Let's give Firefox Nightly some love!

After a decade working on making Mozilla Web properties available in dozens of languages, creating communities of localizers around the globe and building Quality Assurance tools, dashboards and APIs to help ship our software and websites internationally, I recently left the Localization department to report to Doug Turner and work on a new project benefiting directly the Platform and Firefox teams!

I am now in charge of a project aiming to turn Nightly into a maintained channel (just as we have the Aurora, Beta and Release channels) whose goal will be to engage our very technical Nightly users into the Mozilla project in activities that have a measurable impact on the quality of our products.

Here are a few key goals I would like us to achieve in 2016-2017:

  • Double the number of Nightly users so as to detect much earlier regressions, crashes and Web compatibility issues. A regression detected and reported a couple of days after the code landed on mozilla-central is a simple backout, the same regression reported weeks or even months later in the Aurora, Beta or even discovered on the Release channel can be much more work to get fixed.

  • Make of Firefox Nightly a real entry point for the more technical users that want to get involved in Mozilla and help us ship software (QA, code, Web Compatibility, security…). Not only for Firefox but also to all technical Mozilla projects that would benefit from a wider participation.

  • Make of Firefox Nightly a better experience for these technical contributors. This means as a first step using the built-in communication channels (about:home promotional snippets, default tiles, first run / what's New pages…) to communicate information adapted to technical users and propose resources, activities and ways to participate in Mozilla that are technical by nature. I also want to have a specific focus on three countries, Germany, France and Spain, where we have strong local communities, staff and MozSpaces and can engage people more easily IRL.

I will not work on that alone, Sylvestre Ledru, our Release Management Lead, has created a new team (with Marcia Knous in the US and Calixte Denizet in France) to work on improving the quality of the Nightly channel and analyse crashes and regressions. Members of other departments (Participation, MDN, Security, Developer Relations…) have also shown interest in the project and intend to get involved.

But first and foremost, I do intend to get the Mozilla community involved and hopefully also get people not involved in Mozilla yet to join us and help us make of this "Nightly Reboot" project a success!

A few pointers for this project:

  • There is an existing #nightly IRC channel that we are restoring with Marcia and a few contributors. I am pascalc on IRC and I am in the CET timezone, don't hesitate to ping me there if you want to propose your help, know more about the project or propose your own ideas.

  • Marcia created a "Nightly Testers" Telegram channel, ping me if you are already using Nightly to report bugs and want to be added

  • For asynchronous communication, there is a Nightly Testers mailing list

  • If you want to download Nightly, go to nightly.mozilla.org. Unfortunately the site only proposes en-US builds and this is definitely something I want to get fixed! If you are a French speaker, our community maintains its own download site for Nightly with links to French builds that you can find at nightly.mozfr.org, otherwise other localized builds can be found on our FTP.

  • If you want to know all the new stuff that gets into our Nightly channel, follow our @FirefoxNightly twitter account

  • If you are a Nightly user and report a bug on https://bugzilla.mozilla.org, please put the tag [nightly-community] in the whiteboard field of your bug report, this allows us to measure the impact of our active Nightly community on Bugzilla.

Interested? Do get involved and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestion or idea that could fit into that project. Several people I spoke with in the last weeks gave me very interesting feedback and concrete ideas that I preciously noted!

You can contact me (in English, French or Spanish) through the following communication channels:

  • Email: pascal AT mozilla DOT com
  • IRC on Moznet and Freenode: pascalc
  • Twitter: @pascalchevrel

update 15:33 See also this blog post by Mozilla Engineer Nicholas Nethercote I want more users on the Nightly channel

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