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WWW: Chrome OS 82, WebAssembly, JavaScript and Mozilla, Thunderbird and Instantbird Bits

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  • The Linux terminal is getting a major overhaul and new features in Chrome OS 82

    It has been a busy morning here at the Chrome Unboxed office. Robby made the move over to the Dev channel yesterday and discovered a plethora of new and updated features. Some we’ve been expecting but others are appearing for the first time and a massive update to the Linux terminal is one of the biggest when we’re talking about the latter. For those taking advantage of Linux apps on Chrome OS, you’re familiar with the “terminal” app that looks pretty much like any Command Line Interface on any Linux distro. (Windows and Mac, for that matter.)

  • Google Bringing WebAssembly Extensions To Network Proxies

    In addition to WebAssembly's growing presence outside of the web browser thanks to various desktop run-times and interesting use-cases, WebAssembly is also popping up in other areas. Google has been working on WebAssembly support for extensions within network proxies typically reserved for C/C++ or the likes of Lua scripts.

    WebAssembly support has been pulled into their Istio service mesh v1.5 release with WASM extensions in the Envoy service proxy, popular choices for Cloud Native deployments. The Istio 1.5 release notes mention, "Wasm will give developers the ability to safely distribute and execute code in the Envoy proxy – to integrate with telemetry systems, policy systems, control routing and even transform the body of a message. It will be more flexible and more efficient, eliminating the need for running a Mixer component separately (which also simplifies deployments)."

  • JavaScript: The First 20 Years

    Our HOPL paper is done and submitted to the ACM for June 2020 publication in the PACMPL (Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages) and presentation at the HOPL 4 conference whenever it actually occurs. PACMPL is an open access journal so there won’t be a paywall preventing people from reading our paper. Regardless, starting right now you can access the preprint at https://zenodo.org/record/3707008. But before you run off and start reading this 190 page “paper” I want to talk a bit about HOPL.

  • Mozilla Addons Blog: Friend of Add-ons: Zhengping

    Please meet our newest Friend of Add-ons, Zhengping! A little more than two years ago, Zhengping decided to switch careers and become a software developer. After teaching himself the basics of web development, he started looking for real-world projects where he could hone his skills. After fixing a few frontend bugs on addons.mozilla.org (AMO), Zhengping began contributing code the add-ons code manager, a new tool to help keep add-on users safe.

    In the following months, he tackled increasingly harder issues, like using TypeScript with React to create complex UI with precision and efficiency. His contributions helped the add-ons team complete the first iteration of the code manager, and he continued to provide important patches based on feedback from add-on reviewers.

  • Patrick Cloke: Matrix Live Interview

    I was interviewed for Matrix Live as part of last week’s This Week in Matrix. I talked a bit about my background and my experiences contributing to Mozilla (as part of Instantbird and Thunderbird projects) as well as what I will be working on for Synapse, the reference implementation for Matrix servers.

  • Distributed Teams: Not Just Working From Home

    Technology companies taking curve-flattening exercises of late has resulted in me digging up my old 2017 talk about working as and working with remote employees. Though all of the advice in it holds up even these three years later, surprisingly little of it seemed all that relevant to the newly-working-from-home (WFH) multitudes.

    Thinking about it, I reasoned that it’s because the talk (slides are here if you want ’em) is actually more about working on a distributed team than working from home. Though it contained the usual WFH gems of “have a commute”, “connect with people”, “overcommunicate”, etc etc (things that others have explained much better than I ever will); it also spent a significant amount of its time talking about things that are only relevant if your team isn’t working in the same place.

Chrome OS 82 will bring major Linux terminal improvements

  • Chrome OS 82 will bring major Linux terminal improvements

    Google has been allowing Chrome OS users to run Linux apps for a few years. But the optional “Crostini” feature which makes this possible sort of feels tacked onto Chrome OS as an afterthought (which… to be fair, it was).

    That could change when Chrome OS 82 is released on May 5th. It’s expected to include a major update to the Linux terminal app and user experience.

Revamped Linux terminal with tab support

  • Chrome OS 82 tests a Material Theme redesign of the Files app and a revamped Linux terminal with tab support

    Chrome OS has evolved a lot over the last several years, and Google is not stopping any time soon with the changes to attract both regular users and developers. In Chrome OS 82, Google is testing two major UI changes to the Files app and the Terminal app. First, the Google Material Theme redesign looks to be finally coming to the oft-forgotten Files application. Second, the Linux terminal is getting a fresh design and some much-needed settings.

    Let’s start with the Files app. Google has slowly added features to the default Chrome OS file manager over the years. It’s something you probably use a lot without thinking of it too much. Some of the major changes we’ve covered over the last few years include the ability to make Google Drive folders available for offline use, show Android app files, and add top-level folders other than “Downloads.” In Chrome OS 82, the Files app is getting a full-blown redesign in accordance with Google’s Material Theme design scheme. In summary, the top blue bar has been removed in favor of a more simplified white interface. We see the familiar Material Theme blue highlight in the sidebar and the fonts and icons have all been slightly altered as well. However, the functionality of the app itself hasn’t been changed in any major way. You can see how the design has changed for yourself in the before/after screenshots embedded below, courtesy of ChromeUnboxed.

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