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Moz/FF

Firefox Focus Adds Quick Access Without Sacrificing Users’ Privacy

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Moz/FF

It’s been a little over a year since we launched Firefox Focus. We’ve had tremendous success since then, we launched in 27+ languages, launched on Android, and hit over 1 million downloads on Android within the first month of launch.

Today, we’re introducing a new feature: quicker access to your most visited sites, as well as the ability to add any search engine to your Focus app. They were the most requested items from our users and are aligned with our goals on what makes Focus so great.

We know our users want choice and miss the convenience of having their favorite websites and search engines at their fingertips, but they don’t want to sacrifice their privacy. Since the moment we’ve built Focus, our goal has been to get our users quickly to the information and sites all while keeping their data safe from unwanted targeting.

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Early Returns on Firefox Quantum Point to Growth

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Moz/FF

When we set out to launch Firefox Quantum earlier this year, we knew we had a hugely improved product. It not only felt faster — with a look and feel that tested off the charts — it was measurably faster. Thanks to multiple changes under the hood, we doubled Firefox’s speed while using 30% less memory than Chrome.

In less than a month, Firefox Quantum has already been installed by over 170M people around the world. We’re just getting started and early returns are super encouraging.

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Also: Mozilla Joins Net Neutrality Blackout for ‘Break the Internet’ Day

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

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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.

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Graphics: Texture Compression, Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), and AMD FreeSync

  • Unity Continues Crunching More Out Of Crunch Texture Compression
    Unity is one of the big public users of the open-source Crunch DXT texture compression library. While it's no longer maintained by Rich Geldreich / Binomial, Unity has continued advancing this open-source code to further improve the compression ratio and speed. For months Unity has been talking about their promising findings with Crunch. But this is the project that Rich Geldreich, the former Valve developer, previously expressed regret having open-sourced all of it. While he is on to working on better and more advanced technologies at his Binomial startup, Unity is working to squeeze more out of this open-source library.
  • Improving EFL Graphics With Wayland Application Redraws
    Under X, application redraws are tricky to do without tearing because content can be updated at any chosen time with no clear feedback as to when the compositor will read it. EFL uses some clever tricks to this end (check out the state of the art X redraw timing for yourself), but it’s difficult to get right in all cases. For a lot of people this just works, or they’re not sensitive to the issue when it doesn’t.
  • Improved Wayland Application Redraws Coming To Enlightenment's EFL
    Samsung's Open-Source Group has been working on making their Wayland support in the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) even better. The latest Wayland work on the Enlightenment/EFL front has been improving the application redraw process. The EFL toolkit with the upcoming v1.21 release will now be hooking into Wayland's frame callbacks to better dealing with drawing, only drawing when necessary, and doing so without the possibility of tearing.
  • AMD FreeSync For Tear-Free Linux Gaming - Current State In 2017
    If you are thinking of gifting yourself (or someone else) a FreeSync-compatible monitor this holiday season, here's a look at how the AMD FreeSync support is working right now, the driver bits you need to be aware of, and how it's all playing out for those wanting to use this tear-free capability for Linux gaming.

KStars 2.8.9 is released!

Here comes the last KStars release for 2017! KStars v2.8.9 is available now for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Robert Lancaster worked on improving PHD2 support with Ekos. This includes retrieving the guide star image, drift errors and RMS values, among other minor improvements and refactoring of the Ekos PHD2 codebase to support future extensions. Read more

Security: Mirai, Vista 10, Starbucks, and Hacking Team Investigation

  • Mirai IoT Botnet Co-Authors Plead Guilty

    The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday unsealed the guilty pleas of two men first identified in January 2017 by KrebsOnSecurity as the likely co-authors of Mirai, a malware strain that remotely enslaves so-called “Internet of Things” devices such as security cameras, routers, and digital video recorders for use in large scale attacks designed to knock Web sites and entire networks offline (including multiple major attacks against this site).

  • Google Researcher Finds Flaw in Pre-Installed Windows 10 Password Manager
    Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy, who has previously discovered, reported, and disclosed several major bugs in Windows and its features, came across a new security vulnerability affecting Microsoft users. This time, the flaw exists in the Keeper password manager that comes pre-installed in some Windows 10 versions, with Ormandy explaining that it’s similar to a vulnerability that he discovered in August 2016. “I remember filing a bug a while ago about how they were injecting privileged UI into pages,” Ormandy explained on December 14. “I checked and, they're doing the same thing again with this version,” he continues.
  • Starbucks Wi-Fi Turned People’s Laptops into Cryptocurrency Miners
    The free Wi-Fi that the Buenos Aires Starbucks offers to its customers was being used to mine for cryptocurrency, and what’s worse, it used people’s laptops to do it. The whole thing was discovered by Stensul CEO Noah Dinkin who actually paid a visit to the store and wanted to browse the web using the free Wi-Fi, only to discover that his laptop was unknowingly converted into a cryptocurrency miner. He then turned to Twitter to ask Starbucks if they know about the what he described as bitcoin mining taking place without customers knowing about it. “Hi Starbucks, did you know that your in-store wifi provider in Buenos Aires forces a 10 second delay when you first connect to the wifi so it can mine bitcoin using a customer's laptop? Feels a little off-brand,” he said in his tweet.
  • Italian Prosecutor Makes Request to Close Hacking Team Investigation
    The damaging data breach that exposed the secrets of an infamous surveillance tech company might go unsolved forever. After more than two years, the Italian prosecutor who was investigating the attack on the Milan-based Hacking Team has asked the case to be dismissed, according to multiple sources. On Monday, the Milan prosecutor Alessandro Gobbis sent a notice to the people under investigation informing them that he had sent the judge a request to shut down the investigation, according to a copy of the document obtained by Motherboard.