Be the change…

Posted by Deb


about: responsibility


June 22, 2008. I’m doing my MCA in Siliguri, studying on student loan. Saved up some cash to buy a decent camera. It was hard to commit to save up that much, but I really really wanted a camera since I was a child. The afternoon before I’m to actually buy the camera, I called up my dad to tell him about it (not that I’ll listen, if he says it’s a bad idea – I was determined).

My dad picked up the call, listened to me and said, “well, you’re 21 now, you make your choices. I was there to guide you, to prepare you to make the best choices in your life – I’d like to believe I did a decent job at it. If you let us know your decisions, we certainly appreciate that; but you don’t have to ask for permissions anymore”.

I’m not a guy who gets into “deer in the headlights” situations often, but trust me, I was perplexed after the call. I wasn’t used to this… 99% Indian kids aren’t used to this. We don’t make our life choices. Our teachers tell us which college to get in, neighbors tell us which job to get and parents tell us which person to get married to. That works for us and if it doesn’t we can regret about it after few years, and tell our next generation what they should do to avoid it. Outsourcing responsibility to someone more experienced, and obey their orders, and having a good self-impression to them always has been our forte. But what is this?!?

I was so overwhelmed by the sudden trust/responsibilities put on me, that totally ate up my determination and spat out indecisiveness. I ended up not buying the camera.

about: retrospection


Back in 2011, when we started the new journey of Mozilla India, for what it is today… it wasn’t easy.

It wasn’t the inauguration of Mozilla community in India; there were already handful few people involved in it and had their own way of operating an open source community. This is not a place to criticize them, nor is my intention, but we barely got active help/support from them.

We were criticized for every action we took, every events we hosted; for how childish we were and how we were destroying the community. We were soft-black-listed in their books and have never been appreciated for our initiatives. Many of us had to go through and ignore the passive-aggression coming our way from the folks, who ideally should be our seniors, mentoring and helping us at it.

Nonetheless, we continued to make progress, and in 3 years we had probably the largest regional open source community in the world (I have no citation, please correct me if there has been a regional FOSS community more than a few thousand active contributor strong).

Were we too proactive and super hyped? Oh yes! Did we make mistakes? Oh hell, we did… truck loads of them. We learned from them, fixed it next time. Rinsed and repeated.

The fear of making mistakes never held us back from trying something new; and at the end of the day, that was the key factor for the radical growth.

about: reflection


Fast forwarding to recent times, when many of these “us” are considering to be the new-old folks (or already have been), there’s a prominent void of the new-new folks. People who can take over, people who can be proactive and never hesitate to do something radical.

It’s possible that we have been so much supportive of the activities, and hand-held the new community members, they’ve grown an inherent lean-on factors on these old folks; relying on them, expecting suggestions/permissions from them for every move they make.

If that’s the case, it’s cute and lovely… that this time on, the new members are getting the mentoring they deserve and subconsciously are relying on their informal mentors/hand-holders in the community. But at the same time, it’s possibly hindering the new members to step up and take over the responsibilities.

We lacked the guidance and appreciation, but we were proactive to make our own moves. It’s not about having the willingness to get something done, but actually going ahead and doing it.

Now that we have the old-folks more than willing to support the newcomers, we don’t have enough pro-activeness from the newcomers (either out of respect or out of fear of making mistakes or both).

about: restructure


We often don’t realize how special we are, and how normal solutions aren’t as effective for us. We are the largest (again, correct me if I’m wrong) open source community on earth, trying to have an unified structure and governance. In no way we can operate on the same norms of most other regional communities, which are much less riddled with diversity of all sorts, and has much less constraints internally.

Let me try and explain with a bad analogy… Windows/Mac vs Linux.

Windows is much more prone to security vulnerabilities, patching vulnerabilities are hectic service packs that are infrequent and require reboot/downtime and more… And Mac comes with choices already made for you, and defaults set for you, if you try to truly customize particular bits and pieces then… rats! But they give a decent personal user experience.

On the other hand Linux didn’t look nice, in its early days, and wasn’t easy to get it working for a particular system, but by design it was most open to all sorts of possibilities and was much more robust. If you didn’t like the desktop environment, you can change it. And you can tinker with configs/drivers to make stuff work – often without even needing a reboot, and it has only gotten better.

For a normal user, a Windows PC generally serves well. If you introduce them to Linux, their experience might not be as nice (partially for the being “used to” factor, but even apart from that).

But, for a server – a system that needs to be much more robust, has to be more consistent, has to scale up, has to have next to no downtime (and many more other parameters I’ll avoid listing) – shouldn’t you go with Linux?

Back to the point of how special we are… as a very (VERY) large community. There hasn’t been much of work or even research paper to learn from, what makes an open source community so large operate smoothly. I am not kidding.

So a couple of months back, when we designed the restructure guidelines for the community, we acted on giving it a Linux like architecture.

There has been many questions and many people are uncomfortable with the changes, or understanding them. It’s justified.

We focused way too hard to get it as close to a perfect prototype as it can be, but haven’t made it very easy for all to understand well. This blog post is an effort to bridge that gap – this is, “all that you need to know, to understand the restructuring of Mozilla India”.

about: recollect


Now, to sum it up (like a movie with seemingly incoherent plots finally coming back together to make sense), for Mozilla India to be a continuously growing successful regional community:

  • there needs to be autonomy at individual level (be the change that you wish to see)
  • proactivity from members to take over responsibilities (don’t wait for tasks given to you)
  • expect guidance from senior members, not their permission (if you believe in something, do it)
  • take feedback, make corrections, document it, do better next time (don’t feel discouraged, if criticized)
  • give feedback, try to help out, document and look out for peer activities (it’s a community, not a competition)
  • if something needs a change, be the first to raise it (the structure allows installing new drivers without needing a reboot ;)

I know this is not complete, comprehensive, most rigorous and perfect explanation of the restructure and the directions… but that’s because it’s not meant to be. This blog post is a shallow 3 feet pool to help you learn swimming. Once you’re ready for it, you can always go have the real coral-reef experience (be sure to take scuba-diving gears with you).

Activate Mozilla Community – Announcement and Updates

Posted by priynag


mozilla-activate-announcement-and-updatesExciting announcements for all the Mozillians!! Activate Mozilla Community is up and close to catch up your attention!!

Activate Mozilla Community is a significant campaign with four focus initiatives. It supports the current organisational goals by enthusing someone on how he can start participating on the web and build web a better place to live. It also encourages mobilisation of one’s community by predominantly focusing on initiatives like development on Rust, WebVR, testing as well as non-technical initiatives like Maker Party, Policy and Advocacy.

4 Different topics to be assimilated with (Focused Initiative):

  1. Developer Engagement
  2. Support the future Mozilla Web engine (coming soon)
  3. Defend Internet Privacy and Policy (coming soon)
  4. Use and Test Experimental Firefox Features

Developer Engagement

Developers play a significant role in Mozilla. To facilitate their functions and activities, we have developed certain add-ons. Few of those include some first-class developer tools in Firefox, Mozilla Add-ons and the Mozilla Developer Network, a widely known developer documentation portal. Presently, as part of the developer engagement initiative, we have the following current activities to initiate.

  1. Rust: What if you want to make web programming concise and secure? Rust is a system programming language that runs blazingly fast, prevents segfaults, and guarantees thread safety. We are looking forward to enrolling more developers for Rust. Rust is sure to make a better web environment and secure.
    How can you start developing in Rust? Check out the documentation of Rust and signup on rust developer list as fast as you can.
  2. Web Compatibility: Web Compatibility is an important issue to all those who look for a seamless running of all web content in all web browsers. The benefit of creating a compatible website lies in improving a website’s reach and minimises the loss of performance.

Use and test experimental Firefox features

To increase the quality of the product and services, we have to build and test them continuously. By testing new features and functionalities, we can help out to keep Firefox on the leading edge, and consumers are hooked on our product. You can assist us in this initiative by installing the test pilot now and checking out the activity flow for the same.

You can follow the available guidelines for Rust and Web compatibility activities to know and understand the format, event flow and other resources. Make sure to write a blog after finishing any activity. We have created a telegram group for a quick query, event discussion and reporting. Join the group, or visit our FAQ section. If you require budget and swag, then follow this Wiki.

Drashti Pandya, Rishita Bansal and Subhasis Chatterjee contributed to this blog. 

Rust – A growing community in India

Posted by Abhiram Ravikumar


Rust, a systems programming language which was started as a part-time side project in 2006 by Graydon Hoare is now supported by Mozilla Research for almost seven years now. Mozilla’s involvement came in 2009 once the language was fairly mature enough and could demonstrate its core concepts. Rust poses itself as an alternative to C++ by making system programming safer, providing better concurrency support and offer tractable features to parallel programming. Despite a long history of innovations and strategic decision changes in Mozilla, Rust’s core principles have remained constant. It focuses on three crucial necessities – safety, speed and concurrency.


Rust aims to offer an alternative to existing programming languages by providing a comfortable level of abstraction and by helping programmers write efficient code. To quote from the official FAQs,

“Rust exists because other languages at this level of abstraction and efficiency are unsatisfactory.”

Some notable applications written in Rust include Servo, Mozilla’s experimental browser engine and also a few components for Firefox. Apart from Mozilla, other tech giants like Samsung and Dropbox also use Rust for a variety of purposes. Samsung, a long-time supporter of the language contributed in building Android support to the Rust compiler. Dropbox has been writing Rust components for almost two years now. Inspired by the popular sitcom Silicon Valley, they’ve written a faster Brotli decoder for lossless image compression using Rust which reduces the bandwidth being used by their customers.

Rust in India

Mozilla India’s association with Rust started way back in 2014 with Manish Goregaokar contributing to Servo as part of the GSoC (Google Summer of Code) program. To start things off, Rust’s stable release (1.0) was celebrated at Mozilla Community Space, Bangalore on 25 March 2015 and was attended by various members of the community. The latest stable release of the language is 1.10, meaning 10 releases in just a short span of 18 months – indicating a six-weekly release cycle which ensures that new features and fixes land very quick.

Mozilla Rust Release Meetup, Bangalore

Mozilla Rust Release Meetup, 2015, Bangalore


Manish has been a continuous contributor to the language and now, is a member of the community team as well as the moderation team of Rust. You know whom to get in touch with if you’d like to contribute!

Towards the end of 2015, we had another Mozillian, Jaipradeesh, from DoSelect initiate an innovative method to spike interest levels in Rust – an online coding challenge using the language (the first of its kind) which helped developers get a taste of Rust’s syntax and style of coding. Rustaceans from all over the world took part in this challenge.

Fast forward to July 2016 – we have a bunch of organizations using rust and a few Rustaceans (as they call themselves) presenting sessions and projects using the language at  Rust Meetup – Bangalore, in early July. Kaustav, a Mozillian and Rust user had organized this meetup to bring together the developer community interested in Rust here in Bangalore and possibly pave the way for new ones. This meetup provided an ideal platform for contributors of the language connect with the developers who use Rust for a variety of uses, and for those who had not yet heard of or used it, an opportunity to know it’s varied facets. It also gave insights into the Rust world for those who had yet to begin their journey, yet. Manish handled the introductory session on the syntax and semantics of Rust, followed by Kaustav who talked about Rustup, Cargo and cross compiling Rust programs. Later on, we had Rahul Sharma who is currently working on Servo as a G’SoC intern give an insight into contributing for the the project. This was followed by a few interesting demos by Rust users from different parts of the country. On the whole, the meetup provided a kick-start for anyone who wanted to learn more about Rust and eventually use the language in their projects. Interestingly, it also helped contributors to collect feedback from the people who use Rust in production.
A win-win I must say!

How you can contribute

If this gets you interested to know more about Rust, here are a few opportunities to contribute.  Rust has a very active community that helps newbie contributors get up to speed and also moderate the development & design of the language. A dedicated IRC channel #rust-beginners has been set up where beginners are welcome to post any queries they might have. There are a wide variety of contribution opportunities like bug triaging, documentation, building communities, building IDEs, writing code for libraries, etc.

With Mozilla deciding to ship Rust in Firefox and the community members engaging developers with informative sessions such as the ones above, I hope the community in India will be encouraged to make meaningful contributions to the language, it’s ecosystem and build amazing applications using Rust in the near future.

To the many Rustaceans still in the making, cheers!

PS: Thanks Kaustav for all your inputs!

Mozilla India Planning Meetup 2016

Posted by Ashly Rose Mathew M


Mozilla-India-Planning-Meetup-2016“Coming Together is the Beginning, Staying together is the progress and working together is the Success.”

A team of initiators joined to put forth the future into the present as a plan. A team of 25 members, selected gems from various sub-communities represented their crew by their presence in the Mozilla India Planning Meetup – 2016 at Pune on 09th & 10th of July 2016. The team had also invited George Roter, Head of Core Contributors, Participation at Mozilla to support them in their journey.

With the energy being widespread the Day 1 had marked its beginning.

Day 1

Inspiration, the only thing which kindles the inner spirit of every human. The first session of the meetup was Stories of Self conducted by Haiyya. A well-organised presentation of one’s life, i.e., the experience we share can be the best rope of hope to all those who listen to it.

Future vision of Mozilla

Future goals of Mozilla were the theme of the next session.  The goals focus on five important areas

  1. Context Graph and other Test Pilot features in Firefox
  2. Future of Rust and Servo
  3. Connected Devices
  4. Mozilla’s Issues Agenda and Advocacy
  5. Mozilla Leadership Network

1] Context Graph

Context Graph is a recommendation system for the Web. Searching content in the search bar won’t just limit the results based on the browsing history but will also explore documents and links corresponding to the search, based on metadata of all web pages.

The Activity stream is the first Context Graph feature, currently available in Test Pilot. It will evolve into a search engine which will also help the users to discover places on the Web, they have never seen. It would be available for both desktop and mobile platforms.

2] Future of Rust and Servo

Mozilla Research is supporting a new system programming language called Rust since 2009. This language concentrates on three crucial necessities – safety, speed and concurrency. Rust is one of the key focus areas, and it aims to provide a better platform for programmers in writing efficient codes with a comfortable level of abstraction.  

On the other hand, Servo – the parallel browser engine project is under trial. It is a modern, high-performance engine designed for both application and embedded use. It is written in the new system programming language – Rust. This project aims to achieve better parallelism, security, modularity, and performance. To know more about Servo, check-

3] Connected Devices

Mozilla wants to create open and accessible platforms that will allow individuals, businesses and others to benefit from Internet of Things(IoT).  IoT leads the way to the next phase of the Internet. The IoT ideas that align with Mozilla’s goals would be selected, and their problem statement and solutions would be worked on. Later, the prototypes of such statements would be built and would be tested in the market. Depending on the market response, the production of such devices would begin.

Thus, the outcome of the overall process would be defining platforms.

4] Mozilla’s Issue Agenda and Advocacy

Mozilla has identified five issues that must be tackled in the current era, to build an Open Internet:

  1. Open privacy and security
  2. Open innovation
  3. Decentralization
  4. Web-literacy
  5. Digital inclusion
Mozilla Advocacy Engine:

A global movement to build and protect the next wave of openness and opportunity online.

The near-term goals are Online Privacy and Encryption whereas the mid-term goals are to increase the influence on issues like privacy, digital inclusion and web literacy.The long-term goals were set as behaviour change and policy change. The impact of this will be providing conscious choice to build and protect Open Internet and launch of products, policies and laws in support of the Open Internet.

5] Mozilla Leadership Network

The Mozilla Leadership Network is a global network of diverse leaders who will ensure the next wave of access, inclusion and opportunity online. It open practices to shape the Web in new ways and increase influence on privacy, digital inclusion and web literacy. It also supports to improve their skills and experience as leaders.

The thematic hubs to be focused are learning, science, internet policy and advocacy, women and web literacy, Internet of Things.

MLN audience:
  • Champion
  • Executive
  • Professional
  • Emerging Leader
  • Young Leader

This will generate a high impact on network alignment, network connectivity, network size, member influence and reach.

Discussion on community restructure was the next session.

Restructuring – the way to fill the gap.This session focused on bringing out the thoughts of participants regarding the structure of the Mozilla India community. The participants were divided into groups and were asked to project their ideas about the structure of the community. The presentation by each team laid the first stone of change. With this brainstorming session, we got an overview, i.e., we paved the foundation.

Day 2

The agenda for the second day focused on two topics, one related to a restructuring of the community structure and the other about the plan for the Meetup 2016.

With the foundation we created the day before, we were ready to lay the roads towards reformation.The attendees were divided into various groups and were asked to derive strategies around the following blocks:

  • Training and Workshops.
  • Conflict Resolution.
  • Team building and Recognition.
  • Planning and Community restructure.
  • Communication.

The motive of this session was to take into consideration a broader perspective about the functioning of the Mozilla India community and derive strategies around them. The restructuring process is a five weeks plan from 20th July to 21st August. Mozilla India has invited people to suggest the task force structure via this link before August.

Following this, “the planning for the Mozilla India Meetup 2016”  was set to fire.

Dates:   August 26th – 28th 2016.
Title:   “Mozilla India Meetup 2016”

The following points were listed as the goals for the meetup in August after the acceptance by all the participants.

  • Develop a strategy, direction and plan for the future of the community.
  • Re-structure the Mozilla India community — structures and processes.
  • Increase the leadership/mobilising skills of the attendees (and develop strong onboarding programs for new community members).
  • Improve communication processes and tools, and transparency.
  • Build strong teams.
  • Build strong recognition practices.
  • Create accountability systems and a code of conduct.
  • Build a plan for increasing diversity and inclusive practice across the community.

“Team working marks its excellence only by the space given to everyone in the team.”

Believing this saying the team assembled at Pune was divided and assigned with separate task regarding the preparation for our Meetup.


Members: Biraj, Ashish, Siddhartha, Shaguftha.
Role: Share updates about the meetup to the community. Work closely with the Marketing Communications Team.


Members: Prathamesh, Chandrakant, Sayak.
Role: To make local logistics arrangements like booking hotel, travel, etc.

Regional Coordinators and Invitations

Members: Mehul, Akhil, Viswaprasath.
Role: Keep a follow-up with the regional members. Work closely on the invitations with the Reps Council members from India and the Participation Team.

Staff/functional coordination

Members: Sayak, Anivar.
Role: To work closely with the Mozilla staff and share status updates of the meetup.


Members: Ankit, Kailas, Harsha.
Role: To document the entire meetup.


Members: Mayur, Anup, Priyanka, Meghraj, Diwanshi.
Role: Work on agenda and broadcast the content which would be facilitated for the meetup.

Strategy/Structure Options

Members: Deb, Vnisha, Prathamesh, Vineel, George.
Role: Draft an email which will call for proposals/suggestions. Make the proposals/suggestions public and open for the community to review and comment. The process, analyse and integrate the suggestions. Declare the finalised structure.

In the order, as mentioned above, the responsibilities were shared among the people within the gathering.

The selection criteria for this meetup was also drafted as a document. As per this document, the application will be open during the last week of July and the selection will be purely based the interest and contribution of the people towards Mozilla. [Update: The application is open to all now]

The days were on the swing, teaching everyone in the crew a new thing every second and also allowing us to explore a lot new sides of the community we have been travelling for a considerable period in the past.

Hoping to meet a much bigger team in Mozilla India Meetup 2016.