Most great things in life are silent and intangible. In many ways, the backend support for communities like the Firefox Community can be so subtle; so easy to miss unless something is going wrong. After a long day, the server group of the Mozilla community showed why it is so important. I developed an appreciation for how much people seemed to care about and recognize the importance of the release of Firefox 1.0.
I saw server admins up past midnight working on getting things prepared for the onslaught. Communication and teamwork are what held things together. It was great to see such unity in a time where many of us stand divided and in search of our sense of brotherhood.
I saw Scott doing everything he could to help, setting up boxes left and right. I saw Dave and Myk working all night babysitting the servers. I saw myself staying up until 3am working on version 2.0 of a mirror managing tool I wasn’t sure anyone would use. And no, I didn’t need caffeine – I had motivation from everyone else who was doing the same damn thing.
Around 2pm things were looking bleak. Load was increasing, memory was disappearing and the pressure was on. Scott and I had worked so hard on the mirror management app — it was ready to go. It was made for this very reason. We had a great box to run it, load-tested code, and finally — the need.
It took off — Plan B was in effect. And there it was — our app — handling hundreds of thousands of requests — redirecting users to Firefox to rediscover the web. Between 2pm and 5pm it handled nearly 200,000 download requests.
It was awesome to see that we actually made a big difference. The app helped the main mirrors stabilize by dividing load evenly across the other 18 mirrors that were still up. Eventually things stabilized and requests kept coming in. DMO handled it nicely. It felt so good just to help out.
And sure — the system isn’t perfect. The servers, they might need work. Maybe the infrastructure needs a little tweaking. But we have good people, good minds and hearts. We try to do what is right. We think. We adjust. We admit mistakes. We learn. We step forward. We fail. We get up. We struggle more. We still stand tall. We grow.
You know – Firefox 1.0 is just a program. It lets people see into their world, and from that world they learn about themselves; they find answers. In a way, helping the project, helping the foundation, it let me see into myself, into the people I worked with, into that same world.
What did I see? Well, I saw something that looked unfamiliar in today’s red-blue age.
I saw hope. That was my motivation.