Hello Zbigniew (aka gandalf). Can you first tell us how and when you started working on Mozilla, and what are your main interests there?
I started working on Mozilla 5 years ago, in 2001. I heard about Mozilla Milestone 14, tried it and felt in love :-)
Later, when Netscape 6.0 was released I lost any hope, my friends from polish WWW communities ridiculed the whole "Gecko" thing and in December, when M18 was out, I reported my first bug to show how disappointed I am. I was sure that it'll be my last contact with Mozilla. Suddenly, some Boris Zbarsky and Christopher Aillon explained me that it was my bug and instead of me proving Mozilla how poor it is, I was proved to know nothing about web standards.
Well, I couldn't leave the field, right? So I joined MozillaPL team and started working on Mozilla. For last 4 years I was mainly working on Quality Assurance, bug hunting, DHTML performance, some minor code cleaning, and marketing, but my biggest interest is Internationalization and Localization of Mozilla products. I'm a member of Mozilla Europe's Board of Directors, Mozilla Localization Project and a founder of AviaryPL - Polish localization team.
Windows, Linux or Mac OS X ?
As a coder/user - Linux.
As an usability freak - I love MacOS X.
You recently joined Flock. Did you move to the US or stay in Poland ? What's your position at Flock ?
In Flock team, I'm working on Internationalization of Flock product, managing localization community and localization process. I'm also handling some Mozilla tools like Bugzilla and in the future I want to help with browser coding from time to time. At the moment I'm working remotely from Poland, visiting Flock HQ every month or so. In near future I'll probably relocate to Mountain View.
If you stayed in Poland, can you tell us how was the integration process, and how easy or hard it is to work remotely for a US company ?
Fortunately, I joined a great and friendly team, and I had a luck of being in HQ right after I joined the team. So I had a time to meet and synchronize with Flock vision which wasn't hard for me :-) Remote work is something that you really don't want to keep permanently. It's OK to work remotely for month, two, but it leads to a lot of small problems like the vision synchronization I told about earlier. Also working hours make you working really late, which is not good for your life nor for your health. On the other hand, for a guy like me, who love people, have friends, passions, etc, it's not easy to leave his world, so even after my relocation I'll still try to get back to Poland and work remotely from time to time.
Should US companies take a closer look at possible european hires like you, even for a remote job ? Why ?
It depends. European coders can bring a new value, if only you really want the new value in :-) I'm probably not enough experienced to judge, but I usually find USA coders (I met only Mozilla and Flock guys) more open-minded, with passion. I met many great, positive freaks - if you met Chris, you know what I'm talking about.
How's life at Flock ?
I spent my first years of coding on web developing things for some browsers, last 4 years working on a browsers that were created by other people, and now I'm in the middle of the forge where the new thing is being created. It's hot :-)
Flock deals with code living under difference licenses, right ? Does it change the way you are working ? How ?
Nah. I'm focused on the browser, and Bugzilla now. The licenses of things I'm working on are open, and everything in Flock is OK with my Open-Minded morals. My work here is pretty similar to what I did for Mozilla, beside of that in Flock there's less bureaucracy. Flock is a small team, decisions are made fast, brainstorms that involves whole team are much easier to make, and the forge is working.
Do all at Flock self-mutilate with big knives ?
I can't tell you all of our company know-how, so let me not comment this question. I can try to provide more detailed info in any vis-a-vis presentation with usage of my martial-arts experience.
I read the following about Flock : "the time is right for a two-way browsing experience that is designed for the "Web 2.0". Flock will incorporate enhanced browser technology with innovative social networking services to create a new browsing experience. Flock will make web browsing experience more fun, safe, and productive by offering a variety of user-friendly products and services." Is Flock only a browser moving so-called "Web 2.0" applications From the Web Page to the browser chrome ? If yes, even partly, what's the superiority of XUL-based apps over Web pages ?
You're kidding, are you?
For last 15 years the web was nearly 100% one-way. There was a web-author and web-user separated by the web browser window which allowed on e group to paint the landscape, and the other to watch it.
We want the web to became two-way route. You co-create it, you decide what is "on top" and the gap between web author and web-user becomes smaller. The world wants it. Look at popular web technologies of today - RSS/Atom feeds, Wiki's, Blogs, Planets, Flicker, Photo/Video blogs, many rating systems, digg.co, del.icio.us and others.
And the only part of the "system" which still exists like in the early 90'ties is... web browser. Still the same UI, work flow, feature set, address bar, back, forward, bookmarks, history, still the same. Ok, now we have tabs - nice, but still the same work flow. Do you think that we really reached the maximum of our abilities? Flock is young, Firefox already exists, so we can work on the revolution. Leave the past behind us and try to redefine the common items of web browser so they let you use today's, social WWW easier and with more pleasure.
A big part of this process is syndication. It's the way the human uses to filter the information flood which exists today. RSS feeds, planets and digg are the example syndication technologies that makes it easier to watch interesting things trying to rise signal/buzz ratio. Search box in Firefox, and extensions like Gmail Notifier extension are examples of how we want to use UI to rise this ratio. Flock is here. And we don't have 100 million users that we need to keep so we can play with our UI and explore the areas. Firefox can't. No offense, I love Firefox, we all do. But I don't believe that Firefox is an ultimate answer, and I see a lot of room for other approaches. I believe that the best we can give to users is a choice. Let them have the choice and know about it.
What's your word on "Web 2.0" ?
Slogan to summarize the process that happens today. You won't get me into flame war. Some like it, some don't. I'm in the team that believes that the web should be made of data shared by users, not closed web sites made by elite pseudo-journalists. It's a bit like HTML5 vs. XHTML 2.0 for me. Who is more important? Who should we ensure will be the winner? What should we focus on? People.
What's so cool in Mozilla and how do you see evolve your involvement in Mozilla ? Do you still have time to contribute to aviary.pl ?
Mozilla is the very best open source project I ever met. It's so open, it's well streamed from bottom to top, I love it. And Mozilla is creating exactly what is needed by the world. Open source tools for using key features of the web. It's extremely important to ensure that ten most commonly used web technologies like email, www, IM, data sharing, calendar, text editor etc. are open source. I also love the atmosphere in the so huge team that is made of Mozilla employees and thousands of volunteers like me.
We, in Flock, want to contribute to Mozilla as much as possible. Now we need to focus on our own playground and release Flock 0.6, but we will upstream our patches to Gecko and I will upstream my Bugzilla UI improvements like AJAX-ification and XHTML compatibility too.
In the near future I won't have that much time for Mozilla, but later I want to keep helping with Gecko development.
AviaryPL will have to find a new leader, and I'm sure they will. For the moment, I keep helping them with my experience and I will do this as long as this will be needed. AviaryPL is now a bit more than Firefox and Thunderbird localization. We localize Flock, and we recently started localizing OpenSuSe for Novell Poland. AviaryPL has a great and the bright future. It's high quality localization project that has potential to cover localization of many open source products for Polish market, and I'm sure that guys who are working with me will handle it and make it work better, but my story in AviaryPL and Polish localization community is over now. I did my part and folks in Poland can judge me now.
how is the cooperation with the Mozilla commmunity ? We don't see a lot of Flockers around #developers in irc.mozilla.org ?
There's Yosh and me usually ;-) I know it doesn't sound good, but we are really very focused on our next release now, and in this stage, we have not much time to push people to get involved in Mozilla project. I'm trying to be the layer between those groups and, for example, on Firefox Summit we had a lunch with Flock and Mozilla Europe teams together :-)
In the future the cooperation will became more visible as we will start upstreaming our patches.
Any extra comment you would like to add ?
Why not? We are aware that many people in the Web world is doubtful about Flock. But it's easy to solve. Talk to us! We are on irc.flock.com, we have emails, we work on other open-source products like Gimp, Mozilla, KDE, we want to answer all your questions and show that we are open-minded, and we are very, very motivated to do something great, fresh, open. Cross your fingers please :-)
Thanks for your time, gandalf !
Thanks Daniel!