Last month, the world’s third most popular web browser, Firefox, turned 10. Today, the browser is used by over 450 million people worldwide, and with almost 40 per cent of the software being written by volunteers, it is often cited as exemplary open source software.
Mozilla is all about shaping the future of the web for the public good, and Firefox users will vouch for that. And now, a group of Firefox enthusiasts have come up with a new project — NeMo (short for News Mozilla) — a community project led by communication representatives of Mozilla.
The project seeks to take technology to the masses by increasing awareness of Mozilla and other free software activities. The aim is to generate and collect content in local languages on the browser, explain its volunteers. “In most parts of the world, news is being delivered only in English; it fails to reach out to a considerable population that relies… on their local language. Our idea is to break these language barriers and take the message of Mozilla to people irrespective of their place and language,” says Dwaraka Nath, one of the volunteers.
“By creating a database of educational articles and submitting them as contributed articles to local publications around the world, we hope to educate users on Mozilla and its products, and the benefits of open source software,” he adds.
NeMo creates news articles in a simple language on various topics, localises them and tries to put them up for publication in newspapers, magazines and on tech blogs worldwide.
‘Anybody can volunteer’
“Anybody can volunteer to help us,” says Arun Prakash, another volunteer. People are given articles to translate, and they are put back to the repository. “Standardisation of data is maintained strictly as only a few have access to the repository.”
The contributions can be anything. “There are so many technologies — HTML5, WebM, CSS, SVG, Geolocation and Websockets. Volunteers could explain why web standards are required — how important they are for the functionality of web, how they work, or how open source software movement is growing,” says Arun Prakash.
“The articles are written in 300-400 words in a manner that can be understood by all,” he adds. Specific teams translate the articles into the local languages. The rule: the articles should not be translated word by word, but written to suit the local taste; they should retain only the essence of the content to reach the readers better. “Until now, we haven’t had a repository of articles of such kind. So, we are trying to build a database of important articles, after which we will update only when something new is up,” says Dwaraka Nath.
Contributors will be assessed with the help of a points table, and those performing well will get an opportunity of even becoming Team Leaders in the group, says Arun Prakash. The name of the translator appears in the comments section, and he also gets a letter of recognition from Mozilla.
As of now, NeMo has got 10 language teams, including Tamil, Bahasa, Malay, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi and Urdu.