On November 12–13 i participated in MozCamp Berlin. (I’m writing this late-ish, because a day after that i went to India to participate in a Wikimedia conference and not one, but two hackathons. That was a crazy month.)
In the past i participated in small events of the Israeli Mozilla community, but this was my first major Mozilla-centric event.
The biggest thing that i take from this event is the understanding that i belong to this community of people who love the web. I never properly realized it earlier; i somehow thought that loving the web is a given. It is not.
Johnathan Nightingale, director of Firefox Engineering repeated the phrase “we <3 the web” several times in his keynote speech. And this is the thing that makes the Mozilla community special.
Firefox is not the only good web browser. Opera and Google Chrome are reasonably good, too. Frankly, they are even better than Firefox in some features, though i find them less essential.
Firefox is not the only web browser that strives to implement web standards. Opera, Google Chrome and even recent versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer try to do that, too.
Firefox is not even the only web browser that is Free Software. So is Chromium.
But Firefox and the Mozilla community around it love the web. I don’t really have a solid way to explain it – it’s mostly a feeling. And with other browsers i just don’t have it. They help people surf the web, but they aren’t in the business of loving it.
And this is important, because the Internet is not just a piece of technical infrastructure that helps people communicate, do business and find information and entertainment. The Internet is a culture in itself – worthy of appreciation in itself and worthy of love in itself – and the Mozilla community is there to make it happen.
Some people would understand from this that Firefox is for the nerds who care about the technology more than they care about going out every once in a while. It isn’t. It’s not, in fact, just about a browser. It’s about the web – more and more Mozilla is not just developing a great browser, but also technologies and trends that affect all users of all browsers, rather than target markets. By using Firefox you get as close as you can to the cutting edge, not just of cool new features, but of openness and equality. Some people may find this ideology boring and pointless; i find it important, because without it the Internet would not be where it is today. Imagine an Internet in which the main sites you visit every day are not Facebook, Wikipedia, Google and your favorite blogs, but msn.com… and nothing but msn.com. Without Mozilla that’s how the Internet would probably look today. Without Mozilla something like this may well happen in the future.
Thanks a lot to William Quiviger, Pierros Papadeas, Greg Jost and all the other hard-working people who produced this great event.
More about it in the next couple of posts very soon.