15 years of Mozilla, my Webstory

  • started working with SGML in 1991 at Grif, implementing the first CALS tables (that eventually gave HTML tables) wysiwyg editor. Worked with Jean Paoli and Vincent Quint. Met Tim Berners-Lee. Started working on stylesheets (the P language in Grif).
  • 1994: working at Électricité de France, one of the first european customers of the recently released Netscape's browser. We bought thousands of licences, Netscape was not even incorporated here yet.
  • 1998: noticed the Mozilla source code release while working for Électricité de France; was already a CSS WG member. Downloaded code to look at it but too much work to really do it well. Met Vidur, Peter Linss, Angus Davis, Troy Chevalier
  • 1998: Peter Linss makes a referral about me at Netscape but a hiring freeze blocks the process
  • june 2000: I am available for hire and Pierre Saslawsky makes another referral about me at Netscape
  • september 2000: interviews in Mountain View with the Layout, Email, AIM and Editor teams. Moments with Vidur, Beth, Clayton and a few others I will never forget.
  • november 2000: hired by Netscape in the editor team, spending a month in Mountain View, starting diving into editor's code with invaluable help from jfrancis, kin, brade, cmanske, beppe, sfraser and mjudge. First bug fix in the style engine code, memory footprint-related. The day I arrive in MV, there's a barbecue party for the release of Netscape 6.0; everyone including me has a NS6 jacket and a trophy, some have a bonus envelop. I discover, to my greatest pleasure, that Netscape is a company that knows how to say thank you. Hixie is an intern at Netscape doing QA, Hamerly and I turn on the lights at 8am, Scott Collins sleeps every night in the cubicle next to mine, I am almost the only one using the espresso machine, there are baby clothes at the Netscape store for my first son and when I refused to eat at Denny's cmanske replied « I knew you had "class" ».
  • december 2000: peterv and I are the only developers at Netscape France. We send a mail to the whole team to introduce ourselves. Only two persons come to say hello, Tristan Nitot and an HR person. We're in a windowless corner of the offices, with sales people shouting on the telephone all the time.
  • 2001: representing Netscape in the CSS WG, helping Beth in the HTML WG but XHTML2 seems to me a gigantic strategic error and I say it in public. When asked why I work from France for Netscape US, I reply « because they do beautiful things ». During a crepes dinner with Tantek in SF, he challenged me to implement :not() in Gecko; flying to San Diego the next day and spending the night on it, showing working implementation to Attinasi the next day. Adding CSS to the editor. Showing Syd Logan how to greatly simplify the IM conversation view with just a dash of CSS.
  • 2002: all of AOL-TimeWarner France including Netscape moves to a new building in Neuilly sur Seine. Cool times, superb corporate restaurant. Many good and sometimes hilarious memories.
  • october 2002: wrote the Small Screen Rendering stylesheet that will be used in Minimo. AOL wants to patent it even if I warn them there is prior art from Opera.
  • december 2002: reorg at Netscape. Many good friends are gone. I'm myself in complete limbos, spending a few awful days and nights.
  • Q1 and Q2 2003: working on the Anvil project, a new editor at AOL will never release. I also start Composer++, a standalone revamp of the Netscape editor that will eventually become Nvu.
  • february 2003: at FOSDEM in Brussels; meet Mozdev's Brian King (of zibble fame) and Pete Collins.
  • 15-jul-2003: laid off by AOL with the remains of Netscape. Leaving Netscape offices only the 2nd of august. My collection of Netscape t-shirts is orphan.
  • september 2003: meeting with Tristan Nitot and Peter van der Beken in Peter's flat, my two Netscape colleagues from the Paris office. I suggest we start together a company making products based on the open source Mozilla. I suggest "Disruptive Innovators" as a company name. Tristan and Peter skeptical, Tristan would prefer launching a european Mozilla foot.
  • 13-oct-2003: Disruptive Innovations is incorporated... Pete Collins and Brian King gave my name to Lindows' CTO who was looking for someone to work on a Gecko-based editor. I start contracting for Lindows immediately, the result will become Nvu.
  • from 2003 to now: promoting Mozilla and Gecko all over the place. Contracted for many companies and academia around the globe, doing xulrunner-based apps or add-ons to Firefox, some public and some proprietary on intranets.
  • august 2006: Disruptive Innovations joins W3C.
  • so many conferences, seminars with other Mozillians I can't count them all. Wonderful time in Barcelona with Chofmann, epic dinner with Rey Bango and Pike in Berlin, cool week-end in Berlin with Robert Nyman. Gave one of my contracts to Paul Rouget.
  • 2008: inviting Mitchell Baker as a KeyNote speaker to the Netexplo Forum under the golden ceilings of the French Senate.
  • 2010: started working on my next-gen wysiwyg Mozilla-based editor. Rewritten from scratch. First investor in april.
  • 10-may-2011: release of BlueGriffon 1.0.
  • 2013: Disruptive Innovations is almost ten years old, what a ride. I'm still spending most of my time on Mozilla code and technologies, editors and Web Standards. I released the only Wysiwyg cross-platform native EPUB editor on the market, and it's of course Mozilla-based.

More details on how got I involved with Mozilla and Why I work for^H^H^Hon Mozilla. I'm still here, and I just contributed a patch to the editor to fix a regression in the table editor. Wishing a long life to a community that changed mine!