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Mozilla Europe as a model for us ?

From: damien clochard <damien(at)dalibo(dot)info>
To: pgeu-general(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Mozilla Europe as a model for us ?
Date: 2007-08-29 23:55:15
Message-ID: 200708300155.15821.damien@dalibo.info (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgeu-general
hi everyone !

Here's a note on Mozilla Europe and how it could inspire us for the creation 
of an European PostgreSQL User Group

A month ago, Guillaume Lelarge and i were running a PostgreSQL training 
at Mandriva's office in Paris. Since Mozilla Europe is also hosted by 
Mandriva, we decided to meet Tristan Nitot and talk  with him about the 
project of an European PostgreSQL User Group.

Unfortunately this interview was really quick as he was in a hurry to catch a 
plane to Geneve. By the way, it was long enough to learn some interesting 
things.

i'll try now to describe the Mozilla Europe Association as best as i can : 

First of all, Mozilla Europe is a "regular" association under the french 1901 
law.   In France, the "1901 law association" is the widespread status for 
non-profit projects. Reasons of its success is because it's quite easy to 
create/manage/etc. and also because the "non-profit" aspect is explicit and 
strictly checked by french authorities. 

Mozilla Europe was created by Tristan Nitot a few years ago (2003 i think) , 
it employs 4 persons in Paris ( 3 developers and Tristan who's 
the "evangelist", in charge of marketing, press relationship and such )

For (almost) each country, Mozilla Europe is in contact with a local user 
group . Sometimes these are "Mozilla-only" communities, sometimes it's more 
general Open-Source advocacy associations.
They help the local user groups materially (providing merchandising stuff : 
T-shirts, etc.), or financially, or physically ( Tristan travels a lot to 
give conferences, and spends lots of time in interview with journalists )

The paradox is that as Mozilla Europe is based in France, they actually "took 
all the space" and there's no French Mozilla User Group or such. There's some 
people gathered around geckozone.org forums but they're rarely present on 
public events.
Here we have an aphorism that says "shoe makers always have the worst 
shoes" :-)  
By the way Mozilla market share is not so bad in France, so i guess things 
aren't that simple. But clearly, having an European User Group based in a 
country is not necessarily a good news for its local User Group.
 
But let's continue with Mozilla Europe activities! They also hires 4 media 
relationship companies to make press releases and media campaigns all across 
Europe. I can't remember exactly how much they pay for that, but that was 
expensive. This can appears a bit strange, but media relationship is a very 
tough work, especially when you aim to diffuse the same message across 
different countries, languages, media types, etc.    

On the internal side, the Mozilla Europe Association is managed quite simply 
and clearly. The Administration Board is composed of people from the different 
countries. Administration meetings are made via IRC. 

One of their technical difficulties is to translate the association status 
from French to every language. That part is not fun because the status 
contains lots of French legal terms. Besides nobody ever reads the status ;-)
But that translation work is pretty mandatory ; each member of the association 
must be able to read the status in his mother tongue. 


ok now i'll try to compare Mozilla Europe and our project to show what i think 
we have in common and what we don't :

Similarities
==========

* The status.  The PostgreSQLfr association has the same type of status that 
Mozilla Europe. For now our status specifies that we aims to cover every 
french speaking country ( France, Belgium, Quebec,  West Africa, etc.) . I 
think we only have to change a few words so that the association 
becomes "European focused". Please also note that this kind of association is 
very easy and quick to create in France, so there's no problem having two 
associations at the same time : the former PostgreSQLfr that keep on its work 
on french related topics (translation and such) and a brand new PostgreSQL 
Europe association dedicated to "European activities", whatever that means.

* The goals. Obviously, the relation between Mozilla Europe and the Mozilla 
Foundation is pretty much the same the one between PostgreSQL User Groups and 
the PostgreSQL global development group. Our goal is not to interfere in the 
development process of the software. We gather to make the software 
more famous and widespread all around Europe.   


Differences 
===============

* Money !  :-)  Mozilla receives money from the Mozilla Foundation... As far 
as i know the PostgreSQL development group doesn't have much money to spend 
and we'll have to find money from the 3 basic sources : paying our 
membership, finding sponsors and  selling goodies. So we won't be able to do 
most of Mozilla Europe activities (like having 4 employees, etc. ) .   

* Experience.  As i said before Mozilla Europe is focused on media 
relationship and that's a big issue for us. I might be wrong but i assume 
none of us has the skill and knowledge to manage an European media campaign, 
so i guess this is something we'll have to learn all together. Maybe a good 
start would be to work on a common press release when PostgreSQL 8.3 will be 
launched. Something like a white paper containing European Business cases 
would be nice too :-)

* The "target". Mozilla's marketing is aimed toward web users. Our audience 
will be more reduced and more professional ( DBA, CTO, etc. )

That's all folks ! :-)

-- 
damien clochard
http://dalibo.org | http://dalibo.com

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