Bangalore DevDay

These are excerpted from my notes each night while traveling through India on Mozilla work.

February 28, 2010

We’re in Bangalore. I’m excited to have sethb and ragavan hang with me in my home town, meet some of my friends, and generally get some exposure to the city where my parents live.

We got a chance to visit a Bollywood studio in Mumbai, actually had a celebrity sighting or two, and met some amazing people. But the Mozilla DevDay we are organizing in Bangalore is really the main part of our trip. We’ve “co-organized” the event with Mahiti, an open-source non-profit based in Bangalore, and the Centre for Internet Society. We bought plenty of schwag: t-shirts, wrist bands, posters, and even a few Firefox plushies. We’re expecting over 200 people (at least!) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies campus, where the event is held.

sethb acts as MC, and gives us a glimpse into We’ve also got Lucian Teo and John Britton joining us to talk about Mozilla Drumbeat and Peer to Peer University. I give a demo-driven overview of the web platform’s promise similar to the one I gave at GNUnify in Pune, but this time, there are plenty of questions, and a 45 minute session runs to about an hour and half. We’ve also got Mahiti’s CTO, Sreekanth Rameshiah talking about Mahiti’s projects, and the Centre of Internet Society’s Pranesh Prakash talking about software patents, and the relevance of these to video on the web. ragavan runs a session on Mozilla Labs, once again prompting great questions. Each session is interactive, with lots of questions, even though the delicious lunch organized by the CIS folks introduces a kind of postprandial stupor.

Vineel Reddy, one of our campus reps and regional leaders, then shares a little bit about what it’s like to be part of the Mozilla Community. Vineel’s been interviewed by the New York Times for the slick video he produced likening Firefox to a sports car. That video, made on a shoe string budget, went viral very rapidly. Marketing, typically a corporate function in most “classic” companies, is often a community outreach endeavor for our project, with volunteers expressing their passion for participation in creative ways. Vineel’s story is inspirational, and he gets a lot of follow-up questions when folks approach him after his talk.

In the afternoon, I do something a bit scary. I run a “hack” session with live coding on screen. I think my example is simple enough: I solicit a camera from the audience (but end up using my Nano) and shoot some video of the MozDevDay folks applauding, which I then embed in a web page (with the <video> element and some JS, of course). It works, but it’s not smooth sailing. If you tempt fate, you’ll encounter the proverbial obstacle — Firefogg’s transcoded OGV file has to be renamed with a *.ogg extension to work. It’s not quite a bug I can diagnose, since *.ogv files do appear to work in general. Maybe it’s a Firefogg thing.

I could give you my own breakdown of MozDevDay in Bangalore, but what others say about the event is far more interesting:

We may not have a dedicated office in India (yet), unlike other browser companies, but we do have a vibrant community of volunteers. They showed up in numbers to our Bangalore event, and I’m absolutely thrilled. We can’t succeed in India without them.

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