Aaron Klotz at Mozilla

My adventures as a member of Mozilla’s GeckoView Team

Coming Around Full Circle

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One thing about me that most Mozillians don’t know is that, when I first applied to work at MoCo, I had applied to work on the mobile platform. When all was said and done, it was decided at the time that I would be a better fit for an opening on Taras Glek’s platform performance team.

My first day at Mozilla was October 15, 2012 – I will be celebrating my seventh anniversary at MoCo in just a couple short weeks! Some people with similar tenures have suggested to me that we are now “old guard,” but I’m not sure that I feel that way! Anyway, I digress.

The platform performance team eventually evolved into a desktop-focused performance team by late 2013. By the end of 2015 I had decided that it was time for a change, and by March 2016 I had moved over to work for Jim Mathies, focusing on Gecko integration with Windows. I ended up spending the next twenty or so months helping the accessibility team port their Windows implementation over to multiprocess.

Once Firefox Quantum 57 hit the streets, I scoped out and provided technical leadership for the InjectEject project, whose objective was to tackle some of the root problems with DLL injection that were causing us grief in Windows-land.

I am proud to say that, over the past three years on Jim’s team, I have done the best work of my career. I’d like to thank Brad Lassey (now at Google) for his willingness to bring me over to his group, as well as Jim, and David Bolter (a11y manager at the time) for their confidence in me. As somebody who had spent most of his adult life having no confidence in his work whatsoever, their willingness to entrust me with taking on those risks and responsibilities made an enormous difference in my self esteem and my professional life.

Over the course of H1 2019, I began to feel restless again. I knew it was time for another change. What I did not expect was that the agent of that change would be James Willcox, aka Snorp. In Whistler, Snorp planted the seed in my head that I might want to come over to work with him on GeckoView, within the mobile group which David was now managing.

The timing seemed perfect, so I made the decision to move to GeckoView. I had to finish tying up some loose ends with InjectEject, so all the various stakeholders agreed that I’d move over at the end of Q3 2019.

Which brings me to this week, when I officially join the GeckoView team, working for Emily Toop. I find it somewhat amusing that I am now joining the team that evolved from the team that I had originally applied for back in 2012. I have truly come full circle in my career at Mozilla!

So, what’s next?

  • I have a couple of InjectEject bugs that are pretty much finished, but just need some polish and code reviews before landing.

  • For the next month or two at least, I am going to continue to meet weekly with Jim to assist with the transition as he ramps up new staff on the project.

  • I still plan to be the module owner for the Firefox Launcher Process and the MSCOM library, however most day-to-day work will be done by others going forward;

  • I will continue to serve as the mozglue peer in charge of the DLL blocklist and DLL interceptor, with the same caveat.

Switching over to Android from Windows does not mean that I am leaving my Windows experience at the door; I would like to continue to be a resource on that front, so I would encourage people to continue to ask me for advice.

On the other hand, I am very much looking forward to stepping back into the mobile space. My first crack at mobile was as an intern back in 2003, when I was working with some code that had to run on PalmOS 3.0! I have not touched Android since I shipped a couple of utility apps back in 2011, so I am looking forward to learning more about what has changed. I am also looking forward to learning more about native development on Android, which is something that I never really had a chance to try.

As they used to say on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And now for something completely different!”

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