samedi 4 février 2012

Mozilla awards grants to six international non-profit organizations

Fosdem 2012, under the snow

Fosdem 2012, under the snow

Earlier today, in FOSDEM in Brussels, a series of grants by Mozilla to non-profit organizations and aimed at Europe have been announced. Here is the announcement:

Mozilla awards grants to six international non-profit organizations

We are pleased to announce that Mozilla awards six international non-profit organizations in Europe and the US with grants for projects that will further strengthen open web, free and open source technologies and user sovereignty on the Web in Europe. Grant recipients are:

  • April: April is the main French advocacy association devoted to promote and protect Free/Libre Software. It is a major player in spreading the word of free software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in France. It also acts as a watchdog on digital freedoms, warning the public about the dangers of private interests keeping an exclusive stranglehold on information and knowledge.
  • FOSDEM: The Belgium-based FOSDEM team organizes the free and non-commercial Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) event to promote the widespread use of Free and Open Source software and provide FOSS projects with a platform to meet, exchange, and collaborate.
  • Framasoft: Framasoft is one of the most prominent voices of FLOSS (Free, Libre, Open Source Software) in France and other French-speaking countries. The organization’s aim is to educate users about the importance of open software.
  • Free Software Foundation Europe: Free Software Foundation Europe works across Europe for freedom in the information society by promoting Free Software and Open Standards in politics, business, law, education, and society at large.
  • Nowoczesna Polska: the Modern Poland Foundation consequently cares for modern education and development of information society in Poland.
  • Participatory Culture Foundation: The US-based organization is dedicated to creating open and decentralized video tools and services. The grant is earmarked for Universal Subtitles, a project of Participatory Culture Foundation that makes web video accessible through a collaborative platform for captioning and translation of video. Mozilla has collaborated on this open-source project since its creation.

Mozilla has a history of awarding grants to projects that are aligned with its mission. The funds for this round came from Mozilla Europe. Going forward all grant applications, including those for Europe, will go through the Mozilla foundation. Details can be found here: (Once the page has been updated, that is ;-) )

mercredi 11 janvier 2012

This photograph is free

I've just read This photograph is not free on, and I should explain why I disagree with the author and decided to give away the picture below:

Tour Eiffel at dawn as seen from the Trocadero

The photo above is free. You can reuse it, as explained in its Licensing terms. Actually, you will not be the only one. Many publications have already done so, and I've seen this pictures used in dozens of places.

I think it's a fine photo. It has cost me quite a bit of money in order to create it. A Canon SLR camera, a high-end lens, my time to take the picture, edit it, publish it. Not including the cost of the computer. Several thousands of Euros overall. But that's a silly way of looking at things. I have taken literally thousands of pictures with this camera, so the actual cost is under 1 EUR per photograph...

I took the picture because I like taking pictures. I've invested a lot of money into camera gear over the past 27 years or so and never made a dime from it. On the other hand, it has given me a lot of joy and pride. The joy to take beautiful pictures. The pride of building the reputation of being a decent photographer. The pleasure to give away my work and see people smile. The satisfaction coming from the fact that my work is useful, seeing it's reused by others[1].

Of course, after taking this picture of the Eiffel tower in Paris, I could have said that it cost me a lot of money. So I should not share it. And the picture would have stayed on my hard drive, far from the eyes of people who could "steal" it.

But I gave it instead to Wikimedia Commons[2] so that it could be reused by other people on Wikipedia articles and elsewhere. I also gave dozens of photos to Wikipedia. Some of them have been published in highly successful books.

I don't regret giving this photo to people I don't know. It has cost me a little, but brought me a lot more in return.. because I made it available to the world. It would not have happened if I decided to leave it hidden in my hard drive. So if you want to reuse it, please be my guest: I'd rather see my artwork used than forgotten. Most of all, I have realized a long time ago that in a world where everyone has a camera, a lot of free time and fantastic tools to publish stuff, there is not a lot of money to be made anymore by taking pictures.

Update, Jan 12th, 2012

Hundreds of comments later[3], I'm revisiting this post and the issue it discusses. For the record, I understand the position of professional photographers, as explained in This photograph is not free post. I should mention that my younger brother is a pro photographer, shooting fashion here in Paris, for large publications and famous brands such as Hermès and Levi's. I don't want all pro photographers to die from starvation. I completely agree that someone can refuse to see his work reused for free. I do it myself (this post for example is not under a free license).

But the world is changing, with 141 million cameras sold in 2010 (not counting gazillions of smartphones) and the ability for people to publish on the Internet and potentially reach millions of people with a touch of a button.

It's a tough world for pro photographers, but it's a great progress to see millions of people being able to do art. Thanks to the comoditization of photography (and tools that enable creativity, from music instruments to computers), we're likely to see more and better talent emerge. The downside is that average photographer will be less likely to live from their craft. I can live with that. The other option is to prevent distribution of cameras and shut down the Internet in order to come back to the "good old days" of publication scarcity. Not what I want, really.


[1] For example, I took the picture of the guy with the I Love the Web sign on a high-traffic page of the Mozilla Website.

[2] Which is approaching 12 million freely reusable media files.

[3] on Reddit, Hacker news and Hacker news again.

mercredi 5 octobre 2011

More details on the upcoming MozCamp Europe in Berlin

Do you remember my call to save the date back mid-August? So now William is calling for papers for the MozCamp EU and gives us more details.

  • Dates: no changes. Still scheduled for November 12th and 13th, 2011.
  • Overarching theme: "Many Voices, One Mozilla"
  • The MozCamp will take place at Kalkscheune, in Berlin
  • More details can be found on the EU MozCamp 2011 Wiki page, including:
  • There will be 3 tracks during this event:
    • Product & Technology Track
    • Skills Development and Community Growth Track
    • Engagement/Regionalization Track
  • The Format for talks has also evolved.

If you are an engaged Mozillian, I hope you're considering attending! William will be sending the invitations this week. I'm really looking forward this event. Like I wrote earlier, Mozilla is changing. The MozCamp in Berlin will be an important moment for us as a community to discuss how we're approaching this, and what will be our respective role in the future. I hope to see you there!

mardi 16 août 2011

Mozilla Camp Europe 2011: save the date!

I'm very excited to announce that the next Mozilla Camp Europe will take place in Berlin (Germany) on November 12th and 13th, 2011! I'm also very happy to announce that Mozilla Camp concept extends to Asia: it will take place the following week end, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 19th-20th, 2011. For those who aren't familiar with the event, Mozilla Camp (aka MozCamp) is a large 2-day regional Mozilla summit that brings together Mozilla staff and active contributors from a region for (an intense!) weekend of presentations, discussions, brainstorms, workshops, hackathons around specific areas of the Mozilla project, all with a special focus on a region. The event is, of course, also the opportunity for Mozillians to meet IRL, put a face on a lot of quirky IRC nicknames, and spent some quality time together!

So mark your calendars and stay tuned! William and I will be giving regular updates and more information on the event, its schedule and the sponsorship policy for participants. Feel free to get in touch with William or myself if you have questions and/or suggestions to make these Mozcamps a huge success!

I'm looking forward meeting you in person in Berlin!

Part of the Berlin Wall, Potsdamer Platz

Part of the Berlin Wall, Potsdamer Platz

lundi 25 juillet 2011

Some good Mozilla reading

As I said in my Mozilla is changing blog post a week ago, we need to over-communicate. In the spirit of such approach, here are a couple of very important documents I'd like to share with the Mozilla community, users and partners:

"The browser is necessary but it is no longer sufficient. There are a number of reasons the Firefox experience needs to expand to fulfill the Mozilla mission. " (...) "the browser is no longer the only way people access the Internet". (...) "mobile devices mean the entire hardware and software stacks are changing. As a result, the computers many of us use are more closed than they have been in our lifetimes." (...) "It’s time to expand the Firefox experience to encompass the changing face of the Internet."

"Our Mozilla mission obligates us to make the user sovereign over the user's data and many aspects of the user's experience, and to keep the web open and interoperable and innovative at all levels"

especially on mobile devices where it's hard to get Gecko in, or get Gecko distributed, or preloaded as part of the operating system, we can use Webkit. Even use it via HTML and CSS and JavaScript, just use it as an HTML engine, and do some of our new initiatives, new products, new touch-points that users can interact with, as open web apps or as new mobile apps, maybe thin layers of native app around html. Like Firefox Home, the second version that's being worked on right now.

ARM already is supported well by our JavaScript engine, but we want to be make our code tight on ARM, as fast as possible. We want to avoid using too much battery and while we have a lot of build automation and test automation around our tier 1 platforms like Mac OS on the desktop, Windows and Linux, now we're going to elevate Android to that position and focus on making it just as awesome.

Because we're not going to try just one thing, we're not going to push only the browser, Firefox, onto the mobile devices - we're also going to try reaching people through lighter-weight means. And then the open web app system is where we hope to make our mark by not just supporting Firefox, but letting open web apps work on all modern browsers.

These quotes are not just random thoughts of two of the most important people at Mozilla, but they expression of what they get from a very important document, written but Jay Sullivan and his team: the Firefox Vision Statement, that everyone involved in Mozilla should have read by now.


[1] Please note that volunteers have translated this article into French.

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