It has been 15 years since Mozilla launched the first Firefox code on March 31st and because of the great impact it has done down the road to keep an open web and allow open internet access for everyone, Mozilla decided to celebrate these achievements from April 1st – 15th this year.
The Mozilla Uganda community launched up this event, we called it the “15 years of Mozilla Awesomeness at Alleygators Lounge from around 4p.m to 10p.m though I will be some people went past that time. The number of people who called in to come was way bigger than what we could have accommodated since most of the Makerere University I.C.T students wanted to be there, several people from Technology companies around Uganda and Media Houses had also been invited to attend.
People trickled in but at a slow pace. We had to start by 4.30p.m so as to keep up with time. We had a small crowd at first of around forty people and many of seemed nervous and expectant. So we kicked off the event, the great thing is that by around 7.40p.m the lounge was so full and buzzy we barely had enough seats or space to pass, people were chattering and socializing after the main speecehes.
San James told the guests about Mozilla, when it was formed, how it begun and shaped up to include volunteer contributors to help build most of the Open Source Code and programs we have today.
He also told them about Netscape, a browser many people here in Uganda had never heard of and I will suppose that night was the first time.
He went on with the achievements Mozilla has made in the last 15 years such as managing to break the barrier for Open browsing in computers, remembering that in the olden days Microsoft and other companies had monopolized the whole chain even down to browser experience. In his own words he stated that the creation of Firefox as an Open Browser allowed people to have choice and free access to all content on the web while in comfort of the secure browser with its superb user privacy. This was well received since majority of our guests new Mozilla for only the Firefox Browser.
That’s why James went deeper to tell them about other products Mozilla has like Thunderbird, Aurora the developer’s nightly version, the several add-ons that can enhance the browsing feel. Most didn’t even know that Firefox has probably Open Source add-ons than chrome has so I guess we will have to throw a Firefox Clinic like event to teach people how to utilize this power.
San James was keen on letting people know more about Mozilla, its mission and most of its achievements spanning those 50 years such as the fact that Mozilla Foundation has shifted from having only the Firefox browser to hosting and promoting several other innovative projects and activities like Webmaker, WebFWD, Firefox Clinic, MDN Hack Jams.
He hinted that Mozilla has been able to achieve most of these things with the support and help of several contributors around the world, at this point he asked all those in their capacity to help foster the Mozilla mission in anyway to become Mozillians. He briefly took them through steps on how to join and who to reach in the community to help them know and fit into Mozilla. He also shared some of Mozilla’s ideas for the next 15 year Road map and that we needed them to help us hack and perfect it.
I later took on from San James. I briefly went into a few things I expected some people to know and remember about Mozilla such as where its first Head quarters were and where they are now. I also opted to answer any queries that they had from the former speech or general questions.
I tried to make the learning fun, I asked everyone to stand up. There was some music in the background, I made a dance stroke and asked them to change it. They all tried and kept on changing it and I taught them about hacking and that in Mozilla we hack things and the web, we innovate them to make a better internet and world. I also asked them questions in relation to what James had told them and the core areas of Mozilla like webmaker, by the time I was done they all had a clear picture of Mozilla. They would chime out load, “Mo – Mo – Mo – Zilla”
Pizzas, it was time for pizza!! People all shared in groups.
This guy had a lot of the firefox Passion, when our Merry go round music and dance game caught him and we asked him to make a Firefox and Mozilla freestyle, he unleashed a deadly reggae vibe. It was Awesome, we later got to know he is an aspiring upcoming musician though and would love to help support Mozilla with Mozilla themed music if possible. Too bad we didn’t have a recorder, but next time I promise to share the audio.
When it came to the cake, the old community Mozillians nearly shed a tear because cutting this cake reminded them about our own community and how it begun. Cake was amazing, especially the Firefox logo.It was a nice big cake and we made sure at least every one got a piece of the Mozilla awesomeness. That guy in the middle with the mic, he sung for us a great happy Birthday Mozilla tune and we chimed in. There was a lot of togetherness in this moment. After that some guests tried their shot at Karaoke, it was fun and amazing.
We went through all corners of the crowd so that we get feedback from them, personally answer their questions, go more in depth about Mozilla and get hear some ideas from them. It was a mind blowing experience, people had so much in mind.
We got a lot of positive feedback and we were being asked by interested guests on how to join Mozilla, many signed and commented in our guest book, they loved the party and have since then asked us when the next event is and how they can help us organize it. We shall help them blend into the community most especially during the training.
Can’t wait to organize another great Mozilla event, The “Webmaker Mentor Training Kampala” on 15th, June, 2013.
Other photos are on Flickr that our friend friend took on his phone in the beginning.