Mozilla appoints Andreas Gal as new CTO

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Mozilla has announced the appointment of Andreas Gal as its new chief technology officer.

"My new responsibilities at Mozilla include identifying and enabling new technology ideas from across the project, leading decision making, and speaking for Mozilla's vision of the web," Gal wrote on his blog.

Gal replaces former CTO Brendan Eich. Eich left his position as chief technical officer to serve as CEO. However, protests over political contributions to anti-gay causes led him to step down.

Eich publicly supported Proposition 8, a California law banning same-sex marriage. He refused to change his views when Firefox users discovered them.

"I prefer not to talk about my beliefs," Eich told CNET. "One of the things about my principles of inclusiveness is not just that you leave it at the door, but that you don't require others to put targets on themselves by labeling their beliefs, because that will present problems and will be seen as divisive."

Eich's replacement is a six-year veteran at Mozilla. Gal originally joined in 2008 to apply some of the research from his Ph.D dissertation and stayed to help develop Firefox OS, Rust, Servo, pdf.js and Shumway.

He is best known for building TraceMonkey, the first just-in-time compiler for JavaScript. Mozilla added it to Firefox just days before Google announced Chrome, which used a similar JavaScript engine. This began a period of intense competition between Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Gal will lead technical decision making and manage R&D programs within Mozilla. He will also work with Firefox OS as vice president of mobile, an area which he started at the company.

He co-founded the Boot to Gecko (renamed to Firefox OS) project in 2011 to "find the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are in every way the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7."

Mozilla is targeting developing markets by loading Firefox OS onto cheap phones that cost only 15. Though cheap, one analyst told IT Pro they were "slow and buggy."

Gal hopes Firefox OS phones will help preserve the open Web and spark innovation.

"Once Mozilla led the way with Firefox, market pressures and open standards quickly forced competitors to implement successful technology," Gal wrote.

"We are on the cusp of the same open Web revolution happening in mobile as well, and Mozilla's goal is to accelerate the advance of mobile by tirelessly pushing the boundaries of what's possible with the web."