Archive for April, 2010

Let’s speak up about Mozilla’s public benefit status

April 23rd, 2010

Last weekend I had an extra half day in San Diego while waiting for a gymnastics meet (entry level boys competition) to start. I had an experience that makes me feel even more strongly that we should be telling everyone we touch that Mozilla is a public benefit organization, existing to build the Internet as a global resource; open, accessible and “hackable” by all. I’d like to see most or all Mozilla websites make this clear, and I’d like to see our products make this very clear as well.

At the hotel I saw a brochure for “Quail Botanical Gardens” in a rack with brochures featuring San Diego’s many visitor attractions. I love gardens so I took a look. It sounded potentially interesting but I was also wary of finding a “tourist trap” where someone has planted a few basic plants and is trying to find newbies who will pay to see them. So I went poking around their web site.

The first thing I noticed after the photos was the statement, “The mission of the Garden is to inspire people of all ages to connect with plants and nature.”

“Hmm,” I thought, “that sounds a lot like a non-profit mission statement.” It soon became clear that this is the case – the garden is a non-profit organization. My worry about the tourist trap immediately decreased, and I felt better about the chances of something worthwhile coming of a visit. Non-profit organizations can make mistakes. They can be boring and ineffective just like anything else. But the chance that the whole thing was just something dumb designed to get people there to extract money felt much, much lower.

As it turns out, the garden is great. Lots of bamboo, subtropical fruit, cactus and other fun items, and I’ll go back next time I am in the San Diego area.

The Mozilla Polish Community

April 11th, 2010

The Mozilla community in Poland is one of the earliest and strongest Mozilla communities. MozillaPL has been active for a decade — well before Firefox, before the Mozilla Foundation was established and before we shipped our first product (the Mozilla Application Suite) in 2001.

In the dark, difficult days of Mozilla before we were a “success” the MozillaPL team was a clear indicator to me that we were on the right track. In those days — before RSS, before social networking, before personal blogs — our only project wide news source was an independently run fanzine called “Mozillazine.” The first time I saw an item about MozillaPL I was astonished. And the items kept coming. Mozilla PL did this, MozillaPL provides support, MozillaPL had this great idea and is making it happen.

The creativity, dedication and leadership of MozillaPL made it clear to a bunch of Mozilla contributors that the difficult days of Mozilla could lead to something better, something much brighter.

Yesterday Poland suffered a tragic loss as many of its national leaders were lost in a plane crash. A partial list, from the New York Times:

“Among them, the Polish government said, were Mr. Kaczynski; his wife, Maria; Ryszard Kaczorowski, who led a government in exile during the Communist era; the deputy speaker of Poland’s Parliament, Jerzy Szmajdzinski; the head of the president’s chancellery, Wladyslaw Stasiak; the head of the National Security Bureau, Aleksander Szczyglo; the deputy minister of foreign affairs, Andrzej Kremer; the chief of the general staff of the Polish Army, Franciszek Gagor; the president of Poland’s national bank, Slawomir Skrzypek; and the commissioner for civil rights protection, Janusz Kochanowski. . .”

plus a hero of the Solidarity movement, and dozens of other people heading to a memorial of national significance itself.

Our hearts are with you.

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