At Mozilla we have an amazingly strong community that really makes up the core of the project. However, the incredible work of our core contributors is often not visible to the rest of our community. At SUMO we want to change that. Inspired by Matthew Helmke’s great interview series, we started to interview different members of our SUMO community to give you a glimpse into their life and work. In this installment we will hear from Tom Ellins, also known as tmz on IRC. Tom is a long time contributor, helping countless of Firefox users in live chat sessions. Recently he wrote us an email about how SUMO has impacted his life — here is an excerpt:
I don’t believe I would be studying systems support without the inspiration and effort put in by the SUMO team. Not only have you inspired me to study for a qualification in IT, I have also been able to find a passion helping users and improving the web as a whole.
I can’t tell you how amazing it was to read that, so we thought you should learn more about Tom.
1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life.
My name is Tom Ellins and I am located in the United Kingdom studying systems support. I am a keen kayaker and photographer but my main hobby lies within Mozilla.
2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Firefox?
Ive been interested in computers for as long as I can remember. One of my best memories is unboxing a Windows 95 PC as the first PC I owned myself. I first downloaded Firefox in 2006 after searching for a faster, more customizable browser.
3. When did you become involved in the Mozilla community? What’s your role there?
I first became involved in the Mozilla community when I accidentally visited SUMO, I followed the get involved links and have never looked back.
Since becoming involved in the Mozilla community almost 2 years ago my roles within it have changed multiple times. I started off helping within live chat and in the forums and quickly progressed to becoming a RM (Room Monitor for Live Chat, ed.) and forum moderator. After a period with SUMO I was invited into the QA and Web QA projects where I have written Selenium automated testcases and Litmus manual testcases alongside helping QA website releases. From QA I progressed onto community sites where I became the co-owner of Mozilla-uk.org (along with Tobias) which led me to my current role as a Calendar website peer. I still continue to contribute to my previous roles when time allows.
4. What version of Firefox do you regularly use? What add-ons? What’s your favorite add-on?
I run the latest 3.6.* public release to enable me to help with website QA and answer the most common questions from users on SUMO. I use too many addons to list but one of my all time favourites is ChatZilla which enables me to communicate with the rest of the Mozilla community via IRC.
5. What’s your fondest memory from the SUMO community, or from Mozilla overall?
That’s a tough question. My fondest memory must be the Firefox 3.6 release day. The whole community and SUMO team worked so hard to answer as many questions as possible and was a great team effort.
6. What luck have you had introducing new users to Firefox?
It’s sad to say that during my time in the Mozilla community I have not introduced many people to using Firefox apart from a few friends and family. Though saying that, I was part of the Mozilla contribute team for some time introducing new contributors to SUMO.
7. What would you like to see happen with Firefox in the future?
I would love to see a plusher UI to match the likes of Google Chrome.
8. If there was one thing you could tell all new Firefox users, what would it be?
It would have to be about all of the fantastic addons hosted over at http://addons.mozilla.org .