This is part 1 of an interview of our newly recruited Mozillian and also our influencer for FirefoxOS campaign.
Let’s listen to Shafeek Sumser: our newly recruited Mozillian, Influencer and a Linux geek.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Shafeek Sumser. I have worked as Project Leader for a Business Virtual Incubator for 4 years at Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) – a french organisation. At AUF, I help promoters to build their Business Plan for French African countries, Indian Ocean Islands, South Asian French Speaking countries and the Caribbean region. I am also the System Administrator and open source software integrator at AUF, since the latter promotes Linux and Open Sources Software through trainings & LPI certifications, and OSS Conferences & seminars. I’ve described myself as a Linux and OSS geek since joining the university in 1999 where I had my first Red Hat 6.0 Installation. Shortly after, I left Red Hat for Debian based distribution (first Debian installation was 2.1 Slink as code named). As such, all the servers that I managed till now are mostly Debian based.
For desktops, I use Linux Mint and Ubuntu distributions. LPI certified, I also provide training for LPI certifications at AUF since 2005. Programming on Bash, Perl and Python is not a stranger to me. This has also pushed me forward to create web applications based on Perl, PHP and Django. I manage to obtain a Postgraduate Diploma in ICT in 2007 and completed my academic course with a Master 2 in “Droit, Économie, Gestion, Mention Management Spécialité Création, Reprise d’Entreprise et Entrepreneuriat” with the University of Bordeaux, France. Furthermore, I have also been involved with a company that offers open source software integration, IT infrastructure consultancy and security services.
2. When did you join the Mozilla Community? and why?
I joined the Mozillian Community two months ago on an invitation from my friend and professional colleague. Among the main objectives for joining this community were to see what services the Mozillian Community offers. Joining this community will allow me to discover in depth tools and web solutions that Mozilla has. Within the community we can benefit from the transfer and sharing of ideas and knowledge, whether they are technical or non-technical. At the same time, it is an opportunity to help and serve an open source project and promote Mozilla products that I have been using whether on a personal or professional basis.
3. What is your opinion about FirefoxOS as the third mobile platform?
I was amazed on hearing that news since the FirefoxOS platform is typically a web based one. I think that we need more competition on this segment where we can have a large variety of products based on user needs, adjustments and requirements. As a young product, FirefoxOS will have to compete with other mobile platforms in order to gain a larger market. FirefoxOS should provide the same level UI as other platforms and access to software and add-ons. Moreover, platform compatibility could be a good attitude to adopt so users can easily migrate from other open source or proprietary platforms to FirefoxOS.
4. Do you think FirefoxOS can penetrate the mobile market share of Mauritius?
I think that FirefoxOS is a relatively young product in Mauritius and most Mauritians are not really aware of it. As such, we need to give it some time for it to make its way up. FirefoxOS should have different phone models that adapt and respond to the market segments needs like Entertainment for video and photo editing and social media and Professionnal phone for working. Furthermore, if FirefoxOS can provide almost all the features that exist on other mobile phone applications, and provide some degrees of innovation its web-based phone, the mobile market will love it.
5. How do think you can promote FirefoxOS in Mauritius?
I think the promotion of FirefoxOS can be done in 2 ways: firstly awareness of FirefoxOS to the different population segments in Mauritius, and secondly collaborate with the mobile industry and businesses to allow FirefoxOS to gain market space. Talks and conferences can be organised with collaboration with the mobile phone industry for professionals. This will raise awareness and they will understand the concept of FirefoxOS.
For professional conferences, we could invite a FirefoxOS representative to give talks. Regarding the young generation, we could have some FirefoxOS demo party days organised in universities, school or shopping malls where these young people can discover the FirefoxOS phone. FirefoxOS could also support and sponsor Open Source Software activities in Mauritius. As such, Mauritian FirefoxOS Team should participate fully by providing talks and demonstrations by an official FirefoxOS developer in Mauritius. Mozillians (both local & international team) can opt for installation party for FirefoxOS on mobile phones and also have trainings or crash courses on mobile application development based on Firefox OS.
The business part is also important so Mozilla can support its R&D team. FirefoxOS should be in business relationship with all mobile phone operators and sellers in Mauritius. Since it is an open source technology, we can have good quality mobile phones at cheaper prices. Mozilla could participate in a publicity campaign (web, billboards, newspaper) in collaboration with mobile phone operators on a larger scale. An official launching ceremony must have be done around FirefoxOS where all the different actors in the IT industry, Mobile industry and other professionals can be invited together with media coverage.
This interview was conducted by Ganesh – Mozilla Mauritius