I am very glad to have been present in the Software Freedom Day in Colombia. Many cities celebrated this day, and Mozilla Colombia was invited to Manizales, a small city in the “coffee area”. Although I live in Bogotá – the Capital and most important and biggest city in Colombia – we decided to travel to Manizales (my friend Jefferson from Mozilla Colombia and I) for two reasons:
- Mozilla should be present in all cities and towns – and we don’t care if they are big or small.
- People must understand that Mozilla is not only about Firefox and that Firefox is more than a web browser.
In our conference, we spoke about the Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Corporation, some legal items (not much, but enough I hope), technical aspects and Mozilla philosophy. We used several supports: slides, videos about Html5 and demos, but the most important point in our conference was an interview made with Guillermo Movia from Argentina about what he thinks of Mozilla. We showed this video and discussed it. In the video, Guillermo spoke of important aspects about the Open Web and how important is to keep it open. He mentioned a lot of examples of monopoly and how Mozilla is confronting them and the importance of standards.
We discussed all this. We showed the importance to use products such as Firefox. And people asked us technical questions of course (and we answered of course) but a guy asked me an important question, in my opinion the most important of all:
“What is the difference between Firefox and other web browsers technically and philosophically speaking? Why must I use Firefox and not another one?”
Technical aspects were easy to answer. We supported our answers with some demos, speaking about the importance standards, Open Web, Open Source etc, but when we explained the philosophical aspects and how important Communities are to Mozilla, the way we (communities) work with them, and the coherence between philosophy and community, they were all convinced and superficial things like “My web browser is faster and cleaner than Firefox” became less important.
We finished our conference talking about the different ways to contribute, showing projects and mentioning an important number: 16.8%. That number is the percentage of women who work in Mozilla. It is a high number compared to other open source projects, especially when you consider that women contribution is around 1% to 2%. In fact, in our conference room there was just one woman: me. Men in Colombia often wish that there were more women involved in open source or technical events, so when I mentioned this number, their eyes became wide open with amazement!
Our conference assistants, Jefferson and I listened to the next conference about Open Suse. The speaker (a man) hadn’t attended our conference about Mozilla… He spoke and spoke and… suddenly, he looked at me and said:
“I don’t like Firefox, I hate it because it uses a lot of memory. I use Opera, it’s not open source but I like it.”
People laughed of loud for a long time and when they finished their laugh, I said: Memory? Memory is to use it! And the people (who attended our conference) said: Hey brother you are wrong!
After our conference and SFD, we concluded that people understood the importance of projects like Mozilla. We have 4 new members in our community and more people who understood the importance to have an Open Web.