The news from Mozilla.org and wiki.mozilla.org these days has been pretty political. Mozilla, via the Firefox browser and crowd sourcing technologies, is stepping into the political arena in a number of ways. Most of the big stories involve the role of media and visibility in politics, as well as the desire for freedom of the internet. The most recent Mozilla.org news pertains to the State of the Union Address given by President Barack Obama on January 24th. In partnership with PBS Newshour, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Participatory Culture Foundation, the President’s speech was subtitled with crowd sourced captions as well as subtitles, submitted by viewers from around the world.
Besides the State of the Union Address, Mozilla.org has had some other news of dramatic political messages that were shared with users around the world. In solidarity with the high profile internet black-outs held by Wikipedia and others, the Mozilla Firefox start page was black and contained an important message about the SOPA/PIPA bills in Congress. The main complaint of all sites that took part in the black out is that these two bills effectively allow internet censorship. The idea was to educate users about the potential threat to usability, without reducing the access that users expect from Mozilla.
Over at wiki.mozilla.org, a new default template has been released, somewhat big news from the wiki world. Users and web designers will be excited to see the updated image, which combines usability with sleek and thematic design.
The other most recent news from Mozilla that has been exciting for everyone involved is the conclusion of the Mozilla Firefox Challenge which raised more than $680,000 from people all around the world. The donations are another example of how individual action can cause global impact, something Mozilla.org exemplifies with the free and accessible web browsing tools.
David Tenser agreed to sit down and answer some basic questions about his role at Mozilla Support as Mozilla Support lead. Mozilla is ranked highly in many categories, but their Support Team is recognized as one of the most responsive and well informed. David Tenser is a Swedish computer scientist whose studies were heavy in software engineering.
What attracted you to Mozilla and how did you get involved?
Back in 2001, when Netscape 6 seemed to be the only browser around, I stumbled on Mozilla for the first time. The product seemed so similar to Netscape, and yet they were an open source project with a pretty interested following. I became involved in the discussions and news groups, asking and answering the questions that were floating around at the time, about use, design, and the direction of the browser called Phoenix, which is now known as Firefox. I enjoy helping people, especially with things that I understand and care about. My enjoyment and involvement was clearly more than just a side hobby.
Do most people who are involved with Mozilla feel passionately about the products?
There is an inherent magic in the Mozilla product suite. Most people who get involved are drawn to the mission and believe strongly in the products. Take SUMO, for example. As a support and update mechanism it works incredibly well. Even the first crude release back in 2007 was such a significant step up from the old support system that people began to take notice. Firefox support changed dynamically and we have the input of many dedicated Mozilla fans to thank.
What is the best interview with David Tenser question you’ve been asked as Mozilla Support lead?
People like to ask about hobbies. I think that shows how strong the Mozilla community is – we do it because we love to do it and it shows. My other hobby is photography, by the way.