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Moz/FF

Mozilla: Voices, JS, Side View, and Happy BMO Push Day!

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Moz/FF
  • More Common Voices

    Today we are excited to announce that Common Voice, Mozilla’s initiative to crowdsource a large dataset of human voices for use in speech technology, is going multilingual! Thanks to the tremendous efforts from Mozilla’s communities and our deeply engaged language partners you can now donate your voice in German, French and Welsh, and we are working to launch 40+ more as we speak. But this is just the beginning. We want Common Voice to be a tool for any community to make speech technology available in their own language.

  • Parlez-vous Deutsch? Rhagor o Leisiau i Common Voice

    We’re very proud to be announcing the next phase of the Common Voice project. It’s now available for contributors in three new languages, German, French and Welsh, with 40+ other languages on their way! But this is just the beginning. We want Common Voice to be a tool for any community to make speech technology available in their own language.

    Speech interfaces are the next frontier for the Internet. Project Common Voice is our initiative to build a global corpus of open voice data to be used to train machine-learning algorithms to power the voice interfaces of the future. We believe these interfaces shouldn’t be controlled by a few companies as gatekeepers to voice-enabled services, and we want users to be understood consistently, in their own languages and accents.

    As anyone who has studied the economics of the Internet knows, services chase money. And so it’s quite natural that developers and publishers seek to develop for the audience that will best reward their efforts. What we see as a consequence is an Internet that is heavily skewed towards English, in a world where English is only spoken by 20% of the global population, and only 5% natively. This is increasingly going to be an accessibility issue, as Wired noted last year, “Voice Is the Next Big Platform, Unless You Have an Accent”.

  • AreWeFastYet UI refresh

    For a long time Mozilla’s JS team and others have been using https://arewefastyet.com to track the JS engine performance against various benchmarks.

  • Side View is the Firefox Feature I’ve Been Waiting For

    Since its Quantum update I have to say that I’m loving Mozilla Firefox — but a promising new feature on the horizon could help me to love it even more!

    It’s called Side View and it’s an experimental feature available to try, from today, as part of the Firefox Test Pilot program.

    What’s that?

    Firefox Test Pilot is an opt-in, participatory effort that allows wily Firefox users like you and me to help test new features as web extensions before they’re ready for wider dissemination.

  • Happy BMO Push Day!
  • Happy BMO Push Day!

Mozilla: Colors And Side View, Mission Control, "Facebook Must Do Better"

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Moz/FF
  • How To Enable Firefox’s New Side View And Custom Themes Experiments?

    The features eventually make it to the public release of the web browser. For instance, the built-in Screenshot tool in Firefox was also a part of the test pilot. Recently, Mozilla has made two new additions to Test Pilot: Colors And Side View.

  • Mission Control 1.0

    In general, my hope is that this tool will provide a more scientific and accurate idea of release stability over time. There’s lots more to do, but I think this is a promising start. Much gratitude to kairo, calixte, chutten and others who helped build my understanding of this area.

  • Mozilla: Facebook Must Do Better

    The recent New York Times report alleging expansive data sharing between Facebook and device makers shows that Facebook has a lot of work to do to come clean with its users and to provide transparency into who has their data. We raised these transparency issues with Facebook in March and those concerns drove our decision to pause our advertising on the platform. Despite congressional testimony and major PR campaigns to the contrary, Facebook apparently has yet to fundamentally address these issues.

  • My 15th Bugzilla account anniversary

    Exactly 15 years ago at “2003-06-05 09:51:47 PDT” my journey in Bugzilla started. At that time when I created my account I would never have imagined where all these endless hours of community work ended-up. And even now I cannot predict how it will look like in another 15 years…

  • Announcing Rust 1.26.2

    The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.26.2. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

Mozilla: New Extensions and "Overscripted!"

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Moz/FF
  • Get All the Color, New Firefox Extension Announced

    Remember when you were a kid and wanted to paint your room your favorite color? Or the first time you dyed your hair a different color and couldn’t wait to show all your friends (or at least, wanted to)? We feel that, too, and that’s why we put the new Color Extension in the mix of add-ons available for Firefox browser.

  • It’s A New Firefox Multi-tasking Extension: Side View

    Introducing Side View! Side View is a Firefox extension that allows you to view two different browser tabs simultaneously in the same tab, within the same browser window.

    [...]

    With Side View, you can compare news stories and informational material against one another. You can also read an article on one side, and compare quoted source material to the original on the other side.

    And this is a really great use of Side View: Comparing revisions of documents and images to note changes and see if the new version looks and reads better than the old version. Version control—all in the same window!

  • Latest Firefox Test Pilot Experiments: Custom Color and Side View

    Before we bring new features to Firefox, we give them a test run to make sure they’re right for our users. To help determine which features we add and how exactly they should work, we created the Test Pilot program.

    Since the launch of Test Pilot, we have experimented with 16 different features, and three have graduated to live in Firefox full time: Activity Stream, Containers and Screenshots. Recently, Screenshots surpassed more than 100M+ screenshots since it launched. Thanks to active Firefox users who opt to take part in Test Pilot experiments.

    This week, the Test Pilot team is continuing to evolve Firefox features with two new extensions that will offer users a more customizable and productive browsing experience.

  • Introducing Firefox Color and Side View

    We’re excited to launch two new Test Pilot experiments that add power and style to Firefox.

  • Overscripted! Digging into JavaScript execution at scale

    As champions of a healthy Internet, we at Mozilla have been increasingly concerned about the current advertisement-centric web content ecosystem. Web-based ad technologies continue to evolve increasingly sophisticated programmatic models for targeting individuals based on their demographic characteristics and interests. The financial underpinnings of the current system incentivise optimizing on engagement above all else. This, in turn, has evolved an insatiable appetite for data among advertisers aggressively iterating on models to drive human clicks.

  • Overscripted Web: a Mozilla Data Analysis Challenge

    What happens while you are browsing the Web? Mozilla wants to invite data and computer scientists, students and interested communities to join the “Overscripted Web: a Data Analysis Challenge”, and help explore JavaScript running in browsers and what this means for users. We gathered a rich dataset and we are looking for exciting new observations, patterns and research findings that help to better understand the Web. We want to bring the winners to speak at MozFest, our annual festival for the open Internet held in London.

    [...]

    Cryptojacking: websites using user’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies are mainly video streaming sites

  • Management books in review

    I became a manager of a fantastic team in February.  My standard response to a new role is to read many books and talk to a lot of people who are have experience is this area so I have the background to be successful.  

4 Firefox extensions worth checking out

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Moz/FF

I've been a Firefox user since v2.0 came out about 12 years ago. There were times when it wasn't the best web browser out there, but still, I kept going back to it for one reason: My favorite extensions wouldn't work with anything else.

Today, I like the current state of Firefox itself for being fast, customizable, and open source, but I also appreciate extensions for manifesting ideas the original developers never thought of: What if you want to browse without a mouse? What if you don't like staring at bright light coming out of the monitor at night? What about using a dedicated media player for YouTube and other video hosting websites for better performance and extended playback controls? And what if you need a more sophisticated way to disable trackers and speed up loading pages?

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Inside Firefox’s DOH engine

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Moz/FF

DNS over HTTPS (DOH) is a feature where a client shortcuts the standard native resolver and instead asks a dedicated DOH server to resolve names.

Compared to regular unprotected DNS lookups done over UDP or TCP, DOH increases privacy, security and sometimes even performance. It also makes it easy to use a name server of your choice for a particular application instead of the one configured globally (often by someone else) for your entire system.

DNS over HTTPS is quite simply the same regular DNS packets (RFC 1035 style) normally sent in clear-text over UDP or TCP but instead sent with HTTPS requests. Your typical DNS server provider (like your ISP) might not support this yet.

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Mozilla and GitHub

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Moz/FF
  • Trying Firefox Variants: From Firefox ESR to Pale Moon to Quantum

    For the last year or so the Firefox development team has been making life ever harder for users. First they broke all the old extensions that were based on XUL and XBL, so a lot of customizations no longer worked. Then they made PulseAudio mandatory on Linux bug (1345661), so on systems like mine that don't run Pulse, there's no way to get sound in a web page. Forget YouTube or XenoCanto unless you keep another browser around for that purpose.

    For those reasons I'd been avoiding the Firefox upgrade, sticking to Debian's firefox-esr ("Extended Support Release"). But when Debian updated firefox-esr to Firefox 56 ESR late last year, performance became unusable. Like half a minute between when you hit Page Down and when the page actually scrolls. It was time to switch browsers.

  • Opting into European mode

    Trans Europa Express was covered on ghacks.net. This is an experimental Firefox extension that tries to get web sites to give you European-level privacy rights, even if the site classifies you as non-European.

  • "Will we complete this sprint in time?": Modifying GitHub To Work For Us

    My team estimates the time to complete an issue using “T-shirt sizing”: we assign size labels “S” (<= 1 day), “M” (2-3 days), and “L” (4-5 days). One quick, albeit rough, way to estimate the amount of time it’d take to complete a sprint is to sum together the number of days these size labels represent (we use the upper bounds to be safe) to find out the number of “engineering days” it’ll take to complete the sprint. To find out if you’ll complete the sprint on time, this number can be subtracted by the number of engineering days until the deadline: the number of days until the deadline multiplied by the number of engineers you have.

Mozilla: Rust, Extensions, Mixed Reality

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Moz/FF
  • Baby’s First Rust+WebAssembly module: Say hi to JSConf EU!

    The Arch is a a larger-than-life experience that uses 30,000 colored LEDs to create a canvas for light animations.

    And you can take charge of this space. Using modules, you can create a light animation.

    But even though this is JSConf, these animations aren’t just powered by JavaScript modules. In fact, we hope you will try something new… Rust + WebAssembly.

  • Mozilla Addons Blog: June’s Featured Extensions

    Enjoy a gorgeous new tab page with customizable background images and many informational widgets to choose from, like local weather, date/time, bookmarks, and more.

  • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 8

    Now that we are back from our Chicago work week, we are heads down adding new features, making improvements and fixing bugs.

Mozilla: Development, Philosophy, and Improving DNS Privacy in Firefox

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  • Applying Open Practices — Sage Bionetworks

    Founded as a spin-out from Merck in 2009, Sage Bionetworks is a non-profit research organization that seeks to develop predictors of disease and accelerate health research by applying a large and impactful set of open practises. These allow for a global research community to share knowledge, interpret large-scale data, crowdsource hypothesis-tests and foster innovation through community challenges.

  • Welcome Shruti to the Test Pilot team!

    A few weeks ago, Shruti Singh joined the Test Pilot team for the summer as an Outreachy intern. Read on to learn more about her and what she’ll be working on.

  • The importance of reviewing suggestions

    While at Mozilla we want to ensure consistent and high-quality translations, we also want to make sure that contributing is a rewarding and pleasant experience for everyone. Translating in a timely manner is important, however there are other essential things to take into consideration. For example, leaving non-urgent projects with missing strings so that new localizers can get involved is one of them. Reviewing pending suggestions regularly is another – and the main topic of this post.

  • A Vision for Engineering Workflow at Mozilla (Part One)

    The OED’s second definition of “vision” is “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.” Thus I felt more than a little trepidation when I was tasked with creating a vision for my team. What should this look like? How do I scope it? What should it cover? The Internet was of surprisingly little help; it seems that either no one thinks about tooling and engineering processes at this level, or (perhaps more likely) they keep it a secret when they do. The best article I found was from Microsoft Research in which they studied how tools are adopted at Microsoft, and their conclusion was essentially that they had no overarching strategy.

    Around six months later, I presented a Vision for Engineering Workflow at our fortnightly managers' meeting. But first, some context: a bit about Mozilla’s Engineering Workflow team, and about the challenges we face.

  • Improving DNS Privacy in Firefox

    Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the oldest parts of internet architecture, and remains one that has largely been untouched by efforts to make the web safer and more private. On the Firefox network and security teams, we’re working to change that by encrypting DNS queries and by testing a service that keeps DNS providers from collecting and sharing your browsing history.

    For more than 30 years, DNS has served as a key mechanism for accessing sites and services on the web. Browsers (including Firefox) use DNS to access a distributed database that turns URLs into TCP/IP addressing information. Firefox cannot do much without the service. DNS hails from the days of a kinder, more gentle Internet where it was normal to make this kind of query using unencrypted protocols and send them to any nearby server who claimed to be able to answer it.

  • A cartoon intro to DNS over HTTPS

    Threats to users’ privacy and security are growing. At Mozilla, we closely track these threats. We believe we have a duty to do everything we can to protect Firefox users and their data.

    We’re taking on the companies and organizations that want to secretly collect and sell user data. This is why we added tracking protection and created the Facebook container extension. And you’ll be seeing us do more things to protect our users over the coming months.

  • Working for Good: Accel Lifestyle

    The web should be open to everyone, a place for unbridled innovation, education, and creative expression. That’s why Firefox fights for Net Neutrality, promotes online privacy rights, and supports open-source tech around the globe. We strive to make the online community a better place. We also know people everywhere work tirelessly to improve their own communities. In this series, we’re profiling businesses that work to make the world better—and use Firefox to support a healthy, open, and safe internet.

  • Distributed Teams: On the non-Universality of “Not it!”

    I’ve surprisingly not written a lot over here about working on a distributed team in a distributed organization. Mozilla is about 60% people who work in MoLos (office workers) and 40% people who don’t (remotees). My team is 50/50: I’m remote near Toronto, one works from his home in Italy, and the other two sit in the Berlin office most days.

Mozilla: WebAssembly, Mozilla Test Pilot, VR and Bootstrap

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  • Testing GNU FreeDink in your browser

    This is a first version that can be polished further but it works quite well.
    This is the original C/C++/SDL2 code with a few tweaks, cross-compiled to WebAssembly (and an alternate version in asm.js) with emscripten.
    Nothing brand new I know, but things are getting smoother, and WebAssembly is definitely a performance boost.

    I like distributed and autonomous tools, so I'm generally not inclined to web-based solutions.
    In this case however, this is a local version of the game. There's no server side. Savegames are in your browser local storage. Even importing D-Mods (game add-ons) is performed purely locally in the in-memory virtual FS with a custom .tar.bz2 extractor cross-compiled to WebAssembly.

  • Welcome Punam to the Test pilot team!

    A couple months ago Punam transferred from another team at Mozilla to join the Test Pilot team. Below she answers some questions about her experience and what she’s looking forward to. Welcome, Punam!

    [...]

    Before Mozilla I have worked with SonicWall, eBay and Symantec doing web development.

  • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 7

    Missed us last week? Our team met in Chicago for a work week. If you had the chance to come and meet us at the CHIVR / AR Chicago meetup, thanks for swinging by. We strategized our short and long term plans and we're really excited to share what we're unfolding in the coming weeks.

  • Why bootstrap?

    Over the next few quarters, I'm going to focus my attention on Mozilla's experimentation platform. One of the first questions we need to answer is how we're going to calculate and report the necessary measures of variance. Any experimentation platform needs to be able to compare metrics between two groups.

    For example, say we're looking at retention for a control and experiment group. Control shows a retention of 88.45% and experiment shows a retention of 90.11%. Did the experimental treatment cause a real increase in retention or did the experiment branch just get lucky when we assigned users? We need to calculate some measure of variance to be able to decide.

    The two most common methods to do this calculation are the frequentist's two-sample t-test or some form of the bootstrap.

    In ye olden days, we'd be forced to use the two-sample t-test. The bootstrap requires a lot of compute power that just wasn't available until recently. As you can imagine, the bootstrap is all the rage in the Data Science world. Of course it is. We get to replace statistics with raw compute power! That's the dream!

Firefox 63 Plans and Mozilla's Error Code Plans

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Moz/FF
  • Firefox 63 to Get Improved Tracking Protection That Blocks In-Browser Miners

    Mozilla developers are working on an improved Tracking Protection system for the Firefox browser that will land in version 63, scheduled for release in mid-October.

    Tracking Protection is a feature that blocks Firefox from loading scripts from abusive trackers. It was first launched with Firefox's Private Browsing mode a few years back, but since Firefox 57, released in November 2017, users can enable it for normal browsing sessions at any time.

  • Firefox 63 To Block Cryptojackers With Advanced Tracking Protection

    It has been reported by Bleeping Computer, a security blog, that Firefox 63 will be launched with an improved tracking protection system to ward off the threats and security concerns posed by in-browser miners.

    With the surge in incidents involving mining malware trying to use your CPU power to perform some CPU-intensive calculations for their own benefit, many browsers have raised their guards by providing additional security features. (You can read more about blocking cryptocurrency mining in your browser in our earlier published article.)

  • What’s the 411 on 404 messages: Internet error messages explained

    Nothing’s worse than a broken website. Well, maybe an asteroid strike. Or a plague. So maybe a broken website isn’t the end of the world, but it’s still annoying. And it’s even more annoying not knowing what those weird error messages mean. That’s why we’ve decoded the most common HTTP error messages.

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More in Tux Machines

Linux Foundation on Value of GNU/Linux Skills

  • Jobs Report: Rapid Growth in Demand for Open-Source Tech Talent
    The need for open-source technology skills are on the rise and companies and organizations continue to increase their recruitment of open-source technology talent, while offering additional training and certification opportunities for existing staff in order to fill skills gaps, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report, released today by The Linux Foundation and Dice. 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open-source talent, and nearly half (48%) report their organizations have begun to support open-source projects with code or other resources for the explicit reason of recruiting individuals with those software skills. After a hiatus, Linux skills are back on top as the most sought after skill with 80% of hiring managers looking for tech professionals with Linux expertise. 55% of employers are now also offering to pay for employee certifications, up from 47% in 2017 and only 34% in 2016.
  • Market value of open source skills on the up
    The demand for open source technology skills is soaring, however, 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open source talent, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report which was released this week.
  • SD Times news digest: Linux Foundation releases open-source jobs report, Android Studio 3.2 beta and Rust 1.27
    The Linux Foundation in collaboration with Dice.com has revealed the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report. The report is designed to examine trends in open-source careers as well as find out which skills are the most in demand. Key findings included 83 percent of hiring managers believes hiring open source talent is a priority and Linux is the most in-demand open-source skill. In addition, 57 percent of hiring managers are looking for people with container skills and many organizations are starting to get more involved in open-source in order to attract developers.

GNU/Linux Servers as Buzzwords: "Cloud" and "IaaS"

  • Linux: The new frontier of enterprise in the cloud
    Well obviously, like you mentioned, we've been a Linux company for a long time. We've really seen Linux expand along the lines of a lot of the things that are happening in the enterprise. We're seeing more and more enterprise infrastructure become software centric or software defined. Red Hat's expanded their portfolio in storage, in automation with the Ansible platform. And then the really big trend lately with Linux has been Linux containers and technologies like [Google] Cooper Netties. So, we're seeing enterprises want to build new applications. We're seeing the infrastructure be more software defined. Linux ends up becoming the foundation for a lot of the things going on in enterprise IT these days.
  • Why next-generation IaaS is likely to be open source
    This is partly down to Kubernetes, which has done much to popularise container technology, helped by its association with Docker and others, which has ushered in a period of explosive innovation in the ‘container platform’ space. This is where Kubernetes stands out, and today it could hold the key to the future of IaaS.

Ubuntu: Snapcraft, Intel, AMD Patches, and Telemetry

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Snapcraft
    Canonical, the company behind operating system and Linux distribution Ubuntu, is looking to help developers package, distribute and update apps for Linux and IoT with its open-source project Snapcraft. According to Evan Dandrea, engineering manager at Canonical, Snapcraft “is a platform for publishing applications to an audience of millions of Linux users.” The project was initially created in 2014, but recently underwent rebranding efforts.
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Now Certified on Select Intel NUC Mini PCs and Boards for IoT Development, LibreOffice 6.0.5 Now Available, Git 2.8 Released and More
    Canonical yesterday announced that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is certified on select Intel NUC Mini PCs and boards for IoT development. According to the Ubuntu blog post, this pairing "provides benefits to device manufacturers at every stage of their development journey and accelerates time to market." You can download the certified image from here. In other Canonical news, yesterday the company released a microcode firmware update for Ubuntu users with AMD processors to address the Spectre vulnerability, Softpedia reports. The updated amd64-microcode packages for AMD CPUs are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), "all AMD users are urged to update their systems."
  • Canonical issues Spectre v2 fix for all Ubuntu systems with AMD chips
    JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU'D HEARD THE END of Spectre, Canonical has released a microcode update for all Ubuntu users that have AMD processors in a bid to rid of the vulnerability. The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were made public at the beginning of this year, affecting literally billions of devices that had been made in the past two decades.
  • A first look at desktop metrics
    We first announced our intention to ask users to provide basic, not-personally-identifiable system data back in February. Since then we have built the Ubuntu Report tool and integrated it in to the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS initial setup tool. You can see an example of the data being collected on the Ubuntu Report Github page.

Most secure Linux distros in 2018

Think of a Linux distribution as a bundle of software delivered together, based on the Linux kernel - a kernel being the core of a system that connects software to hardware and vice versa – with a GNU operating system and a desktop environment, giving the user a visual way to operate the system via a graphical user interface. Linux has a reputation as being more secure than Windows and Mac OS due to a combination of factors – not all of them about the software. Firstly, although desktop Linux users are on the up, Linux environments are far less common in the grand scheme of things than Windows devices on personal computers. The Linux community also tends to be more technical. There are technical reasons too, including fundamental differences in the way the distribution architecture tends to be structured. Nevertheless over the last decade security-focused distributions started to appear, which will appeal to the privacy-conscious user who wants to avoid the worldwide state-sanctioned internet spying that the west has pioneered and where it continues to innovate. Of course, none of these will guarantee your privacy, but they're a good start. Here we list some of them. It is worth noting that security best practices are often about process rather than the technology, avoiding careless mistakes like missing patches and updates, and using your common sense about which websites you visit, what you download, and what you plug into your computer. Read more