Firefox is an open-source software developed by the nonprofit Mozilla: a global community of contributors. Mozilla defends the free and open Internet, where the user is in control of his data, what it does and his choices. Firefox is one of many projects that Mozilla created to reach this goal, and its development is a reflection of that goal. So you can also participate, and that is the purpose of this paper: to show you that it's easy to be useful, without necessarily having technical skills.
Even if you didn't know anything about programming, there are many alternatives to make yourself useful to millions of users. Here is a partial list of possible implications:
- Test experimental versions
- Report bugs
I recommend first talking on Mozillazine Forums where many Firefox testers go each day. Explain the problem clearly, with steps to reproduce (STR). Once the bug is confirmed, you can report it on Bugzilla.
- Participate in the drafting of the help and answers to user questions on SUMO ( SUMO )
- Write or translate the documentation on the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN)
- Contribute to the translation of Mozilla applications
(For questions regarding the documentation, or translation, feel free to ask on #devmo.)
- Comment, submit your ideas
- Promote Firefox on your blog/website , or talk about it!
- Simply, try Firefox.
Oh by the way, I talk about "bugs" in this paper, but at Mozilla, the term "bug" is not only limited to malfunctions. A bug is an open ticket on Bugzilla which shall be attached a patch (Change in the source code) which will provide new functionality, improvement, delete something, or, indeed, correct a malfunction, a crash, a crack, etc.
Johnathan Nightingale, Director of Firefox Engineering, produced a video explaining how to use Bugzilla
Then you can read the documentation to take control of the Firefox source code.
This page is a good start, it includes explanations of the tools, programming style, source code hierarchy, how to develop a patch, get a review of it, and then build Firefox, etc. As a beginner, for your first bug, it is advisable to choose a simple bug. A bug list (not exhaustive, of course) is available here . The first bug is mentored, it means a developer has been appointed to help you and guide you in solving this bug. His irc nickname (or email address) is written after "Mentor =" on the WhiteBoard of the bug. Feel free to ping him on irc to discuss the bug. Of course you can get yourself a bug that suits you, or request an easy bug on precise language on #developers channel.
Now that everything is coordinated, you will be able to develop and attach patches to your bug. Thereafter, you may be induced to build your own Firefox to test your patches. Do not worry, it's not that complicated, everything is explained on MDN. When you encounter problems or have questions, there will always be someone on irc.mozilla channels #developers , #firefox who can help you promptly. Problems, it's inevitable, you're going to meet some of them… But you mustn't shut yourself up in your corner and hang on! Ask questions, get help :) Because, let's not forget, that primarily what a community is made for!
Well, I hope that my article made you want to get involved in one way or another, or sparks your interest on the subject. If you have questions you can of course leave a message here on my Twitter, or come chat on irc #developers channel.