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Moz/FF

Mozilla on Fake News and Legal Disputes

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Moz/FF
  • Woke up and thought you were in a different reality? Reality Redrawn Challenge launches with a total prize value of $40,000

    It’s not often I get to invite artists and developers to collaborate together so I’m excited to see how they respond to the Reality Redrawn Challenge from Mozilla which launches today. The boundaries between truth and fiction are becoming harder to define, in part because of the proliferation of fake news and other forms of misinformation. Mozilla wants to shed light on this by sponsoring public demonstrations, using mixed reality and other art media that make the power of misinformation and its potential impacts visible and visceral.

    We live in strange times in which legitimate news organizations such as CNN have to launch advertising campaigns to remind people what real information is. Meanwhile social networks that connect millions more people struggle to help them differentiate truth from fiction and to define their unplanned role as media platforms.

    Throughout historic moments of upheaval people have used art to make sense of what appears to be dystopian reality. The west side of the Berlin wall became one of the largest canvases in the world as Berliners attempted to make sense of their divided city, while the east side remained blank as none were allowed to get close enough to paint. I also like to remember that Jazz icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone set an enduring challenge to all artists when she asked “how can you be an artist and not reflect the times?”

  • Mozilla Files Cross-Complaint Against Yahoo Holdings and Oath

    Yahoo Holdings and Oath filed a complaint against Mozilla on December 1, 2017, claiming that we improperly terminated the agreement between Mozilla and Yahoo. Today, in response, Mozilla filed a cross-complaint against Yahoo Holdings and Oath for breach of contract.

    While this is a legal matter and much of it is confidential, as Mozilla, we want to share as much information as we can in the spirit of our values of openness and transparency.

    We will create a wiki page with links to relevant public court documents – over time we expect to add more content as it becomes public.

Mozilla: Tor Browser Features and STT

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Quietly Adds Features From Tor Browser to Firefox

    In 2017, the developers at Mozilla have quietly added several features to Firefox that originated from the Tor Project’s Tor Browser. The new features come from the Tor Uplift project, which helps Mozilla integrate patches to Firefox that are used in the Tor Browser. The Tor Uplift project patches to Firefox help increase privacy and security, and the project has been helping improve Firefox since last year.

    Around 95% of the code in the Tor Browser itself comes from Mozilla, as it is based on Mozilla’s Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR). Mozilla, which earlier this month released Firefox version 57, known as Firefox Quantum, has most recently included a feature from the Tor Browser known as First Party Isolation.

  • Mozilla talks up speech-to-text application platform

    Mozilla is on a mission… and it’s a mission designed to ‘empower’ software application developers with tools to help create more STT apps.

    STT you say?

    Yes, that would be speech-to-text applications.

Mozilla’s new open source model aims to revolutionize voice recognition

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Moz/FF
OSS

You may have noticed the steady and sure progress of voice recognition tech in recent times – all the big tech firms want to make strides in this arena if only to improve their digital assistants, from Cortana to Siri – but Mozilla wants to push harder, and more broadly, on this front with the release of an open source speech recognition model.

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Also: Mozilla releases open source speech recognition tools

Mozilla Firefox Quantum

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Moz/FF
  • Can the new Firefox Quantum regain its web browser market share?

    When Firefox was introduced in 2004, it was designed to be a lean and optimized web browser, based on the bloated code from the Mozilla Suite. Between 2004 and 2009, many considered Firefox to be the best web browser, since it was faster, more secure, offered tabbed browsing and was more customizable through extensions than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. When Chrome was introduced in 2008, it took many of Firefox’s best ideas and improved on them. Since 2010, Chrome has eaten away at Firefox’s market share, relegating Firefox to a tiny niche of free software enthusiasts and tinkerers who like the customization of its XUL extensions.

    According to StatCounter, Firefox’s market share of web browsers has fallen from 31.8% in December 2009 to just 6.1% today. Firefox can take comfort in the fact that it is now virtually tied with its former arch-nemesis, Internet Explorer and its variants. All of Microsoft’s browsers only account for 6.2% of current web browsing according to StatCounter. Microsoft has largely been replaced by Google, whose web browsers now controls 56.5% of the market. Even worse, is the fact that the WebKit engine used by Google now represents over 83% of web browsing, so web sites are increasingly focusing on compatibility with just one web engine. While Google and Apple are more supportive of W3C and open standards than Microsoft was in the late 90s, the web is increasingly being monopolized by one web engine and two companies, whose business models are not always based on the best interests of users or their rights.

  • Firefox Nightly Adds CSD Option

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Firefox 57 is awesome — so awesome that I’m finally using it as my default browser again.

    But there is one thing it the Linux version of Firefox sorely needs: client-side decoration.

The Fox Hunt - Firefox and friends compared

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web

So what should you use? Well, it depends. You want extensions, the entire repertoire as it's meant to be? Go with Pale Moon, but be aware of the inconsistencies and problems down the road. However, another piece of penalty is less than optimal looks. If you are more focused on speed and future development, then it's Firefox, as it offers the most complete compromise. The add-ons will make it or break it. Waterfox makes less sense, because the margins of benefit are too small.

My take is - Firefox. It's not ideal, but Pale Moon does not solve the problem fully, it combines nostalgia with technicals, and that's a rough patch, even though the project is quite admirable in what it's trying to do. Alas, I'm afraid the old extensions will die, and the new ones won't be compatible, so the browser will be left stranded somewhere in between. But hopefully, this little comparison test gives you a better overview and understanding how things work.

Finally, we go back to the question of speed. We've seen how one flavor of Fox stacks against another, but what about Chrome? I will answer that in a follow-up article, which will compare Chrome to Vivaldi, again based on popular demand, and then we will also check how all these different browsers compare using my small, limited and entirely personal corner of the Web. Stay tuned.

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Also: Firefox Private Browsing vs. Chrome Incognito: Which is Faster?

Firefox Quantum Now Rolling Out to All Ubuntu Linux Users, Update Now

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Moz/FF

It didn't take long, and just two days after its official launch, the Mozilla Firefox Quantum web browser (version 57.0) landed today in the stable software repositories of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr).

Firefox 57.0 a.k.a. Firefox Quantum is Mozilla's latest and greatest web browser, offering speeds twice as fast as of previous releases, thanks to the implementation of an all-new Photon browsing engine that's capable of leveraging the full potential of your personal computer, as well as a brand-new interface.

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Mozilla: Firefox 57 “Quantum” and More

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Moz/FF
  • Fast. For good. Launching the new Firefox into the World

    Thirteen years ago, we marked the launch of Firefox 1.0 with a crowdfunded New York Times ad. It listed the names of every single person who contributed — hundreds of people. And it opened a lot of eyes. Why? It showed what committed individuals willing to put their actions and dollars behind a cause they believe in can make happen. In this case, it was launching Firefox, a web browser brought to market by Mozilla, the not-for-profit organization committed to making the internet open and accessible to everyone. And Firefox represented more than just a new and improved browser. It stood for an independent alternative to the corporately controlled Internet Explorer from Microsoft, and a way for people to take back control of their online experience.

  • Introducing the New Firefox: Firefox Quantum

    It’s by far the biggest update we’ve had since we launched Firefox 1.0 in 2004, it’s just flat out better in every way. If you go and install it right now, you’ll immediately notice the difference, accompanied by a feeling of mild euphoria. If you’re curious about what we did, read on.

  • Firefox’s faster, slicker, slimmer Quantum edition now out

    Mozilla is working on a major overhaul of its Firefox browser, and, with the general release of Firefox 57 today, has reached a major milestone. The version of the browser coming out today has a sleek new interface and, under the hood, major performance enhancements, with Mozilla claiming that it's as much as twice as fast as it was a year ago. Not only should it be faster to load and render pages, but its user interface should remain quick and responsive even under heavy load with hundreds of tabs.

  • Firefox 57 “Quantum” Is Here, And It’s Awesome

    Firefox 57 is here. It introduces a new look, sees legacy add-ons dropped, and gives the core rendering engine a big old speed boost.

  • Firefox Features Google as Default Search Provider in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan

    Firefox Quantum was released today. It’s the fastest Firefox yet built on a completely overhauled engine and a beautiful new design. As part of our focus on user experience and performance in Firefox Quantum, Google will also become our new default search provider in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    Firefox default search providers in other regions are Yandex in Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan; Baidu in China; and Google in the rest of the world. Firefox has more choice in search providers than any other browser with more than 60 search providers pre-installed across more than 90 languages.

Mozilla: Firefox 57 and WebAssembly

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • Quantum-ized Firefox 57 Ready For Download

    Firefox 57.0 is being officially released this week and its stable download is now available.

    Firefox 57 is arguably the biggest update ever with pulling in the Project Quantum work, at least the initial pieces of it. Firefox 57/Quantum is twice as fast as Firefox from 2016 with better multi-threading, the Rust-written CSS engine, and other components pulled in from Servo. Mozilla is referring to Firefox 57 as "Firefox Quantum" for branding.

  • WebAssembly support now shipping in all major browsers

    While Mozilla has been preparing to launch Firefox Quantum, its fastest browser yet, some notable developments have happened with WebAssembly, the binary file format (“wasm”) that works with JavaScript to run web applications at near-native speeds.

  • Firefox 57 Brings Better Sandboxing on Linux

    Firefox 57, set to be released tomorrow, will ship with improvements to the browser's sandbox security feature for Linux users.

    The Firefox sandboxing feature isolates the browser from the operating system in a way to prevent web attacks from using a vulnerability in the browser engine and its legitimate functions to attack the underlying operating system, place malware on the filesystem, or steal local files.

Firefox 57 "Quantum" Web Browser Now Available to Download, Here's What's New

Filed under
Moz/FF

The biggest new feature of the Firefox 57.0 "Quantum" web browser is a major visual redesign that was developed by Mozilla as the Photon project and active on the Nightly channel until now. This makes the web browser two times faster than Firefox 49.0, according to Mozilla's development team.

"Firefox Quantum is roughly 2X faster than Firefox 49 on the Speedometer 2.0 benchmark, thanks to its new CSS engine, its “just right” multi-process architecture, the way it prioritizes your active tab, and much more," reads the preliminary release notes for Firefox 57.0 beta.

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More in Tux Machines

Mint 18.3: The best Linux desktop takes big steps forward

I run many operating systems every day, from macOS, to Windows 7 and 10, to more Linux desktop distributions than you can shake a stick at. And, once more, as a power-user's power user, I've found the latest version of Linux Mint to be the best of the best. Why? Let's start with the basics. MacOS has been shown to have the worst bug I've ever seen in an operating system: The macOS High Sierra security hole that lets anyone get full administrative control. Windows, old and new, continues to have multiple security bugs every lousy month. Linux? Sure, it has security problems. How many of these bugs have had serious desktop impacts? Let me see now. None. Yes, that would be zero. Read more

Today in Techrights

Security: NSA, Microsoft Debacles, and FOSS Updates

  • Script Recovers Event Logs Doctored by NSA Hacking Tool
    Security researchers have found a way to reverse the effects of an NSA hacking utility that deletes event logs from compromised machines. Last week, Fox-IT published a Python script that recovers event log entries deleted using the "eventlogedit" utility that's part of DanderSpritz, a supposed NSA cyber-weapon that was leaked online by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers. According to Fox-IT, they found a flaw in the DanderSpritz log cleaner when they realized the utility does not actually delete event log entries, but only unreferences them, merging entries together.
  • Pre-Installed Keylogger Discovered on Hundreds of HP Laptop Models
    A keylogger that can help record pretty much every keystroke on the computer has been discovered on HP’s devices, with a security researcher revealing that hundreds of laptop models come with this hidden software pre-installed. Michael Myng says in an analysis of the keylogger that the malicious code is hiding in the Synaptics Touchpad software and he actually discovered it when looking into ways to control the keyboard backlight on his laptop. According to his findings, the keylogger isn’t activated by default, but it can be turned on by any cybercriminals that get access to the system. The list of affected models includes hundreds of laptops like EliteBook, ProBook, Spectre, Zbook, Envy, and Pavilion.
  • Laptop touchpad driver included extra feature: a keylogger [Ed: This is the second time in recent times HP gets caught with keyloggers; This is no accident, it's intentional.]
    Flaws in software often offer a potential path for attackers to install malicious software, but you wouldn't necessarily expect a hardware vendor to include potentially malicious software built right into its device drivers. But that's exactly what a security researcher found while poking around the internals of a driver for a touchpad commonly used on HP notebook computers—a keystroke logger that could be turned on with a simple change to its configuration in the Windows registry.
  • Microsoft Needed 110 Days to Fix Critical Security Bug After First Ignoring It
    Microsoft needed more than 100 days to fix a critical credential leak in Dynamics 365 after the company originally ignored the bug report and only reacted after being warned that details could go public. Software engineer Matthias Gliwka explains in a long blog post that he discovered and reported a security flaw in Microsoft’s Customer Relationship Manager and Enterprise Resource Planning software in August, but the software giant refused to fix it on claims that administrator credentials would be required. Gliwka says he came across a wildcard transport layer security (TLS) certificate that also included the private key, which would in turn expose communications by anyone who could decrypt traffic. The developer says that extracting the certificate grants access to any sandbox environment, with absolutely no warning or message displayed to clients.
  • UK Spy Agency Finds Severe Flaw in Microsoft Antivirus in Kaspersky Bye-Bye Push
  • Security updates for Monday

OSS Leftovers

  • What is a blockchain smart contract?
    Now, in a blockchain, the important thing is that once the state has changed, you then ensure it's recorded on the blockchain so that it's public and nobody can change or challenge it. But there are other uses for blockchain technology, as I explained in "Is blockchain a security topic?" Permissionless systems, often referred to as distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are a great fit for non-transactional state models, largely because the sort of people who are interested in them are closed groups of organisations that want to have complex sets of conditions met before they move to the next state. These aren't, by the tightest definition, blockchains. Banks and other financial institutions may be the most obvious examples where DLTs are gaining traction, but they are very useful in supply chain sectors, for instance, where you may have conditions around changing market rates, availability, and shipping times or costs, which may all play into the final price of the commodity or service being provided.
  • Running a successful open source project
    Running an open source project is easy. All you have to do is make your source code available and you’re open source, right? Well, maybe. Ultimately, whether or not an open source project is successful depends on your definition of success. Regardless of your definition, creating an open source project can be a lot of work. If you have goals regarding adoption, for example, then you need to be prepared to invest. While open source software is “free as in beer”, it’s not really free: time and energy are valuable resources and these valuable resources need to be invested in the project. So, how do you invest those resources?
  • New package repositories are now enabled by default
    During this year’s coding sprint in Toulouse (which I was able to attend, thanks to being in Europe on a study-abroad program), I spent a lot of time massaging HaikuPorts to generate a consistent-enough state of packages for us to switch to them by default, and then making the in-tree changes necessary for the switch. Thanks to this and mmlr’s comprehensive overhaul of the HaikuPorter Buildmaster over the past couple months, we have finally switched to the new repositories by default as of hrev51620. If you’ve installed a nightly image from after this, you should be able to just pkgman full-sync and upgrade away.
  • Haiku OS Is Very Close To Their Long Awaited Beta, New Repository Working
    The BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system should be issuing its long-awaited beta release by early 2018. For months there has been talk of the long-awaited beta for Haiku OS while it looks like roughly within the next month we should be actually seeing this milestone.
  • DeepVariant: Tool to call out variants in sequencing data goes open source
    Megan Molteni, Wired, decoded, at least, the very nature of the challenge to know more about our human puzzle. "Today, a teaspoon of spit and a hundred bucks is all you need to get a snapshot of your DNA. But getting the full picture—all 3 billion base pairs of your genome—requires a much more laborious process. One that, even with the aid of sophisticated statistics, scientists still struggle over." DeepVariant was developed by researchers from the Google Brain team, focused on AI techniques, and Verily, the Alphabet subsidiary focused on life sciences. It is based on the same neural network for image recognition, but DeepVariant, is now making headlines not for cat IDs but as a way to scan a genetic code for mutations. DeepVariant has gone open source. The GitHub definition of DeepVariant: "an analysis pipeline that uses a deep neural network to call genetic variants from next-generation DNA sequencing data."
  • Open source VPN clients vs VPN provider apps: which is better?
    Power users love open source software for its transparency and flexibility – but what about open source VPN software? Are there any open source VPN clients that can stand up to being compared with the more popular VPN apps from premium providers like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, IPVanish or NordVPN? The short answer is... not really. But the long answer depends a lot on your level of technical know-how, patience, and where you’re willing to place your trust.
  • Coreboot Conference 2017 Videos Now Available
    For those interested in the open-source Coreboot project that serves as a replacement to proprietary UEFI/BIOS, the videos from their European Coreboot Conference are now available. The European Coreboot Conference 2017 (ECC'17) was held in Bochum, Germany back at the end of October.
  • Election night hackathon supports civic engagement
    On November 7, 2017, members of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) community came together for the annual Election Night Hackathon held in the Simone Center for Student Innovation. This marked the seventh anniversary of a civic tradition for the FOSS @ MAGIC community, in which students and faculty analyze civic problems in the local community, state, or country and propose a project to address them. MAGIC Center faculty and event organizers are on hand to help students choose open source licenses and publish and share their code.
  • What is a blockchain smart contract?
    Now, in a blockchain, the important thing is that once the state has changed, you then ensure it's recorded on the blockchain so that it's public and nobody can change or challenge it. But there are other uses for blockchain technology, as I explained in "Is blockchain a security topic?" Permissionless systems, often referred to as distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are a great fit for non-transactional state models, largely because the sort of people who are interested in them are closed groups of organisations that want to have complex sets of conditions met before they move to the next state. These aren't, by the tightest definition, blockchains. Banks and other financial institutions may be the most obvious examples where DLTs are gaining traction, but they are very useful in supply chain sectors, for instance, where you may have conditions around changing market rates, availability, and shipping times or costs, which may all play into the final price of the commodity or service being provided.
  • Running a successful open source project
    Running an open source project is easy. All you have to do is make your source code available and you’re open source, right? Well, maybe. Ultimately, whether or not an open source project is successful depends on your definition of success. Regardless of your definition, creating an open source project can be a lot of work. If you have goals regarding adoption, for example, then you need to be prepared to invest. While open source software is “free as in beer”, it’s not really free: time and energy are valuable resources and these valuable resources need to be invested in the project. So, how do you invest those resources?
  • New package repositories are now enabled by default
    During this year’s coding sprint in Toulouse (which I was able to attend, thanks to being in Europe on a study-abroad program), I spent a lot of time massaging HaikuPorts to generate a consistent-enough state of packages for us to switch to them by default, and then making the in-tree changes necessary for the switch. Thanks to this and mmlr’s comprehensive overhaul of the HaikuPorter Buildmaster over the past couple months, we have finally switched to the new repositories by default as of hrev51620. If you’ve installed a nightly image from after this, you should be able to just pkgman full-sync and upgrade away.
  • Haiku OS Is Very Close To Their Long Awaited Beta, New Repository Working
    The BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system should be issuing its long-awaited beta release by early 2018. For months there has been talk of the long-awaited beta for Haiku OS while it looks like roughly within the next month we should be actually seeing this milestone.
  • DeepVariant: Tool to call out variants in sequencing data goes open source
    Megan Molteni, Wired, decoded, at least, the very nature of the challenge to know more about our human puzzle. "Today, a teaspoon of spit and a hundred bucks is all you need to get a snapshot of your DNA. But getting the full picture—all 3 billion base pairs of your genome—requires a much more laborious process. One that, even with the aid of sophisticated statistics, scientists still struggle over." DeepVariant was developed by researchers from the Google Brain team, focused on AI techniques, and Verily, the Alphabet subsidiary focused on life sciences. It is based on the same neural network for image recognition, but DeepVariant, is now making headlines not for cat IDs but as a way to scan a genetic code for mutations. DeepVariant has gone open source. The GitHub definition of DeepVariant: "an analysis pipeline that uses a deep neural network to call genetic variants from next-generation DNA sequencing data."
  • Open source VPN clients vs VPN provider apps: which is better?
    Power users love open source software for its transparency and flexibility – but what about open source VPN software? Are there any open source VPN clients that can stand up to being compared with the more popular VPN apps from premium providers like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, IPVanish or NordVPN? The short answer is... not really. But the long answer depends a lot on your level of technical know-how, patience, and where you’re willing to place your trust.