Brendan Eich

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Brendan Eich
Brendan Eich Mozilla Foundation official photo.jpg
Brendan Eich, official Mozilla Foundation photograph, August 21, 2012
Born 1961 (age 53–54)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Santa Clara University
Known for JavaScript

Brendan Eich (/ˈk/; born 1961)[1] is an American technologist and creator of the JavaScript programming language. He co-founded the Mozilla project,[2] the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, and served as the Mozilla Corporation's chief technical officer and briefly its chief executive officer.[3]

Early life[edit]

Brendan Eich received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science at Santa Clara University.[1] He received his master's degree in 1985 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Eich started his career at Silicon Graphics, working for seven years on operating system and network code.[4] He then worked for three years at MicroUnity Systems Engineering writing microkernel and DSP code, and doing the very first MIPS R4000 port of GCC.[4]

Netscape and JavaScript[edit]

He started work at Netscape Communications Corporation in April 1995. Having originally joined intending to put Scheme "in the browser",[5] Eich was instead commissioned to create a new language that resembled Java, JavaScript for the Netscape Navigator Web browser. The first version was completed in ten days in order to accommodate the Navigator 2.0 Beta release schedule,[5][6] and was called Mocha, which was later renamed LiveScript in September 1995 and later JavaScript in the same month.[7] Eich continued to oversee the development of SpiderMonkey, the specific implementation of JavaScript in Navigator, until 2011.[8]


In early 1998, Eich co-founded the Mozilla project, with a website at, that was meant to manage open-source contributions to the Netscape source code. He served as Mozilla's chief architect.[9] AOL bought Netscape in 1999. After AOL shut down the Netscape browser unit in July 2003, Eich helped spin out the Mozilla Foundation. In August 2005, after serving as Lead Technologist and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Mozilla Foundation, Eich became CTO of the newly founded Mozilla Corporation, meant to be the Mozilla Foundation's for-profit arm.[10]

On March 24, 2014, Eich was promoted to CEO of Mozilla Corporation.[11] His appointment sparked controversy over a $1,000 political donation Eich had made in 2008 to the successful campaign for California Proposition 8, which sought to establish that, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."[12] This was criticized by gay rights activists on Twitter.[12] In the ensuing public debate, OKCupid and two gay application developers called for a boycott of the company.[13][14] Others at the Mozilla Corporation spoke out on their blogs in his favor.[15][16] Board members wanted him to stay in the company with a different role.[17]

On April 3, 2014, Eich stepped down as CEO and resigned from working at Mozilla.[18][19] In his personal blog, Eich posted that "under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader."[20][21] Following Eich's resignation, the National Organization for Marriage called for its own boycott of Mozilla, due to "gay activists who have forced him out of the company he has helped lead for years."[17][22]


  1. ^ a b Lohr, Steve (1996-09-09). "Part Artist, Part Hacker And Full-Time Programmer". The New York Times. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Swisher, Kara. "Mozilla Co-Founder Brendan Eich Resigns as CEO, Leaves Foundation Board". Recode. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Brendan Eich and JavaScript", Inventors, About .
  5. ^ a b Saternos, Casimir (2014-03-28). Client-Server Web Apps with JavaScript and Java. O'Reilly Media. pp. 32–. ISBN 9781449369293. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Severance, Charles (February 2012). "JavaScript: Designing a Language in 10 Days" (PDF). Computer (magazine). Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  7. ^ "JavaScript: General introduction". Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  8. ^ Eich, Brendan (June 21, 2011). "New JavaScript Engine Module Owner". 
  9. ^ Seibel, Peter (2009-09-16). Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming. Apress. pp. 132–. ISBN 9781430219484. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mozilla Foundation Forms New Organization to Further the Creation of Free, Open Source Internet Software, Including the Award-Winning Mozilla Firefox Browser". Mozilla Foundation. 2005-08-03. Retrieved 2011-02-12. Brendan Eich, a co-founder and long-time technical leader of the Mozilla project, will become the chief technical officer of the Mozilla Corporation. 
  11. ^ "Leadership Changes" (blog). Mozilla. March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Netburn, Deborah (2012-04-04). "Brendan Eich's Prop. 8 contribution gets Twittersphere buzzing". LA Times. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  13. ^ Johnston, Ian (April 1, 2014). "OkCupid calls for Firefox boycott to protest anti-gay marriage CEO Brendan Eich". Independent. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ Byrdum, Sunnivie (March 26, 2014). "OkCupid calls for Firefox boycott to protest anti-gay marriage CEO Brendan Eich". The Advocate. 
  15. ^ Machkovech, Sam (March 27, 2014). "Mozilla employees tell Brendan Eich he needs to "step down"". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ Koehler, Christie (March 24, 2014). "On Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla". Subfictional Studios. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b McAllister, Neil (April 8, 2014). "Gay marriage foes outraged at Mozilla CEO flap, call for boycott". The Register. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ Baker, Mitchell. "Brendan Eich Steps Down as Mozilla CEO". The Mozilla Blog. 
  19. ^ "FAQ on CEO Resignation". Mozilla. April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  20. ^ Kim, Susana (April 3, 2014). "Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns After Protests from Gay Marriage Supporters". ABC News. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Brendan Eich steps down as Mozilla CEO". April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  22. ^ Blake, Aaron (April 4, 2014). "Anti-gay marriage group calls for boycott of Mozilla Firefox". Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gary Kovacs
CEO of Mozilla Corporation
24 March 2014 – 3 April 2014
Succeeded by
Chris Beard