At Mozilla we have an amazing community, which really makes up the core of the project, but all too often our contributors and their work aren’t visible to the bigger community. At SUMO we want to change that and ‘inspired’ by Matthew Helmke’s great interview series, we are going to interview different members of our community to give you a glimpse into their life and work. We are starting with Tobbi, a long time SUMO contributor, who has also collected his rewards for important QA work. Without further ado.
1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life – name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
I’m Tobias Markus and 21 years old and male. I’m currently residing in Flensburg, Northern Germany. My current profession is working towards a bachelors degree at university. Apart from being involved with the Mozilla community, my hobbies are singing in a choire, practicing Karate and occasional biking tours.
2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Firefox?
I have always been interested in computers, since I got my first computer, which was sometime in 1998. The first Firefox version I installed was 1.0, if I remember correctly. From that day on, I fell in love with this awesome browser and with Mozilla. Soon I started answering Firefox related questions in other forums and found out that I had an answer to most of the questions.
3. When did you become involved in the Mozilla community? What’s your role there?
At the end of 2008 I discovered the Firefox LiveChat on SUMO. I found out, that this was exactly the thing I liked, keeping in mind that this was all about Firefox and that you have direct contact with Firefox users. I got better and better over the time and soon became a Room Monitor, meaning that I was now able to monitor other’s chats and give advice, especially to new support helpers.
Apart from that, my contributions to Mozilla are very diverse. I started translating the SUMO knowledge base into German, my mother tongue. When I started, there were many untranslated articles. But with great help from the other German community members, we quickly managed to translate all the missing articles, which lead us to a 100% coverage in May, 2010.
I’m currently working on translating articles for the Thunderbird Knowledge Base (referred to as “SUMoMo”).
However, SUMO is not all I participate in. I have also taken other translation tasks, like leading the OpenToChoice translation (Mozilla’s information website about the browser ballot screen) in early 2010.
Another field I am always very interested in, is QA. Thus, I have participated in many testdays, where I found bugs others had previously missed. I’ve also done several tasks for WebQA in the past, written Litmus testcases for the Add-ons collector and a couple of MozMill testcases for several scenarios.
Since 2009, I’m also leading the Mozilla UK community website together with Tom Ellins and Leo McArdle where we try to enforce the presence of Mozilla in the United Kingdom. One of my newer tasks is leading the Calendar website on mozilla.org, taking over from Simon Paquet.
4. What version of Firefox do you regularly use? What add-ons? What’s your favorite add-on?
I’m constantly switching between the current final version and a Firefox nightly build, testing the latest features built into those releases. As there are so many add-ons available for Firefox, it is certainly very difficult to name *one* favorite add-on. However, there’re quite a few I could recommend, like Adblock Plus, Firebug (for website development) and DownThemAll! (which is an awesome download manager).
5. What’s your fondest memory from the SUMO community, or from Mozilla overall?
There have been so many good moments with the Mozilla community that picking the fondest is very hard. Amongst other things, I was especially happy when we reached the 100% coverage on SUMO, as I’ve really put much effort in getting the whole Knowledge Base translated. I also had a great time at the Mozilla Summit in Whistler this year where I could finally talk to many of the people I worked with and get to know those a little better.
6. What luck have you had introducing new users to Firefox?
The task of convincing people to use Firefox was not a very difficult one. There are many people who already used Firefox when I asked them about their favorite browser, others were easily convinced after I told them to simply give it a try. And since then, I’m their Firefox / Thunderbird contact person when they have questions.
7. What would you like to see happen with Firefox in the future?
I think the main things I would like to see in future Firefox builds are further speed improvements. Another thing, I’d really like to have incorporated is HTML5 features. Those can really get the experience forward and make things happen that haven’t been possible a couple of years ago. Apart from that, I like the idea of restartless installation of add-ons, so a great thing would be to incorporate the Jetpack SDK into Firefox to support that.
8. If there was one thing you could tell all new Firefox users, what would it be?
Simply try new things out: Install an add-on of your choice and see how you like it and install a theme / persona to make Firefox more stylish.