Mozilla

Posts Tagged with “Foundation”

Executive Director Search Committee

July 17th, 2007

I’m pleased to introduce the members of the search committee for the Mozilla Foundation Executive Director.

Dan Mosedale: Dan has long experience in Mozilla governance, as well as experience with multiple products, from the Mozilla Application Suite to calendar to Firefox. Dan joined Mozilla as a member of mozilla.org staff in the early, early days. Later he moved to the product group to work on LDAP and related capabilities. He spent a few years away from the project in daily life, but never in spirit. Dan returned to the Mozilla project a few years back when he joined Oracle to work on the Mozilla calendar project. Dan remained at Oracle as the lone Mozilla developer for some time after the Mozilla team there disbanded. He moved to the Mozilla Corporation a while back, worked as the lead calendar developer, and has most recently moved to working on Firefox.

Deb Richardson: Deb is a long-time member of the Linux world, and one of the founders of the Linuxchix. She came to the Mozilla project a few years back. Deb’s initial challenge was to create a useful developer documentation site. We had always known our documentation was poor. If you look today you can see the results of Deb’s efforts, now under the leadership of Eric Shepherd. The Mozilla Developer Center contains documentation for multiple aspects of the Mozilla project, from technologies to projects to products. Deb most recently turned her attention to product management, working on Firefox product planning.

Deb also has a significant interest in Mozilla organization and governance. It was Deb who took my initial draft of a document about the Mozilla vision, teased apart the separate threads, and created the structure for the parts that eventually became the Mozilla Manifesto. Many contributed to the Manifesto, but Deb’s early, giant contribution made a huge difference in getting this done.

Robert Kaiser: Robert has also been part of the Mozilla project for many years. He started as a localizer of the Mozilla Application Suite. Today he is the one of the leaders of the SeaMonkey project. The SeaMonkey community group took over ongoing development of the integrated mail/news client known as the Mozilla Application Suite when it was retired as an official project. SeaMonkey is a vibrant, successful community project with ongoing development work and project releases. Robert interacts regularly with other members of the Mozilla project across a range of topics.

Stuart Parmenter: Stuart came to the Mozilla project as a high-school volunteer. He joined Netscape in 1999 and has been working in the Mozilla world almost constantly since then. Not long after the Mozilla Foundation was formed Stuart joined Oracle to work on the Mozilla calendar team there. He moved to Mozilla a year or so later, returning to his original interest in graphics.

Stuart also has an interest in Mozilla project dynamics. Stuart lead the recent effort to review and restructure our code modules, as well as started the process of thinking about non-code modules. He’s been active in thinking about the role of super-reviewers and other governance mechanisms.

Bob Lisbonne: Bob is a long-time friend of the Mozilla project. Bob was involved in the launch and early days of the Mozilla project at Netscape, and has been involved in the browser space since the early Netscape versions. Bob has consistently provided reasoned and thoughtful advice to the Mozilla project, and joined the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors in late 2006. Bob is currently a general partner with the venture capital firm Matrix Partners. His involvement with Mozilla is a personal effort, not to be associated with or attributed to Matrix Partners.

Mitchell Baker: I joined the Mozilla project part time in 1998 and full time in 1999. I’ve been the general manager of the project (known as the Chief Lizard Wrangler) since 1999 and have been involved in a broad range of Mozilla activities. Together with Brendan Eich I lead the effort to form the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, and to articulate the Mozilla vision through the Mozilla Manifesto.

Welcome David Boswell

June 18th, 2007

David Boswell is joining the Mozilla Foundation this week. The details are in Frank’s post. I want to echo (amplify, really) the welcome. David Boswell has been involved with the Mozilla project for many years. When his experience with mozdev.org convinced him that more understanding of non-profit and organizations in general was necessary, he went back to school to learn. I remember writing a recommendation for David when he applied to the Colombia School of International and Public Affairs. At the time I thought, how cool is this?? Graduate study in a field other than computer science and still intimately related to Mozilla, open source and the type things Mozilla is trying to do.

Enough time has passed that David has finished his program. Even better, he’s back with Mozilla full-time. This strikes me as an important milestone for several reasons. To start with the obvious, it will be great to have David focused on Mozilla. We are working on building the Mozilla Foundation’s capabilities, and David is a part of this effort. (The Executive Director search is another part.) David has always been remarkably low key and effective. For a while I couldn’t understand how he could get things done in such a quiet, unassuming way. But he does, and it’s great. I’ll be talking with both David and Frank quite a bit this week to figure out some starting points for David. I’ve got a lot of ideas, the key is to be realistic!

Less obvious, but I think equally important, is the cross-fertilization of open source ideas and organizational activities beyond coding. David now has a rich background in open source activities, a world-class education to bring to bear, and an opportunity to combine those two to help move the Mozilla mission forward. And David is not alone. In just the last week or two, another long term Mozilla contributor has been accepted into the Business School at the University of California at Berkeley. He’ll attend the business school while continuing to work full time on open source activities. He too will have the chance to combine open source DNA with a world-class education and bring the resulting connections back to the open source world.

It’s exciting to see long term contributors bring open source expertise into the graduate educational system, and then to see them bring their education back to the open source world.

Please join me in welcoming David.

Search Committee Nominations Open

June 18th, 2007

It’s time to create the full search committee for the Foundation Executive Director position. I previously posted key requirements. I’ve included them again below, along with some criteria our executive recruiter has found to be important in the past.

If you are interested in being part of the search committee and believe you meet (at least most of) the criteria, please contact me. If you know of someone you would like to see be part of the search committee other than yourself, please let me know. In other words, nominations and self-nominations are welcome.

I thought about creating a clear process for nomination and selection, but decided we can (hopefully) start informally and create process as we go. The one process point that I will start with is that if you contact me privately, or nominate someone else privately, I won’t make those names public until the named person is OK with this. If you have strong thoughts regarding the process, you can post them here as comments or in the governance newsgroup (available via newsreader or mailing list, or via the browser).

So please don’t self censor based on shyness, or on your employer.

Everyone should have:

  • Deep understanding of the project and our culture.
  • Ability to communicate the needs of the organization.
  • History of “doing” things within Mozilla.
  • Broad respect from chunks of the Mozilla community.
  • Ability to internalize different perspectives.
  • Ability to work collaboratively, incorporating other perspectives.
  • High discretion, including perhaps willingness to agree to confidentiality obligations (we need to figure out how to treat candidates properly). However this is handled, we need a complete commitment to confidentiality.
  • Commitment to speaking with one voice as a committee.
  • Ability to be a liaison between the search committee and the Mozilla community.
  • High degree of flexibility.
  • Commitment of 15-20 hours for meetings and interviews.
  • Good people assessment skills.
  • Comfortable / excited about the focus of the job.

The group as a whole should have:

  • At least one very good scribe.
  • People with different background and focus areas for the project, (not everyone can be a Firefox only person; there should be one or more people who can articulate what it’s like to be on a non-Fx project) and views about staying broad.

Modules for “mozilla.org staff” activities

June 13th, 2007

In the days before the Mozilla Foundation existed, the Mozilla project was originally managed by a group known as “mozilla.org staff.” Mozilla.org staff was a virtual organization which governed the Mozilla project in general, and did so increasingly unrelated to any employment relationship. Mozilla.org staff managed the project’s day to day activities, and held responsibility for basic technology and policy decisions. Today, some of these functions live in the Foundation — stewardship of the assets, and release of products using the Mozilla name, as examples. So the old model of mozilla.org staff cannot continue unchanged in the world of the Foundation.

Nevertheless, we need a mechanism to address governance issues that are broader than any particular product or project issue. More specifically, we should identify the key activities of the Mozilla project, identify the decision-makers, define the scope of their authority and the criteria by which they are designated.

In the past I’ve thought of trying to modernize or reconstruct a group like mozilla.org staff — a group that would have a set of project-wide responsibilities and obligations. I’ve made several attempts at this. It sounds good in theory, but in reality turned out to be very messy. In the days of mozilla.org staff, there was no Foundation. Trying to create another group in the Mozilla world with another set of responsibilities that would overlap with, or maybe be governed by the Foundation’s Board where required by law, or maybe govern or direct the Board is very complex. And the idea of doing this in a way that people can understand and remember is even more difficult. I’ve stumbled at the effort a couple of times now and find the task pretty daunting.

So I have a new idea that is much more simple. I’m indebted to Mike Connor, who suggested something like it in a newsgroup posting a while back. (Needless to say, if you hate the idea, please leave mconnor out of it :-) )

My new idea is to identify the roles that mozilla.org staff used to play and make modules for these roles. We might have a “governance” set of modules, or a governance module with sub-modules. We’re in the process of creating modules for non-code topics anyway and so we could use a single type of mechanism for code, non-code and governance activities. We would determine governance related activities as well as activities the Mozilla Foundation now handles directly, like management of trademarks. We’d identify a module owner. We would also identify someone (a Peer, or a member) with an acknowledged voice in the Mozilla Foundation. We could do something like arranging for owners, peers or members for these modules to meet periodically with a Foundation representative. In any case, we would develop a mechanism for notifying the Foundation when an important issue has become contentious enough that escalation beyond the module owner is warranted. I’m not sure about the right mechanism here, but am pretty confident we can figure out something workable.

This path means the activities for which mozilla.org staff used to have authority are identified, we are clear about which have become Foundation / Corporation activities and which, if any, are related to employment. We have owners and a way for differing opinions to be expressed.

I like this approach because it allows us to address these issues within a structure and process that is already understood. It requires giving up some of the emotional attachment of a separate mozilla.org staff. I think this is manageable; keeping everything from our past intact will drag us into paralysis. And this offers a good chance of having a working process.

Thoughts more than welcome. Once again, I’m posting this in the governance newsgroup (available via newsreader or mailing list, or via the browser).

Foundation Executive Director Focus

June 13th, 2007

I’ve been reviewing the job description for the Mozilla Foundation Executive Director as part of ramping up the search process. It’s a great description; I like it quite a bit. It’s also long and complex. I thought it would be helpful to provide a summary of the main strategic goals we would like the ED to help us achieve. Here it is.

A primary role of the incoming ED is to expand the reach of the Foundation and its activities. In other words, to be a thought leader and help identify and develop strategic initiatives, and to oversee execution of these strategic initiatives.

We currently have a set of initiatives underway with our product and technology development and adoption — from products like Firefox and Thunderbird, to the technology of the Mozilla platform, to projects such as Seamonkey, Camino, and Bugzilla.

What else can we do? What else should we do? What other activities would make the Open Web a more lively, viable, interesting alternative? What other activities would encourage more people to participate in the Internet in alignment with the Mozilla Manifesto? How do we identify important activities? How do we try to achieve them? How do we do new things in a Mozilla-like way?

The Mozilla project as it exists today has a set of ongoing discussions. Is our product focus right? Should we make other, new products? How much attention should we give to the Mozilla platform, separate from any other focus? How do we promote the Open Web as a competitive platform to proprietary offerings? Is the distinction between products and projects quite right?

We expect the ED to participate as s/he gains experience and currency in the Mozilla world. But we don’t expect the ED to be, or be seen, as the judge of such questions. Actually, we hope that we move towards all sorts of new questions of focus and priority, based on new participants and new possibilities. This will be a mark of success.

Skip past the sidebar