08:22 AM PDT on Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Associated Press

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University helped the Mozilla Web browser company celebrate a milestone last weekend with a crop circle carved in the shape of the Mozilla Firefox logo.


Photo courtesy: OSU

The crop circle was made by OSU students.

Students carved the logo in an oat field owned by a McMinnville area farmer to celebrate 200 million downloads of the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Oregon State supports Firefox because it is so-called “open source” software — publicly available software that has challenged Microsoft for access to the Internet.

Google, the Internet search company, arranged for a special satellite flyover so the 200-foot Firefox crop circle logo can be shown on Google Earth, which features high-resolution photos from space.

The OSU contingent included senior Alex Polvi, a McMinnville High grad interning with Google in Manhattan. Polvi grew up on a farm in the Amity-Hopewell area, so his roommate suggested he might know of an appropriate field.

Polvi quickly located the kind of tract the crew was searching for — a field owned by Monte Wood.

The artists arrived Friday. Using boards tied to lengths of rope, they flattened the field according to a plan laid out on a grid. The project took 14 hours, including a marathon session that concluded Saturday morning.

Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for Mozilla, told the (McMinnville) News-Register newspaper that he laughed off the crop circle idea at first, but was swayed by the enthusiasm of the planners.

“That’s something money can’t buy,” Dotzler said. “We have all these really loyal fans who do crazy antics.”

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