Archives de Catégorie: Mozilla

Fosdem 2014: call for proposals

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Hi all !

Fosdem is coming… and I’m sure you wouldn’t miss it!

Why ? Because Fosdem (Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is simply one of the greatest events in Europe around free and open source software development: it is THE place to be, to know everything which is happening about FLOSS, to meet people… and to have fun!
Fosdem is held, during the first weekend of February, in Brussels (Belgium), a very nice city, with the best fries you could ever eat 😉 And also some fantastic beers (for those who like it), and some great museums (like the one dedicated to Magritte, a fabulous Belgian painter), and a lot of funny things (like the Manneken Pis, you HAVE to discover it!)…

As usual, Mozilla will have a Developer Room. And, as usual, it’s going to be packed.

But, unfortunately, and what is not usual, we will have the room for ONE DAY only. Because Fosdem is so successful, organizers had to give rooms to more and more topics.

So this year, we deeply encourage you to propose some talks to the other rooms (you can find them here :, in order to have as many Mozillians as possible at the Fosdem ! And not only in our room.
If you are interested in giving a talk only in the Mozilla room, please add it to this PAD : before 2013-12-20.
You can also propose a talk you would like to attend, and we’ll try to find a speaker! Please, do it in the same PAD, in the second section :

We really would like some talks from both Mozilla contributors and employees. So don’t hesitate to be two speakers, one employee, and one contributor.

All contributors who are selected to be official speakers in the Mozilla DevRoom will be eligible for travel and hotel sponsorship.
Please make sure to list your contact info (Mozillian page, or mail address) in the PAD, so we can reach you easily if your talk is accepted.

And of course, feel free to propose any kind of talks, even crazy talks, brand new ones, etc. We hope to receive a lot of proposals or suggestions to make this Fosdem be a success with you!



Pre Summit: my report

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Thanks again to Matt and FredB for the translation !

When I told you June was active in terms of events in the new Mozilla office in Paris, I was not joking… With the opening week hardly over, a new event was taking place: the Pre Summit.

Next October, Mozilla is holding a « Summit »: a gathering of Mozillians from all over the world. The previous Summit took place in Canada in 2010. Since then there have been no Summits, but instead « Mozcamps » on separate continents. The reason for this is simple: the exponential growth of the Community has continued non-stop in recent years.

But Mozilla really wants an opportunity for its contributors and employees to meet, with all the continents intermingled. Thus the organization of a new Summit! Except, since the Community has become too large for the places that might accommodate it, the October 2013 Summit will be distributed over three cities: Brussels, Toronto, and San Francisco. A lottery allows contributors to choose locations that are not necessarily the closest to where they live.

The organization for all this started six months ago. Contributors were invited, via « Mozillians » to register. And now that the citites, the hotels, and logistics are set, the work needs to shift to content.

This is why Mozilla organized a « Pre Summit » on 15 and 16 of June, in Mozilla Office in Paris. I was glad to be invited, with David Scravaglieri (Firefox OS manager for Europe) and Laurent Jouanneau (long-time contributor and founder of to represent France. Alongside contributors from all over the world, and many employees. We were a total of about a hundred people.

This weekend was englightening and rewarding!

Themes had to be defined, what would be the orientation of this future Summit. What would it be useful for. It has to be more than a mere gathering of Mozillians: Mozilla is an association, and cannot afford to spend money mindlessly. It also has to make sure that the event will be rewarding for every attendee.

We were all there, happy to meet again or for the first time. Glad to see that Mitchell and Debbie Cohen, among many others, were present. And soon enough we understood that this weekend was the one Mozilla wanted to hear us, and I would say, to listen and understand us.

Through many workshops, we discussed, and learned from each other, shared our vision for Mozilla. So we, quite simply, said all that was weighing on us, because we don’t live in a dream world. Despite the fact that Mozilla’s approach unites us, it remains true that this project can be a source of frustrations or worries, for us who give it so much of our energy.

So here are in a few points without a specific order, what are my take-aways from this weekend, that will remain very important for my future engagement in the community:

– Melek, Gloria (from Columbia), Arturo (from Venezuela) and I used this weekend as an opportunity to report our dismay about the fact that Webmaker cannot be localized. I don’t hide the fact that several people were surprised about this fact. Which is an obvious fact about Mozilla’s quick growth: it’s impossible to know everything about it. And we were right in our roles as Reps by mentioning this issue. And the expectations about Webmaker are high for good reasons! This project is so thrilling! But how can you efficiently teach what is the Internet to children who do not know a word in English, while the tools we offer are in English?

In France, the Ministère de la Culture is interested in a kind of partnership around Webmaker. But we can only tell them no as of now: young French children under ten (and of more than ten too) would not be able to use it.

The language barrier is a reality for many of us.

– This is also an issue we raised: as Reps, we are listening to our communities, and mentioned that Mozilla is too much « North-America-centered », and that different cultures have difficulties finding their place.

All the Reps were complaining. And in the coming days and months, we will be there to make sure our cultures are taken into account. BUT there is that one thing that was important to me: the fact that we could have talked. And that we felt listened-to.

Who other than Mozilla would be able to gather employees including executives and volunteers in the same room? We were able to exchange with all the attending directors: Debbie Cohen, Mitchel Baker and many others. We were able to explain our griefs. I found that is fantastic!

Mozilla has about 800 employees and thousands of contributors. It offers tools used by millions of people, and still cares enough to listen and creates moments when we can say it all. It is unique and deeply moving!

There were strong moments, English-speakers showing how much they were able to make efforts: each time they spoke too fast, non-native speakers only had to raise a hand for the flow to slow down. And it worked! It was a simple and efficient way to raise awareness.

– More generally-speaking, a major topic quickly covered by contributors (which group I belong to) was our feeling of being abandoned by employees becoming stronger and stronger. The impression that our work did not get attention nor recognition and to lack help. These few months, as Reps we heard so many complaints coming from contributors, so many of them mentioning the possibility of leaving… That is why this weekend was much needed. On my side, it boosted my motivation, reminded me why I contribute to the Mozilla project, and why we can be proud of being part of the Mozilla community.

Even though several people tried to calm the tensions down around the employee/contributor divide that we, as Reps, mentioned, by reminding us we are all « Mozillians ».

It’s true! We are all Mozillians. But it’s impossible not to distinguish between employees and volunteers. As volunteers, we give our time OUTSIDE of our work. For that reason I really think that volunteer contributions should be honored more. And it’s true that we need recognition and help from the employees. Because for all of us, they are our point of entry, the ones who know the nitty-gritty and can guide us through it.

I also listened to what the employees had to say. They were affected and distressed by what we had said, since they felt they were doing their best and making all the resources they could available to us — and they are not wrong, in my opinion!

Because after all, have you seen the new Paris ofice?
And the budget Mozilla allowed us for our francophone meetup?
And the Summit?

So yes, as contributors, we are not there to let our behavior be dictated to us, we are not just a « workforce » available to do whatever the employees don’t have time for.
And yes, we are all concious of the differences between employes and volunteers. But we have employees who are dedicated, and by organizing the Summit, Mozilla shows that it wants its employees to meet us and learn from us.

And that is extraordinary!

As to the fact that we sometimes feel neglected by the employees:

Firstly, do not generalize! Don’t forget all the employees who engage with us, all those who constantly answer our questions on IRC, email, etc. There are many of them.

A new system has been created, the Mozilla Reps system. And I never stop marvelling at the availability of William, Pierros, Konstantina, and Brian. They understand the Community, and they are wonderful connectors. This Reps system also proves the importance Mozilla places in its Community: a worldwide system, tuned to our needs, that puts so many resources at our disposal!

Finally, let’s ask ourselves: what is more important? That employees come to our events, or that they produce the best possible tools that benefit all of us? In the case of Firefox OS, Vivien (Tech Lead for Gaia) always tells me, and I think he is right, that what he’s working on is the biggest contribution he will ever make, his greatest gift to the community. And I agree with him!

We must accept that the employees can’t be at our disposal all the time. They are not in our service; well, a few are but not all. As employees they work under constraints that are different from those of volunteer contributors (in terms of efficiency, productivity, etc.). So naturally they don’t always respond instantly. It’s our role to be patient, and to nag them. 🙂  And don’t forget that the Reps are also there to help you, and to act as an interface.

After all, we all agree that it can be difficult to know whom to contact, where to get information, etc. Mozilla has become so huge! And this is just the beginning!

That’s why we spent time this weekend thinking about the best tools to let all of us interact better, and know each other better. Better tools, and fewer. Because it’s becoming really difficult to follow everything Mozilla offers! (Of course I gave my usual rant against Bugzilla, the arch-nemesis of Joe and Jane User.)

I’d really like to thank all the employees for their patience. I know that this weekend, especially Saturday, spent listening to our complaints must have been painful at times. But that did not last!

– Because this is the magic of Mozilla! On Sunday, when the time had come to propose constructive solutions for working together productively, everyone worked hand-in-hand. Forgotten were the tensions of the previous day! We were united by a common goal: making the Summit a success, a time of joy for all the attendees, and the starting point for a new era.

Together we proposed themes and workshops. In particular regarding ways to welcome new contributors, to help them feel comfortable, and also to keep the existing community member engaged. We all worked in the same direction, around an oh-so-important theme: the future of Mozilla. We all started debating it, and then building it. And we will continue during the Summit itself. A Summit that will probably be very different than we’ve seen in the past: fewer lectures, and more interactions and interest groups.

Anyway, that’s what we began over the course of the weekend: we racked our brains and exchanged ideas. And we saw just how incredibly productive this mix of experiences and cultures could be. We all left with smiling faces, and a feeling of accomplishment.

Which was a beautiful thing on Sunday! And it will be beautiful at the Summit!

P.S. Big thanks to Kate, Mardi, and Luciana for their organization. Perfect! We are truly lucky to have them.

And thank you to Dino for his infectious energy!

P.P.S. Don’t miss the remarkable report by Melek, from Mozilla Tunisia.

The Mozilla Paris office has officially opened its doors! (en)

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A huge thanks to Matt Brubeck and to FredB for the translation!

… Yes, I know, that happened a month ago. But in the meantime, as you’ll see in the following blog posts, we have all been quite busy. This report is just the first of a long series. Because this June at Mozilla, and in Paris especially, was absolutely crazy!

The month opened with fanfare for a well-attended event: the inauguration of Mozilla’s new Paris office.

And what an office! Judge for yourself:

Yes, the gold leaf is impressive and might seem a departure from the spirit of Free Software. But this is not how I see things! To me, the gilded ornamentation and the immense new space signify the important Mozilla places on its employees, and above all on its community. Because this is not just an office: it is a community space. Mozilla has in fact dedicated a large part of the office space to the community. The ballroom (the most beautiful room, no less!) is designed to welcome all who wish to organize events around Mozilla and its mission, and additionally any volunteers who want to come and work hand-in-hand with employees contributing to the Mozilla project.

Thus, the week of the inauguration began with a Firefox OS Hackathon.

  • Sunday: the hackathon

Firefox OS, as you surely know, is one of the most inspiring projects in recent years. And the fantastic thing for the French and francophone community is that an entire team is based in the Paris office: the team working on Gaia, the frontend of Firefox OS.

And this team pays attention to its community, as they showed during this latest hackathon, which demonstrated the endless possibilities of Firefox OS.

Since the web is the platform, Firefox OS offers huge opportunities for all web developers. Now anyone who wants to can create their own application and list it on the marketplace. What do you need? Some creativity, some ingenuity, and knowing your audience!
So the office opened its doors on Sunday at 9 AM. (I won’t deny that it was challenging for most to wake up this early, especially on a Sunday!). The event started with three presentations, which aimed at answering as many questions as possible and making attendees comfortable with the tools:

– Anthony Ricaud, who belongs to the Gaia team, introduced how an app works on the technical side. In other words, what are the prerequisites before you get started developing one.

– Jérémie Patonnier, valued contributer and documentation specialist, showed where all the information about Firefox OS, the documentation, and tutorials can be found.

– Finally, Antoine (aka GeekShadow) showed us how to publish an app on the marketplace.

Regarding this, I would like to sincerely thank Jérémie and Antoine for their availibility. We were short of presenters in the office for the marketplace conference, and Antoine being the excellent contributor he is, offered to come all the way from Saint-Nazaire. His presentation was flawless. Not really suprising given that Antoine knows his stuff since he already published applucations. Based on this experience, he stayed the whole day and shared with the hackathon attendees. Same thing about Jérémie, becoming more and more unavoidable in the community: he doesn’t keep count on contributed hours and always comes up with the best advice. His thorough knowledge about documentation is worth a lot to us.

But Anthony, Antoine, and Jérémie weren’t the only ones to be here for the event. Ben Francis (Gaia Developer living in England), Vivien (Gaia Tech Lead), Yoric (Mr. Mozilla Education in the Paris Office), David Scravaglieri (Firefox OS manager in Europe), Adrian, Mat’, Nical, Padenot, and Pascal were all there to help the attendees. Dressed as the Smurfs (due to their blue Firefox OS tee-shirt), they spent their day answering the questions of some 50 developers.

The success of this hackathon is most certainly due to their availability. In the end, no less than 24 applications were created! And in a limited period of time (roughly 7 hours) with, let’s be honest, big Wi-Fi issues (which was the negative point of this day).
24 applications and 6 winners elected by our brilliant jury consisting of David Scravaglieri, Vivien Nicolas, Jérémie Patonnier (both a talented developer and a design expert), Adrian Gaudebert (our resident game specialist), plus Brad Fuellenbach and Mathew Caldwell from Mozilla HR. No less! They voted upon three criteria: originality, responsiveness, and design.

This hackathon of course was only the first of a series of events about Mozilla products. Do not hesitate to tell us which product you would like to be covered!

I would like to thank all the attendees for their seriousness (we could have heard a pin drop), but also for their joy and their talent. I would like to thank our Smurfs for the time they spent, showing how great our community is, especially Yoric, who gave a lot in this event by contacting schools and students.
Finally, a big thank you to the organisers: Amié Tyrrel and Kimber who helped from the USA. Thank you Shannon Clayton and Clara Carle, our Parisian office hosts and good fairies. You will soon figure out that they kept on rocking the following days.
  • Tuesday: the Community
The hackathon was just an introduction to an entire week, dedicated to the opening of this highly-anticipated office. Why a week? Simply because even so large a space could not accomodate more than a hundred or so people at a time. And Mozilla has many more friends than that!

So it was decided to split the inauguration parties in order to welcome as many people as possible. And to meet everyone’s expectations. I had the fortune ot partipate in all of the parties and thus offer you a little summary (now that the effects of the champagne I drank each night have evaporated).

Tuesday’s soiree was the one closest to my own heart: one dedicated to the Community. Amié created an Eventbrite page, and opened it to everyone who wanted to contribute, and of course those who already do. They are many!

So we were like one big family that Tuesday. A beautiful family, joined by the bonds of Free Software and love for Mozilla. A familly welcomed of course by Tristan Nitot (who else?) who in a speech recounted the path that Mozilla Paris has traveled, starting in his garage and ending up in this office today.

For the occasion, Mozilla had berets made for the guests. (« Béret » is also the name of one of the rooms in the new office. It is adjacent to « Marcel, » and farther away are « Baguette, » « Saucisson, » and « Ouh La La. » You see, the employees from the Paris office have their sense of humor!) The beret looked marvelous on our dear Tristan!

For the occasion, and for the entire week, I dressed myself in an outfit worthy of a meringue. Orange, with a blue shawl, and an awesome handbag with a fox’s head. Honestly, what wouldn’t I do for Mozilla?!!

It was in this outfit that I gave my speech on the Community. This Community that I love so, and that makes me feel so great. I’ll put the text of the speech in a blog post to follow, since several people have asked me for it.

And because the Community is curious about the latest news. Because there are always many questions and the employees are often overloaded, they took this opportunity to present the latest projects developed by Mozilla:

– Firefox OS, of course, was presented by David Scravaglieri, who then answered the avalanche of questions with good humor. This gave rise to some flavorful exchanges.

– WebRTC was presented by Jean-Baptiste Piacentino, who gave a little demonstration with the help of Florian Quèze.

– Lastly, Webmaker was given an extremely comprehensive presentation by our brilliant Clochix, a contributor who is enthusiastic about issues of education, and who knows Webmaker like the back of his hand. We thank him again for making himself available and for sporting the beret!

Next? Well, there were toasts offered again and again in honor of Mozilla, ardent conversations, happy faces, hugs. The Community’s pleasure at discovering this space which Mozilla has made available to them. And already some ideas for more Free Software events.

  • Wednesday: Mozilla’s Economic Role

On Wednesday the festivities continued around a new theme. At Tristan’s excellent suggestion, Mozilla invited various participants in Free Software and the internet industry. But also from the schools who are training the future participants in the digital economy.

Why? Because Mozilla was eager to assure them that these tools are at their disposal. That Free Software is not a utopia. That partnerships are possible. That Mozilla will always be there to carry the torch of Free Software and help with its development.

With Firefox OS, Mozilla has started building partnerships with industry giants like Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom. But Mozilla’s DNA remains intact. This was also the message that Tristan Nitot wanted to send to our friends in the Free Software world.

This was a very informative evening, driven by a number of question. And one certainty: Free Software has a bright future ahead.

And don’t forget: Mozilla is hiring!

  • Thursday: VIP party

With such an office, Mozilla wanted to pull out all the stops, and to show that Google and company are not the only important internet players in France. Because Mozilla is here!

Mozilla is still growing in France, hiring new employees, making more resources available to the Community. This evening’s soiree was intended to put that on display.

An evening for which everyone dressed in their Sunday best. And for that alone, beleive me, it was worth it! How lovely to see all these geeks dressed in jackets, suits, and for the bravest, even dress shoes! I was delighted.

Representing Mozilla were, of couse, Tristan Nitot, but also Debbie Cohen and Mitchell Baker! Together they welcomed our special guest: Fleur Pellerin, French Minister for the Digital Economy, who honored us with a speech in which she showed fairly good knowledge of Free Software. But most importantly, by her presence, she demonstrated her recognition of Free Software’s importance. The fact that she was present at this event is a powerful symbol.

Fleur Pellerin was even available for a bit of cake-cutting alongside Mitchell Baker (who also treated us to a speech with her characteristic confidence).

As you can see, this week was packed, not just with champagne and petits fours, but also with chance encounters, budding plans, fruitful discussions, and messages of hope for Mozilla’s future, and for Free Software in general. Personally, I hope that the Community clearly saw that this space is now ours. And that we will be able to do beautiful things there.

I’d like to thank Tristan Nitot for the inception of Mozilla Europe, and for his continuing strong guidance of Mozilla France. He is the one who made this Mozilla Paris space possible by welcoming the first European Mozilla employees into his garage. And believing in it for all these years. And enabling the hiring of new employees. And making himself available to the Community.

Thank you to Pascal, Filip, Cédric, Goofy, Laurent, Benoît, Kazé, Frédéric, Flore, Bobo, and Paul Rouget: they created the francophone community and they continue ot be there for it after all these years.

And big thanks also to the Gaia team in Paris: it is a great pool of talents, and a beacon for the French-speaking Community.

Thanks again to Amié, Kimber, Shannon, and Clara: they worked organizational miracles, and in such a short time!

And finally, thank you to Debbie Cohen and Mitchell: by their presence and their involvement, they once again broadened the field of possibilities.

So the office has now officially opened its doors. We wish it a long and happy life!

It’s time to go to Myanmar!

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With Vivien Nicolas, we had the pleasure to spend a two week holiday in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Two weeks of emotions and wonder. Thanks to Tin Aung Linn, our local Mozilla Reps, we were able to met several Burmese Free Software personalities. From all those meetings and discoveries, we draw one conclusion: Myanmar now! Especially for the Internet, as I’ll explain in the second part of this post.

  • Why it’s time to go there, in general:

About Burma, it is often said it’s the most beautiful country in Asia. I don’t have any comparison points, since this was my first trip to the continent. Yet, one thing is sure: it’s a wonderful country. Wonderful.

But the first wealth of Burma is its people! Vivien and I were blown away by their kindness and generosity. On our first day, the trip started quite badly: lost luggage; domestic flight from Yangon to Inle Lake cancelled. Hopefully, our disappointment was soon to be forgotten thanks to Julie, a Air KBZ employee: she found our luggage (even though it was not her company’s fault) and, moreover, we had the pleasure to dine in Chinatown with her and her husband Éric. A night to remember, during which Vivien ate locusts and bamboo worms, and met new friends. I take the opportunity to dedicate this post, and my best wishes, to Julie and Éric, and once again invite them to Paris!

And we had so many other meetings in Burma! Monks, restaurateurs, worshipers in temples, children… All gave us a wonderful smile, a nice word; some took pictures of us. Respectful, discrete, charming: this is how Burmese were with us. They gave us a real life lesson.

And we’ll never forget the landscapes and monuments. Some areas are still wild, outside of time (just have a look to the Intha fishermen on Inle Lake). Every temple, every pagoda has its surprises. Not to forget this senerity feeling that envelops you.

So, in short, you get the point. We were under the spell.

So why is it time to go there now? Because tourists are just starting to come in mass, and you can still enjoy this country in relative peace. Because the junta has turned over power to a civilian government (even though, in reality, the military junta is still there unofficially), the country is opening itself to trade, and now is the time to come and participate in this opening and prevent it from closing again.

  • Why is it time to go there now, especially for lovers of the Internet and Free Software?

To participate in the opening. Prevent Myanmar from closing. Things are still especially delicate there when it comes to the Internet.

Today, between 5 and 7% of the population has access to the Internet. Cybercafés are very successfull, as we could see for ourselves. Geek-attitude knows no borders :). The more people access the Internet, the harder it will be for the regime to apply censorship. That’s why we have to act now.

This is what we realized when we met Burmese Free Software personalities, thanks to our  great Mozilla Rep, Tin Aung Linn.

We met both M.Ye and M.Thein in Mandalay. Then we met Ko Ye, Tho Hi, Chit Ko Ko Win, Naing Ye Min, Ethan Kurt, Ma Hteik, Nang Nyi, and Yadanar in Yangon.

Ko Ye Myat Thu and U Thein Htut are part of the Myanmar Computer Professionals Association, in Mandalay ( ). The other people we met in Yangon are free software advocates, including several members of the fantastic Yangon Barcamp (6000 participants in 2013; Aung San Suu Kyi gave a speech for them in 2012!) or the Ubuntu community, and most of them are students.

We asked all of them about their hopes and wishes. Here is a summary of their answers:

– One of the biggests part is about education. There are computer science schools in the country, but several people reported that they were several months or years late on the current state of the art. Autodidacts (like Tin!) are able to educate themselves about free software, but they regret that Web technologies are taught little or not at all. They are dreaming of Mozilla people coming in to teach about Firefox technologies and Open Source languages. Those materials could then be reused by other universities.

– There is also censorship to fight. We could quite easily browse the web when we were there. But only because we were browsing in French or English. Even if it is better than in the past, there is still censorship active locally. With Vivien, we plan to bridge the gap between Burmese free software advocates and the Internews NGO ( ), which specializes in fighting censorship.

– Mainly, what Mozilla could help with is bringing more visibility to the issue of the Internet. A couple of days after our trip in Yangon (oh yeah, we were there first!), Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Gooogle, came to give a speech and pleaded for Internet liberty ( ). We can’t sit back and do nothing! Tin and his friends really would like to see Mozilla employees visit too and join in this conversation. All together, they are doing a tremendous job, and I think we have to build on those contributions, show that we, members of the Mozilla Community, are supporting them. Ubuntu is already very present during events. One of the free software advocates we met already had a Ubuntu Phone that he often show. Once again, customs are an issue: our Reps can’t receive their kit. Tin has no t-shirts, banners, nor goodies. William, we need your help! 😉

– The best would be to participate with them in developing the Internet. That’s why Tin and the others were excited by Firefox OS. Vivien talked a lot about it, showed them the possibilities. Today, they are waiting for just one thing: phone availability in Myanmar. And I also think it’s an excellent opportunity for this country: by enabling people to have the Internet in their pockets, we could exponentially help its development. And those phones would be affordable, unlike Apple’s or Samsung’s. Starting today, I’ll forward Tin as much as possible documentation and videos about Firefox OS. I don’t doubt, also, that French employees and volunteers working on Firefox OS will answer all of his questions. But the best thing would be to organize an event about Firefox OS and bring in some employees. Why not some of the Mozilla Taiwan people?

One thing is for sure: with Tin, M.Ye and M.Thein, Ko Ye, Tho Hi, Chit Ko Ko Win, Naing Ye Min, Ethan Kurt, Ma Hteik, Nang Nyi and Yadanar, and also Chit and Thaung whom we sadly could not meet but whose hard work we have heard about, the Internet in Myanmar is in good hands. They are all excellent advocates for Internet freedom.

With this post, I would really like to thank all of them for their welcome, and all they taught us. I admire you, I wish you good luck, and remain at your service!

Viva Myanmar!

Fosdem 2012 : mon compte-rendu

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C’est officiel et définitif : j’adore le Fosdem ! C’est la 2e fois que j’y participais, la première fois que j’y faisais une conférence, et je trouve vraiment que c’est un super événement. Et je ne dis pas ça pour la bière puisque je n’en bois jamais (eh oui, je suis Française, c’est le vin que je préfère :-)).

Ce que j’aime au Fosdem c’est qu’on s’y sent toujours bien, presque en famille. Partout où vous allez, vous rencontrez des gens qui partagent vos valeurs, et ont envie d’en parler. Et puis au vu de la foultitude de conférences, il faudrait être difficile pour ne pas trouver son bonheur !

Surtout, tous les ans, je repars du Fosdem avec plein d’idées de portraits pour le Bonjour Mozilla, tellement j’ai rencontré de personnes intéressantes, touchantes, passionnantes… Cette année, mention spéciale pour : Otto, Chewey (même s’il m’a fait tourner en bourrique), Xavier, Santiago, Thomas, Darkknow, Cmal, Rosana, David, etc, etc, etc. Vous allez les voir apparaître sur Bonjour Mozilla dans les jours à venir, et vous comprendrez sans doute pourquoi je les trouve géniaux.

Bon, la seule difficulté pour moi, c’est l’anglais. Je ne me sens pas à l’aise en anglais, ça m’angoisse. Souvent je ne me focalise que sur les fautes que je fais, et je me bloque. C’est pour ça que j’ai longuement hésité à faire ma conférence. Et puis elle me tenait tellement à cœur que je me suis lancée ! Je tiens d’ailleurs à remercier Benoît Leseul, pour m’avoir convaincue de la présenter, Yaloki (de l’orga du Fosdem) pour m’avoir aidée, et Delphine pour avoir été à mes côtés le jour J pour me traduire les questions si besoin.

Mais quel est donc ce sujet qui compte tellement pour moi que je me suis forcée à parler anglais pendant 50 minutes ?! Il s’agit des relations entre les libristes et les Monsieurs et Madames Michu. En gros, entre les geeks velus, et les gens comme moi qui techniquement ne comprennent rien.

Entendons-nous bien, pour moi, le terme de « Monsieur et Madame Michu » n’est absolument pas péjoratif puisque je revendique moi-même d’être une Madame Michu. Parce que je pense que c’est justement mon côté Madame Michu qui apporte le plus à Mozilla… C’est ça que je voulais démontrer aux geeks présents au Fosdem, pour qu’ils accueillent les personnes non techniques à bras ouverts.

Photo : Julia Buchner

Tout ce que je demandais aux personnes qui venaient assister à ma conférence c’est d’avoir le sens de l’humour. Pendant 30 minutes, j’ai en effet brocardé les geeks, leurs discussions interminables et incompréhensibles par des gens comme moi, leurs goûts bizarres, et leur tendance à ne pas savoir lever le nez de leur ordinateur. Je leur ai expliqué ce que moi j’avais ressenti la première fois que j’ai rencontré les membres de la communauté Mozilla : de la peur, un sentiment de solitude.

Et puis des gens ont pris le temps : mon copain, ou encore Pascal Chevrel… Patiemment, ils m’ont expliqué ce que faisaient tous ces gens aux t-shirts enfantins… Et je suis devenue admirative !

Le Logiciel Libre, techniquement je n’y pige toujours rien. Mais je suis devenue fan de la philosophie (l’entraide, le partage, l’ouverture, etc.), je le vois comme quelque chose d’éthique. Et je me suis rendue compte qu’en plus, technologiquement parlant, cela rend bien des services, et c’est super efficace !

Le problème c’est que la communauté du Libre est une communauté soudée, mais une petite communauté. Comme les libristes vivent en vase clos, ils ont souvent l’impression que tout le monde comprend ce qu’ils disent et ce qu’ils font… ce qui est tout sauf le cas ! Alors parfois, ils créent des logiciels qu’ils sont les seuls à pouvoir maîtriser, voire utiliser… comment voulez-vous que le Libre conquière le monde si seulement quelques initiés le maîtrisent ?

D’où l’intérêt d’accueillir des M. et Mme Michu dans les communautés. Pas tous : ceux qui sont suffisamment ouverts d’esprits et à qui cette philosophie va parler. Ils pourront ensuite être le relais entre le Logiciel Libre et le grand public.

Mais pour cela, les geeks libristes vont devoir faire des efforts:

– Lever le nez de leur ordinateur, voire abandonner leur ordinateur pour un moment

– Se préparer à répondre à des questions stupides (“Comment vous gagnez votre vie si c’est gratuit ?”, “Mon ordinateur marche pas, pourquoi ?”, etc.)

– Ne pas être trop technique, et accepter que la personne en face puisse confondre un navigateur avec un moteur de recherche…

– Ne pas dire “RTFM”!!

Choisir ensuite les thèmes à aborder, plus séduisants pour une personne “normale”:

– Le côté gratuit de certains Logiciels Libres. JE SAIS, ce n’est pas parce que c’est libre que c’est gratuit ! Mais le fait est que c’est fréquent, et que ça parle aux gens !

– La philosophie du Logiciel Libre, les 4 libertés, etc.

– La communauté : le fait que lorsqu’on y est, on communique avec des gens du monde entier!

Enfin, leur proposer des contributions, pour les intégrer:

– La localisation

– Le support

– L’organisation, la communication, etc.

Globalement, cette conférence a été bien accueillie, ce qui me ravit ! J’étais heureuse aussi d’entendre les rires.

Les questions qui ont suivi étaient très intéressantes ! Je retiens plusieurs choses:

– Plusieurs personnes m’ont expliqué que c’était vraiment difficile pour elles de trouver des sujets à aborder avec le grand public… Nous avons convenu qu’il pourrait être utile de préparer une liste de questions/réponses pour le grand public

– Une personne a pointé du doigt le fait que les manuels étaient souvent trop techniques, qu’il n’existait pas d’intermédiaire, de manuels sur le Logiciel Libre qui soient grand public. Je trouve cela très juste ! Et c’est sans doute quelque chose à quoi nous devrions réfléchir.

– Un professeur a raconté que chaque année il proposait une liste de sujets ayant trait au Logiciel Libre à ses élèves. Chacun ne doit en choisir qu’un, et ensuite voir ce qu’il en retient, ce qu’il en comprend. Une excellente initiative qui l’a conduit à venir au Fosdem avec 7 élèves cette année ! Eh oui, 7 élèves lui ont demandé de les y emmener tellement ils s’y intéressaient.

– On m’a aussi parlé de la nécessaire sensibilisation des politiques à la question du Logiciel Libre. Une excellente suggestion était de proposer aux militants de tous les partis de venir leur faire une conférence sur le sujet. Je pense qu’il serait intéressant d’y réfléchir ! Surtout qu’en France, nous sommes en pleine campagne présidentielle…

– Enfin, j’ai bien compris que beaucoup aimeraient surtout voir plus de Madames Michu… Pour le moment, je n’ai pas de solutions toutes faites. Mais beaucoup de pistes, grâce à WoMoz qui œuvre à faire venir plus de femmes dans le Logiciel Libre !

En tous cas, je compte bien faire d’autres conférences, car j’ai vu au nombre de questions et de personnes qui sont venues me voir après, que je n’étais pas la seule à me préoccuper de ce sujet 🙂 Merci à toutes les personnes présentes pour leur accueil et leur bienveillance, et à l’année prochaine !

Mes slides :

Mozilla Tunisia Tour : quoi d’autre ?

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Deux membres de ce tout nouveau hackerspace sont venus nous présenter leurs différents projets… Impressionnant et étourdissant ! En vrac, je citerais :

– un groupe de réflexion pour la création d’un “Parti Pirate” tunisien

– la création d’un CCC tunisien, pour rassembler hackers et non hackers

– la création d’un laboratoire pour travailler sur des outils de démocratie directe, ainsi que d’un site pour aider à faire des recherches dans les sites gouvernementaux qui sont très mal référencés sur Google

– la création d’un site de e-pétitions pour que les citoyens puissent continuer de s’exprimer après la Révolution

– la création de pour exercer une lutte quotidienne contre la censure

– l’organisation de docsprints, et même d’un codesprint spécial Firefox

Et puis il y a ce merveilleux projet qui sera bientôt une réalité  : pendant un mois, les hackers vont organiser, en partenariat avec OpenStreetMap, une caravane qui va sillonner toute la Tunisie pendant un mois. Nos hackers ont invité toutes les communautés à venir les rejoindre. Il y aura donc des représentants de Mozilla Tunisie pour aller à la rencontre des gens dans l’ensemble du pays !

  • L’atelier Boot-To-Gecko

Le lendemain des conférences sur Mozilla et WoMoz a eu lieu la première journée thématique du Mozilla Tunisia Tour. Elle était intitulée « Esprit du mobile » et était placée sous l’égide de Mounir Lamouri et Vivien Nicolas, deux employés Mozilla travaillant actuellement sur le projet Boot-To-Gecko (ou B2G). L’un de ces deux employés est cher à mon coeur 😉

Professeur Vivien

Les deux compères ont commencé par une présentation générale de B2G, expliquant en quoi il s’agissait d’une nouvelle révolution annoncée, à l’image de Firefox sur Internet. Ils ont aussi présenté les aspects techniques de B2G, et le calendrier prévisionnel. Un calendrier qui fait peur : B2G devant sortir avant la fin de l’année (autant vous dire que je risque de ne pas beaucoup voir mon geek en 2012…).

Professeur Mounir

L’après-midi, Vivien et Mounir se sont mués en professeur, et organisé un atelier. Les étudiants étaient répartis selon leur école, et devaient développer une application fonctionnant sur Boot-to-Gecko. Un succès ! D’abord, je dois dire que les professeurs m’ont semblé merveilleux, de pédagogie et de patience. L’image de ces 2 garçons assaillis, entourés en permanence, était magique, et montrait à quel point B2G est un projet attendu. Ensuite, les étudiants ont fait preuve de beaucoup d’intérêt et de talent. En tout, ils ont créé 4 applications (que Vivien conserve jalousement dans son téléphone) : une calculatrice, un convertisseur bidirectionnel Celsius/Fahrenheit, un QCM, et un jeu à base de logos Firefox, Linux, Thunderbird, etc. Nos professeurs en herbe étaient ravis, et manifestement, leurs “élèves” aussi puisque l’atelier a largement dépassé l’horaire prévu.

  • Le karaoké

Les Tunisiens sont fous, vous le saviez ? Nous, on l’a découvert ce samedi 21 janvier ! En plein milieu de l’atelier B2G, ils ont organisé… Un karaoké ! Ambiance surréaliste : tous se sont mis à chanter et à danser au milieu des tables, avec beaucoup de conviction ! Sincèrement, c’était génial, complètement décalé, incroyable. Ils ont réussi à faire participer tout le monde, comme un prélude à ce qu’ils comptent faire avec le Logiciel Libre dans les mois à venir.

Plus généralement, leur joie de vivre m’a marquée, leur sens de la fête également. Chaque moment que nous avons passé avec eux, chaque endroit où ils nous ont emmenés, fut le théâtre de fous-rires indescriptibles. Ce sont de bonnes natures et d’excellents hôtes. Des taquins aussi : je me suis retrouvée à danser la Macarena sur Airmozilla sans le savoir… Grrr !

Des fous, je vous dis !


Que du positif ! Que du bonheur !

– Je porte les personnes que nous avons rencontrées dans mon cœur, et espère pouvoir continuer, à distance, à être là pour elles. Bien des personnes me manquent !

– L’espoir est immense, mais la confiance également : nous avons fait la connaissance d’une communauté structurée, très bien organisée, dont les leaders sont charismatiques et énergiques.

– Un nombre incroyables de talents : la preuve par les applications réalisées, mais aussi par le bon niveau des discussions avec nos développeurs Mounir et Vivien. Et ce n’était qu’un début ! La communauté tunisienne recherche maintenant des intervenants pour venir animer des ateliers sur JetPack, Python, etc.

– Nos amis ont un vrai talent pour le karaoké ! On a intérêt à s’entraîner pour notre prochaine visite… Idem pour la danse. Mais la prochaine fois, je vous apprends le Madison, et rira bien qui rira le dernier !

– La nourriture était excellente (encore une fois, mention spéciale au couscous de la maman d’Ahmed, mon palais en frétille encore)… Ce n’est évidemment pas l’essentiel, mais ça fait partie du charme du voyage.

– Les petits chats étaient nombreux et tous mignons 😉

Un pitichatoumignon parmi d'autres

Voilà, c’est fini. Vous qui me lisez, j’espère vous avoir donné envie d’aller les voir, leur donner un coup de main, ou partager un karaoké avec eux !

Mozilla Tunisia Tour : la conférence sur WoMoz

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Cette conférence était, à l’origine, la principale raison de ma présence en Tunisie. Voici bientôt 6 mois que je dialoguais avec Melek Jebnoun par mails, que je découvrais cette fantastique nana, et qu’elle me confiait combien elle aimait WoMoz.

A l’occasion du Mozcamp Berlin, en novembre, avec Delphine, nous avons rencontré Sofien en chair et en os, ce qui nous a permis de formaliser notre venue, et ladite conférence sur WoMoz. Et nous voici, ce vendredi 20 janvier 2012, devant Melek, Marwa, Sahar… Et beaucoup d’autres étudiantes, et étudiants, en informatique.

Allez les WoMoz !

Avant même de commencer notre présentation, nous nous sommes rendues compte avec Delphine de son côté caduque. En effet, une partie de notre conférence consiste à pointer du doigt le manque de femmes dans les écoles d’informatique. Mais si c’est le cas en France, tel n’est pas le cas en Tunisie : nous avions devant nous autant de femmes que d’hommes… Nous avons donc décidé de ne parler que 15 minutes, et de consacrer le reste du temps imparti à discuter avec les personnes présentes. Pour comprendre cette différence, et voir ce que WoMoz pouvait leur apporter d’autre.

En dépit de cette différence, l’humour sous-jacent à notre conférence, les stéréotypes dénoncés, ont été bien accueillis. Nous avons senti que ces stéréotypes n’avaient pas de frontière, même s’ils se manifestaient différemment. En Tunisie, il est clair que les femmes sont bien acceptées en écoles d’informatique. Et même au-delà, puisque les étudiantes nous ont affirmé qu’une fois leur diplôme en poche, elles trouveraient le même type de travail que les hommes, et à salaire égal! Là encore, tel n’est pas le cas en France…

MAIS. Les trolls existent aussi en Tunisie, et nous avons eu la chance d’en avoir un. Un garçon courageux qui a dit tout haut ce que certains pensaient peut-être tout bas. Parlant de différence entre hommes et femmes, et s’interrogeant sur la nécessité de faire bouger les choses.

Les étudiantes présentes dans la salle nous ont expliqué que leur nombre était dû au fait que les écoles d’informatique sont vues comme étant réservées à l’élite en Tunisie : si vous êtes bonne en classe, vous allez en informatique… D’où cette parité homme/femme : toutes les personnes bonnes en classe, sans distinction de sexe, vont en école d’informatique. Mais ce que nous a dit le Troll, c’est qu’il trouvait qu’il y avait tout de même une différence : les hommes sont selon lui plus passionnés par le Logiciel Libre que les femmes. Il y a dans les écoles, d’après lui, plus d’hommes qui ont un Linux que de femmes. Ce constat, les étudiantes l’ont approuvé. En revanche, ce qu’elles n’ont pas approuvé, c’est lorsque le même garçon a vu cela comme une fatalité, comme quelque chose lié tout simplement au fait qu’elles sont des femmes.

La différence de passion vis-à-vis du Logiciel Libre peut venir, après réflexion, d’un inégal accès aux ordinateurs avant l’entrée de ces jeunes filles dans les écoles d’informatique. Peut-être sont-elles bonnes en classe, mais rien ne dit qu’elles soient familiarisées, autant que leur frère par exemple, au maniement des ordinateurs, au développement, etc. Et puis la pression sociale est là : si les femmes peuvent intégrer des écoles d’informatique, travailler… elles restent des femmes qui doivent aussi savoir tenir une maison, s’occuper des enfants, etc. Bien-sûr, les jeunes filles qui nous faisaient face avaient du caractère et étaient en l’occurrence des passionnées de Logiciel Libre. Mais toutes les femmes n’ont pas forcément le courage de casser les préjugés, ou de familles (ou de petit copain ;-)) qui les soutiennent… Et l’informatique ne sera alors pour elles qu’un travail, un moyen de gagner leur vie (ce qui est déjà pas si mal !).

Ce qui compte cependant, c’est justement la passion dont font preuve Melek, Sahar, Marwa et les autres : car elle est contagieuse cette passion ! Et elle est la preuve qu’elle n’est pas réservée aux hommes ! Nos nouvelles WoMoz ont donc convenu qu’elles allaient travailler là-dessus : à transmettre leur amour pour le Logiciel Libre à leurs amies, aux autres étudiantes, etc. Désormais, Delphine, moi, et les autres membres de WoMoz, seront là pour les soutenir et les accompagner !

Melek et Sahar... C'est beau la solidarité féminine !

Bienvenue les filles ! Vous êtes géniales !

Et voici nos slides avec Delphine :


English translation by Tom Leaman (thanks!)

Delphine and I had the chance to go in Tunisia for 3 days, in january. It was marvellous! We gave a talk about WoMoz… Here is my report.

This conference was, originally, the main reason for me being in Tunisia. I spent nearly 6 months exchanging e-mails with Melek Jebnoun and I discovered a fantastic girl who really loves WoMoz.

At Mozcamp Berlin, in November, Delphine and I met Sofien in the flesh which allowed us to arrange our place and the WoMoz conference. And here we are, this Friday the 20th of January 2012, Melek, Marwa, Sahar… and many other computer science students.

Before starting our presentation, we realised with Delphine that it was quite inapropriate for Tunisia. Indeed, part of our conference consists of pointing out the lack of women in computer science schools. But if this is true in France, it’s not the case in Tunisia: we had as many women in front of us as men… We therefore decided to only talk for 15 minutes and devote the rest of our time to discussion with the people there. To understand this difference and to see what WoMoz can give to others.

Despite this difference, the under-lying humour at the conference, the denounced stereotypes, have been apreciated. We felt that these stereotypes had no boundaries, even if they manifest themselves differently. In Tunisia, it’s clear that women are well accepted in computer education. And even beyond, since the students told us that once they have their diploma in their pockets, they will find the same kind of work as men, and with equal pay! Again, this is not the case in France…

BUT. Trolls also exist in Tunisia, and we were fortunate to have one. A brave boy spoke certain thoughts out loud where others might whisper. Speaking of differences between men and women, and questioning the necessity to make things happen.

Students in the room explained to us that the reason for their number was because the computer schools are seen as being reserved for the elite in Tunisia: if you are good in class, you go… Hence this male/female parity: all the good people in class go to study computer science, without distinction of sex. But what the Troll said was that he still found a difference: men are more passionate about free software than women. In schools, he said, there are more men who run Linux than women. The students agreed with this observation. However, they did not agree that it was simply because they were women, as this boy did.

The difference in passion wrt free software could come, after reflection, from unequal access to computers before girls get to computer schools. Maybe they are good in class, but not as familiar, like their brother for example, with using computers, development etc. And then there is social pressure: if women can integrate into computer schools, work… they are women who must also look after the house, take care of the children etc. Of course, the girls we met had character and, in this case, passionate about free software. But not all women have the courage to break the prejudices, or families (or boyfriend ;-) ) that they support… And then computers will not be their way to earn a living.

What matters though, is exactly that passion shown by Malek, Sahar, Marwa and the others: because it is contagious! And it proves that it is not reserved for the men! Our new WoMoz members agreed that they would work on it: to transmit their love of free software to their friends, other students etc. Now, Delphine, myself and the other members of WoMoz will be there to support them!