September, 2007

Sep 07

Dalian, post 1

I’m here at the World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian — the first of these annual meetings of 2,000 or so global leaders in China. Dalian is a very very nice city — the nicest Chinese city that I’ve been to (I’ve only been to three — Dalian, Beijing & Shanghai). I’ll post more about it, and some of the activities here, soon.

But this morning has been amazing — the queen of Jordan spoke, then there was a smaller session on China’s use of soft power (referring to a brilliant concept by a Harvard professor named Joseph Nye) — Tom Friedman of the New York Times was on the panel, along with the CEO of China’s largest bank (maybe the world’s largest by market cap — I’m not sure), and a pretty high ranking Communist Party official. It was a candid, sometimes aggressive panel, and was terrific. Then I sat in a very small session with the guy who coined the term “nanotechnology” and a couple of other guys who are succeeding with it today. And I just had lunch with some Chinese friends who are working very hard to develop an open culture here. I’m blown away by their mission, their dedication, and what they do every day.

As for Mozilla, about half the people here who I talk with know about Mozilla and/or Firefox — and the people that recognize us absolutely love us. It’s great. I do feel like a tech nerd, though, next to all these economists, politicians, and world leaders. It’s cool, actually.

More later — at the moment I’m about to go into a session where all of us on the panel will be nerds. 🙂 Tariq Krim of Netvibes, Dave Sifry, formerly of Technorati, John Gage of Sun, and some others — it’ll be like being at home…

Lots to think about — makes me both realize that the contribution of Mozilla in the world is large (and growing) and can be larger — and that the way we’re doing it — in a broad, people-focused, open, non-organizational way — is what many many leaders around the world aspire to.

And as usual, I feel very lucky to be here on behalf of Mozilla. More soon.

Sep 07

it’s called a guitboard

favorite quote from this week’s season finale of the now-renewed-for-a-second-season Flight of the Conchords. yay! 2nd favorite quote: “we shouldn’t argue in front of the map [of NZ]. it isn’t right.”

anyway, i’ve just put up some pictures of my first day in Beijing on .mac (easier to get to than flickr from here). hopefully i’ll get to take more in Dalian, where i’m headed this evening. [warning: the .mac gallery isn’t working for me with firefox 3 trunk builds, but it’s hard to tell whether that’s because of a browser problem or our slightly wacky network situation here in BJ.]

Sep 07

Eudora & Penelope

This’ll be a little bit short, as I’m in Beijing at 3a trying to fight off jetlag (here’s a tip: when you wake up at 2a, don’t turn on your computer!), but wanted to post something about the Eudora 8 beta release that’s recently gone up on

A lot of folks, including Ars Technica and TechCrunch, are reporting that it’s “Mozilla reviving Eudora,” and that’s incorrect, and I think a disservice to the Eudora team at Qualcomm, led by Steve Dorner.

What’s come out today is the outcome of work by the Eudora team at Qualcomm to migrate from their venerable code base (I used and loved Eudora myself for maybe 10 years, and still miss some things about it) to an open source framework — in other words, it’s an extension built on top of Thunderbird. It is not a new release of a mail client from Mozilla. It is a community project led by the Qualcomm team.

I think this will be an interesting thing to see unfold — how much people care about differences in the UI layer for e-mail clients, and how much you can really do in XUL on top of Thunderbird’s way of interacting, so I’ll be curious to see how folks respond.

For now, though, just wanted to clear things up. When I first met Steve & Co at Qualcomm last year, I felt very lucky to spend time with them — those few individuals probably had more impact on my work life during school & afterwards than any other development team. I’m blown away that their commitment to their users extends beyond their own code base, and that they’re working hard to make sure that Eudora users have a road ahead based on open source and a new growing community.

Signing off from Beijing…

Sep 07

walking in Beijing

Just went for an early morning walk in Beijing — got in yesterday afternoon, so am still a little screwed up on time zones. It’s much more familiar & comfortable to me now on my third trip here this year — it’s amazing what recognizing a landmark or two will do. Yesterday I even managed to get a little run in & stay awake until 8p local time (5a California time).

The hotel I’m in is brand new — it’s the Wenjin Hotel right near Tshinghua Science Park — the Mozilla office is about 2 blocks away, so it’s super-convenient. The hotel is great — super-shiny, super-stylish, and the staff is very friendly and ready to help. It’s sort of like my whole China experience so far — ultra-modern, brand new stuff, stylish, tons of people around to help — but also a little empty — sort of like people are waiting for everyone to move in. It’s a strange dichotomy — it’s not like there’s a shortage of people — there are folks everywhere — but the ubiquity of new construction just seems empty sometimes.

Having said all that, I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Europe, Japan and China over the past couple of years, and nowhere feels the same entrepreneurial intensity as Beijing. I’ve not been to India yet, but for me, at the moment, Beijing feels more like Silicon Valley than any other place I’ve been.

More later — I’ll post some pictures to Flickr in a bit, once I get into the office — I got glimpses of the amazing new buildings going up for the Olympics — the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Center — amazing, amazing buildings.

Sep 07

working from Mozilla China

I’m blogging from the office of Mozilla China now — it’s really amazing to see. I’ll put up some pictures in a little bit.

Fighting with ecto3’s notion of time zones — things aren’t quite showing up correctly on my blog right now, but working through it on a somewhat sketchy internet line.