We are still here!

It’s kind of amazing to think about all the people who’ve been with the Mozilla project for a very long time. For me, I also take note that I’m now a member of that group – maybe not the respected (and very competent!) elder that Mike Shaver, Boris Zbarsky or even Brendan Eich are, but still someone who’s been around the block a bit.

Specifically, for ten years now. On March 4, 2001, I filed my first Bugzilla bug. I don’t remember whether I was working on my book at the time, or if I was just tinkering around with JavaScript, but I do remember that zeal I had – because that zeal has never gone away. The feeling that says, “This is just wrong, we should fix this.” I still get that feeling quite often, though usually more about my code than Mozilla’s. (I love our automated testing frameworks, by the way… they make it much easier to have confidence in code I write!)

Of course, I filed a lot of bogus bugs back then, by which process I learned the hard way about reading specifications, and that specifications are often “wrong” (incomplete, useless, or impractical). I also learned the hard way that I’m even more often wrong. It’s why I started saying three months later, “The first step in confirming there is a bug in someone else’s work is confirming there are none in your own.” (June 30, 2001, if anyone’s curious.)

If I had to summarize the most important thing I’ve learned over the last ten years, it’s that. Sure, there’s a long list of technologies, but it’s that human factor which is biggest. In simple language, the quote means “make sure you’re right before accusing someone else.” In Biblical language,

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

— Matthew, 7:3-5

Also, the fact Mozilla’s been around for that long is pretty good stuff too. Indeed, we need not fear the machines. I remember that which matters most: We are still here!