Over this past weekend (Oct 25-26), I joined 150 Mozilla contributors, and staff, and around 40 members of the general public at the Mozilla Camp at Citilabs in Barcelona.

We decided to hold this first European Mozilla only event earlier this year, for a couple of reasons.

1) We had talked for several years about tacking an extra day onto the FOSDEM weekend held in Brussels each year, to hold a Mozilla only event. This has always proved hard, as most folks who attend are volunteers and its tough to take more time off from work. We also thought one day, just simply wouldn’t be enough.

2) Adding diversity was also important. That means not only from bringing more people together from across Europe, be that from Latvia or Poland, or the other 23 countries in Europe who work to contribute to Mozilla — but also to include different types of Mozillian participation groups, and our rich mosaic of projects.

So the event ended up being a 2 day mash up of keynotes, discussion groups, brainstorming, hacking, bonding, heated discussions and all this — across multiple Mozilla projects – Thunderbird & Messaging, Mobile, Firefox and Labs, — and across the Localization, Quality Assurance, Development and Marketing teams.

It was a colourful explosion of Mozillian DNA, and speaking for myself I have been through a gazillion emotions these past two days. I felt my stomach talking to me when I got excited about Mozilla Labs, Messaging and Mobile — the progress we are making to drive the future of the Web is incredible. I was proud by our successes of Firefox, and have been humbled several times over by talking to so many contributors who give so much of their lives to supporting the open web. I was inspired by our unity to believe in the future of the Web, in each others skills and beliefs — and our over-riding passion to keep going and make a difference.

Please do go and check out the Mozilla Camp’s official mashup page set up by our friends at Mozilla Hispano you’ll find photo feeds and tweets of the 2 day conference.
http://mozcamp08.mozilla-hispano.com/

We also hope to be able to share more photos and videos of the sessions shortly.

Some thoughts from my side of what was good and bad:

More of the same for next time:

- Great organization – I heard many times over the event was one of the best open source events, which has been held from an organizational stance. Everything from meeting people at the airport, to providing a free public transport travel pass for the weekend, and having wifi throughout the venue, plus a lab centre where groups could get together and hack on the venue’s machines — all made for a great hassle free time.

- The event set up also proved to be a good mix. We held keynotes in the mornings, which everyone could participate in and learn more about what was going on in all the Mozilla projects. This allowed folks to learn about what else is going on at Mozilla, and stuff we are thinking about for the next 1-2 years. Labs was a heavy focus here, plus Messaging and Mobile.  In the afternoon, we had people break up more into tracks based on tasks e.g. Localization, Development and QA. Here groups were able to get a lot done as a team in the flesh — in fact this was the first time the QA team had ever been able to get together in one place as everyone is so distributed across the world. So there was a good mix between meeting new people and learning about new projects, whilst having special time with the people you work with in your area of focus.

- Wonderful visitors from Mozilla. We were lucky to have some very knowledgeable and key folks from Mozilla attend the camp, giving many people (including myself for some people) the first time to meet with John Lilly, Mozilla’s CEO, Mark Surman, the new Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, David Ascher, CEO of Mozilla Messaging, Chris Beard our Chief Innovation Officier, Tristan Nitot, President of Mozilla Europe and many, many more people.

What could we do better next time?

- I’d like to have more people from the general public attend. We did have around 20-40 people attend sessions over the weekend, but I would like us to have more opportunities to get people new to meet Mozilla and big Mozilla fans to attend. I’m certain people would like to help, but are not alaways sure how to get involved. Visiting us at events, is a great way to make some connections and discuss how you could get involved.

- Obviously I am biased as I work in marketing, but I would like to see us have more sessions on marketing and brainstorming on how to tackle spreading the open Web message.  I also think we could attract more non-technical people to get involved in the project and our mission. In the same vein, I’d like to encourage more women to attend, less than 5% of people at the Mozilla Camp were women. Perhaps the marketing activity side may help us reach out to more ladies who would like to get involved.

- More vegetarian Food (especially on behalf of Clint, Marcia, Patrick and myself!)

- Lastly, I would like to find a way to get more people involved with the event who are remote and were not able to attend. Last week, I also attended Web 2.0 in Berlin, and have to say that I think conferences haven’t really evolved in terms of how they involve the Web and a wider community. I’d like us to explore how we could get others involved in more ways than reading our tweets, and seeing live streams. I’ll get my thinking hat on, and ask O’Reilly to do the same with the coming Web 2.0 conferences.

By the way, if you attended the camp and have some comments or suggestions, good or bad – please do comment on my blog or get in touch with us directly. Or, if you have comments in general – I would be glad to hear. We hope to create an event like this again next year and would love to learn of your impressions.

Finally, there are a few people I need to say a huge thanks to and pull out for the great job they did to create such a successful event:

* At the helm was William Quiviger who joined Mozilla only in the summer time and organized an amazing event in only a few months. William, you should be very proud indeed of your achievement, we are all impressed on so many levels. You have certainly raised the bar!
* Delphine, Sonny, Anne-Julie, Patrick, Tristan and Pascal Chevrel also helped a great deal. Thank you.
* All our US Mozilla visitors, thank you for taking time to visit Europe and spend time with our teams of contributors – we all learned a lot and appreciated it very much
* I’d also like to offer huge thanks to Citilab who hosted the camp for us in Barcelona. The people here are doing a wonderful job, they have an incredible venue, and have been so warm and giving – I dont know how we would have done it without them. If you are looking for a place to hold an event in Barcelona – please visit Citilabs – you cannot go wrong. To Maria and her team – thank you.
* I would like to make a special thanks to Mozilla Europe who supported the event, and made it possible to bring us all together for this first time in this way.
* Finally, thank you to everyone who came from across all of Europe and gave up your weekend to meet with your fellow Mozillians – we hope you enjoyed your time and felt it was worthwhile, I know we did.