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June 8th, 2010

No-Conference Travel-Free Year For Me?

In 2009, I've been to more conferences and more different places than ever before in my life. FOSDEM in Brussels, lift09 in Geneva, MAOW in Berlin, MozCamp Europe in Prague, not to mention the local Linuxwochen conference in Vienna and a vacation in the US.
The year before, I had FOSDEM in Brussels, a vacation and visit to Mozilla HQ (including a brown bag) in the US, the Mozilla Summit in Whistler, and MozCamp Europe in Barcelona.

I expected this year to follow that pattern, with being invited to another FOSDEM, lift10, and Summit, probably more. As a remark: Don't ever expect that, or you could be seriously surprised. And so far, this year looks very different: No conference (except Linuxwochen here in Vienna), no vacation, no travel. None done, none planned. And no, Eyafjallajökull is not to blame this time. I am, probably, though not intentionally.

Early this year, with the release of the long-awaited SeaMonkey 2.0, a vacation, and Christmas behind me, I felt frustrated by some people shooting down 2.0 and praising 1.x because of things that sounded minor to me, even calling me names for some decisions or compromises I had made in my own work, and, after all, by further development stalling somewhat while the rest of the world was moving on and though I was putting a lot of work into the project. Being a workaholic and quite success-oriented, this made me quite uncomfortable and should have even more effects, but an immediate reaction was to cancel my FOSDEM trip and instead get some measurable work done, as a sense of achievement always makes me feel better. And, after all, I'd meet many of those people on the Summit later this year anyhow. Or so I thought.

When lift10 came near, it became clear that Mozilla Europe didn't think our engagement in that through early enough and we wouldn't take part there after all. I don't want to blame anyone, but it meant one interesting conference (and travel destination) less for me. As it conflicted with the local Linuxwochen event here in Vienna, I could live with that after all.

And then, people were invited to the Mozilla Summit in Whistler. I had been looking forward to meeting a lot of Mozillians, finding out a few things in side talk with a number of people, discussing the future of Mozilla and the web as well as staying longer in the area, visiting Seattle for more than half a day this time, and possibly even driving down to Portland to be at OSCON.

But my invitation didn't arrive. I tried to ask back with the person in charge of invitations but didn't get an answer, so I mailed Mark and Mitchell, the heads of Mozilla. And Mitchell, who I hold in high respect due to her openness among other things, did reply - though unfortunately a bit differently than I had hoped. Apparently some inherently stupid remarks of mine, some passionate tries to prove some arguments back in the days when I was so frustrated (see above) did go as far as to break the trust in me with a number of powerful individuals in the Mozilla community. Enough that they apparently vetoed my being invited. And some feeling that myself and SeaMonkey would be conservative and backwards (I guess we never will shake of the stain of reminding people of the past) surely didn't help in getting me on the list for an event where we're supposed to discuss the future of Mozilla and where we and the web need to go to stay relevant and open. In the end, the result is that I'm shut off and not invited. Bummer.

It's really hard to explain this without blaming anyone or making anyone look bad but myself - and I really want to take this all on myself. Still, I owe the community an explanation. Also, I know I said dumbly emotional and stupid things and I'd like to apologize to anyone who felt offended or lost trust in me, even if it doesn't change that particular picture. We need to keep working together and bad feelings need to be cleaned out no matter how things go for this particular event.

In the end, I hope this explains why someone who built up the most-used localization 10 years ago, who coordinates a Mozilla-hosted application project, is passionate about the mission and whose add-ons have 13.8 million total downloads, 19,400 weekly downloads, 984,000 active daily users in total (as of today) will not be present on the Summit.

I for myself can only hope I can win back the trust I lost and see things turn out differently in the future. For that first week of July, I might stick to what I hear in those Country Music tunes I like so much and drown my tears over this outcome of what was largely my own mistakes in some Whiskey. I have a few good bottles of all six Classic Single Malts here, after all ;-)

By KaiRo, at 02:37 | Tags: Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Summit, travel | 12 comments | TrackBack: 1

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