Again, thanks to Matt Brubeck and to FredB for the translation!
Just as promised, here is my address given on the Mozilla Paris Office opening ceremony. A speech addressing the community.
« Good evening everyone,
I am here tonight to talk… about you! You all, free software supporters and for most of you members of the Mozilla community.
This community to which belong both employees and volunteers.
Together we are family, a community similar to the Fellowship of the Ring (from The Lord of the Rings) which gathers people from various origins around common values, which in our case are expressed by the Mozilla Manifesto:
The Mozilla project is a global community of people who believe that openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet. We have worked together since 1998 to ensure that the Internet is developed in a way that benefits everyone.The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We create communities of people involved in making the Internet experience better for all of us.
The goals for the Manifesto are to:- articulate a vision for the Internet that Mozilla participants want the Mozilla Foundation to pursue;- speak to people whether or not they have a technical background;- make Mozilla contributors proud of what we’re doing and motivate us to continue; andprovide a framework for other people to advance this vision of the Internet.
That’s it. For all of us, the Internet is a worldwide public ressource that should remain open and accessible, as well as improve everyone’s lives.
The values are great, and in fact essential. This is why I insisted on telling you all my admiration for all that you are doing for the Internet and our rights.
Even though, I must admit that in the beginning I freaked out a bit. With your bold and somewhat childish tee-shirts, your vocabulary and weird discussions (What is the best Linux distribution?), your odd behaviours (since when does one eat with a computer by one’s side?) and so on.
But fear yielded to admiration. When I realised that you gave your energy and time, not to play on your computers (even though I know you do that too ;-)), but making sure that the Internet remains a common property, free of constraints, and accessible to the greatest number.
And I have seen several concrete cases.
The latest being last Sunday, while the Hackathon was happening between these very walls, when I saw developers being able to master new techniques and being able to create an app in only a few hours. We are not talking about a website here, but applications able to interact with a device (a phone in this case) and to behave just like a traditionnal application. Enabling the largest amount of people to achieve such things is exactly the motive for Mozilla and its community.
And today I can’t do without you. And I also know, you should be aware of it, that Mozilla can’t do without you either!
Mozilla has about 800 employees, and moreover some hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of volunteers all over the world.
Without the community, Mozilla would not be what it is! It has to be clear, the employees alone can’t make the company work. Try competing with Microsoft, Apple, or Google when your budget is roughly equivalent to their cafeteria budget…
Students, employees, retired people, and so on, we all have other activity elsewhere.
Despite those other activities, we share a common passion that Mozilla enables us to express.
Mozilla is the possibility to search for a solution to a problem on the Internet from Paris, find the answer in Japan, thanks to a Tunisian contributor.
Mozilla is volunteers who stick to sharing values, exchange and openness such as those we can find in free software and that lead to the invention of the Internet and the Web. For those, Mozilla gives access to resources such as this space, but not only.
For instance, thanks to Mozilla, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Senegal with four employees. During this week we toured the IT universities in Dakar to teach about Internet-related technologies and understand their needs…
Mozilla is Palestine and Israël gathered during common events! Just as Balkans, Greece, and Turkey, thanks to Mozilla.
Last year the « Mozilla Reps » programme was created. To this day, we count 363 official Mozilla representatives, all of the volunteers, over the World. From France to Burma, Bangladesh, Peru, Uganda, or a closed country such as Zimbabwe where a « Reps » can benefit from help coming from the whole World.
But keep in mind that those « Reps » are only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the community consists of discreet people.
I am here to talk tonight, because most of them are too shy or modest to do it themselves.
In this community, there is space for everyone and all sorts of contributions: the « core contributors » whose contributions are on par with those of employees except they are not looking to be employed (or are students or retired persons as it often happens); the active contributors, the temporary… But let us not forget about Firefox (and soon Firefox OS) users who belong to the Mozilla family because they made an ethical choice.
Tonight, if you are not a contributor yet, I invite you to join us. We are friendly, have space for everyone and contributions for everyone wishing to help.
Mozilla does not only care about engineering, developers, beared geeks and technical people. Mozilla also cares about education and created a tool we call « Webmaker » which enables youngsters and their parents to learn how to make the Web.
But generally speaking, in terms of contributions, we can cater to every taste. You can help with documentation, design, beta-testing, bug reporting, be Mozilla’s face during events, and the list goes on.
Each of those contributions is noted and can be highlighted to companies or future employers. And what an experience!
The most important being: by contributing, you play your part and know that things are changing for the better.
I would like to mention those who often are the « core » of local communities: the localizers. It’s a word used in Mozilla to say translators. As of today, Firefox exists in 93 languages. And this thanks to volunteers!
93 languages means that 93 groups of people can get easier access to the Internet, and go beyond the language barrier.
In Africa, we have volunteers translating Firefox into Peul and Songhay… hence people from those groups will be able to browse the Internet, and get access to the World.
So I have spoken a lot about various countries since the beginning of my speech, but only a little about France.
The French-speaking community occupies a special place. It was one of the earliest to be created and among our members are a few « dinosaurs », always eager to welcome newcomers.
This community keeps growing! Both in headcount and area covered! It consists of Belgium, Switzerland, Québec, but also Lebanon, Mauritius, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Chad, Burkina-Faso, and soon Togo and Madagascar.
Together, and day after day, we share, enrich, and help each other. Together, we also have a lot of fun.
We will all gather in two weeks for the first time here in this office. We will share our experience and set various workshops and course material that we will be able to use. If the visas are cleared of course. »