On Tuesday i attended the Israel Internet Society Conference 2012.
I spent most of my time at the Mozilla Israel booth – giving away buttons and stickers, and, more importantly, telling many people about Mozilla’s mission and about the importance of the open web. Our booth was one of the most popular attractions in the event’s hallways. (This is the right place to say a big Thank You to the Mozilla Creative Collective for designing the wonderful posters, buttons and all the other eye-catching stuff. You give Mozilla’s great principles and projects the beautiful and fun look that they deserve.)
Standing like that and telling person after person that Mozilla is not a commercial company and that it’s concerned with far more important things than Firefox’s market share is very satisfying and sobering.
We tried to give special attention to Mozilla’s mobile projects – first and foremost, the rewritten version of the mobile Firefox for Android, which is not yet complete, but getting there; we also got some people to install a preview version (Aurora) of the mobile browser. I’m happy to see that there are quite a lot of open-minded people who are willing to try another interesting browser, even though it’s not completely polished it and even though the default kinda works. Some people who expressed interest in education were very also impressed when i showed them that the Mobile Firefox, though still not being release-quality, is able to render Hebrew poetry very well – something that the built-in Webkit browser is not able to do.
You see, you usually don’t need correct rendering of the special characters needed to display Hebrew poetry if you only use the web to write email and read news, but if you are a school student who wants to prepare the homework or a commuter who likes to read poetry on a train, you’ll be able to do it with Firefox, but not with Webkit (the Opera browser is broken in this regard, too). This is more than a small and unimportant feature that happens to work correctly; this is a demonstration of the fact that Mozilla developers think that it’s important to support all languages, all scripts and all standards – for all people.
And of course there were all those people who said “Why should I bother with Firefox if Chrome is faster?”. It was very pleasant to tell them that the claim that Chrome is faster is mostly a myth, (although it required some mental preparation), but we emphasized that Chrome, though it’s a nice open source project, is mostly developed by an advertising company, which has particular requirements and focuses on particular goals, while Firefox focuses on standards and users. (I’ll publish a post that explains why the claim that Google Chrome is faster is a myth very soon.)
Firefox Home, the app for synchronizing desktop Firefox with iPhone, was a hit, too, and a few people installed it on their iPhones right at the booth.
This was a very satisfying day.
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