"Canada's open source school"

Yesterday Shaver and I were interviewed about the work we've done together at Seneca, and the article was published in Computer World Canada.  It was written on the occasion of Mozilla winning a Seneca Partnership Award for its incredible work with us to transform education and get students deeply involved in open source.  I've written previously about the amazing contributions Mike has made personally, and today I'm pleased that the rest of Mozilla will get its due.

One of the things that wasn't said in the interview, but I'd like to point out, is that Mozilla represents a completely different sort of company: I can't think of another group that would allow students to get involved directly with their production work--no NDAs, no sandboxing, no limits on what we might try.  What makes this so important is that Firefox isn't a niche product or the choice of a few geeks.  The fact that we've proven that students can make a difference on this scale is game changing, in terms of what it means for the future of how we educate the next generation of developers and computer professionals.

You don't become "Canada's open source school" on your own.  Open source is about participation in a community.  Without Mozilla it would be impossible for us to make these achievements.  Mozilla's engineers are patient and encouraging with our people, and their long suffering work to see student ideas turn into shipped software is a model for the rest of the tech industry.  We're working hard to teach other projects, companies, and institutions how to do it.

If you're not engaging your students with world-class industry partners, you're doing it wrong.  If you're not allowing your employees to mentor and work with students on real projects, you're doing it wrong.  Mozilla gets it, and I applaud them for it.

Tonight I'll be attending the award ceremony with Mike, and I look forward to sharing with those in attendance what it means to partner and collaborate like we've done.  There are lessons for others here, not the least of which being how to work like Mozilla does: set for yourself goals that are too big to accomplish alone, inviting and accepting help from the global community in order to collaborate in the open.

This is how you make world class software.  This is how you teach people to participate.  This is how you change the web.