Mitchell just blogged about Grants and Donations. As always, her post is worth reading (even when she writes about trapeze there is a lesson to be learnt). Also, ZDNet ran an interview on the same topic.

I have been discussing with Chris Beard, Mitchell and Mozilla Europe board members how we could distribute money or equivalent to contributors. It is too early to draw conclusions, but we certainly hope that Mozilla Europe can help funds to be distributed, particularly to localization teams and native-language communities.

I also have many ideas on how to spend this money, besides supporting local communities. Actually, the issue is three-fold:

  1. Who is going to get funding?
  2. How much?
  3. How? (cash or hardware or paid expenses?)

Mozilla Foundation has already started using this money at Fosdem, by financing travel costs to many localizers, including a dinner. This was a great start. We envision a Mozilla-only event for localizers later this year, or early 2007. Some contributors were flewn in to Mountain View, last December.

Here are a few suggestions, thrown in to keep the discussion going, some may be crazy and therefore no implemented (other ideas can be found in Mitchell's blog comments) :

  • We could help localizers with their expenses, such as the DSL fee for connectivity;
  • We could buy them a laptop (hmmm, a MacBookPro with its triple-boot goodness would be awesome for cross-platform testing! :-)
  • We could fund professional hosting so that local communities have a more reliable service (and less sysadmin work to do).

These were to support existing efforts, but there are also efforts that may need to be started.

  • Bounties could be a great start. Pascal Chevrel actually suggested that we fund dictionary development, as the dictionaries we use have licences that prevent us from shipping them with localized builds, hence localized versions of Thunderbird come with an ENglish spellchecker (not very useful,of course).
  • Funding local events for local communities to meet.
  • My favorite idea (not initially mine, actually) is to help with evangelism. We tend to forget that the Web cannot be open if Web developers keep on building sites that are optimized for limited to Internet Explorer. In countries such as France, UK and Germany, Firefox market share is large enough so that making a Web site IE-only is insane (on top of being non-profesionnal). But in other regions (Spain and Italy, for example), where Netscape did not do any evangelism, modern browsers are having a hard time gaining market share. In such regions, we should probably help educating Web developers by having Standards-related information, and we could imagine a local evangelism team to be funded in order to contact incompatible Web site.

I have other ideas on this topic, and I plan to share them in the coming days. In the meantime, I encourage my readers to read Mitchell's blog post about grants and donations and leave comments there.