Thursday, June 28, 2007
What a trip! Mozilla's last few days in Brazil cap off an amazing week
This is my last posting from Brazil. It has been an incredibly successful and worthwhile trip! We have traveled to 4 different cities in 8 days, collaborated with enthusiastic and talented students at 6 of the top universities, met with representatives from the largest portals and sites in Brazil (UOL.com, Globo.com and Buscape.com), spoke to more than 1000 people about the importance of Firefox in keeping the web free and open, been interviewed by 3 of the top news outlets in Brazil, treated many of our pt-br Firefox localization team to a pizza dinner and learned invaluable information about a very important country for Mozilla’s future.
We have met so many wonderful and dedicated (or soon to be dedicated) Mozilla community members. They are the reason why there are more than 3.5 million Brazilians using Firefox today and will be the reason that number continues to increase. At one of our community gatherings, one of our volunteers commented on how much he appreciated our live updates on this blog. He said that he really felt that we (Mozilla) are really trying to understand Brazil and to make the web better for the 30 million and growing Brazilians who use the web. Ultimately though, no one will know Brazil better than our Brazilian community leaders—we look forward to helping in your efforts to spread Firefox.
One of the most important things we learned during the past 8 days is that almost 70% of Brazilians access the internet using IE 6. And, many, if not most of them are using an unlicensed version of Windows (no one knew the exact number, but the general consensus is that the number is very high). With no Window’s license, these users don’t get updates to Windows or to IE 6. That means that the majority of Brazilian internet users are very venerable to the many nasty attacks out there on the web. The good news is that Firefox can help. Because Firefox has an awesome automatic updater that runs outside of the Window’s update system, Firefox users easily and quickly get the most up to date version of Firefox to keep them safe on the web. This problem was reiterated to us everywhere we went in Brazil-- many of our community members have volunteered to help explore ways to get this message out. If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear them.
A few highlights of the last 2 days:
We spoke to the engineering, marketing and product teams at UOL.com, Brazil’s largest portal and incredibly gracious hosts. We also met with some of the founders of Buscape.com, which is very similar to Shopping.com and is a leader in Brazil and a fast grower around Latin America. We also made presentations to students at Unicamp (University of Campinas) and the University of Sao Paulo, where we were asked everything from “how did you come up with the name Firefox” to “how to I get involved in other ways besides coding.”
The highlights of the past 2 days were definitely our Mozilla community gathering and our dinner with localization team. At the community gathering, we spent more than three hours brainstorming ways of spreading Firefox, trying to get their perspective of the state of the web in Brazil and then did a general question and answer session. The future of Mozilla Brazil was definitely sitting in that room! We also were fortunate enough (even though it was a 21 hour day) to be able to have dinner with many of our localizers for Firefox. I think the picture of the group shows how much fun it can be to be a key contributor to Firefox.
My favorite two non-Mozilla pictures and a general thought:
These are both from the small airport we flew in to on our way to Sao Carlos. One is a sign that shows the systems of the Dengue Virus (very nasty as you can see). This sign was right next to the security area and was unlike anything I had seen before. The other photo is the “luggage belt” where you pick up your luggage after your arrival. One side of the glass is where the airline employees unload the baggage and right on the other side of the glass is where we stand to pick it up (just a few feet away). All the locals liked to make jokes about it, so I thought I would pass it along to you.
Finally—I just wanted to mention that the people here were incredibly hospitable, engaging, friendly and very helpful during our trip. To everyone who helped make that possible, especially long time Mozilla contributor Marcio Galli, I (and Asa) say thanks!