Code Vigorous

Dustin J. Mitchell

910 Days at Mozilla

15 Apr 2013

As of today, I’ve been at Mozilla for 910 days. That’s not a magic number, but this seemed like a good day to reflect on my time here.

I’ve had a chance to do a bunch of exciting things here:

  • Drink from the Mozilla Firehose
  • Manage build slaves in the release engineering environment
  • Build out a configuration management system with Puppet
  • Design systems to build out new hardware platforms and operating systems
  • Organize a move of systems and servers out of one datacenter and into another.
  • Build a web cluster
  • Build and maintain MySQL database clusters as an apprentice DBA
  • Learn Ruby and hack on Puppet
  • Build a dynamic hardware provisioning system (Mozpool)

You’ll never be bored at Mozilla! There’s never a shortage of work to do, with new projects coming all the time. The organization is structured so that it’s easy to take on tasks that need doing, whether they’re within your skill base or not. There’s lots of room to learn, and everyone’s happy to teach.

I work with an incredible group of people. Just within IT, we have a huge range of skills and capabilities for a relatively small team. People who know how to really solve problems, not the half-baked temporary solutions that you find elsewhere. As but one example, the datacenter operations team is building out and operating several world-class datacenters at the same time, and still managing to turn around our remote-hands requests in matters of hours. Our infrastructure team is full of people with deep experience in all aspects of system administration who are always willing to help solve a tricky problem. And on my own team, my co-workers all manage to work miracles far beyond the resources available.

Before Mozilla, I was at Zmanda, working on Amanda – you know, the open-source backup application you remember from your early days? It’s still around! Anyway, I took that job in part because it meant I could be paid to work on open-source software. I took full advantage of that opportunity, but the company was fundamentally a company - organized around sales, support, and the bottom line. My open-source concerns always played second fiddle, if that. Mozilla’s different: the Mozilla Manifesto is what we do, and that’s understood nowhere better than at the top of the organization. It can be a struggle sometimes, to see how the work I do supports the people who support the people who build the products that further the mission, but the connection is there and it’s important. That keeps me going.

Here’s to another 1000 successful days at Mozilla!