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
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
Here we have an aphorism that says "shoe makers always have the worst
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 :
* 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.
* 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 ! :-)
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