Hack 100. Help with the Future of Firefox
Much of the work done to make Firefox successful is volunteer effort. You too can help.
The Firefox browser is the end result of thousands of people's contributions. People contribute because they think that it's a good idea, a worthy cause, or perhaps just an enjoyable activity. If you care to participate as well, this hack explains how.
In Giving It Away: In Praise of Philanthropy (Scribe Publications), Denis Tracy says that happy volunteers and successful philanthropists take many different paths when contributing to their favorite causes. Applying his ideas, any contribution to Firefox or Mozilla will be a blend of the following elements:
9.11.2. Contributing Engineering Effort
Here are some more concrete strategies for making a contribution. The good news is that you don't have to be a hardcore C++ programmer to participate. There are plenty of other ways to contribute. These are the big four areas where you can help turn Firefox into better code:
All these tasks have review functions as well; you can provide review of anything that goes on in the Mozilla community.
9.11.3. Contributing Organizational Effort
Outside the code, there's also lots to do.
Documentation and web page writing and editing is one large area for contribution. The Mozilla web site's documentation is a massive archive in constant need of updating and redesign. Once you have access, you can pull it from CVS. Third-party web sites that don't work properly with Firefox, because they're too old or too poorly made, need to be politely asked for an update. Inaccurate and ancient fan documents exist all over the Web, and their owners should be helped with updates. The same goes for the Firefox Help system.
Another form of web activity is to propagate the Firefox brand. If you're network-oriented or evangelical, you can spend your time persuading others to put Firefox iconography on their web sites. See http://www.spreadfirefox.com/ for details.
The MozillaZine forums are bursting with people, new and old alike, and it's a simple matter to sit in those forums and contribute answers to questions. That's an easy way of spreading Firefox education.
In summary, anywhere that Firefox activity occurs helps the browser. If you can't find a place to contribute, make such a place yourself, with a web site or a local special interest groupwhatever you see fit to do. Give a copy to your family and friends.
9.11.4. Contributing Creative Effort
Some of the best Firefox innovations come from unguessed-at quarters. The popular Tabbed Browsing feature was originally an enthusiastic experiment by programmers not associated with the main Mozilla project. If you have lots of creative energy, set up your own project and do something unexpected. Your output contributes to the diversity of the Mozilla community.
9.11.5. Contributing Professional Effort
Firefox is an emerging global brand, and astute professionals outside the programming industry would do well to take notice. There are cross-promotion opportunities to be had by contributing to the Firefox brand. It's a matter of history that professionals from public relations, marketing, design, illustration, and law have all benefited in public profile and business from their association with Firefox and Mozilla. It's only a matter of time before other professionals seize a Firefox-related niche as well.
9.11.6. Being a Fan