/>
X
Business

Mozilla Labs where the future is being made today

At the heart of the lab are its discussion forums, organized by project, and the challenges Finette has put before a small army of unpaid developers.
dana-blankenhorn.jpg
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Maybe I'm in a Muppet mood, or maybe the approach of Easter and arrival of spring has me optimistic.

Regardless I want to spend a few minutes today celebrating the work of Mozilla Labs, not so much for what they do, but for how they do it.

The Bunson Honeydew of Mozilla Labs is Pascal Finette (right, from his personal site), German educated with a British Web address, now based in Los Gatos. The most recent post at his blog, which dates from February, attacks companies that see community as merely a way to increase revenue.

At the heart of the lab are its discussion forums, organized by project, and the challenges Finette has put before a small army of unpaid developers. There are a series of awards, but members of the group decide who gets them, which has attracted a global following in academic settings.

What is most compelling about Finette's work is his use of the open source process in the name of design. This breaks a lot of the rules we assume for open source.

We understand collaboration on technical subjects, but design is thought to be an individual exercise. It's as though people had never heard of ad agencies or movies, creative disciplines based entirely on collaboration.

But how do you build a virtual table around that idea? Finette is trying to do that within Google Groups, under a set of formalized rules of etiquette.

A good place to join the discussion is around Mozilla's Concept Series, which as the name implies is really a system for brainstorming. Once a prototype is built and a group created around it, it gets its own icon and identity, as with the Bespin code editor or Raindrop messaging group.

Not everything is a result. As Finette notes, not everything is a profit center.

But in 2010, if you're trying to learn Web development in a college or even high school, if you're even a little underemployed, this is a great way to get started. Lurk a while before you say anything. (You don't want a Beaker reputation.) Try things out. Play.

Play is where great ideas come from.

Editorial standards

Related

Hackers are finding ways around multi-factor authentication. Here's what to watch for
a-man-looking-at-his-smartphone-while-sitting-at-a-computer-in-his-home-office

Hackers are finding ways around multi-factor authentication. Here's what to watch for

How to use your phone to diagnose your car's 'check engine' light
BlueDriver Bluetooth dongle

How to use your phone to diagnose your car's 'check engine' light

A United Airlines pilot made a big speech to passengers. Not everyone will love it
screen-shot-2022-08-09-at-9-39-33-am.png

A United Airlines pilot made a big speech to passengers. Not everyone will love it