Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Friday 21 December 2007


One year ago I left Novell and joined MoCo full-time to start the Auckland office. It's been quite a year and overall I think things have gone well. We've got some good people on board, set up a nice little office, had our first intern, and most importantly, got a lot of work done. For many of us it's been a bit of a grind as we try to fix a lot of bugs before shipping Firefox 3. Hopefully next year we'll all have a chance to do more focused and interesting projects, new features and stuff like that.

But overall I'm having a great time --- working on something I'm really passionate about, face to face with a group of really smart people who I can talk to and work with and eat lunch with, at home in New Zealand! It's exactly what I've dreamed about for a long time. I've had to learn a little bit of management and a little bit of office logistics, which has been tedious at times but these are good skills to be learning.

I'm looking forward to next year. It's going to be challenging on many fronts, but Firefox 3 is looking good, Mozilla has momentum and we have the opportunity to do many exciting things in Gecko and outside it too. During the 1.9 cycle we developed some great test infrastructure that will help us move faster on the trunk and also help us maintain better branch stability for Firefox 3 maintenance than we had for Firefox 2/Gecko 1.8.1. Moving to Mercurial will help us make more changes in parallel. We also have a lot more (twice as many?) full-time developers than we had at the start of the 1.9 cycle, developers who've been climbing the learning curve and who are ready to storm ahead. This is good because we have a lot of work to do, a lot of areas that need fixing and a lot of items on our wishlist.

Here in the Auckland office I hope we can continue as successfully as we have been operating so far. We have space for a few more people! University graduate hiring was disappointing this year, we didn't find anyone who was really suitable. Very few students are exposed to low-level (C/C++) programming at a significant scale, and bright students are either surprisingly unambitious or their ambitions lie in creating the next hot Web startup. That's OK but I find browser development fundamentally more compelling --- we get to make the rules of the Web --- and I'd like to find more people who think that way. For now we've been successful finding oddball self-taught hackers, hopefully there are more out there!


Out of curiosity I just followed the About Mozilla link on the Firefox start page and clicked through to the contact page at http://en-us.www.mozilla.com/en-US/about/contact.html
I was wondering...now that there's an Auckland office, should that be listed as a regional office on that page? :)
Robert O'Callahan
I suppose we could list it, but really I'm perfectly happy if no-one contacts us :-).
I just thought some recognition would be nice.
That said, I can totally understand you being happy if people didn't contact you either ;)