How I got involved with Mozilla

This is a response to David Boswell’s post.

Back in 1998, I was already a member of the W3C CSS Working Group (on behalf of EDF, Électricité de France) and Peter Linss, my current co-chair in the same Group, was an employee of Netscape. Peter wanted to hire me at Netscape but it was unsuccessful at that time because of a hire freeze... Two years later, I had left EDF to become the CTO of Amazon France and later Halogen and Netscape employee (and good friend) Pierre Saslawsky pinged me during a CSS WG meeting (was it in May in Sophia or August in Oslo...) and asked me if I was available. I answered positively. Back in Mountain View, he made a referral about me and Netscape's HR called me a few weeks later. Netscape paid me a trip to Mountain View for an interview. But because I said multiple teams looked interesting to me (if I recall correctly: Layout, Editor, Mail and IM), I ended up spending 3 whole days in interviews with all these teams. Layout because I loved it, Editor because I had a lot of experience about that, Mail because I implemented one of the very first MIME-compliant Mail User Agents, and IM because I found it really interesting. Met Vidur, Waldemar, Beppe, Scott, Jst, and many others. My interview with Beth Epperson (aka Beppe) went really well; she was managing the editor team and told me later she left the room telling everyone "I want him, period" :-)

The last day, the CTO Clayton Lewis told me the interviews were positive. He asked me then "Do you want to relocate to the Bay Area or stay in Paris?". I replied "Stay in Paris if possible". He answered "Well, I usually prefer having my teams around me but if we cannot do it, who can do it... So let's do that: six months in Paris in Netscape offices and if working remotely with us does not work, you relocate to MV". I accepted with true joy.

I started working for Netscape the 1st of november 2000, starting with... a CSS WG meeting hosted by Pierre Saslawsky in San Francisco. I will always remember the "Too close to call" messages during election night, spent at Pierre's place. Arrived in MV right after the meeting. Welcomed by Carrie Friedberg to learn a Netscape 6 barbecue party was on its way :-) Got my lizard badge (a pride you can't imagine!), my computer, my cubicle in less than an hour and spent the whole month in building 21, learning a lot, really a lot from Joe Francis, Kin Blas, Akkana Peck, Beth, Michael Judge, Charles Manske and few others. I left building 21 the first day with a load of new mostly black t-shirts, a Netscape 6 jacket and an enormous smile on my face.

I fixed my first bug after a few days only. Something in the Style Engine IIRC. Then lots of bugs in the editor and a few in the Style Engine. Kin Blas vouched for me for CVS write access. And I flew back to Paris at the end of november to work from Netscape offices until 02-aug-2003, after the final 15-jul-2003 layoffs. Formally left the Netscape payroll 02-nov-2003 but launched Disruptive Innovations 13-oct-2003 and we're still here 8 years later, still working full time on Mozilla and Web Standards. Yay !

And you?


1. On Tuesday 11 October 2011, 21:14 by Sylvain Galineau

Got a couple of recruiter calls from Mozilla not long after I joined Microsoft. It was about Thunderbird. Didn't go anywhere. So I could fit my whole history in one tweet :)

Seriously, must be my age but I love to hear folks' old times stories.

2. On Wednesday 12 October 2011, 08:45 by Tony Mechelynck

Getting involved with Mozilla was a slow but steady thing for me: it started with the newspaper hullaballoo about the Netscape vs. Microsoft lawsuit making me curious about that Netscape thing; then Netscape 4.72, Netscape 6, Netscape 7, Firefox 1, (...) SeaMonkey 2, then got surprised by an invitation to a SeaMonkey developers' meeting in Vienna… The first bug I reported was in 2003, on SeaMonkey 2 I started doing some QA in my spare time, this past month I fixed my first (and, so far, only) two bugs, porting fresh UI fixes from Thunderbird and Firefox to SeaMonkey. In the meantime I kept steadily gathering information, mostly in the form of browser bookmarks. What I haven't yet found is documentation about how the mountain of Mozilla source code is organized and where to find what in it.