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Moz/FF

Mozilla's CEO Steps Down

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Moz/FF
  • My Next Chapter

    Earlier this morning I shared the news internally that – while I’ve been a Mozillian for 15 years so far, and plan to be for many more years – this will be my last year as CEO.

    When I returned to Mozilla just over five years ago, it was during a particularly tumultuous time in our history. Looking back it’s amazing to reflect on how far we’ve come, and I am so incredibly proud of all that our teams have accomplished over the years.

    Today our products, technology and policy efforts are stronger and more resonant in the market than ever, and we have built significant new organizational capabilities and financial strength to fuel our work. From our new privacy-forward product strategy to initiatives like the State of the Internet we’re ready to seize the tremendous opportunity and challenges ahead to ensure we’re doing even more to put people in control of their connected lives and shape the future of the internet for the public good.

    In short, Mozilla is an exceptionally better place today, and we have all the fundamentals in place for continued positive momentum for years to come.

    It’s with that backdrop that I made the decision that it’s time for me to take a step back and start my own next chapter. This is a good place to recruit our next CEO and for me to take a meaningful break and recharge before considering what’s next for me. It may be a cliché — but I’ll embrace it — as I’m also looking forward to spending more time with my family after a particularly intense but gratifying tour of duty.

  • Thank you, Chris

    Thank you, Chris.

    Chris Beard has been Mozilla Corporation’s CEO for 5 and a half years. Chris has announced 2019 will be his last year in this role. I want to thank Chris from the bottom of my heart for everything he has done for Mozilla. He has brought Mozilla enormous benefits — new ideas, new capabilities, new organizational approaches. As CEO Chris has put us on a new and better path. Chris’ tenure has seen the development of important organization capabilities and given us a much stronger foundation on which to build. This includes reinvigorating our flagship web browser Firefox to be once again a best-in-class product. It includes recharging our focus on meeting the online security and privacy needs facing people today. And it includes expanding our product offerings beyond the browser to include a suite of privacy and security-focused products and services from Facebook Container and Enhanced Tracking Protection to Firefox Monitor.

    Chris will remain an advisor to the board. We recognize some people may think these words are a formula and have no deep meaning. We think differently. Chris is a true “Mozillian.” He has been devoted to Mozilla for the last 15 years, and has brought this dedication to many different roles at Mozilla. When Chris left Mozilla to join Greylock as an “executive-in-residence” in 2013, he remained an advisor to Mozilla Corporation. That was an important relationship, and Chris and I were in contact when it started to become clear that Chris could be the right CEO for MoCo. So over the coming years I expect to work with Chris on mission-related topics. And I’ll consider myself lucky to do so.

Mozilla Thunderbird 68.0 Released with Many New Features and Improvements

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Moz/FF

Many months in the works, the Mozilla Thunderbird 68.0 release if finally here, bringing lots of new features and improvements. Highlights include the ability to mark all folders of an email account as read, improved filter logging and support for running filter periodically, TCP keepalive support for the IMAP protocol, as well as OAuth2 authentication support for Yandex.

Also new is the ability to link to attachments in an email instead of uploading them, support for selecting language packs in Advanced Options, a policy engine that allows for customized enterprise deployments of Thunderbird using a cross-platform JSON file or Windows Group Policy, and complete Unicode support for MAPI interfaces, including MAPISendMailW.

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Also: Thunderbird 68.0 Released As A Big Update For The Mozilla Mail Client

Mozilla, Rust and More Programming Picks

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Development
Moz/FF
  • Mozilla VR Blog: New Avatar Features in Hubs

    It is now easier than ever to customize avatars for Hubs! Choosing the way that you represent yourself in a 3D space is an important part of interacting in a virtual world, and we want to make it possible for anyone to have creative control over how they choose to show up in their communities. With the new avatar remixing update, members of the Hubs community can publish avatars that they create under a remixable, Creative Commons license, and grant others the ability to derive new works from those avatars. We’ve also added more options for creating custom avatars.

    When you change your avatar in Hubs, you will now have the opportunity to browse through 'Featured' avatars and ‘Newest’ avatars. Avatars that are remixable will have an icon on them that allows you to save a version of that avatar to your own ‘My Avatars’ library, where you can customize the textures on the avatar to create your own spin on the original work. The ‘Red Panda’ avatar below is a remix of the original Panda Bot.

  • QMO: Firefox 69 Beta 14

    As you may already know, Friday August 16th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 69 Beta 14.

  • Async Stack Traces in Rust

    One neat result of Rust’s futures and async/await design is that all of the async callers are on the stack below the async callees. In most other languages, only the youngest async callee is on the stack, and none of the async callers. Because the youngest frame is most often not where a bug’s root cause lies, this extra context makes debugging async code easier in Rust.

  • Facebook's HHVM Begins Seeing Rust Rewrite

    Facebook's HHVM implementation that started off as a high performance PHP5 implementation but is now just focused on powering their own Hack programming language is beginning to see some of its code rewritten in Rust.

    HHVM 4.20 was released on Tuesday and with this release they have been transitioning some of their code from OCaml to Rust.

  • Things I Learnt from a Senior Software Engineer

    year ago, I started working full-time at Bloomberg. That’s when I imagined writing this post. I imagined myself to be full of ideas that I could spit out on paper when the time comes. Just one month in, I realised it won’t be that easy: I was already forgetting things I learnt. They either became so internalized that my mind tricked me into believing I always knew them1, or they slipped my mind.

    That’s one of the reasons I started keeping a human log. Every day, whenever I came across an interesting situation, I logged it. All thanks to sitting next to a senior software engineer, I could closely observe what they were doing, and how it was different from what I would do. We pair-programmed a lot, which made doing this easier. Further, in my team culture it’s not frowned upon to “snoop behind” people writing code. Whenever I sensed something interesting going on, I’d roll around and watch what was happening. I always had the context, thanks to regular standups.

    I sat next to a senior software engineer for a year. Here’s what I learnt.

  • Quansight Labs Dask Update

    Finally, there's been a push for a more coordinated effort towards project maintenance and development by core Dask maintainers at Quansight, Anaconda, and NVIDIA. As part of this effort, we spend a portion of our work week on day-to-day project maintenance tasks (e.g. responding on issues, reviewing pull requests, fixing CI systems, etc.) as well as working on contributions that require significant amounts of time or expertise to implement (e.g. large-scale refactoring, adding new features, writing documentation, etc.). Today, Dask users typically get a quicker response from a core maintainer when opening an issue or pull request, in part, because of these efforts. I, and perhaps other core maintainers, hope to write more about this process in the future.

  • Little Trouble in Big Data – Part 3

    We have shown how a simple “How do I use mmap()?” mentoring project has grown beyond its initial scope and how we have used mmap, Eigen,parallel_for/parallel_reduce, flow graphs [maybe replace these two with Intel Thread Building Blocks] and zlib to nicely make the problem tractable. This has shown a nice set of performance improvements whilst at the same time keeping the disk and RAM usage within feasible limits.

TenFourFox FPR16b1 available

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Moz/FF
Web

FPR16 got delayed because I really tried very hard to make some progress on our two biggest JavaScript deficiencies, the infamous issues 521 (async and await) and 533 (this is undefined). Unfortunately, not only did I make little progress on either, but the speculative fix I tried for issue 533 turned out to be the patch that unsettled the optimized build and had to be backed out. There is some partial work on issue 521, though, including a fully working parser patch. The problem is plumbing this into the browser runtime which is ripe for all kinds of regressions and is not currently implemented (instead, for compatibility, async functions get turned into a bytecode of null throw null return, essentially making any call to an async function throw an exception because it wouldn't have worked in the first place).

This wouldn't seem very useful except that effectively what the whole shebang does is convert a compile-time error into a runtime warning, such that other functions that previously might not have been able to load because of the error can now be parsed and hopefully run. With luck this should improve the functionality of sites using these functions even if everything still doesn't fully work, as a down payment hopefully on a future implementation. It may not be technically possible but it's a start.

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Mozilla: WebAssembly Interface Type, Bryce and Brady, FPR16

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Moz/FF
  • WebAssembly Interface Types: Interoperate with All the Things!

    People are excited about running WebAssembly outside the browser.

    That excitement isn’t just about WebAssembly running in its own standalone runtime. People are also excited about running WebAssembly from languages like Python, Ruby, and Rust.

  • Support.Mozilla.Org: Introducing Bryce and Brady

    I’m thrilled to share this update with you today. Bryce and Brady have joined us last week and will be able to help out on Support for some of the new efforts Mozilla are working on towards creating a connected and integrated Firefox experience.

    They are going to be involved with new products, but also they won’t forget to put extra effort in providing support on forums and as well as serving as an escalation point for hard to solve issues.

  • FPR16 delays

    FPR16 was supposed to reach you in beta sometime tomorrow but I found a reproducible crash in the optimized build, probably due to one of my vain attempts to fix JavaScript bugs. I'm still investigating exactly which change(s) were responsible. We should still make the deadline (September 3) to be concurrent with the 60.9/68.1 ESRs, but there will not be much of a beta testing period and I don't anticipate it being available until probably at least Friday or Saturday. More later.

Mozilla Firefox in Kazakhstan

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla takes action to protect users in Kazakhstan

    Today, Mozilla and Google took action to protect the online security and privacy of individuals in Kazakhstan. Together the companies deployed technical solutions within Firefox and Chrome to block the Kazakhstan government’s ability to intercept internet traffic within the country.

    The response comes after credible reports that internet service providers in Kazakhstan have required people in the country to download and install a government-issued certificate on all devices and in every browser in order to access the internet. This certificate is not trusted by either of the companies, and once installed, allowed the government to decrypt and read anything a user types or posts, including intercepting their account information and passwords. This targeted people visiting popular sites Facebook, Twitter and Google, among others.

    “People around the world trust Firefox to protect them as they navigate the internet, especially when it comes to keeping them safe from attacks like this that undermine their security. We don’t take actions like this lightly, but protecting our users and the integrity of the web is the reason Firefox exists.” — Marshall Erwin, Senior Director of Trust and Security, Mozilla

  • Protecting our Users in Kazakhstan

    In July, a Firefox user informed Mozilla of a security issue impacting Firefox users in Kazakhstan: They stated that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Kazakhstan had begun telling their customers that they must install a government-issued root certificate on their devices. What the ISPs didn’t tell their customers was that the certificate was being used to intercept network communications. Other users and researchers confirmed these claims, and listed 3 dozen popular social media and communications sites that were affected.

    The security and privacy of HTTPS encrypted communications in Firefox and other browsers relies on trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) to issue website certificates only to someone that controls the domain name or website. For example, you and I can’t obtain a trusted certificate for www.facebook.com because Mozilla has strict policies for all CAs trusted by Firefox which only allow an authorized person to get a certificate for that domain. However, when a user in Kazakhstan installs the root certificate provided by their ISP, they are choosing to trust a CA that doesn’t have to follow any rules and can issue a certificate for any website to anyone. This enables the interception and decryption of network communications between Firefox and the website, sometimes referred to as a Monster-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack.

    We believe this act undermines the security of our users and the web, and it directly contradicts Principle 4 of the Mozilla Manifesto that states, “Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.”

Using WebThings Gateway notifications as a warning system for your home

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Moz/FF

Ever wonder if that leaky pipe you fixed is holding up? With a trip to the hardware store and a Mozilla WebThings Gateway you can set up a cheap leak sensor to keep an eye on the situation, whether you’re home or away. Although you can look up detector status easily on the web-based dashboard, it would be better to not need to pay attention unless a leak actually occurs. In the WebThings Gateway 0.9 release, a number of different notification mechanisms can be set up, including emails, apps, and text messages.

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Announcing Rust 1.37.0

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Development
Moz/FF

The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.37.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

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Mozilla's WebThings Gateway now available for Turris Omnia router

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Moz/FF

The first step for adding devices is to put them in a mode that is receptive to a new pairing, one at a time, then to tell the Gateway web application to scan for them. Once they are recognized (and renamed to something that makes more sense to the user), there are a number of different options. The device state can be queried (e.g. is a door open or a light on) or changed, for example; some devices may require an add-on in order to access them. Users can also create a floor plan of their house to place icons of the devices in the right locations.

Beyond that, there is a rules engine where automated changes can be programmed. So if the user wants a certain light to go on or off at a specific time, for example, that can be done. The interface is icon oriented, which should make it easier for less technical users. There is also an experimental Smart Assistant feature that allows voice or typed commands like "turn on the kitchen light" to be handled. The voice data is sent to Google's voice assistant API; the text commands are handled locally on the Gateway device. It is not clear why the assistant is not using Mozilla's speech-processing engine.

New for version 0.9 is a Notifier add-on that will send an email or SMS text message based on rules that the user specifies, so motion sensor activity could trigger a text message, for example. Accompanying the Gateway release is the 0.12 release of the WebThings Framework. It has made some changes to the Web Thing API to more closely align it with the recent W3C WoT Thing Description draft.

Centralizing IoT handling on a system controlled by the user is an admirable goal. The IoT world has so far proven to be an insecure morass of competing lock-in plays, or so it seems to this cynical observer. Wresting control of the devices from the manufacturers and placing it in the hands of their owners seems like an excellent step forward. Hopefully Mozilla sticks with this project for the long haul and that it gets the community support that it surely deserves—and needs.

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Mozilla: Secure Connections, Localisation and Latest on Rust

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla revamps Firefox's HTTPS address bar information

    Mozilla plans to make changes to the information that the organization's Firefox browser displays in its address bar when it connects to sites.

    Firefox displays an i-icon and a lock symbol currently when connecting to sites. The i-icon displays information about the security of the connection, content blocking, and permissions, the lock icon indicates the security state of the connection visually. A green lock indicates a secure connection and if a site has an Extended Validation certificate, the name of the company is displayed in the address bar as well.

    Mozilla plans to make changes to the information that is displayed in the browser's address bar that all Firefox users need to be aware of.

  • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: August Edition

    We’re quickly approaching the deadline for Firefox 69. The last day to ship your changes in this version is August 20, less than a week away.

    A lot of content targeting Firefox 70 already landed and it’s available in Pontoon for translation, with more to come in the following days. Here are a few of the areas where you should focus your testing on.

  • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 299
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    The LLVM compiler project provides a header file called STLExtras.h that extends the capabilities of C++ without any dependency on the rest of LLVM. In this article, we take a quick look at its basic functionality.

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    Learning Python can be difficult. You can spend time reading a textbook or watching videos, but then struggle to actually put what you've learned into practice. Or you might spend a ton of time learning syntax and get bored or lose motivation. How can you increase your chances of success? By building Python projects. That way you're learning by actually doing what you want to do! When I was learning Python, building projects helped me bring together everything I was learning. Once I started building projects, I immediately felt like I was making more progress.

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    I can’t tell you how amazing it was to meet the individuals I read, listen to, or who make the tools I use. I was so happy to meet the authors that helped me to grow over the last few years, especially Dan Bader, Peter Baumgartner, Matt Harrison, Reuven Lerner, Harry Percival , and Lacey Williams Henschel. I love podcasts, so it was wonderful to meet Michael Kennedy and Brian Okken in person. And I was happy to meet Paul Ganssle, Russell Keith-Magee, Barry Warsaw, and other maintainers and contributors. It was a delight to meet Bob Belderbos and Julian Sequeira from PyBites.

  • Find the first non-consecutive number with Python

    Your task is to find the first element of an array that is not consecutive. E.g. If we have an array [1,2,3,4,6,7,8] then 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 are all consecutive but 6 is not, so that’s the first non-consecutive number. If the whole array is consecutive then return None.

  • Perceiving Python programming paradigms

    Early each year, TIOBE announces its Programming Language of The Year. When its latest annual TIOBE index report came out, I was not at all surprised to see Python again winning the title, which was based on capturing the most search engine ranking points (especially on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, and Baidu) in 2018.