Namoroka: It’s not just the code name for Firefox 3.6!

At Mozilla we foster a healthy ecosystem of communities that promote the ability to freely access, modify and distribute software and creative works. These ecosystems create a digital commons; a shared space, shared resources or network of ideas, applications and products that are free to use.

Much like a park is a vital ecosystem for collaboration, recreation, conservation and commerce, the values of park ring very true within the open source software moment. Take a look back at Firefox release history and you’ll see that previous versions of have been named after parks like Gran Paradiso (Italy), Bon Echo (Canada) and Shiretoko (Japan). Mozilla community members in Japan were so honoured to have Firefox 3.5 code-named after their UNSECO world heritage site park, Shiretoko, that they created Discover Shiretoko to celebrate the park as an important part of their national heritage and to celebrate Firefox and its role in creating a better Internet.

There is a story here to be told about the history of Mozilla and of Firefox and at the same time, we have an opportunity to use the shared values we have with these parks to do some good.

The newest pre-release code name for Firefox is Namoroka, named for a park in the northwest section of Madagascar. Famous for its Karst topography (or Tsingy as it is described in Malagasy), Namoroka is full of caves, canyons and natural swimming pools. Namoroka is also home to eight species of adorable lemur.

Since we’re very fond of things tailed and furry at Mozilla, we’ve decided to celebrate the release of Firefox 3.6 by raising money to protect lemurs in Namoroka park and throughout Madagascar.  As a nation Madagascar is struggling to improve the quality of life for its rapidly growing human population and at the same time is struggling to find a way to preserve the forests and wildlife that remains.

To help, Mozilla is teaming up with the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG) to help Madagascar through this challenging time. The MFG has been working on conservation in Madagascar for more than 20 years, addressing the environmental and social issues that are leading to deforestation and the trapping of lemurs.

The money we raise for this project will be used to help the MFG improve its website and online fundraising activities, connecting them with like-minded contributors and donors around the world. This donation will also support conservation and education programs on the island. By enhancing their presence within the web ecosystem, we can help them protect the natural ecosystem of Madagascar.

How can you help?

  • Donate! We’re hoping to raise $10,000 to give to the Madagascar Fauna Group to help them improve their website and online fundraising, as well as support programs for protecting lemur habitats and stopping illegal lemur trapping.
  • Spread the word! Get your own Support Namoroka button and put it on your blog or website, tweet it and sing it from the rooftops and street corners while you’re at it.

We’ll be raising funds until the end of January 2010. More updates to come!  Many thanks to Ned Schwartz, Chelsea Novak, Brain Warren, Jamey Boje and David Boswell for making this happen.

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