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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My First Hangout with Mozillians

As I am involved in the development of the Mozilla Firefox web browser I have always thought of meeting the actual full time Mozilla developers and spending some time with them. As most of them are in US, in a normal scenario this would have happened sometime when I was in US. But luckily for me this happened in India, right here in Bangalore where I stay. It was today, the 4th of December 2007, during the FOSS.IN/2007 event at IISc.

On account of being sick during the event I was not able to attend all the talks. I missed out on all the morning talks as it was already lunch time when I went there. So I started with the afternoon session where Axel talked about localization, Chris Hoffman talked about Testing and Krishnakanth talked about accessibility. Though these were not the talks that I was looking forward to listen to, I just spent my time in the auditorium waiting for an opportunity to speak to Myk, who was the only developer guy amongst those who had come. All the talks got over at around 6:00pm and it was announced that interested people can talk to the Mozillians. Though Myk was already caught by a couple of Akamai guys, I went to him and introduced myself with the “Resumable Downloads” tag. Though he did not remember me he remembered the feature and that made it easy for me to talk to him. Moreover I was wearing my GSoC shirt, which luckily my father had got it from home just a day before. That carried some recognition too.

Then me, Myk, the Akamai guys and another person interested in XUL and Thunderbird talked at length about various things involved in Mozilla development. The Akamai guys asked me if I am interested in joining them when they realized that I knew Mozilla stuff, after they heard me speaking about debugging release builds of Firefox using remote symbol server. Then we exchanged contact info and they asked me to send them some info on that debugging thing. There were a couple more incidents like this where in I met different people from different companies, small and big, who were doing some work related to Mozilla.

Then we carried the banners and posters to the store room and that was when I got introduced to the other 3 Mozillians present there: Mary, Chris and Axel and also to other Indian developers, a couple of NIT-Jaipur students and a RV college lecturer. After we deposited the banners and stuff in the store room, I asked Mary about their plans for the rest of the day and she said, “We are going out for dinner to some place nice and you are coming with us.” I was like “Me???!!!” She said, “Yes you. Lets go, the cars are here.” I was so surprised and did not know what to say. Luckily the RV college lecturer and the NITJ students were also coming and that made things a little more comfortable. I and the lecturer agreed to go on his bike and the rest of them came in cars. We went to an Italian restaurant named “Sunnys”.

We spent nearly 3 hours there eating and talking. A few of them had some nice Italian wine and other drinks. I sat next to Myk, with Axel and Mary in front of me. We again talked about the various things happening at Mozilla. The OS conflicts, views of different people and who is working on what. It was during this discussion that Myk told me about Timeless’ secret project at Nokia, where he was involved in development of a Mozilla based browser for Nokia N810 tablet. I also got to know about several other such things. Mary told us about her driver running over a dog and several other things that they find so very surprising about India. For instance, traffic was one of them. They even took pictures and video recordings of the traffic to show it to people back in US.

Overall it was a nice time and I learnt that the employed folks are also as fun loving and easy going as us. I got to know a lot about the internals of the Mozilla and some of the current affairs. It was basically a start for me to get more known in the community so that people would identify me with my contributions when I talk in IRC. I guess this motto was achieved to some extent. At least of the 4 I am sure Myk remembers me. After that me and the NITJ students went home and it was the end of a memorable day. Hope I get more of such days.

Jai Shree Yalaguresh Prasanna

Hari Om.

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