Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019


Interview with Chris Brind
Open Source at DuckDuckGo. Raising the Standard of Trust Online

Photo of Chris Brind

Chris Brind will give a talk about Open Source at DuckDuckGo. Raising the Standard of Trust Online at FOSDEM 2019.

Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

My name’s Chris Brind and I’m a software engineer with DuckDuckGo. I started my career about 20 years ago working on Geographic Infirmation Systems (GIS) in C, then moved to Java server and web front end technology while playing around with early mobile technology (pre-2008) and eventually found my way into mobile app development, though I like to keep my hand in on a range of technologies.

I’m a tabletop gamer, sci-fi fan and live with my wife and Scottie dog on the west coast of Scotland.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

Two things mainly 1) The importance of privacy and 2) How DuckDuckGo uses Open Source.

I plan to drill into the extensions, Android and iOS code a little.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

I hope to raise awareness of both privacy issues and of course DuckDuckGo, especially as an alternative to the big name search engines that track you.

Q: Why is FOSS so important for DuckDuckGo’s mission?

From an ideological perspective there are many FOSS tools that support our vision to raise the standard of trust online. In many respects that’s more important to us than DuckDuckGo’s success because it represents the internet we want to belong to.

As such we’ve invested about $ 1.3 million into a variety of projects across the web. Most of these donations going to other projects that do not directly benefit DuckDuckGo, but do work towards our vision.

In practical terms, we are a relatively small team compared to the large players who have hundreds and thousands of engineers. FOSS let us stand on the shoulders of giants.

Q: Which are the FOSS projects DuckDuckGo is relying most on and why?

We generally believe in using the right tool for the right job so will use whatever seems appropriate, but a quick list includes NGINX, Perl, JavaScript, Postgres, Golang, Couchbase, Linux and more.

Q: What were the biggest technical challenges in developing DuckDuckGo’s privacy components, such as the browser extensions?

This is something I’m going to go into during the talk, but not breaking the internet for our users is of course very important to us. Extensions, and building mobile browser apps have all presented their own challenges, not to mention that the platforms are an ever shifting landscape.

Q: Which new features can we expect this year in DuckDuckGo and which FOSS projects are you using to develop them?

I can’t say too much about new features right now, but as always we are deeply focussed on usability, not breaking the web, and making privacy more intuitive for everyone.

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

This is my first FOSDEM, but I’ve heard good things about it from friends and colleagues. So I am excited to be able to attend and feel honoured to be granted the opportunity to talk about DuckDuckGo at my first one.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.