I've just seen this morning that Mozilla's Web properties are ranked #19 in Germany in terms of unique visitors, according to a comScore report for February 2008. This just blows my mind, as Germany is one of the biggest markets in the world for the IT industry! As 2008 is the 10th anniversary of Mozilla, it reminded me how much progress we have made over the past few years. For many people, the Mozilla project became visible with the success of our Firefox Web browser, which version 1.0 was released 3.5 years ago. But the Mozilla project has been going through ups and downs over time, and some oldtimers like Mike Shaver, Mitchell Baker, Brendan Eich, Asa Dotzler, Chris Blizzard, Mike Kaply, Chris Hoffmann and others will certainly remember.

I'll blog about all of this in the future, but I wanted to share with my readers one funny anecdote, related to the Web presence of Mozilla-Europe.org. Initially, I took a Dreamhost account, but we knew we would have to get something bigger over time and located in Europe, so that our users would have decent speed when viewing our site. So early 2004, after Mozilla Europe was officially launched, I started looking up for a European decent hosting solution. The issue was that we had next to zero budget. Selling T-shirts to Mozilla contributors and enthusiasts was not the best business model ever, and it would certainly not be very sustainable... A friend of mine (Hi, Erwan!) told me that he could find old servers that HP was going to get rid of, because they where considered as obsolete. If we did not do something about it, they would be sent to the dump. The issue was that they were 600km away from Paris. Erwan asked a couple of volunteers to help, rented a truck and drove there and came back with literally a truckload of old servers that were dispatched to non-profit open-source associations, which payed 40 EUR (approx USD60) for the cost of transportation. Then I approached a friend of mine (hi Pierre!) which used to work for a hosting company, which offered hosting in their datacenter in exchange of a little visibility.

Peterv setting up Mozilla-Europe's saved-from-the-dump HP server in his dining room

Peterv setting up Mozilla-Europe's saved-from-the-dump HP server in his dining room

So this is how Mozilla Europe ended up having a first-class hosting for 40 EUR :-D [1]

Oh, for those who care, the old server (built in 2001[2]!) is now getting retired, but is still physically in Jet Multimedia's datacenter near Paris, where I drove it in 2004, as mozilla-europe.org Web pages are now hosted by Mozilla IT's datacenter in California and Amsterdam.


[1] This is not including the priceless efforts of Pierre (hosting), Erwan (getting the hardware) and Peterv (setting up the server) and others...

[2] 5-way Pentium III 700MHz, 2GB of RAM, four 9GB hard drives in RAID