Posted 2 years, 2 months ago at 16:41. 1 comment
It is rare enough for me to be introducing a new hire, but two in one day is unprecedented.
Michael Shal joins the Mozilla release engineering team today, but will not be working directly on release engineering duties. Instead, Mike will be working to improve the current Mozilla build system.
The build system has grown organically over the lifetime of the project. People who were not build system hackers per se have copied and pasted the code they needed to get something working. There has been a lot of noise recently (mostly from me, but not all) about cleaning this up, but it’s been hard to sustain momentum for various reasons.
For one, the people who do have the skills to hack the build system are not a distinct group reporting to a single person, so there is no unity of purpose. Some of these folks also don’t necessarily want to be working on build system improvements, they just happen to be good at them.
Release engineering is obviously very interested in taking better advantage of our existing build infrastructure. This is even more important now as we start expanding our foray into cloud-hosted build services (e.g. AWS). Quicker, more efficient builds will help keep our costs down here. Releng has started hiring people to take more of a leadership role in this area. The first was Joey Armstrong, and he’s joined today by Mike Shal.
Mike brings his skills as an inveterate build system hacker to Mozilla. How inveterate? Mike looked at extant build systems in the wild and decided he could do better. The result was TUP, a lightning-fast build system that we’re anxious to hook up to the Firefox codebase to see how fast we can get it to build.
There’s lots of intervening steps that need to take place before that can happen — FirefoxOS is proving to be a speedbump here, although a worthy one — but we’re gaining momemtum *AND* moving in the right direction, I think.