Me & Mozilla

How I got involved in the Macedonian Mozilla community


How it all began

It all dates back to the summer of 2009. Me and a couple of friends got an idea that we wanted to do a Mozilla promotion in Macedonia. Being high school students in our second year of studies, we knew it was a long shot, but just maybe we could pull it off. We found a couple of contact emails from Mozilla web sites, and sent off a few emails. The response I got was amazing. Getting support from Mozilla to organize an event, getting promotional material and even a budget to cover our expenses was something I did not expect at all. And that’s how the Firefox 3.5 launch came to be!


Firefox 3.5 Launch Promotion

The team on the Skopje city sqaure

We found sponsors, equipment, special permission from the local authorities and finally on the 5-th of September, 2009, we hosted our first launch party on the Skopje city square.

Our first Mozilla billboard, fully sponsored by Akzent Media

It was a great opportunity to meet local Mozillians and IT enthusiast as well. But it was only just the start of it all…


EU MozCamp 2009, Prague

During the summer, I got my first invitation to attend a Mozilla-hosted event, the EU MozCamp in Prague. As if that was not enough, I was asked to hold a talk about our activities here in Macedonia, and that was a remarkable privilege to have!

Giving a presentation about our local FX 3.5 installation disks

I seized the moment to meet and exchange information with anyone I could from the Mozilla community, and ended up getting to know Milos Dinic from Mozilla Serbia and Kerim Kalamujic from Mozilla BiH. They are astounding champs, and took me like one of their own, introduced me to people and we had a blast.

Here I also met William Quiviger, who I have looked up to over the years that I have been part of the Moz community. If it wasn’t for his endless support, we may not have gotten this far.

Firefox’s 5-th Birthday Party

Coming back from the MozCamp, I was all to excited to plan our next event, and the coming of the Firefox birthday fit right into the plan. We got permission from our local IT faculty to use one of their buildings for the promotion, cooked up some presentations, promotional material and got support from our friends at Akzent Media again, with huge billboards lined up around town.

Mozilla Folks at the Party

Confession

I do have to make a confession here. Being young and naive, I took on the leading role in all these events and didn’t take the time to see if there already was a community that was supporting the Mozilla cause. And there was. Meet Free Software Macedonia. They were the original Mozilla crew here, and have been organizing Mozilla events and helping with localization of Mozilla products long before I came along.

We had a fallout with their team, and I totally understand their dislike of the fact that I didn’t include them in the organization. It took me a while to get my facts straight, and after a while, we overcame our troubles.


FOSDEM 2010

The next email I got from Mozilla had an attached invitation to go to FOSDEM 2010 in Brussels, Belgium.

It’s a meeting for open source developers in Europe, and Mozilla was invited to take part. It was an awesome opportunity to learn about new technologies as well as overcoming my fear of public speaking, since me and William Duyck had to give a talk in front of the audience about a subject I can’t really remember now. All I do remember is that we rushed trough our material and ended up with half of our stage time to spare, having to improvise and fill that up.

We had a blast with the Mozilla Crew as well, visiting local breweries and kicking the other team’s ass at Laser Tag!

Mozilla Reds vs Mozilla Blues

Mozilla Balkans 2010

After a night out in Brussels with Milos and Kerim, we got the idea that we wanted to hold a meeting of all the Mozilla contributors in the Balkans area. After getting a green light from Mozilla, we planed out our first meetup, and Skopje, Macedonia, was chosen to be the first location for the Balkans meeting.

As hard as it was to organize everything, from sponsors, to logging, to transport and press, it was the most exciting event as well. We had Mozillians from the US, France, Sweeden as well as community members from:

  • Bosnia
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Greece
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia

We had one day of inter-community meetings and discussions as to what makes the Balkans unique, what events will be suited for the area and setting our goals for the next couple of months.

Inter-community meeting

The second day was reserved for an open presentation for locals to attend, where we introduced our communities, what Mozilla stands for, as well as new Mozilla technologies that we are working on.

Activities with the participans
Billboard were becoming the standard for Mozilla Macedonia events

This was the first time all Balkan community members sat down together to get to know each other, to determine our local goals for the community as well as to party it up a bit, Macedonian style ☺


Mozilla Summit 2010

The Summit, held in Whistler, Canada was by far the biggest Mozilla event that I had attended so far. It was a gathering of Mozilla contributors from all over the world to one big event. Just the size of the whole thing overwhelmed me. Here is a picture so you can get a grasp of how many contributors attended the event:

A group photo of Summit participants

This was the real opportunity to see just how big and diverse Mozilla really is. To be sitting in a room with Mozillians from Iran, China and Brazil shows me just how many people believe in our cause and assures me that the Web will remain an open place!


Mozilla Balkans 2010, v2

This time around, it was Slovenia’s turn to show us what they got. And boy do they have cool things there (apart from the snow)! Balkan Mozillians once again gathered, this time in Ljubljana, at the meetup organized by the Mozilla Slovenia community. This time the community was bigger, more counties attended, which made this an even better experience for all of us!

Hacking away at the local hack-lab

We hanged out at the local part hacker space, part computer museum, and stayed at a motel which was formerly a prison. A very cool meetup indeed!

Firefox 4 Launch Party

Back home, we thru one last Mozilla event, the Firefox 4 launch party. It was held in the historic old-town part of Skopje, and was half party/half presentation of what FX4 was bringing in turns of features. The crowd was great, the tea was great and the cake was amazing!

What’s next?

After being passive in the community for a period, I’m now back with more enthusiasm then ever. We shall try to reboot the community, get new members in, and help spread the Mozilla cause even further in Macedonia!