, click here, here and here)

24 September 2010

Cologne Community Meetup 2010

I had the pleasure of attending the second Cologne Community Meetup last weekend. Two years after the first meetup (almost to the day!) Eighteen active Mozilla contributors from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg converged in the beautiful city of Cologne (home of the famous Kölner Dom, of this year's Gay Games and of course, of Summerjam!), to meet, share, present, brainstorm, discuss and agree on a common roadmap for the next 6 months.

The format of the meetup was very similar to the one used in previous regional meetups, where Mozillians began by giving a thorough update and presentation of particular projects they were involved with, namely Firefox, Thundebird, SUMO, ScreenReader, Sunbird, SeaMonkey and MDN. This was followed by discussion and debate over challenges and opportunities into the early evening, leading to a 3 hour goal-setting process (pioneered by my colleague Seth Bindernagel) the following morning. While we're continuously fine-tuning it, I think we have found a regional community meetup format that is highly productive, with just the right balance of presentations, discussion and interactive brainstorm.

For the goal-setting process, the 18 contributors broke up randomly into 3 smaller teams, each tasked to brainstorm and come up with 5 top goals for the next 6 months, based on the presentations and discussions of the previous day. Then, each team had to present to the group the goals they had identified and then everyone agreed on a final list of 5 goals.



Here are the goals the group came up with (in order of importance/urgency):




Goal 1 - mozilla.de (incl. Logo design) : setting up the official community hub for german speaking Mozillians was identified as the single most pressing project that needed everyone's attention and involvement.
Goal 2 - Community-driven PR : making a concerted effort to identify local PR opportunities and to assist Mozillians to be the "local" voice of Mozilla at the city/regional level, coordinating closely with the Mozilla PR team
Goal 3 - Overview of open tasks : with resources stretched thin, a thorough overview of open tasks needs to be conducted and priorities made based on overall 6 month goals
Goal 4 - Calendar/Overview of dates (Events/String-Freezes/Releases) : setting up a detailed and regularly updated calendar of Mozilla events/releases/string-freezes etc...
Goal 5 - Regular regional meetings (regional events) : leveraging the power of community to organize meetups, conferences, events at the local/regional level and supported by Mozilla Europe

For a more detailed review of the meetup, make sure to check out Kairo's notes of day 1 and day 2 as well as Robert B's recap here.

For a more detailed review of the meetup, make sure to check out Kairo's notes of day 1 and day 2 as well as Robert B's recap here.

And of course, a beautiful set of photos can be found here.

Special thanks to Thomas Lendo and to Hagen Halbach for organizing such a productive, fun and high-quality event. You guys make it look so easy! :)

4 September 2010

Mozilla in Africa

“Your flight is scheduled to leave at 6am tomorrow morning” Asani answered, as he put his mobile phone back in his shirt pocket. Asani, a local street vendor in Nairobi I happened to meet moments ago in a bar, seemed amused by the startled expression on my face when I saw how quickly he managed to get flight info for me. He quipped with a smile “Hehe, we Kenyans are more high-tech than you think”.

It was a particularly fitting comment as I neared the end of a week-long trip in Nairobi, a city I discovered is the tech and innovation hub of Africa.

Maker Faire Africa 2010

I went to Nairobi last week to represent Mozilla at Maker Faire Africa 2010 and lead several Mozilla workshops in and out of the city. My aim was to engage with local web enthusiasts and developers, to get people interested in contributing to the Mozilla, I wanted to get a better understanding of how we can best push the Mozilla Project forward in Kenya and, in Africa in general.

My trips for Mozilla are always rich and memorable experiences where I spend quality time with Mozillians and developers, meet incredibly smart and talented people and learn so much about the local culture.

My trip to Kenya was no exception.

I had heard and read a lot about MFA, especially after our participation last year. The event brings together inventors and makers from all over Africa to help them showcase their work and celebrate African ingenuity and innovation. I knew it would be the confluence of brainy, quirky inventors from every corner of the continent, but I had not anticipated such fun, energy and interaction. Everywhere you looked, creative and colourful inventions, from the automatic sisal weaver to the bike-powered phone charger, surrounded you.

Mozilla had a very colourful booth (as always) and was manned by passionate Mozillians, including Kwamena, Raymond, Alex, Atlanta and Jeff. Teeming with curious visitors, the “inventions” we decided to showcase were an eclectic set of Firefox add-ons. For the particularly web-savvy, Kwamena, Raymond and I led short Mozilla workshops throughout the day, covering everything from how to get involved in L10n to how to develop your first add-on. The response was pretty incredible, with dozens of people walking up to us after to help localize Firefox in their locale and/or write language packs.

Above all, MFA was a great opportunity to meet and raise awareness about Mozilla and the open web to hundreds of students, innovators, movers and shakers from Kenya and beyond. It was also an important opportunity to meet scores of organizations like Ushahidi, Butterfly Works, IAVI, Village Telco, Nairobits, all passionately involved in leveraging the power of open source software and ICT to reduce poverty and advance social change in Africa. Chatting with visionaries like Erik Hersman, Emeka Okafor, Emer Beamer or Joy Tang opened my eyes to so many ways Mozilla can get more involved and support theirs or similar projects. I’ll get to that in a bit.

iHub and Nairobits

After MFA, Kwamena, Raymond and I stayed on for a few more days in Nairobi to lead workshops in two of the most interesting tech nodes of the city.

The first stop was Nairobits, an innovative digital design school that provides education to the Nairobi slum youth. It was another humbling experience to meet all of the school’s professors and trainers, and to be able to talk about the Mozilla Project to so many young web-savvy students who amazed all of us by their advanced knowledge of PHP, Javascript and CSS. We did a show-of-hands and asked the 50 or so students in the room how many used Firefox. All raised their hands. We then asked how many knew that Mozilla was a non-profit organization and Firefox was an open source project? Zero hands raised. The exercise was very telling, particularly since we were talking to relatively web/tech savvy kids. Virtually everyone I met in Nairobi did not know that Mozilla was a non-profit, let alone that Firefox was made possible by an army of passionate volunteers around the world. Realizing the true nature of the project, it’s incredible the change in people’s expressions and sudden interest in what we do. As I said goodbye to the students and left Nairobits, I kept asking myself : how many of these kids will become Mozilla contributors one day. So much interest and so much enthusiasm, yet so much more work to be done to raise awareness about the project.

The second workshop we led was at iHub, Nairobi’s tech nerve-centre that opened a few months ago. iHub is an innovative open workspace for local technologists, developers, hackers, investors and tech companies, right in the heart of the city. Powered by a 20 Mb internet connexion, hundreds flock there every day, to connect, share and hack together. We were kindly invited by Erick Hersman (the founder) to lead a workshop there and meet some of Nairobi’s most talented developers. Raymond and Kwamena led this workshop and dove deep into JetPack, giving a more technical tutorial on how to develop add-ons and then led and impromtu discussion on the monetization of add-ons.

Mozilla, Africa and the Mobile Internet Revolution

Granted, one week in Nairobi is not enough to have a panoramic understanding of a country, and culture, let alone a continent. Yet, after the time I spent there, the numerous conversations I’ve had and all the different materials I was able to read there, I do return to Europe with a few key takeaways:

  • Nairobi is Africa’s main IT/tech hub, together with Johannesburg, it is teeming with developers, start-ups, of innovative tech/NGO’s, of digital design schools and of hacker spaces attracting “African techies” from all over the continent. No wonder Google has its main Africa office there.
  • the more people learn about the collaborative and open nature of the Mozilla Project, the more people will want to contribute
  • broadband penetration is growing steadily in Nairobi although it is still very low and outrageously expensive in much of Africa; computers are still very expensive relative to average income
  • mobile phone penetration is sky-rocketing across the continent and they are used increasingly to access the internet, causing a sea-change in information access; everywhere you look, you will find someone texting, transferring money, updating their Facebook status, checking the latest football, or just googling, via their mobile phone.
  • uptake in smartphones is increasing steadily, especially in East and Southern Africa, although overall penetration remains low
  • smartphones will eventually be the laptop killer in most of Africa as mobile internet usage explodes and the cost of smartphones, like mobile phones, is driven down into the mass market price point

So what does this mean for Mozilla?

First of all, it means that the amazing work that my colleagues in the Mozilla Mobile team are doing is that much more important. For Mozilla to be riding the wave of this mobile revolution and support an open web in Africa, we need to be developing the best mobile browser out there. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Second, we need to be much, much more present in Africa, and in my view, particularly in Nairobi, to share and engage with the amazing pool of talent,and innovators the city offers. Lastly, Mozilla needs to reach out and explore ways to collaborate with projects like Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, Nairobits etc.... who work on innovative open source humanitarian/social projects or lea but who could benefit greatly from the help/support/training from Mozilla’s community.

What next for Mozilla in Africa?

There is so much to do in Africa, so many possibilities and opportunities. Thinking out loud here, the first thing I would like to do is build on the “community momentum” gained this past week and follow-up with all the Mozillians I met from Kenya, Burundi, Malawi and Ghana to build community portals, localize Mozilla products and websites and recruit new contributors. The next thing I’d love to do is invite African technologists like Erik Hersman to come visit us in our Mountain View headquarters and speak about what’s happening in Africa and the mobile revolution that’s transforming the continent. Spending time with Erick has really been inspirational and I think inviting him to speak will have a deep galvanizing effect on us. The second short-to-medium term project I’d like to see happen will be the organization of a “Mozilla tech tour” where a group of Mozilla developers travel to Africa’s main tech hubs (Nairobi, Johannesburg, Accra, Cairo) for a series of training workshops on open web technologies and engage with Africa’s best developers. And of course, in the long term, I’d love to see Mozilla open an office in Nairobi :)

To conclude this lengthy post (see what Africa does to you?) I’d like to give a special thanks to all those who made my stay last week a most enlightening, instructive and enjoyable one. Special shout outs go to Kwamena and Raymond (the Mozilla dynamic duo from Ghana), Alex, Atlanta and Jeff for their amazing help and support at the MFA Mozilla booth, Brian Isaack Okello for being the superstar that he is and for making the iHub workshop happen, Emer and Evelien for the amazing day at Nairobits and last but not least, to Asani, the street vendor, without whom I would have most probably missed my plane back to Paris.

See my photos of Maker Faire Africa, Nairobits and iHub

Further Reading:

Here's a short list of recommended readings you might find interesting:

Photos credits: @wquiviger / Gideon Mendel/Action Aid/Corbis

26 August 2010

Mozilla at Maker Faire Africa 2010

As I'm writing this, Mozillians extraordinaire Raymond Etornam and Kwamena Appiah-Kubi from Ghana are writing code across the table from me, on a breezy night here in Nairobi. I thought that they'd be ready to call it a night after a grueling flight from Ghana. But no, they're hacking away well into the night, working on a new JetPack. If that is not passion, i don't know what is.

Ray and Kwame

We're in Kenya this week representing Mozilla for the second edition of Maker Faire Africa. MFA is a large two-day event celebrating African ingenuity, innovation and invention, gathering inventors, makers and entrepreneurs from the four corners of the country. Alex Wafula, Nairobi-based Mozilla student rep will be joining us for the event, flanking Ray, Kwame and myself during the different Mozilla workshops we'll be leading.

MFA is a unique opportunity for Mozilla to reach out to Africans from all ages and from all backgrounds, all driven by a passion to invent and innovate. We hope we'll spur a lot of interest in the Mozilla Project and recruit lots of new contributors from a region of the world brimming with ingenuity and talent, but where Mozilla has, until now, been relatively absent.

Things kick off tomorrow at 10am, so stay tuned for photos and video clips of what promises to be a seminal event.

17 June 2010

Hanging with the Mozilla Italia crew

P1070135

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Florence, Italy to meet up with the Mozilla Italia crew. I was there to spend some quality time with them, but also to give them a hand for this year's Terrafutura sustainable development fair, where they had an exhibition booth.

I was really proud to see Mozilla participating at Terrafutura which is unlike most geek-events we participate in that it's a non-technical event for everyone and anyone social justice, sustainability, equality and making sure our kids and grand kids live in a healthier, cleaner and more just world.

Of the thousands of visitors who stopped by the Mozilla booth (many of whom are Firefox users), many were surprised to see us there and quite frankly didn't understand, at first, what Mozilla was doing there. It was heart-warming to see the expression of surprise on their faces slowly morph into one of delight, after we explained to them that Mozilla is a public-benefit organization supported by an army of passionate volunteers committed to making the Internet experience better for everyone. Our raison d'être is to advance the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto. I'm confident that many, if not most of those visitors we spoke to came home to their families at night to tell them what Mozilla Firefox was much more than a web browser. But it was also another reminder that we, the Mozilla community, need to communicate much more and better our mission and why we do what we do.

One way is to participate at more events like Terrafutura. If you know of any in your town or in your country, please do drop me a line, and I'll make sure Mozilla is present there one way or another.

P1070038

I'd like to thank Mozilla Italia for being such great hosts, and as always, reminding me how lucky I am to be working with such smart, talented individuals who are so passionate about the Open Web.

On the final day of Terrafutura, I shot a few short video interviews of some members of the Mozilla Italia team, and I asked each one to briefly introduce themselves and share some quick thoughts on the future and what Mozilla could improve or do differently.

Meet Francesco, Giovani, Iacopo, Stefano, Luca and Giacomo!

25 May 2010

SAVE THE DATE ! Mozilla Add-ons Workshop in London on June 30th !



After spreading add-ons love across Europe last year in Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Florence, I'm psyched to announce that we'll be starting a new series of workshops this year, the first of which will take place in London, England, on Wednesday June 30th. This free and open event is for anyone interested in learning more about Mozilla add-ons, about HTML5 and about the next version of Firefox.

We've got a great line-up of speakers flying in from the four corners of the planet and we found an awesome venue. If you plan on being in London on June 30th and would like to attend, make sure you register quickly as we've limited registrations to 120 max. Registration is FREE but required to enter the venue. Doors open at 6:30pm and drinks and food will be served throughout the evening.

To learn more about the event, make sure to peruse the official wiki here: https://wiki.mozilla.org/MozAdd-onsWorkshop:2010:London

NB: world cup fans, rest assured, no games are scheduled on June 30th ;)

25 May 2010

Balkan communities unite!

Just got back (and recovering!) from Skopje. I thought i'd share the email I sent from my phone to all the Mozillians who made the trip to Skopje last meeting, as i stepped off the plane:

All,

I hope you made it home in one piece and not too exhausted from the meetup.

I wanted to thank you all once again for coming out to Skopje for what is arguably one of the most productive, enjoyable and exciting community meetups I've attended and helped organize at Mozilla.

Thank you for bringing all your energy and passion into the meetup and for being so enthusiastic, open, engaging and so awesome to work with.

On an individual level, I hope everyone has learned a lot about the what's in store for Mozilla in the next months, about fellow communities, about our users, about each other and about the deep impact each one of us has on the lives of millions of people.

On a collective level, I hope everyone feels the same enthusiasm that I have about the prospect of working more closely and effectively together and the confidence I have the the 5 audacious goals that were set on Friday will be reached 6 months from now.

It certainly won't be easy, and will require a lot of work, a lot brainstorms, a lot of calls and meetings, a lot of discipline and a lot of Raki!!! ;) but, with the passion and drive I saw over the weekend, I am very confident that these goals will be reached.

Over the next week or so, once the new Balkan mailing list is set up, I'll start a thread to discuss the next steps and to agree on:

- the format and schedule of a bi-weekly Mozilla Balkan conference call
- the lead drivers for each community who will be reporting in the call and keep track of progress for each goal.

In the meantime, I would like each one of you to look back at this fantastic meetup and be proud of what we achieved already.

I'd like to end this email with a very special "THANK YOU" to Gorjan, who tirelessly ensured that everything ran smoothly  from start to finish.  I know that I was 17 year-old, I wouldn't have been able to do a fraction of what he did!

THANK YOU!

William

NB: for a full aftermath of the meetup with links to photos, blog posts and slides, click here!

(photo credit: Emil Stanchev)

14 May 2010

Balkan Meetup next week in Skopje !



As I come out of my 4-month blogging hiatus, what better way to get back into the groove of things than to share my excitement about Mozilla's first ever Balkan Inter-Community Meetup next week, which we'll be holding in Skopje, Macedonia, from May 21-23, 2010. We've been working really hard these past months with a fantastic group of Mozillians to organize this first ever meetup that will bring together lead contributors from 8 Balkan communities. The aim of the event is to enable Balkan communities to meet in person, share experiences and best practices, and ultimately to improve inter-community collaboration moving forward.

The format will be similar to the meetups we held in Geneva and in Santiago last year, with a full-day of presentations, workshops, discussions and brainstorms. The novelty this year will be the public event on the second day, Saturday May 22, where Mozilla staff and contributors will be leading an Open Conference all about Mozilla at the IT University of Skopje, in the main auditorium. This event is open to everyone and entrance is free, so if you plan to be in Skopje next weekend, make sure to register here. If you can't make it to the event, worry not, it will be streamed live and recorded, so just tune in to air.mozilla.com/europe/ .

I'm really proud of all the work we've put in the planning and design of this event. It promises to be very productive weekend. I'd like to give special hat tip to Gorjan and Milos for their tireless help with the planning and who filled in for me when I couldn't lead our late-night weekly calls :)

Skopje, here we come !

21 January 2010

Firefox 3.6 fresh out of the oven !

Get your mittens, Firefox 3.6 is out!

What are some of the hot new features you'll find in this release?

  • Personas: Personalize the look of your Firefox by selecting new themes called Personas in a single click and without a restart
  • Plugin Updater: To keep you safe from potential security vulnerabilities, Firefox will now detect out of date plugins
  • Stability improvements: Firefox 3.6 significantly decreased crashes caused by third party software – all without sacrificing our extensibility in any way
  • Form Complete: When filling out an online form, Firefox suggests information for fields based on your common answers in similar field
  • Performance: Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness, and startup time
  • Open Video and Audio: With the world’s best implementation of HTML 5 audio and video support, now video can be displayed full screen and supports poster frames

My personal fav is Personas. It's just awesome to make your browser look the way you want it to look, any day, any time, in a single click and without a restart! Personas are so cool that I even created my own :)

If you wan to join in on the Personas fun and help celebrate the launch of Firefox 3.6, tell the world about your favorite Persona -- in pictures.

Just showcase a Persona that reflects your individuality by taking a photo with it. Here's how:

   * Select your favorite Persona on Firefox and create a screen capture of your browser window.  Cut it out and take a photo with it.  Here's a great template to help you.
   * Take a photo upclose with you next to your computer and your Persona-clad browser.
   * If you're super creative, have fun with digital imaging software and put your picture in your browser like this one.
   * Or you can copy and enlarge design elements from your favorite Persona into an image editor to create a placard, a mask and more!

Feel free to get super creative. You can also gather friends for a group photo. Whatever you do, share it with the world. Here are a few ways:

   * Upload to Flickr or your favorite photo sharing site and tag with "personas".
   * Post on Twitter, Identi.ca or Mozillaca using Twitpic or bit.ly to shorten your Flickr URL along with a link to our new Personas video (http://bit.ly/fx36pyt)
   * Make it your new profile picture on Facebook, Ning or Orkut.
   * Add it to our fan photos on Firefox's Facebook page.

Have fun and stay-tuned for a showcase of all the great Personas pictures like we did for Five Years of Firefox.

22 December 2009

Last minute Christmas idea...

Christmas is just around the corner. If you live in Europe and are still looking for that present that will make a splash come December 25th, look no further: our UK-based Mozilla Store is offering a series of “packs” that bundle items together at a discounted price !

Interested? Check out the store here, there are lots of fun packs to choose from :

* The Workout Pack
* The Champions Pack
* The Portable Pack
* The Office Pack
* The Good Morning Pack
* The Rainy Day Pack

15 December 2009

FOSDEM 2010

Yes ! It's that time of the year again where Mozillians across Europe begin preparing mentally, physically and spiritually(!) for a weekend of sumptuous fried potatos, mouth-watering mussels, hot dripping chocolate, fruit-scented beer and of course, thousands of lines of code.

More than 5,000 FLOSS enthusiasts will converge in Brussels on February 6 and 7, 2010, for FOSDEM and I'm very happy to announce that Mozilla has already secured its DevRoom. YAY!

I just set up the official Mozilla FOSDEM wiki and I invite anyone interested to give a talk this year to submit a proposal. Veteran Mozillian and add-ons guru Brian King is lead schedule architect this year so please submit your talk proposal to him by Friday, 15th January 2010 at: brian at mozdev dot org.

As always, if you have any questions, please ask away ! :)

17 November 2009

Firefox Birthday Bash in London - November 19, 2009

Never too late to announce a Firefox party...

This coming Thursday 19 November, join me in London to celebrate 5 years of Firefox..SoHo-style! The birthday bash is organized in conjunction with OpenSoho and will take place at the Hub Culture Pavilion, in a great collaborative workspace on 49 Carnaby Street. Doors will open at 6:30pm.

The cost is normally £5, but if you're a hardcore Mozillian, you can use the following code to sign up for free : mozillavip.

Make some noise, spread the word and hope to see you there !!!

Photo credit : Tristan Nitot

20 October 2009

5 Years of Firefox and You

With Firefox's 5 year anniversary just around the corner (Monday November 9th) preparations for the birthday celebration are in order. We, Mozillians, are very happy to have shared a lot of milestones and exciting moments supporting the Mozilla Project and its mission.

Here are just a few of the many moments we can be proud of as a passionate community:

  • November 2004 - Firefox 1.0 is released
  • October 2005 - 1st millionth downoad of Firefox
  • October 2006 - Firefox 2.0 is released
  • March 2008 - 10 years of Mozilla
  • June 2008 - 3.0 release and Download Day, world record is broken
  • July 2009 - 1st billionth download of Firefox

The Mozilla project is still very much in its infancy and we can be sure that many more exciting milestones await us.

ff_party_pic.jpg

To celebrate the first 5 years of Firefox, here is a list (by no means exhaustive) of ways to mark the occasion :

  • organize a party (if you need help, contact me at isandu at mozilla dot com)
  • adorn your local community website
  • write a blog post sharing your experience contributing to the project over the years
  • imagine how Firefox could be like in 5 years
  • bake a cake and blog the picture
  • call your local radio station and make a birthday dedication for Firefox on the 9th of November

If you're planning on organizing a "5 years of Firefox" party in your town or just want to share some ideas, make sure to drop a line on Mozilla's marketing mailing list (marketing at lists dot mozilla dot org) or join the conversation on IRC in #marketing.

Happy partying !

Photo credits here

12 October 2009

Mozilla at Paris Web 2009

Last week the fourth edition of the yearly Parisian Open Web conference, Paris Web took place in the state-of-the-art IBM business tower.This year Mozilla was represented by Tristan Nitot , Mozilla Europe president, and Paul Rouget , Tech evangelist and demo-hacker extraordinaire.

The sessions were focused on the Open Web, one Web for desktop and mobile and the need for standards. Also the new web technologies, like CSS 3 and HTML 5 were a big focus of the event.

On the first day Tristan Nitot participated in the mobile web round table together with people from Opera, Orange Labs and the W3C and spoke about Fennec, Mozilla's project which brings Firefox to the mobile phone.

Tristan_and_Paul_at_Paris_Web.jpg

On Friday, the second day, Tristan and Paul had a talk about the new web standards and their implementation in modern browsers. In explaining the need for new, open standards, Tristan argued they are essential in ensuring the future of the Open Web and its success over proprietary platforms. Not only that, but they are also important for the mobile web in order to make sure it remains a viable choice and not lose ground against native phone applications. Last, but not the least, the need to make web developers' life easier is also important.

Paul and Tristan then demoed several new features of upcoming versions of Firefox, including:

  • Access to peripherals such as the built-in accelerometer
  • the ability to harness the power of multi-core processors using Web Workers and accelerated JavaScript (thanks to TraceMonkey), which enables video special effects
  • New CSS 3 properties such as filter, transformation and clip-path

For the actual demos go to Paul's blog and make sure to use a nighly.

The slides have been published . Photo credits: Yannick Croissant

12 October 2009

The galvanizing effect of Mozilla Camps

Already a week has passed now since the Mozilla Camp Europe 2009 and without further ado, I'd like send out my "THANK YOU" shoutouts to all those who participated in what was, I believe, one of the best Mozilla community event we've organized in Europe. Some great write-ups have already been posted by colleagues and fellow Mozillians here, here, here, here and here. And of course, the camp has also been visually immortalized here, here, here and here.

On the long list of thank yous, I'd first like to thank our intern-extraordinaire, Irina Sandu, who has redefined for me the words "cool" and "composed" and who has showed me how stress and fun can go hand-in-hand :) Irina, you're a star! A big hat tip also goes out to Svitlana and FuzzyFox were so helpful behind the scenes, always there to make sure those occasional logistical hic-cups disappeared as quickly as they surfaced. Very special thanks go to the track leaders (Brian and Paul for DEV, Patrick for Advocacy, Seth for l10n and Marcia for QA) who spent long hours helping us design an amazing programme and bring some great speakers on board. I'd also make a special mention to William the fantabulous "ukelele" player who strummed Firefox love well into the wee hours of the night.

Last but not least, I'd like to thank all the Mozillians who came to Prague to share, work, discuss, challenge, brainstorm, question, hack, present, debate and simply enjoy an incredibly intense and energizing weekend. Seeing with your very own eyes the passion and drive of fellow Mozillians from the four corners of Europe, under one roof, is a powerful and truly humbling experience. More than anything, never have I felt this community as galvanised and energized as in Prague, ready to give their all to help push the Mozilla project forward. I know this video has been passed around hundreds of times and viewed thousands of times already, but I'm not sure what else could have captured best the galvanizing effect of Mozilla Camps.

I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY !

Photo credit : Ludovic Hirliman used under CC-BY-NC license

UPDATE: I'm not sure what was in my coffee yesterday, but I "embarassingly" forgot to mention David's great write-up of the camp.

22 September 2009

Happy OneWebDay!

"The web is not only a huge source of creativity, innovation and wonder, but it’s also something all of us help create everyday. The web may feel like oxygen, just there all the time. But it is oxygen that we all help to make. OneWebDay is about taking a moment once a year celebrate the (better and open) web we’re all creating." Mark Surman - Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation

Photo courtesy of Tristan Nitot

14 September 2009

Mozilla DevDay in Prague, Friday 2 October 2009 !

287px-Prague_DevDay_2009.pngI'm very excited to "officially" announce that we will be organizing the first ever Mozilla DevDay in Prague, on Friday 2 October, 2009. The DevDay will be an opportunity for developers, open source enthusiats and web aficionados to meet Mozilla staff, learn and participate in discussions around the Mozilla Project and its technologies.

Confirmed speakers include Glyn Moody (Tech journalist), Mike Beltzner (Director of Firefox) , Tristan Nitot (President of Mozilla Europe) and Mark Surman (Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation). The conference will be followed by a "Mozilla Hack Session", hosted by Mozilla Labs which will aim to encourage local developers to work around JetPack, a new project that explores new ways to extend and personalize the web. Parallel to the hack session, participants interested in enging in discussions and collaborative scheming about ways to promote the open web will be able to attend an "Open Web Workshop" lead by Mark Surman.

The Mozilla DevDay Prague 2009 is free and open to the public. (FREE REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

For more information, visit the official wiki page : https://wiki.mozilla.org/Prague_DevDay_2009

24 July 2009

Save the date! Mozilla Camp Europe - Prague (Oct 3-4, 2009)

It's official ! The next Mozilla Camp Europe will take place in Prague, Czech Republic on October 3rd and 4th, 2009. For those of you who are not yet familiar with the conference, the MCE is a large 2-day community event that aims to bring together active European community members and Mozilla staff for a weekend of presentations, discussions, brainstorms and workshops around specific areas of the Mozilla project, all with a special focus on Europe. The event is, of course, also the opportunity for Mozilla to thank contributors for their amazing work and have some quality IRL time together.

Last year's MCE took place in Barcelona, and brought together 120 community members and staff. The focus areas were: DEV, l10n and QA. It was our first ever large-scale community event in Europe and we didn't quite know what to expect nor how it would be received. It turned out to be a fantastic event and we learned a lot from this first experience. Building on this momentum, and tapping into the great feedback we got from last year's participants, this year's Mozilla Camp Europe will be even better.

To be sure, we're going to stick to the same format, ie. 2-day conference with parallel tracks covering different areas of the Mozilla project. Participation-wise, it will be slightly larger as we expect to be able to sponsor about 150 people.

There will be two main novelties to the MCE this year. First, we're adding a fourth track to the program that will focus on “Advocacy”, with sessions and workshops on community building, on community marketing and on promoting the Mozilla mission. Second, we'll be organizing of a small public developer conference on the Friday right before the camp (October 2nd), followed by an open Labs hacking session in the afternoon. Instead of opening the morning keynotes of the MCE to the public, like we did last year, we opted this year to hold a public event the day before the camp. The Friday dev conference, lab session will be for a non-Mozilla audience interested in learning more about the Mozilla project and meet Mozilla staff.

Irina has created the official Mozilla Camp Europe 2009 wiki page which we'll build on going forward. It will be your ultimate source of info for all matters related to logistics, schedule, track info, registration etc...

Preparations are in full swing: we've just secured an awesome venue (thank you Matt and Pavel!!!) and we are currently working on the final program of sessions and tracks. We expect to have a tentative schedule nailed down by early end of August.

So that's it for now, tune in regularly on this blog and on the wiki for the latest info, i'll be giving weekly updates. And as always, don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have questions or with any suggestions you may have to help us make this conference a huge success !

(Photo by Daniele Muscetta under CC-SA)

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