Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich, official Mozilla Foundation photograph, August 21, 2012
Born (1961-07-04) July 4, 1961
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] He is the CEO of Brave Software.[4]

Early life

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.[5] 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.[5]

Netscape and JavaScript

He started work at Netscape Communications Corporation in April 1995. Having originally joined intending to put Scheme "in the browser",[6] 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,[6][7] and was called Mocha, but renamed LiveScript in September 1995 and later JavaScript in the same month.[8] Eich continued to oversee the development of SpiderMonkey, the specific implementation of JavaScript in Navigator.[9]


In early 1998, Eich co-founded the Mozilla project with Mitchell Baker, creating the website that was meant to manage open-source contributions to the Netscape source code. He served as Mozilla's chief architect.[10] AOL bought Netscape in 1999. After AOL shut down the Netscape browser unit in July 2003, Eich helped spin out the Mozilla Foundation.[11]

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.[11] Eich continued to own the Mozilla SpiderMonkey module, its JavaScript engine, until he passed on the ownership of it in 2011.[9]

On March 24, 2014, Eich was promoted to CEO of Mozilla Corporation.[12] Gary Kovacs, John Lilly and Ellen Siminoff resigned from the Mozilla board after the appointment,[13] some expressing disagreements with Eich's strategy and their desire for a CEO with experience in the mobile industry.[14][15] Critics of Eich within Mozilla tweeted to gay activists that he had donated $1,000 to California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California[16][17] until 2013, when it was declared unconstitutional and marriages were allowed to resume.[18] Eich stood by his decision to fund the campaign, but wrote on his blog that he was sorry for “causing pain” and pledged to promote equality at Mozilla.[13][19] Gay activists created an online shaming campaign against Eich, with OkCupid declaring they would block access to the Firefox browser unless he stepped down.[20][21][22] Others at the Mozilla Corporation spoke out on their blogs in his favor.[23][24] Board members wanted him to stay in the company with a different role.[25]

On April 3, 2014, Eich stepped down as CEO and resigned from working at Mozilla; in his personal blog, Eich posted that "under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader."[26][27] Andrew Sullivan said of Eich's departure that "there is not a scintilla of evidence that he has ever discriminated against a single gay person at Mozilla"[28] and the episode "should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society."[29][30][31] Conor Friedersdorf argued in The Atlantic that "the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo".[32] In an article for The Huffington Post, Michelangelo Signorile stated those arguments were "a complete fallacy," noting Eich's history of financing right-wing politicians, the fact Eich had "actually worked to strip a group of its rights," and comparing the situation to Donald Sterling: "like Donald Sterling, [Eich] believed one group of people to be inferior to others, and he made it known to the public, since political contributions are now considered speech in addition to being actions. And, as the face of the company, he stood by that speech when asked to clarify it."[33] In an article for The Daily Beast, Arthur Chu called Eich "even scarier" than Sterling, because Eich had tried to use the power of the state to annul the marriages of thousands of people he never met; Chu noted prior prohibitions against his own inter-racial marriage, and called Eich's action "an aggressive, offensive act...I invite all of you to imagine what it would be like to have someone try to forcibly annul your marriage based on their religious beliefs."[34]

Brave Software

Eich is the CEO of Brave Software, an internet security company which has raised $2.5 million in early funding from angel investors.[4][35] The company's co-founder is Brian Bondy, who worked on Firefox and Khan Academy. The company's employees include Marshall Rose, a network protocol engineer, and Yan Zhu, who worked on SecureDrop and Tor.

On January 20, 2016, the company released developer versions of its open-source Brave web browser, which blocked ads and trackers and included a micropayments system to offer users a choice between viewing selected ads or paying websites not to display them.[36] A recent update added inbuilt integration of 1Password and LastPass password managers.


  1. 1 2 Lohr, Steve (1996-09-09). "Part Artist, Part Hacker And Full-Time Programmer". The New York Times.
  2. ABC News. "Mozilla CEO Resigns After Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Campaign Donation - ABC News". ABC News.
  3. Swisher, Kara. "Mozilla Co-Founder Brendan Eich Resigns as CEO, Leaves Foundation Board". Recode. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  4. 1 2 "Mystery startup from ex-Mozilla CEO aims to go where tech titans won't". CNET. CBS Interactive. 17 November 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Brendan Eich and JavaScript", Inventors, About.
  6. 1 2 Saternos, Casimir (2014-03-28). Client-Server Web Apps with JavaScript and Java. O'Reilly Media. pp. 32–. ISBN 9781449369293. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  7. Severance, Charles (February 2012). "JavaScript: Designing a Language in 10 Days" (PDF). Computer (magazine). Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  8. "JavaScript: General introduction". Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  9. 1 2 Eich, Brendan (June 21, 2011). "New JavaScript Engine Module Owner".
  10. Seibel, Peter (2009-09-16). Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming. Apress. pp. 132–. ISBN 9781430219484. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  11. 1 2 "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.
  12. "Leadership Changes" (blog). Mozilla. March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  13. 1 2 Alistair Barr. "Three Mozilla Board Members Resign over Choice of New CEO". WSJ.
  14. "On mobile devices, however, Firefox ranks 13th, with less than 0.1% share, according to Net Applications" Note Net Applications rated Firefox on mobile at 0.01% in Nov 2013 and 0.68% in Jul 2014
  15. "Three Mozilla board members—including former CEOs—step down [Updated]". Ars Technica.
  16. Baker, Mitchell. "Brendan Eich Steps Down as Mozilla CEO". The Mozilla Blog.
  17. "FAQ on CEO Resignation". Mozilla. April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  19. "Brendan Eich".
  20. Netburn, Deborah (2012-04-04). "Brendan Eich's Prop. 8 contribution gets Twittersphere buzzing". LA Times. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  21. Johnston, Ian (April 1, 2014). "OkCupid calls for Firefox boycott to protest anti-gay marriage CEO Brendan Eich". Independent. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  22. Byrdum, Sunnivie (March 26, 2014). "OkCupid calls for Firefox boycott to protest anti-gay marriage CEO Brendan Eich". The Advocate.
  23. Machkovech, Sam (March 27, 2014). "Mozilla employees tell Brendan Eich he needs to "step down"". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  24. Koehler, Christie (March 24, 2014). "On Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla". Subfictional Studios. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  25. McAllister, Neil (April 8, 2014). "Gay marriage foes outraged at Mozilla CEO flap, call for boycott". The Register. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  26. Kim, Susana (April 3, 2014). "Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns After Protests from Gay Marriage Supporters". ABC News. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  27. "Brendan Eich steps down as Mozilla CEO". April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  28. "Dissents Of The Day". The Dish.
  29. "The Hounding Of A Heretic". The Dish.
  30. "Andrew Sullivan Blows Colbert's Mind with Defense of Brendan Eich". 10 April 2014.
  31. "Andrew Sullivan sparks ire of gay community over defense of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich". Tech Times.
  32. Conor Friedersdorf. "Mozilla's Gay-Marriage Litmus Test Violates Liberal Values". The Atlantic.
  35. "Brave Software Raises $2.5 Million And Expands Technical Team". The Business Journals.
  36. "Building a Better Web". Brave Software. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brendan Eich.
Preceded by
Gary Kovacs
CEO of Mozilla Corporation
24 March 2014 – 3 April 2014
Succeeded by
Chris Beard
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