Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Day in Mozilla Nepal Meetup #HappyBirthday #Firefox

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Happy Birthday Firefox.
On 9th November I attended Mozilla Nepal Meetup organized on the occasion of firefox’s ninth birthday at SAP Falcha, Babarmahal,  Kathmandu, Nepal. I knew the meetup will be awesome just by going through facebook timeline of Mozilla Nepal Community. The day started with good news of Nepali locale added in Firefox OS.

Talking about Firefox, On November 9 - 2004, nine years ago, the Mozilla foundation launched the first version of open-source Web browser Firefox which battled with Microsoft's Internet Explorer monopoly (which had numerous security issues) and won the race too as the safest, fastest and most secure browserFrom that day to now, the race  has begun from browser alone to  mobile OS for which it has already released Firefox OS based on HTML5 as open source Boot2Gecko project.  The step has made firefox much wider than limiting as third-party browser on other company’s operating system (Android).

The event which was third in a series of three meetups organized by Mozilla Nepal Community. Starting from the brief outline by Shashi Khanal, it was successfully conducted with more participants than expected and most of them stayed till the end of the program. It was an excellent meetup with many free and open source enthusiasts and a number of web developers from Nepal.
The meeting started with attendees introducing with a quick update on what each of us had been working on or studying. Community introduction by Mozilla rep Surit Aryal  and Avash Mulmi  brought flashback of Mozilla Nepal. Up to now, the Nepali Community had conducted various events inside various places inside the country and participated several programs outside the country.
Words on theme of this year “Open Web For Open Education” by Subir Pradhanang who is President of FOSS Nepal Community and also program manager of OLE Nepal was a moment to capture. In country like Nepal where students and general people cannot afford paid software, open source software could be the best option. As there is problem of internet service in many regions of the country which may be due to physical difficulties (hilly region) and lack of investment in these sectors in the rural area, proper implementation of plans has become difficult. Language barrier is also a big problem. Almost of the government schools teach their students in Nepali language and in the other hand, most of the web applications are on English language. So, localization is very much important in the context. Hempal sir who is  Vice-President of FOSS Nepal said that government has allocated budget to provide computers for schools in rural area as a part of education project.

Nootan Ghimire
 talked about FSA (which he calls Fun Student Activities)  benefits, challenges and problems faced with some past events conducted in different colleges. Questions by Dadhiram Nepal sir who is FOSS Nepal member made the meetup more interesting and informative too. Dadhiram sir, who was from non-technical background shared experiences while working in rural areas. He also pointed out that localization is the key factor for improvement in participation in tech stuffs from local level. There are more than 30 Firefox Student Ambassadors in Nepal from different places including Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara.

Firefox birthday celebration was a moment to remember. Though Hempal sir had brought some candles (may be left over of Tihar :)), none of them were used. Thanks to the guy who ordered the cake of exact size enough for all participants except Shashi and Surit who enjoyed two times :). Oh, the lottery for 5 T-shirts was interesting though my luck was not in favour. Those whose luck was as mine did not stayed calm when the name of Sristi Baral came instantly without a round of name though it was just a coincidence. But there was no T-shirt fit for her (small sized:) ). So, the lottery extended to 6 T-shirts.

SWOT(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis by forming the group of about 5 participants based on their involvement in the community in past. I also stayed in a group which helped me to introduce with some new friends ( but actually they were my seniors).
We discussed about the Open source software and related communities including Mozilla Nepal’s contribution and suggestions too. Such kind of communities help a lot for involvement and leadership development, habit of collaboration, framework for programmability and of course skill development and have enough opportunities for future also. Our team was named “Himalayan Fyauro” by our team leader (I forgot to take our group members web address. If you are reading this, please ping me once).

The weakness points of the community was found to be lack of publicity and Kathmandu focused programs. Also, which Avash, Mozilla Nepal rep  had already accepted the fact that the members are below 30, some college administrations did not showed much interest in such activities though educational institutions are the main target of the community through which the related info could be spread over large volume of people across the country. Some points on threats were also discussed. Such kind of open source projects are run financially from donations but if at some point of time, if the donations are not sufficient, there could be problem in proper implementation of plans.

The presentation from Shristi, FSA Nepal on Women Empowerment was just awesome. As usual, the number of female participants was very less (only 2) in the event. She thought women attracts women in such sector (which spread laugh in the hall). Emphasizing about WoMoz, a community composed of female members from different Open Source projects and Mozilla dedicated to improving women's visibility and involvement and to increase the number of women contributors. As diversity is an important part of every community, women participation should be increased. But in IT sector the involvement is low which is due to our community train and the job is tedious also according to Shristi. In fact, most of ladies in our society seems to be attracted in medical or management fields than technical stuffs.

Though there was not enough time, discussions in group of people with different interests was beneficial. I stayed in localization team (there were two teams in Localization) with Manish Dangol who is really cool :). He showed demo of how to involve in localization. We found some members including AvashNootan were actively participating there.

By this time, the clock had hit 5:45 pm and we had one session left: Future Plans of Mozilla Nepal Community and Questions & Answer Session. At first, no questions was raised on the floor. Hempal sir (being eldest of all) took guide for that and talked about what he realized from the meetup.
Others’ answer in this context was also positive. He also focused on finding target consumer if we want to go ahead commercially in IT sector. Additional points by Dadhiram sir was also catchy. It was an excellent event, with many of the core committers on hand to present and answer questions.
From freshers to the older members of the community, all of them seemed to have got a lot of new things from the event. We thanked Mercantile Nepal representative for providing internet service for the event. The representatives of Mozilla Nepal expressed their plan of extending the community outside the valley too and enhance the activities with the help of FSA (Firefox Student Ambassadors).

And last, the dinner time (though it was called musical, there was no music till I left the venue) was awesome. Despite having free dinner always seems awesome. Ha Ha!! , it was nice one with papad, half cooked saag and amilo achar :). But we missed something. Group photo and beer party for answering Avash's question. But he has promised to give treat soon. In fact, I don't take beer.
It was a great event but it was unfortunate that some other community members could not make this time around but hope next meetup will be rocking one !!!
Image via: buddhi tuladhar and Nikesh Balami

Written By Raju Dawadi
Raju is a Computer Engineering student in Nepal, tech and social media enthusiast, web developer, blogger experimenting with SEO and web analytics.

Raju Dawadion Google+   


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