Stepping Down as Chair of the Engineering Meeting

MozillaEngineeringSuperAs I previously shared, I have accepted a new role at Mozilla. As my responsibilities have changed, I am stepping down as the chair of the Engineering Meeting.

Looking back over the last year or so of running this meeting, I am pleased by the positive reaction to the meeting reboot in June 2013, where we refocused on the needs of engineering, and by the successful follow on changes, such as including additional engineering teams and broadcasting and archiving the meeting on Air Mozilla.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback about the meeting. The changes to the meeting were a direct result of our conversations. I would also like to thank Richard Milewski and the Air Mozilla team for working out how to broadcast the meeting to our global audience each week.

I chaired my last meeting on Mar 5, 2014. You can watch my swan song on Air Mozilla.

Chris Peterson takes over as the chair of the Engineering Meeting effective this week.

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Lawrence Mandel Joins Mozilla Release Management

I’m excited to share that I am stepping into a new role with Mozilla as manager of the Release Management team. Below is an e-mail that my friend and manager Sheila Mooney sent to Mozilla employees last week announcing this change.

Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 11:19:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Sheila Mooney
To: team Mozilla
Subject: Changes in Release Management

All,

I am happy to share some changes I am making to my team. Effective immediately, Lawrence Mandel will be moving into the role of Manager of the Release Management team. With the Release Managers in tight collaboration with the Project/Program Managers, we can think beyond just keeping the trains running on time and tighten our focus on quality, metrics and process to ensure we are shipping the best possible products to our users. Lawrence's experience inside and outside Mozilla aligns closely with these goals and I am very excited to see what he does with this role!

Lawrence will be transitioning many of his current project management responsibilities to others in my team in order to focus fully on this new challenge. The Web Compatibility Engineers will continue to report to him and Chris Peterson will report to me 
directly.

Please join me in congratulating Lawrence on his new opportunity!

Cheers,
Sheila
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Manager Hacking presents: A Year In the Financial Life of an Average Mozillian

Mozilla Manager Hacking is proud to announce an exciting discussion with our CFO, Jim Cook, on “A Year in the Financial Life of an Average Mozillian”. This interactive discussion is designed to map the daily, monthly, and yearly activities of an average employee to our financial statements. The goal of Jim’s compelling and creative presentation is more on his continuing financial series of bringing an awareness and open dialogue to how we think about Mozilla’s finances. Please come prepared to know more, do more and do better!

Event: Open Financial Discussion: A Year In the Financial Life of an Average Mozillian
Presenters: Jim Cook and Winnie Aoeiong
Date/Time: 11 February 2014 @ 10 – 11a.m. PDT
Location: 10FWD MTV / SF Floor 1 Commons / Tor Commons / YVR Commons / PDX Commons / Lon Commons / Par Salle des Fetes / Air Mozilla
Open to employees and vouched Mozillians

https://air.mozilla.org/manager-hacking-presents-an-open-financial-discussion-a-year-in-the-financial-life-of-an-average-mozillian/

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Introducing webcompat.com

Web compatibility, that a site serve consistent and functional content to all Web clients, is an issue that affects the Web and with it the many companies that make products of and for the Web. The Web was founded and thrives as an open platform. Locking out select clients, deliberately or accidentally, is a losing strategy for the Web.

There are a number of Web client companies, that is browser and device makers like Mozilla, Microsoft, and Blackberry, that invest time and resource in their own Web compatibility efforts. Web compatibility is table stakes for any Web client and is an area in which I think we should all collaborate for the betterment of our products and the Web.

At Mozilla, the Web compatibility team spends a portion of our time designing ways in which to collaborate with our volunteers and, more broadly, with the Web community. While there are many communities for Web developers, the people who work on Web compatibility are a different group who currently do not have a place to gather online.

webcompat.comI am pleased to introduce webcompat.com as a gathering place for the Web compatibility community. To be clear, this site is not yet complete. It needs to be built out. However, it did not seem right to build out the site without providing the opportunity for input and collaboration from the Web compatibility community. Our initial thoughts for the site are:

  • planet blog roll (already live at planet.webcompat.comadd your blog/feed or contribute to the site via the github repo)
  • compatibility specific documentation, such as known good frameworks, tools, and best practices
  • tools and resources to assist with Web compatibility work, like a site scraper that includes tools to identify broken user agent detection, vendor specific CSS property usage, and non standard DOM property usage

If you work on or care about Web compatibility, webcompat.com is being built for you. Moreover, we want to hear about what you want from this site. The Mozilla Web compatibility team is available to talk:

Join us! Let’s work together to ensure the mobile Web remains realizes its potential as an open platform.

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Mozilla Engineering Meeting Update

It has been roughly 6 months since the Engineering meeting reboot. As I previously wrote, I consider the Engineering Meeting a work in progress. As such, I have made a few additional changes to the meeting during this time that I wanted to mention for those people who do not regularly attend the meeting.

  1. Air Mozilla: Don’t want to install Vidyo? Can’t attend at 11am PT? No problem. In addition to our standard Vidyo feed, the Engineering meeting is now broadcast live and archived on Air Mozilla.
  2. IRC Logs: A frequent request is better minutes that capture what happened at the meeting. In response, the minutes now include the #planning irc log from the meeting to record the online discussion. For an example, see this week’s minutes.
  3. Friends of the Tree: Want to know about our volunteer contributions? Josh Matthews now updates the minutes with a list of volunteers who have made a technical contribution to Mozilla’s products in the last week. For an example, see this week’s minutes.

Have additional ideas to improve the meeting? Please post to dev-platform, comment on this post, or get in touch with me privately.

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Telemetry – Reboot, Firefox OS, Probe Expiration

Portland's famous food trucks

Telemetry has seen a resurgence of development of late due in large part to the reboot of the server side component. A group of us gathered in Portland last week to hack on Telemetry concepts (and code). I would like to share three updates: Telemetry project reboot, Telemetry for Firefox OS, and Telemetry probe expiration.

Telemetry project reboot

About six months ago the performance team kicked off an effort to reboot Telemetry’s server side, which went live on Oct 1, 2013. Taras described the reboot and the needs that it addresses in his post Telemetry Reboot. Mark started the week by describing the new server side architecture, which he has described in his post The Final Countdown. My key takeaways from this discussion are:

  • The solution is easily scalable.
  • The team is working to implement data processing using Amazon Web Services (AWS) spot nodes. These are the cheapest virtual machines that AWS provides and should result in a very low cost solution.
  • The generic architecture of this solution (simply a method of storing arbitrary JSON packets) should be reusable by other projects within and outside of Mozilla

Want to learn more? Initial Telemetry server side documentation is available in the telemetry-server GitHub repo.

Telemetry for Firefox OS

Firefox and Firefox OS are different enough from a technical and usage perspective that a single Telemetry client side solution does not make sense for both. Some of the issues are:

  • Telemetry must account for the Firefox OS multi-process architecture
  • Telemetry currently reports once for each Firefox session but Firefox OS usage has a different session model (users do not reboot their phones as often as they restart their browsers)
  • Mobile devices in the Firefox OS markets have limited data access for uploading Telemetry packets
  • Many of the existing probes were designed with single browser usage in mind and are not useful in an environment with multiple Web apps running without a browser container

The general consensus is that Telemetry will be useful on Firefox OS and that these issues are worth solving. Cervantes Yu has taken the reigns of implementing a JavaScript Telemetry client that will report on Mozilla applications via a Web API. His work is tracked in bug 918444.

Telemetry probe expiration

Telemetry probes are frequently added to Firefox test a specific feature or other piece of work. In many cases these probes are useful for a specific period of time after which they are no longer tracked but still collect and report on data. As it currently stands, these unused probes are rarely removed from Firefox. This poses two problems: we have unnecessary overhead in Firefox due to Telemetry collection and reporting and we are reporting information for which we have no use.

In order to address these problems, Telemetry will be updated with the capability to mark a probe as expired. To facilitate this, the Telemetry API will be updated to include a version parameter. This parameter represents the version of Firefox in which a Telemetry probe will expire (become inactive). For example, if a probe is specified with version 30, once Firefox 30 is installed, the probe will become inactive, no longer collecting or reporting data.

In order to make this change, all existing probes will be marked with version 28 (currently on Mozilla Central), which means that the probes will expire starting on March 4, 2014. Please open a bug if you require a different expiration date for a specific probe. The work to modify the Telemetry probe API is tracked in bug 742500.

Thank you to Vladan Djeric for reviewing the content of this post.

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Mozilla Summit Toronto Hockey Game

Love Air hockey, Ball hockey, Barn Hockey, Bubble Hockey, Field hockey, Floor hockey, Ice hockey, Kitchen hockey, Road hockey, Roller hockey, Table hockey, Twist hockey? (Taken form The Hockey Song by Jughead.)

Attending the Mozilla Summit in Toronto?

Think that it’s about time for another Summit Series?

Register to play or watch the Mozilla Summit hockey game at Maple Leaf Gardens. Limited space for players. Sign up today.

Sign up:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fhE8oVSAkk5gN9-pfoQ-lCJjQEO…

More information:
https://wiki.mozilla.org/Summit2013/Experiences/signups#Mozi…

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