It felt like a normal Saturday in Corvallis. I woke up — sort of — got my caffeine injection, and hopped online. Just like last night, before me sits a small terminal running Vim. White on black, Line 1, “ReviewFest Agenda”.
I review. I edit. I rewrite.
Later that morning, Firefox-one was set loose upon the sky. Polvi and the OSULUG put together a pretty cool event along with the Oregon Space Grant Consortium. We talked, we laughed, the balloon was off, we blinked, and we left smiling.
I waddled over to the Penguin’s Nest to get ready. In time, the agenda was on the board, I had our TODO list, accounts were set up, and I waited.
Soon enough people trickled in, and suprisingly the room was filled with volunteers at 2pm. I introduced myself, talked about the history of addons.mozilla.org (AMO), my involvement, how the community contributes, etc. — basically how it’s kept itself running over the last year or so.
While I was speaking about the project, I started to realize how much of AMO depends on the community. The initial site developers, all of the reviewers, the enthusiastic addons developers and proud users of Mozilla products all contribute in many ways to this project. Saturday was no exception.
Around 15 OSU students donated 3+ hours of their Saturday afternoon to help the project, moving the queue from 157 pending addons to 67, and reducing pending comments from 330+ to about 80.
Much like the Firefox-one launch, the ReviewFest showed me how much a small group of people can accomplish in a small amount of time.
But it doesn’t just work out that way; you need a catalyst. Mozilla has served as a catalyst for community production — funding infrastructure, development, project management and marketing.
Polvi has been a great catalyst locally, organizing the Firefox-one project, the sidewalk chalk incedent, and he has been great at getting people involved and excited about Linux and open source.
In many ways, the OSU Open Source Lab (OSL) serves as a catalyst by providing hosting services and spreading the word about open source by sponsoring conferences like Goscon. It’s so fun to work at the OSL and be a part of it.
My point is that in some way, someone gets the ball rolling. They get people interested, pumped up, willing to participate. It helps people realize that, “hey, we can do this!”
And once you have the initial buy-in, things start to fall into place. Focused, excited volunteers can accomplish so much — it’s beautiful. Mozilla products benefit from thousands of contributors who test, code, discuss and reinvent on a daily basis. Their token of appreciation? A great product, an itch scratched, and sometimes a little thanks and recognition.
Speaking of which, I’d like to thank the OSULUG for helping set up the ReviewFest. More importantly, along the same lines, I’d like to thank the hundreds of volunteer reviewers who have been working hard to review and test AMO submissions. Together they work hard beind the seens, and are a main reason why addons.mozilla.org is still functional.
People Who Kick Ass
So, if you’re still reading this, first I’d like to say – WOW, you must be bored! Also, I want you to know there is still a lot of work left to do (as always!). If you’d like to help review addons or help code for the site, drop into IRC (#firstname.lastname@example.org) or see our wiki page and reviewer’s guide for more information.
Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to AMO over the last year. It’s been awesome to be a part of it.
I’ve got a good feeling this year will be better than the last.