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Scott Johnson

  • Email (Best for reaching me, unless it needs an answer within 2 hours):
  • Work Phone (Daytime, Weekdays): 650-903-0800 x660
  • Mobile Phone (Anytime): 701-741-9338

Contribution Paths

What are the steps someone can take to get involved in your project and learn enough to be able to start scratching their own itch?

1. Start using Mozilla's products. Chances are, if you're reading this, you're probably already familiar with Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird/Lightning, or other Mozilla products. So, congratulations on being one step closer to being a contributor! If you haven't checked out our products, but are looking for a way to contribute, then this is a great way to get started. Probably the easiest product to just start using is Mozilla Firefox. You can get it from

2. Move to a more cutting edge version. Mozilla has a series of release phases, or //channels//. All of these release channels are public, but not all of them are as widely publicized. The most publicized version of Firefox is our official release, available at the link in the step above. The other channels are:

  • Beta: This is the software that is next closest to release. It will eventually become the next Firefox release. Typically, this release of the software is very stable, with few updates (only very critical updates are put into the software once it moves into Beta status). If you're not a developer, this is a great place to start to help us test the stability and security of Firefox. You can get Beta from:
  • Aurora: This is a more cutting edge version of the software. It is second next to release. Often, it will be filled with more bugs and more exciting features. As the product advances, Aurora will become Beta at the next source migration.
  • Nightly: This is the development version of Firefox. It contains all of the bug fixes and feature additions //since last night//. It is created nightly, so the product changes everyday. Yep, this means that you have to update the Firefox version //every day// (don't worry, it's pretty painless). When source migration happens, Nightly becomes Aurora, and the new trunk becomes Nightly. If you are developing code for Firefox, you should be using the Nightly version.

3. Get your communication environment set up. We primarily contact one another (since we're so widely distributed) via IRC. If you haven't used IRC before, here is a good introduction to IRC. I personally recommend Quassel as an IRC client, because it allows you to be online, even when you're not in front of your computer. It will store chat messages for you, and then when you get back online, it will allow you to read what you missed in the channels you were chatting in. It also has a pretty good Android client, which I use from time to time on my phone and tablet.

4. Create a bugzilla account. Regardless of whether you are a developer, you should register in bugzilla. It is a bug tracking system that is used for pretty much everything here at Mozilla. If you have an IT request, like you need to access a server, you file a bug in bugzilla. If you need commit access to the systems, you file a bug in bugzilla. If you found a bug with Firefox, you file a bug in bugzilla. Much of the day to day work is centered around this tool, so it's important to register to use it, and become somewhat familiar with the tool.


1. Facilitate contributor engagement in the Minneapolis area. There is a lot of available talent in the Twin Cities. With the University of Minnesota, as well as Aucksburg, Hamline, St. Thomas, Carleton, and St. Olaf, we have a large number of new graduates in technical and artistic fields. In addition, with companies like Medtronic, Best Buy, and Target headquartered in the area, there is a large amount of technical and non-academic experience that could be used to further the Mozilla Mission. Many of these individuals don't know how they could help with the project (or don't even know about the project to begin with!).

2. Increase awareness through events. In order to become the leading browser on the market, we need more evangelism. This can be done by exposing people in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area to Firefox, and getting them interested in the project and the mission.


1. We can measure the number of active contributors by those who have commit access in the the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We should set a goal of a specific number of level 1, 2, and 3 committers (non-staff) over the next 12 months.

2. We can measure the number of formal or informal events in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. This can include everything from a simple tech meetup to a large celebration or job-fair gathering. We should set a goal of a specific number of events, starting with smaller events and moving toward larger ones, over the next 12 months.