This past weekend I was in Toronto for the Mozilla summit. It was one of three venues where mozillians - staff and volunteers - gathered to talk about the Mozilla project, what we’re doing, where we are going and most importantly, to meet members across the breadth of the community.
I started at Mozilla almost 2 years ago now, when I joined to work on the now-shelved Pancake project. Now I work on Firefox for Metro. I had at least dim awareness of all the projects and intiatives discussed over the last few days, but a few things were brought home to me. One is that success - which I’ll define as an open, universally accessible web - is far from assured. In many ways the open web is a solution to a problem lots of people don’t know they have, and as such it is vulnerable to erosion through public apathy as much as commercial and governmental influence. The right to a free and open platform for publishing, sharing, doing business and all the other ways the web has become critical infrastructure for our society - is not written or enshrined in any law. It is a thing we must all work at preserving and building.
Furthermore, Mozilla is just one of many communities that share these values. While we must compete with software giants, we must shouldn’t resemble one. We must guard against sacred cows and not-invented-here syndrome. We must proactively reach out and connect up with groups that share our values and vision, and frame our work as a collective effort, not a “Mozilla project.” This is especially true when many people only understand Mozilla to be a software company that produces a browser; nuances like it being a non-profit, mission-driven open source project can get lost in the mix.
Seeing the open web vision being driven forward by so many people, across so many countries and in so many ways was invigorating though. I’m proud to be playing a part in this and look forward to the future we can build.