Mozilla is a large community of people who love and protect the open Web. This is my story around being a Mozillian.
If my memory serves me right, I got my first computer (Intel Pentium IV with a nice LCD screen, 256MB RAM, 80 GB HDD) in February, 2006 and it took me about 1 and a half years till September 2007 to figure out how to connect BSNL landline to the modem port and get connected to the Internet with a dialup connection. Till then I was changing the font colors (to red on yellow) and desktop icons and keeping track of FIFA world cup on a spreadsheet I created that'd automatically figure out the points, winners, and draws. Encarta encyclopedia was my everything.
Once I was connected to Internet, it all changed. I was on Orkut, and a lot of other websites, and learning about a vast number of things. And in April 2008 I set up my blog. A point to note here is that this is the point at which I had my first meeting with FOSS philosophy. I installed BOSS Linux (an Indian GNU/Linux flavor) in March that year.
I kept trying out different browsers - IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Avant, GreenBrowser(?). It must be around the launch of Firefox 3.5 that I really got attracted to and stuck with Firefox.
So my love for Mozilla begins around August, 2009. Firefox had hit 1 billion downloads and I took part in the download campaign by being an affiliate. http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/?from=sfx&uid=275742&t=450 was the affiliate link (for old time's sake). BTW, download Firefox now (new affiliate link)
And then I began downloading add-ons, decorating, setting up and maintaining multiple profiles, all that crazy things fans do.
Creating a Firefox add-on was added to my bucket list in around 2011. (And I achieved that in 2015).
And Firefox had sown the seeds of love for Mozilla and open Web in me.
By the time I was in medical school (2011), INOI had happened and I had gotten really acquainted with the role of computers in the world and the state of free software in the world.
Then Shreyas, my schoolmate in 11th and 12th, joined Mozilla and started blogging about his experiences. It was through his blogs and hyperlinks that I got acquainted with Mozilla's activities.
So, one day in June '14' he posted a link to Chennai Mozillians Facebook group about Firefox 29 launch party in Bangalore. Naturally I clicked on it and ended up signing up for an invitation. June, 2014. Of I went to Bangalore on a cold night to attend what was to be my entry to Mozilla. There I met a lot of nice people and talked about all the thousand ways to get started. Ankit Gadgil gave me this wonderful idea:
Every third tweet or Facebook status, what if you dedicate it to open source and open Web? Imagine how powerful that'd be.
Kaustav talked about the code. And a lot of others about a lot of other things. All I could contribute was to Malayalam localization and Anivar suggested that I join the SMC mailing list (and that led me to a lot of other things which is a story on its own)
Ever since, I started hanging around in Moznet IRC, and whichever mailing lists I could sign up for. I tried my hand in Army of Awesome, but Twitter wasn't helping the process. I would file bugs on bugzilla, send PRs on various projects (like the apk-factory bug which was the first whole night I spent coding, and then the community education portal - which earned me my first vouch). I tried starting a webmaker club but the most I could muster up was a webmaker party for my classmates.
I signed up to be an FSA. In fact, I was already a Firefox ambassador in my college, but by signing up I became official.
As an FSA, and more because Shreyas was there and we were thinking of planning an activity in our school, I joined the FSA Bootcamp in Bangalore on Valentine's Day, 2015. And then I started the MMC MedFox Club which has found a reasonable number of members, although not a proportional amount of activity.
It was in April 2015 that TRAI released their consultation paper to avoid net neutrality. And I joined the savetheinternet team to do whatever I could in preventing a broken Internet. The debate in India quickly stopped being about differential rating and started to be about zero rating. Mozilla did not have a public stance about zero rating then. And Mozilla India could not go ahead with a campaign against zero rating while Mozilla was still undecided. Jafar and I composed a blog post about the fight and Shreyas took it over to the policy advocacy team for their review. A little while passed and they replied that they were still forming an opinion about zero rating. I couldn't wait and I made a small fuss on netpolicy mailing list (link visible to members only) and advocacy discourse. Later I apologized and there was what I believe was a constructive discussion too which was probably followed up elsewhere by other wonderful people of Mozilla India. Mozilla finally took an official stance about zero rating and the whole debate in India in a letter to Prime Minister.
This led to me getting an invitation to the Mozilla India task force meetup 2015 where I joined the newly formed policy and advocacy task force. And that is also where I discovered my passion for documentation.
Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy are two faces of the same coin. And my activities there can be seen on the task force timeline.
Participation Leadership Cohort
I applied for Participation Global Gatherings 2015 to be a member of the cohort of leaders among Mozillians who'll guide participation in Mozilla in the coming year(s). On October 1, 2015 3 things happened. I got email being selected to both MozFest, London and Leadership Summit, Singapore. I passed third year MBBS completely. And I left for Kochi to attend Mozilla Kerala Community Meetup '15.
As a Malayali, it's natural that I'm a member of Mozilla Kerala too. Although I was active in the Telegram group beforehand, the first time I join a Mozilla Kerala event is in Mozilla Kerala Community Meetup '15.
Mozilla India Restructure
Towards the end of 2015, Mozilla India was not making the impact it should. And upon George Roter's initiation there was a restructure process. I had a proposal of my own among the paltry 10 that came from the entire community. I later joined the strategy group, along with Kaustav and Deb in drafting a draft final structure for the community. This was the basis of the Mozilla India Meetup of 2016 where the community rebooted itself.
My Contributions to Mozilla
- Bugzilla (needs login)
- Various projects on github:
- Mozilla Location Services
- Mozilla Wiki
- Mozilla India blog
- Mozilla India Policy and Advocacy Task Force
- Teaching kits
to be continued indefinitely
I decided to end calling myself a Mozillian when Mozilla finally figured out that contributing to Mozilla is essentially impossible now.