Glossary

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This page gives you a brief (one sentence) description of various terms that Mozillians use and might be confusing for newcomers.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Add-ons
Bits of code that you can install to customize Firefox.
All Hands
All MoCo and MoFo staffers plus key volunteers - also sometimes the all-mofo meetings that happen before the moco work weeks
amo
addons.mozilla.org - the central repository of mozilla addons.
asknot
A web tool to find out contribution areas. whatcanidoformozilla.org

B

b2g
Boot to Gecko, a component of FirefoxOS. Mostly defunct.
back out
If a code change (to Firefox or anywhere else) goes badly, it may be "backed out", meaning the change is undone. Sometimes several changes will be backed out at once, if it's unclear which one cause the problem.
bikeshedding
Spending time arguing about trivial things, like the colour of the bike shed, instead of having meaningful discussion. See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_triviality
Bizdev
The Business Development team; this team is responsible for our partnership
Blocker
A bug or problem that is severe enough that it would block a change or product release from happening.
bmo
bugzilla.mozilla.org - our main bugzilla instance to keep track of various products (firefox, firefoxos, etc)
Bug
In software a bug is an error in the program. Anything filed on bugzilla is also called a bug, even though we use it for purposes other than pointing out errors (like budget requests). (compare Github Issue)
Bugs Ahoy!
A website for contributors to directly find unassigned Bugzilla bugs matching their interests. (Complementary to asknot.)
Bug report
The detailed description accompanying a bug or the act of reporting the bug itself. (Sometimes just called bug)
Bugzilla
A tool to keep track of bugs. (Compare bmo) Used synonymous with BMO

C

cbt
Community Building Team. Now been replaced by Participation team.
central
Refers to the main source code repository mozilla-central.
Channel
The way people see your work. (e.g. The snippet, social media, the Mozilla homepage)
Chemspill
When something is wrong with the Firefox release, so that we have to create a new release and ship it to all users (instead of waiting for the normally scheduled next release). Usually this is caused by a security or stability problem, and as the name implies there is a degree of panic and distress (but it's not uncommon for these to happen). The result is called a point-release.
Chop wood
Do practical work
CI
Short for continuous integration. The process of continually building, testing and deploying changes as they are submitted.
CommSquared
Community Communications program
Community Call
Community Call - episodic teleconferences for working groups of staffers and volunteers organized around particular projects. these calls are a chance for community members to share projects, learn about activities in their community, and ask questions. https://opennews.org/what/community/calls/
Community Education
See Mozilla Community Education
Coral Project
The Coral Project: A MoFo collaboration with The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Knight Foundation to create open source tools and practices for publishers of all sizes, to build better communities around their journalism. http://coralproject.net

D

DARCI
Similar to RACI.
Discourse
A modern web based communication forum. Checkout discourse.mozilla-community.org

E

e10s
Short for Electrolysis (e, ten letters, s)
Electrolysis
An effort to increase security by splitting off the content rendering from the main Firefox process.
ESR
Extended Support Release of Firefox. For more information checkout ESR Overview.

F

File a ticket/bug/issue
Use Github (or Bugzilla) as an issue tracker to denote a single task.
Firehose
The entirety of the Mozilla 'signal' flooding your inbox, IRC client, Skype, texts, phone, Vidyo, GitHub repos, social media, and every waking thought; the large body of information you have to parse (with help) into learning and action items for yourself.
FSA
Firefox Student Ambassador

G

GA
Could mean "Google Analytics" or "General Audience" (i.e., Firefox GA is the version/channel of Firefox that is released to most people, as opposed to Nightly or Beta). Also simply called Release.
git
A version controlling system for writing code collaboratively.
Github
A popular web-based git hosting system used in various Mozilla projects. github.com
Github Issue
An on-topic discussion, usually surrounding a single bug, hosted on a Github project.
Github Pull Request
(abbreviated as PR) A way for programmers to submit their contributions to projects on Github. (compare Patch)
Go Faster
An initiative to speed up some parts of the Firefox release process. Includes System Add-ons and other miscellaneous release mechanisms. The normal process is for changes to "ride the trains"

H

Heartbeat
scheduling paradigm we use to coordinate ; 2-week cycle of planning, prototyping, testing, iteration, sharing, clean-up, and prep Also known as a 'sprint'. Also sometimes refers to a feedback mechanism in Firefox where a random set of users are asked about how they feel about Firefox.
Heroku
A platform for temporarily hosting a given piece of code before it is shipped to staging or production, usually for testing or demonstrating.
hg
The binary used by the version control system Mercurial. Often used in a sentence as short form for "mercurial".
Hive
Hive is A city-based network of educators, technologists, and other stakeholders championing web literacy through connected learning in communities around the world. Networks are the innovation incubators for the global MLN network. For example, much of the Clubs curriculum originated in Hive networks: http://hivelearningnetworks.org
HRBP
"HR Business Partners"; a subgroup of the People team. HRBPs have a strategic role and advise the business leaders, including executives, directors and managers. At Mozilla, HRBPs also serve as the first point-of-contact for all HR-related issues. Mozilla Corporation business units are "assigned" to an HRBP; you can find yours here.

I

i18n
Short for Internationalization (i, eighteen letters, n)
inbound
A repository where changes to Firefox usually land first. Changes are batched up and moved to mozilla-central several times a day, so long as everything is building and testing well.
IRC
Internet Relay Chat is a communication tool used by Mozillians to communicate

K

Knight-Mozilla Fellows
Knight-Mozilla Fellows spend 10 months working with newsroom technology teams to write open-source code, analyze and visualize data, and explore tough problems facing journalism. We have 26 current and alumni fellows and we're currently selecting our 5th class of fellows.
KPI
Key Performance indicator, KPIs are things we measure that let us know if what we're doing is "working." As an example, we might have a KPI about the "number of monthly active users." We keep an eye on that metric, and if it drops below a certain point, we know we've got a problem we need to fix! (Note: I've noticed we often use KPIs to mean "targets," as in a specific numerical goal we're trying to reach. For example, "500 Mozilla Clubs.")

L

l10n
Localization is the translation of Mozilla products to various languages. (l, ten letters, n)
lint
A lint program is something that automatically checks for style problems in code, and helps enforce consistent style. See also Coding Standards

M

mach
A command line dispatcher. Mach has a binary of the same name that lives at the root of the main repository. Other tools that live in-tree can register an entry point making 'mach' a single point of entry for a large variety of tasks that can be performed in the repository (such as running builds and tests). The name 'mach' comes from 'machen', the German word for do.
Maker Party
Month-long summer campaign to activate, engage, and/or level-up users new and old by supporting them in planning small- and large-scale maker events that tie into MLN tools, curricula, and/or philosophies; often themed and sets up calls-to-action for the following year. teach.mozilla.org/events/
Mana
The name for land that you need to control to cast spells or summon creatures in Magic the Gathering. They are Swamps/black, Forests/green, Plains/White, Water/blue and Mountains/red and colorless. Also where a bunch of HR documents are stored - a wiki that is not available to the public.
MCWS
Mozilla Community Web Support - working group providing support for community webs services.
MDN
Mozilla Developer Network - online resource for Web developers; lives at. developer.mozilla.org
Mercurial
The primary version control system (vcs) used at Mozilla. Most of Mozilla's source code is hosted on Mercurial servers.
MLN
Mozilla Learning Network – now-defunct web literacy educational initiative by Mozilla Foundation
MoCo
Mozilla Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that coordinates and integrates the development of products.
Module
A piece of code functionality or area of responsibility within Mozilla. A "module owner" is the person who has ultimate decision making authority - a "peer" often makes day to day decisions that can be escalated to an owner - https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/governance/policies/module-ownership/
MoFo
Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists to support and collectively lead the Mozilla project.
MozFest/Mozilla Festival
Open Web Leadership unconference shipped by Mozilla each fall (late October/early November), often at Ravensbourne, a design college in London, England. Characterized by mental sparks, science fairs, maker spaces, youth participation, free espresso, and work sprints - planned or unplanned - on organizational goals, outputs, and outcomes.
Mozicorns
Crew aboard the first New Hire Onboarding Program of November, 2015. mozillians.org/group/mozicorns
mozilla-central
The repository where most Firefox development happens, and which builds Firefox Nightly. Often referred to as "central" or "m-c".
Mozilla Clubs
Local groups that meet regularly to learn the Web, a part of the Mozilla Learning Network. teach.mozilla.org/clubs/
Mozilla Community Education
aims to empower Mozillians in their contributions, and personal goals through education and training. education.mozilla-community.org
Mozilla Learning Network
offers programs and a global community dedicated to helping people learn to read, write and participate in the digital world teach.mozilla.org
Mozillians
A web-directory of Mozillians around the world. mozillians.org
Mozilla Reps
Mozilla Volunteer with the status of "representative" they are part of a program and have special "power" such as asking for budget to run an event etc.
MVP
Minimum viable product. The smallest increment of work needed to test a hypothesis about your product. Used to validate assumptions / prove the product is meeting user needs. Related: Minimum Loveable Product (see: https://fastmonkeys.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/how-to-build-a-minimum-viable-product.jpg?w=500&h=421 )
Minimum Viable Partnership. http://intangible.ca/2012/03/27/minimum-viable-partnership/

N

NDA
Non-Disclosure Agreement. With respect to private communication, in addition to employees there are non-employees who have signed an NDA, sometimes "NDA" is used to refer to this additional group of people.
needinfo
A https://bugzilla.mozilla.org user can submit a needinfo request another bugzilla user to ask a question about a bug. Mozilla uses needinfo instead of assigning a bug to ask a question, as one would do in Jira.
Nightly
Pre-release versions of Firefox that are built directly from mozilla-central, for testing and development. Firefox Nightly is generally stable enough for everyday use though the occasional bug is expected.

O

Ongoing versions
The last version number for each release channel of Firefox. (ESR, Release, Beta, Nightly)
OpenNews
A joint project of Mozilla and the Knight Foundation that supports the community of news developers, designers, and data reporters helping journalism thrive on the open web. Runs the Knight-Mozilla Fellowships, Source, SRCCON, and associated programs. https://opennews.org/
Orange
Synonymous for a failing task in CI (because it gets coloured orange in treeherder). Tasks that only fail occasionally are known as 'intermittent oranges', but this term is often shortened to just 'orange'.
Outreachy
formerly the outreach program for women, (https://www.gnome.org/outreachy/) now a paid internship program for under-represented groups in tech sponsored by several open source organizations, including Mozilla.

P

P1 (P2, P3, ...)
Priority levels, used by some groups for bugs in Bugzilla. P1 means most important, typically P2 means important but not most important, P3 is nice-to-have, P4 and P5 mean something will probably never get done. Sometimes an important issue or task is referred to as "P1", even if it's not in Bugzilla.
Participation
The Participation Team works to make people participate in Mozilla programs.
Patch
A specific code contribution by programmers submitted as a text file.
PHD
A "Product Hypothesis Document": a template for proposing experiments for Shield
Point-release
A point release is when, for instance, Firefox 30 is released, then there is a problem and Firefox 30.1 must be released (instead of waiting for the regularly scheduled 6 week iteration that leads to Firefox 31). See also chemspill
Pontoon
Pontoon is a site/tool for localization.
PR
See Github Pull Request
Project Call
A community call where all aspects of Mozilla are discussed (usually 1x a week on Mondays in the US)
PTO
Paid Time Off = Holidays (as referred by UK-based)/vacation (for Canada and US folks)/sick leave. In addition to PTO allowance, employees get parental leave & a birthday off
Push to production
most development (design and engineering) is first pushed to a "staging" server where it's tested. "Push to production" means it is merged to the production server where the world can see it!

Q

QA
Quality assurance. quality.mozilla.org

R

RACI (pronounced Race-y)
A way to indicate the responsibilities of the various roles in a project.
Rathole
A label for a discussion that has become too detailed for the forum, or has lost track of the original purpose of the discussion. "(After a discussion of a specific bug has turned into a ten minute discussion of typechecking) I think we're ratholing here". See also Yak Shaving and Bike Shedding
RC
Regional Coordinator; volunteer or (sometimes) staffer who supports Club Captains in beginning Web literacy Mozilla Clubs that teach the Web using MLN curriculum, at least in-part.
Regression
When something that was working starts to break. I.e., a new bug is introduced.
ReMo
Mozilla Reps Program. Also see Mozilla Reps
Rep
Mozilla Representative, as part of Mozilla Reps program. reps.mozilla.org
Repro
Steps to reproduce a bug (see also STR)

S

Sign-off
Some processes require "sign-off" by certain people or groups (e.g., by Privacy or QA). Sign-off requires informing an appropriate person, and getting positive acknowledgement to go forward.
SHIELD
A mechanism for shipping changes or studies to groups of Firefox users. This can be used to test changes with representative Firefox users, or roll out changes to watch for regressions.
Snippet
The call-to-action under the search box when you open the default Firefox window on your desktop or mobile See: https://fundraising.mozilla.org/what-is-the-snippet/
Slack
A communications tool used by staff and NDA-ed contributors, https://mozilla.slack.com/
Source
The OpenNews publication dedicated to amplifying the impact of open journalism code and the community of developers, designers, journalists, and editors who make it. We publish DVD commentary–style write ups from developers and designers, how-tos, and interviews with newsroom code leaders around the world. https://source.opennews.org/
SRCCON
The OpenNews annual conference-unconference event built around highly participatory sessions and focused on technical and process challenges news technology and data teams encounter every day. Heading into its third year in 2016. http://srccon.org/
STR
'Steps To Reproduce' is often cited on bugs as a way to reproduce the particular problem in question.
SuMo
Support Mozilla is for user support.
System Add-on
These are add-ons that are built into Firefox. They can be updated with a special process, but cannot typically be seen by users, and cannot be uninstalled.

T

Taskcluster
The continuous integration (CI) system used and developed by Mozilla.
TLDR
Usually TL;DR, meaning 'too long; didn't read;' used as a tag for a summary above lengthy text.
Trains
Firefox development happens primarily in the mozilla-central repository, which is used to build Firefox Nightly. The "trains" are how Nightly turns into Beta, and Beta turns into Release. If a change "rides the trains" that means it is distributed as part of this normal cycle of Nightly to Beta to Release. See also Uplift.
Triage
The process of deciding what the next step for a new bug is. In Firefox, there are triage owners responsible for making these decisions, and they follow our triage process.
Tree
Informal term referring to a branch of source code (e.g mozilla-central, mozilla-beta, etc). Saying something is "in-tree" means its source code lives in mozilla-central.
Treeherder
The main dashboard used to view results from continuous integration (CI). The name 'Treeherder' is both a reference to The Lord of the Rings (Ents) and the fact that it is used to manage all of Mozilla's "trees".

U

Uplift
When a patch lands on mozilla-central in Nightly, it will normally get to users after Nightly turns to Beta, then Beta turns to Release. If the patch is "uplifted" then it is moved from Nightly/mozilla-central to the current Beta.

V

vcs
Short for version control system.

W

Webmaker
Webmaker is now an app that can be used to create and share on the Web. webmaker.org. In the past it used to stand for what is now Mozilla Learning Network.
WONTFIX
The (not very friendly sounding) way we acknowledge a bug or issue, but declare we won't fix it – either because it's not important enough, or because we don't consider it a bug. This is a resolution in Bugzilla, but is also used casually to refer to a decision not to do something.
Workweek
A week where teams meet face to face and work together and sing and dance. They can be for the whole Moco Mofo ( example, you might hear about the Portland workweek or Whistler or Orlando) or they can be in smaller teams, like the fundraising team workweek.

Y

Yak Shaving
When you find yourself doing a series of tasks you hadn't anticipated doing to accomplish your original goal
Yammer
Previously used as a communications tool by Mozilla staff. Replaced by https://mozilla.slack.com/.