Back when I joined Mozilla in Oct 2016, I was eager to build a new API on the Web. In one of the first few days at work, while “drinking from the firehose” of new information, I reached to Vlad Vukicevich (the creator of WebGL and WebVR) across the table, asking if there is anything in the pipeline to overthrow WebGL. And since then, I embarked on the epic journey to make this real.
There’s been a lot of ups and downs. The handful of prototypes I built for Servo got all scraped. Our affair with Vulkan was educational but also distracting) from the goal. On the other hand, I became a pillar of WebGPU and Vulkan Portability: both as a specification editor, and as a driver for many important aspects of the APIs. I’m excited to see that WebGPU is stabilizing, and it feels mostly done. Even the WGSL side is likely going to settle now. Hopefully, we’ll see the API released by the end of this year.
Implementation of WebGPU in Gecko is built on a Rusty software stack that I’m proud of. It’s the wgpu and naga powering it, as well as many other projects in Rust community. We have first class validation and full safety, debugging layer, multi-threading, support on all major platforms, and a welcoming community of contributors (probably its biggest treasure). I’m hoping to see
wgpu continuing to strive, ideally without relying on me as a single point of failure. It’s not unheard of for a project to succeed after BDFL stepping down.
Another big project at Mozilla for me was WebRender. The task of “porting” WebRender to Gecko ended up with a lot more work than anybody hoped. Architecture changed in many ways, the functionality grew significantly, and we had to deal with tons of driver bugs. It’s a very different product now than what Servo demonstrated. Since I was basically hired to help kicking off this effort, I had a chance to lay down some of the foundational work in clipping, spatial hierarchy, 3d transforms, debugging infrastructure, and more. Working on a large Rust project with a good team was truly a joy. Realistically speaking, it was mostly the team, but I’m glad I could help :) And now, WebRender has fully shipped, it’s everywhere. So whatever happens next, I can always open the browser and pat myself on the back with “I worked on this!”.
I’m parting ways with Mozilla. It’s a great place to work, and it’s been very kind to me all this time. I worked with talented people, nicest technologies, had practically full operational freedom, and even got a team to lead at the end. I’ll still root for Mozilla’s mission to succeed, but my path will steer away from the Web. As to “why?” - there are issues not suitable for describing here.
My participation in standards is going to be reduced or temporary suspended. It would be strange to continue doing the spec editor work without investing as much time, and without representing a browser company with an actual implementation. I have confidence in my collegues, both with and outside of Mozilla, to do their best.
I don’t know exactly what the future holds. I’m moving to the Bay Area to work in Tesla’s former HQ. The autopilot needs a virtual world for faster learning, and I want to help rendering it. The mission of “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” resonates highly with me, as I always try to see the world through the lens of system dynamics.