"Sure, I can talk about that"

Shaver came for a visit today to do a round-table discussion with the students working on Mozilla projects this term.  It was a good chance for him to hear about what it's like to begin with Mozilla, and for the students to give him updates on the state of their work.  I really enjoy these sessions, and I think Mike does too, because it let's the open nature of the Mozilla project manifest itself in a personal encounter.  As is usually the case the students are hesitant to ask the "tough" questions; however, today Mike had to take a call briefly in the middle, and it gave the class a chance to talk amongst themselves about other things that hadn't been raised: how does funding work? does Google exert in-product control? what are the politics of WONTFIX'ing a bug? can you say more about your security procedures for patches?  what about communication/collaboration with Microsoft?

Mike answered their questions in a way that wouldn't have been possible if he weren't able to be open.  It's one thing for a prof to tell his/her students what open means in the context of a project like Mozilla.  But it's a lot easier to believe when you are told the secrets yourself, and then told that they aren't really secrets at all.

I also enjoyed one off-hand comment he made in response to a question about design patterns in the code.  "Increasingly," he said, "the patterns in Mozilla borrow more and more from the web itself."  I've been reflecting on this same point a lot lately, namely, that unlike most applications that tightly house data within structured silos, Mozilla invites its data to cross the application boundary and become part of its inner-being.  The web isn't something that Mozilla renders.  Mozilla is a part of the web itself.

Always a pleasure, Mike.