This is my report on activities of the Mozilla Foundation for the week ending December 1, 2006. This was another short week due to taking three days off for vacation.

Projects for the week

Here’s a partial listing of what I and others at the Foundation did this past week:

  • Grants and related activities. I’m happy to announce that the Mozilla Foundation is making a grant to the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto to help improve Thunderbird accessibility.

    Next action(s): Work on some other non-accessibility proposals.

  • CA-related issues. I did a presentation to representatives of an academic research network to discuss the Mozilla CA approval process. (Being high-tech academics located all over the world, they wanted me to do the presentation using H.323-based video conferencing, which worked surprisingly well once I got Xmeeting for Mac OS X working. However as I complained at the Firefox summit, getting non-proprietary Internet-based videoconferencing to work is not for the faint-hearted.) Such academic consortiums are in an interesting gray area with respect to the Mozilla CA certificate policy: They are quasi-public organizations serving a public purpose and (at least to some extent) open to public participation, but it’s not clear if or when they would meet the threshold of our policy requirement to be relevant to typical users.

    Next action(s): Continue work on Trustis application for inclusion, and try to make headway on the other outstanding requests (at least a dozen or more).

  • Other. I had a phone call with a representative of another open source project to talk about the applicability of the FIPS 140-2 and Common Criteria security-related standards to their project. (10-second tutorial: FIPS 140-2 applies to cryptographic modules, whether hardware- or software-based, while Common Criteria applies to general security functions of applications. Both are of interest to government customers, with some corporate interest as well.) This is as good a place as any to mention that the NSS Development team is working on FIPS 140-2 validation of the open source NSS cryptographic library used in Firefox and other Mozilla-based products; please join me in thanking them for all their hard work on this over the years.

    Next action(s): None at this time.

Upcoming activities

  • Gerv will be out on vacation until December 11 or so.
  • I’ll be in California (though not at Mozilla HQ) on Tuesday, December 12; I’ll also be in the area on the afternoon of Monday, December 11, in case anyone wants to meet with me about anything.

Random notes

I was on vacation for most of last week and off net much of the time. Besides the math book I mentioned last week, I’ve been reading collections of science-related articles, from the competing (and confusingly similarly-named) anthology series Best American Science Writing and Best American Science and Nature Writing.

Both are interesting and well worth picking up from your favorite bookstore or local library. One thing I found interesting about both series is that a lot of the articles selected are not straightforward science reporting but have some sort of political “slant” to them, whether to the right or left or some other point on the various ideological spectrum(s). I guess it goes to show that the personal values of practitioners and/or reporters) tend to seep into even nominally objective fields of inquiry. (Mathematics and physics may be the exceptions, but I’m prepared to be disproved on that point.)