Basser Seminar Series

FOXHOLES: News from the Front Line of the Browser Wars

Dr. Rob O'Callahan
Mozilla Developer

Time: Wednesday 2 April 2008, 4-5pm

Location: The University of Sydney, Wilkinson Building, Architecture Lecture Theatre 1 **NOTE: Change of venue

Abstract

Web browsers have become a primary application platform, arguably more important than traditional client operating systems. They are also a key security frontier, a vigorously competitive market, and an crucial front in the battle for free software and open standards. For these and other reasons, browser development is both extremely challenging and extremely important. As a core Firefox developer, I will discuss challenges facing our project: competition from Internet Explorer and other browsers; changes to fundamental assumptions about code-level security vulnerabilities; sustaining and evolving a complex and fragile codebase; and the successes and failures of our tools and processes. Looking forward, I will discuss our efforts to keep the Web vital, in concert with like-minded browser vendors and standards organizations, by enhancing the Web platform with vector and 3D graphics, offline Web applications, accessibility, richer typography and layout, enhancements to the Javascript language, efforts to improve cross-browser compatibility, and more. I will talk about why everyone should care and what people can do to help.

Speaker's biography

Robert O'Callahan obtained a PhD in programming languages and software engineering tools from CMU. After a few years at IBM Research working on dynamic program analysis, he returned to New Zealand to work on Mozilla full-time. Now he manages a team of Gecko developers in Auckland (and constantly looks for more hard-core hackers to hire) while still trying to write lots of code and do research on the side.