Do You Love Your Debugger?

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Short version: I’m hiring, apply here!

Do you love your debugger? Are you interested in a job making a better Firefox for millions of people? Making Firefox a rock-solid software program involves being a dedicated puzzle-solver. Figuring out what’s causing a crash, hang, or intermittent performance problem is a combination of data gathering, statistics, debugging, code reading, and proactive coding and debugging features.

Familiarity or even love of debugging is an important part of the job. The set of information in a crash minidump is limited, and frequently the stack trace is garbled. Understanding calling conventions and memory layout of compiled code is an important skill! Being able to read disassembly is essential. Familiarity with debugging across multiple platforms (Windows/Mac/Linux/Android) is going to be important.

The Mozilla crash and telemetry data is a treasure trove of information just waiting for analysis. The servers have some important builtin features for classification and querying, but the stability team frequently needs to slice the data in new ways. Familiarity with data processing using python, SQL, hbase, and elasticsearch is helpful.

Many of our stability issues are caused by third-party software (more than half of our crashes, according to recent statistics). This position will undoubtedly involve working with partners and engineers from other projects and companies to diagnose and fix problems.

Finally, we are always looking for ways to solve entire classes of stability issues. For example, we moved browser plugins into their own process so that even if a plugin crashes, it doesn’t affect the entire browser. We are continuing to reduce the impact of plugin and extension issues by having users opt into these addons. To be effective at these types of projects, an engineer will need to be a productive coder who is comfortable learning new pieces of code quickly, as well as writing in C++ as well as JavaScript.

If you’re interested, apply online, and feel free to contact me directly if you’ve got questions!

Help improve Firefox power usage!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Android Battery Death?

As Mozilla increasingly focused on being the best browser for mobile devices, we will need to focus on battery usage. This is already an issue on laptops, where some browser activities like playing movies can chew through battery very quickly, but it is even more an issue on smaller phone and tablet devices where batteries are smaller and users expect at least a full day of battery life.

The first part of this project will be accurately measuring our power usage under various conditions. As with any software engineering project, you are what you measure! To that end, Mozilla is looking for both volunteers and potential paid employees who are experienced at measuring and tuning power usage on small devices. If you have experience with software or hardware tools for measuring power usage (both is even better), please contact me at, or go ahead and apply for the job.

Mozilla is a great place to work, whether you are working out of one of our offices (Mountain View, San Francisco, Toronto, Paris, London, or Auckland) or working remotely. Especially with a new project such as this one there will be plenty of opportunities to chart your own course, and improve software which is shipped to millions of users.