Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My 15 yr. Anniversary with Mozilla

about:mozilla

Seeing everyone else's mentions/posts about Mozilla's 15 yr. anniversary got me thinking about my own experience with it. The software has had a huge impact on my life, my view of software, my view of the network, my view on security and privacy, and ethics in general.

Brief memory lane...

  • after a few days of working at Netscape, asking Lou why all the networking files were prefixed with "mk."
  • when we were going through internal conversations around whether or not the code should even be open sourced. why would we do this w/ one of our most valuable assets!?!
  • when Lou described the value of open sourcing http://lynx.browser.org/. I didn't understand what OS even was until that conversation. "it allows the community to ensure the right software gets written, and leverages perspectives and skills we could never hire."
  • spending months "cleansing" the code of "bad/offensive" language before it went public.
  • the first coming out party in SF.
  • the mozilla 1.0 release party.
  • seeing that someone re-wrote the cookie implementation.
  • seeing someone else hammer the HTTP implementation.
  • explaining Mozilla and its value to AOL, *after* they spent $4.5b to buy Netscape.
  • negotiating the spin out of Mozilla from AOL; having to play both sides of a table.
  • coordinating the timing of chofmann in Mountain View and Ted Leonsis', on the East coast, approval of the donation from AOL, such that chofmann and crew could literally pile a bunch of computers into the back of trucks to get them off campus before facilities got confused and blocked the exit of the hardware. it was this moment to me that really felt like Mozilla was born and standing on its own two feet.
  • learning that after after some incredibly short period of time (a year or so), Mozilla had accumulated $67m (or so) in default search engine fees from Google. it was unbelievable!
  • watching the .org (501c3) grapple w/ the .com in the context of "profits" in a "non-profit."
  • watching my friends and colleagues fight the greater fight... putting their lives on the line (more than I was able to contribute... something I often consider regretting).
Mozilla planted a "greater good" seed in me that has only grown over the years. No matter what the challenge is that arises in my life (professional or personal), it guides me. I'm not perfect, but the effort has given me a path that I consider noble, and it is one I pass onto my children.