Mozilla

Mozilla and the P2PU School of Webcraft

Jane Park, June 29th, 2010

In September, Mozilla and P2PU are launching the P2PU School of Webcraft, and they invite you to participate. The partnership leverages Mozilla’s experience and the P2PU community to create a social learning environment for those who want to “learn the craft of open and standards-based web development.” The P2PU School of Webcraft is a set of courses centered on the open web, including “Introduction to HTML5″ and “Building Social with the Open Web.” From the call for proposals,

Following on the delivery model developed by P2PU, course organizers volunteer to take existing open learning materials or develop their own content and lead a group of peers through 6 weeks of online classes. Courses focus on project based learning in a peer environment and are proposed, created and led by members of the web development community – so the content will always be up to date with the latest technologies.

We’d love for you to become a part of this project and until July 18 we’re inviting course proposals for P2PU School of Webcraft. We’ve made it really easy to get started, just fill out the proposal form, it takes less than 5 minutes!

The school is completely free and open, with all P2PU produced material licensed under CC BY-SA—which means anyone can build on the courses and run their own. But anyone can also get involved with P2PU by proposing a course or participating in one, or just learning more. You can also check out the School of Webcraft in 103 seconds.

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Mozilla Drumbeat Festival 2010: Learning, freedom and the web

Jane Park, June 11th, 2010

Mozilla has announced the first ever Drumbeat Festival focused on learning, freedom, and the web. Mozilla wants you to save the dates November 4-5, as the festival is set to take place in Barcelona—also where the Open Ed Conference will be taking place from November 2-4. From the announcement:

Learning, freedom and the web are connected. This connection has huge potential. The technology and culture of the internet offer the raw material to put people in control of their own learning in a massive and transformative way. At the same time, teachers and learners can play a critical role in ensuring that these raw materials — and the internet as a whole — remain open and free.

This is the focus of Mozilla’s first annual Drumbeat Festival: gathering passionate and practical people who are experimenting, inventing, creating, exploring and building things at the intersection of learning, freedom and the web.

Drumbeat Festival 2010 will showcase people, ideas and projects with huge potential. Things like:

1. A secure ‘data backpack’ where students control their own learning materials and credentials
2. Libraries transformed into digital garages where kids learn to make, do and create with an agile, hacker attitude
3. Massively scaled apprenticeship, we people learn by diving into the world of open source master craftspeople
4. Hackerspaces where people teach each other about everything from robots to lasers to knitting
5. Alternative accreditation models based on web and open source peer review techniques

The idea is to gather people working on ideas like this — and people with all the puzzle pieces needed to make them real at a massive scale.

Creative Commons, along with the MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is partnering with Mozilla to make this event possible. For more information and to sign up to receive updates visit http://drumbeat.org/drumbeat_festival_2010.

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Join Creative Commons for Mozilla Service Week September 14-21

Nathan Yergler, September 2nd, 2009

Mozilla Service Week is happening September 14-21, 2009, and during that week Mozilla is trying to bring people together to help teach one another about the web. Creative Commons is answering Mozilla’s call for participation by hosting an online help desk via our IRC channel. Our IRC channel (#cc on the Freenode network) is typically a place where our developers and people interested in the technology of CC hang out. During Service Week we’re inviting everyone to join us there for a virtual CC help desk.

The CC help desk is a place for experienced CC-ers (staff, Jurisdiction partners, and community members), to come together to share their collective expertise with those that are new to CC and need a little, or a lot, of guidance.

The CC community will be providing help with the following topics:

  • General CC help
  • CC technology (ccREL and software projects)
  • Where and how to publish CC works
  • Where and how to find CC works
  • CC in education and science

If you’d like to help out, add your name to our Mozilla Service Week wiki page and pledge your hours at mozillaservice.org. If you have questions, join the channel during Service Week and ask a volunteer.

More information can be found on the wiki page,

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Code Rush Now Available Under CC BY-NC-SA

Fred Benenson, August 5th, 2009

Mozilla on TV

Waxy.org reports that Code Rush — the commercially-unavailable documentary from 2000 about the open-sourcing of the Netscape code base and the Mozilla project which gave birth to Firefox, is now available under our Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This is a crucial part of the Internet’s history so we highly recommend you watch it and share it with your friends.

Download Code Rush here, watch the entire film annotated by Andy Baio on viddler here, or check out the official Code Rush homepage here.

Thanks to everyone who made this wonderful gift to the commons possible!

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CC as a hybrid organization and a tool for hybrids

Mike Linksvayer, June 8th, 2009

Used in connection with Creative Commons the word “hybrid” has typically denoted an “economy” or “models” involving both sharing and commerce. Over half of CC founder Lawrence Lessig’s most recent book is devoted to exploring this sort of hybrid — see Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. CC licenses are a vital tool for enabling such hybrids in an environment where the default is hostile to the “sharing” side of the equation.

In a series of thought provoking blog posts Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, has introduced a different but entirely complementary “hybrid” — hybrid organizations. What is a hybrid organization? Mark asks and tentatively answers that question in the first post of the series:

So, what is a hybrid org? In the case of Mozilla — and an increasing number of other orgs — it’s a mix of social mission, disruptive market strategies and web-like scale and collaboration. Or, at least, that’s the definition I see emerging.

Another intriguing description, from the same post:

All of these organizations are trying to ‘move the market’ on the web in a way that both engages and benefits a broad public. As they do so, they are charting new territory.

Many of the comments and blogged replies are well worth reading, offering refinements and alternative descriptions. Frank Hecker, also of the Mozilla Foundation, provides some critical grounding in the theory of disruptive innovation. Commenter Stephan provides an alternative and also compelling description:

I find it easier to think about these organizations as a hybrid between a classical (hierarchical) organization and a social movement (or network).

It is the mix of the two that requires both a market perspective (the classic organization needs to make money to function) and a social mission (need that to create passion for the product or service among your the movement or network).

Much has been said about the interaction of movements and organizations — see Epistemic Communities and Social Movements : Transnational Dynamics in the Case of Creative Commons for a paper looking at the CC case — and how digital networks are changing the boundaries and interactions of movements and organizations. Nearly all of the organizations Mark mentions in his series have a strong “movement” aspect. One open question I have about hybrid organizations is their relationship to movements, or more broadly, non-organizational actors. Are hybrid organizations better able to leverage (and be leveraged by) the non-organizational sector, itself abetted by digital networks? Or even have hybrid organizations arisen in order for non-organizational actors and movements to achieve things in the world that require just-enough-organization and market savvy?

Stephen DeBerry provides an astutely skeptical comment on hybrid organizations:

One can approach this hybrid space with varying intent. In your/my case public benefit is central and necessary. In other cases the claim of public benefit is great marketing, but the actual public benefit is secondary or worse.

If that’s the case then there’s an interesting question for those seeking to drive public benefit: how do you ensure the public benefit remains core to the hybrid model?

This is a place where CC plays a vital role as a tool for hybrids. Just as CC licenses enable healthy hybrid economies and models, use of CC licenses by a hybrid organization help signal that such an organization takes its public benefit side seriously, and help ensure that it continues to do so. With so much of hybrid organizations’ output being digital media, offering that media under CC licenses, in particular free as in freedom ones, serve as a continual check-up on the organization’s public benefit intent, and an assurance against lock-in if that intent wavers. There may be useful parallels to be drawn between unhealthy “sharecropping” hybrid models (typically where a web company retains all of the rights to media created by users, making users unfree to use their own creations) and the hybrid organization as “great marketing” or worse described by Stephen. It should also be noted that free and open source software licenses provide a similar and complementary check on hybrid organizations that produce software — and nearly all do, at least in the form of customization of web site software.

What about CC as a hybrid organization? We’re very carefully exploring the most obvious incarnation of hybrid in the form of the CC Network. However, the addition of a non-donation revenue stream to a nonprofit isn’t necessary or sufficient to qualify it as a hybrid organization (see Frank Hecker’s post). Mark Surman’s initial descriptions of hybrid organizations (see above) don’t even mention business or revenue. These are worth quoting again, as the top of this post is far away:

[A] mix of social mission, disruptive market strategies and web-like scale and collaboration … trying to ‘move the market’ on the web in a way that both engages and benefits a broad public.

This of course describes just what Creative Commons does. Through free (as in freedom as well as gratis — and yes zero price is a market strategy as is freedom) and carefully branded legal and technical tools deployed on a web scale in collaboration with businesses, affiliates, supportive movements, and individuals, Creative Commons is “moving the market” consensus and practice away from default lockdown and toward more hack-remix-opportunity-generative-ness (to quote another and not explicitly related Mark Surman post) or more conventionally, more sharing, freedom, openness, autonomy and lower transaction costs and barriers to collaboration and innovation.

Be sure to read the rest (so far) of Mark’s hybrid organizations series — Hybrid orgs. What’s old? What’s new?, Why do hybrid orgs matter?, and What challenges do hybrid orgs face?

Creative Commons will be watching this discussion closely, and participating. Do you find the “hybrid organization” construct useful? What insights can be gained from the construct and experiences of other hybrids to make CC a more effective organization (hybrid or not) and enabler of healthy hybrids — organizations, models, and economies?

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Mozilla and CC to teach online seminar on open education

Jane Park, March 17th, 2009

ccLearn is collaborating with the Peer 2 Peer University and Mozilla to teach practical open education skills to educators and anyone else who is interested. From the announcement on the course wiki:

“This six week course is targeted at educators who will gain basic skills in open licensing, open technology, and open pedagogy; work on prototypes of innovative open education projects; and get input from some of the world leading innovators along the way.

The course will kick-off with a web-seminar on Thursday 2 April 2009 and run for 6 weeks.

Weekly web seminars introduce new topics ranging from content licensing to the latest open technologies and peer assessment practices. Participants will share project ideas with a community of peers, work on individual projects, and get feedback from experienced mentors. We will also take a close look at some of the most innovative examples of open education projects, and speak to the people who designed them, including:

  • The Open Source Software courses at Seneca College;
  • David Wiley’s Introduction to Open Education;
  • The open blog infrastructure at Mary Washington University; etc.
  • The course is targeted at educators who want to help shape the open education future. Participants should have some knowledge of web technologies, or open content licensing, or open pedagogy (or all three), but don’t need to be experts.

    Interested in participating? Head over to the course wiki, and submit your project idea!

    Course outline: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Education/EduCourse

    Sign-up page: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Education/EduCourse/SignUp

    For questions about the course or the sign-up process, contact:

    Philipp Schmidt
    Peer 2 Peer University
    philipp AT peer2peeruniversity.org”

    Spaces will fill up fast, but that doesn’t prevent non-registered learners from having open and complete access to the course as it plays out. And since all Mozilla Education materials are available for reuse, redistribution, and remixing under CC BY, nothing stops users from creating a mirror wiki and developing their own projects!

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    Firefox 3.1beta3 and open web multimedia

    Mike Linksvayer, March 12th, 2009

    The third beta of the next version of the Firefox web browser is now available for download. For the approximately half of you reading this in a Firefox browser, the next version of Firefox will be (because the beta already is) much faster and more awesome all around (and will be released as version 3.5 to denote the significance of improvements over Firefox 3). You can help ensure the release is even better by using the beta. For the rest of you — now is a good time to get with the program.

    Perhaps the most exciting feature in the future Firefox 3.5 for the commons is built-in support for the new <audio> and <video> tags and open audio and video codecs. Admittedly it isn’t easy to explain why open multimedia formats are so important for the open web — they are infrastructure, lowering a number of costs and enabling interoperability for everyone — so the benefits of widespread adoption of open formats (and opportunity costs of their lack) is systemic and largely invisible. We’re pretty comfortable with making such an argument and appreciate the challenges of doing so — though there are many concrete use cases enabled by Creative Commons licensing, we know those are the tip of the iceberg.

    We’ve linked a few times to explanations of why open formats in particular are important, and back in 2004 a rant on fixing web multimedia by making audio and video on the web addressable like other items published on the web instead of opaque, which is essentially what the new tags and open formats drive at.

    You can also see a few times over the past year where we’ve snuck <video> tags into blog posts for the entertainment of people on the cutting edge running Firefox 3.1 alpha and earlier betas at the time.

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    Thank you!

    Joi Ito, January 7th, 2009


    Joi Ito / Photo by Mizuka / CC BY

    One week ago I asked for support in helping us reach our $500,000 goal. At that time, we had $12,000 left to raise with only 2 1/2 days left in the campaign, and we were all wondering how we were going to make it. Today, I’m proud to say that our community went above and beyond — raising CC a grand total of $525,383.73.

    I want to send a special thank you to all of the individuals and companies that are long time supporters of CC. We’ve had hundreds of people continue to support CC over the years and I wish I could thank each and everyone of you publicly for your continued support. However, I don’t want to take up the entire CC main page, so please know how appreciated your commitment to CC is. To Digital Garage, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Tucows, Consumer Electronics Association, and wikiHow, thank you for your continued commitment to CC – I look forward to working with each of your companies in bringing more global awareness about CC, and I feel confident that together we will continue to enrich the digital commons we’re all investing in.

    And to all the new individuals and new corporate supporters (Attributor, DotAsia, Ebay, Nevo Technologies, Safe Creative) – thank you for choosing to support CC this year. CC is only as strong as the community that supports it and we’re thrilled to see this community thriving. Think of all we can do over the next year by coming together and supporting each other.

    I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the following companies and foundations who are committed to sustaining CC and the open movement. To the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, IETSI, Red Hat, Google, and the Omidyar Network – thank you.

    Thank you all from the bottom of my (and the rest of the CC staff’s) heart — we know how difficult it is right now and are deeply honored that you would choose to support CC this year. This doesn’t just help us continue our work but also reaffirms the growing strength of our community and the belief in a more fair and accessible digital world.

    The CC staff, the board of directors, and I all look forward to what will surely be an exciting 2009.

    – Joi

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    Mozilla Concept Series

    Cameron Parkins, August 14th, 2008

    The Mozilla Concept Series is a recently announced initiative from Mozilla to garner greater participation in creating their newest browser, Aurora. While there are some intriguing inaugural designs, the most engaging part of the project is that Mozilla is pooling the greater web community for submissions in the form of ideas, mockups (textual/visual examples), and prototypes (interactive illustrations). Of note to the CC community is that Mozilla is requiring that all ideas and mockups are submitted under a CC license, making them easily “redistributable and remixable” (prototypes require an accompanying Mozilla Public License). From Mozilla:

    We only ask that all concepts and related source materials be freely redistributable and remixable under either a Creative Commons license (for Ideas and Mockups) or the Mozilla Public License (for Prototypes) so that we can all effectively collaborate on the exploration. Again, the intent is not for these concepts to evolve directly into new products but rather to provoke thought, facilitate discussion and provide inspiration.

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