Thu 08 Dec 2011
How did you get involved with your favourite Open Source project? I started helping on the Selenium project in 2006 by helping out in the forums and then over time submitted patches and eventually got my commit bit by helping Jim Evans . I have always been a huge proponent Selenium even when it made up a small amount of my job. However I never looked to help Mozilla for some strange reason even though my personal views and the company mission were ideally matched.
Lately there have been a number of different blog posts from Mozillians about how they got involved with Mozilla. The posts describe how these people went from being volunteers, or using forks of Mozilla code, to being employees. A good example is Clint Talbert's post. Clint wrote his post in response to David Boswell's post. These stories make me feel like I have missed a step in getting into Mozilla. And to be honest it does make me a little sad.
One of the hardest things to do, and most OSS committers on any project will agree, is creating a community around your project. Mozilla has over the years done an amazing job at getting contributors. One of the main pulls is the Mozilla Misson! The simple message is "Mozilla's mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web.". This is something that I didn't really know before joining Mozilla. I started using Mozilla Suite when it came out many many years ago. I was in University at the time and it made my life easier. I, like most students, had an amazing amount of free time and spent it playing with new technology and learning to program better but not contribute back to an OSS project.. In other words I could have given back.
I have been working on other OSS projects as and when I came across them but didn't see the OSS project that was taking me to the ones I was working on. Next time that you feel like that you want to help out on an OSS project but don't know which one have a look at have a look at Mozilla. If you want to see about helping my team, have a look at our team site and come have a chat on irc.mozilla.org#automation.