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Moz/FF

Mozilla: Privacy Suggestion, Rust Release, Addons, All Hands and VR

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Moz/FF
  • Browser privacy improvements and anti-fraud

    The good news is that interesting competition among web browsers is back, not just because of ongoing performance improvements in Firefox, but also because of Apple Safari's good work on protecting users from some kinds of cross-site tracking by default. Now the challenge for other browsers is to learn from the Safari work and build on it, to even more accurately implement the user's preferences on sharing their personal information. According to research by Tini Sevak at YouGov, 36% of users are "more likely to engage with adverts that are tailored to them", while 55% are "creeped out" by personalized ads. The browser has to get its data sharing settings right for the individual user, while minimizing the manual settings and decision fatigue that the user has to go through.

  • Announcing Rust 1.27.2

    The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.27.2. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

  • [Mozilla Addons Blog:] Thank you, contributors!

    As a large, complex, and heavily visited site, it can be challenge for our small team to make sure that extension users and developers have a good experience on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Fortunately, we are not alone. Thanks to volunteer contributors who share their time, energy, and talent, we’re able to extend our ability to extend the web by fixing reported bugs, implementing routine updates, landing new features, and moderating content listed on AMO.

  • Reps Council at SF All Hands 2018

    The All Hands is a special time of the year where Mozilla employees along with core volunteers gather for a week of many meetings and brainstorming. The All Hands Wiki page has more information about the general setting. During the All Hands, the Reps Council participated in the Open Innovation meetings as well as had meetings about improve 2018 planning.

  • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 13

    This week we focused on fixing bugs and delivering a seamless experience across our three areas: browsers, social, and the content ecosystem.

Mozilla: ASan Nightly Project, National Science Foundation (NSF), “Arch” at JSConf EU in Berlin

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Moz/FF
  • Introducing the ASan Nightly Project

    Every day, countless Mozillians spend numerous hours testing Firefox to ensure that Firefox users get a stable and secure product. However, no product is bug free and, despite all of our testing efforts, browsers still crash sometimes. When we investigate our crash reports, some of them even look like lingering security issues (e.g. use-after-free or other memory corruptions) but the data we have in these reports is often not sufficient for them to be actionable on their own (i.e. they do not provide enough information for a developer to be able to find and fix the problem). This is particularly true for use-after-free problems and some other types of memory corruptions where the actual crash happens a lot later than the memory violation itself.

    In our automated integration and fuzz testing, we have been using AddressSanitizer (ASan), a compile-time instrumentation, very successfully for over 5 years. The information it provides about use-after-free is much more actionable than a simple crash stack: It not only tells you immediately when the violation happens, but also includes the location where the memory was free’d previously.

  • A Science Fair with $1.6 Million in Prizes

    Across the U.S., community technologists are using creative ideas — like solar-powered Wi-Fi and mesh networks — to connect the unconnected. This August, Mozilla is gathering those projects under one roof for a science fair — and awarding $1.6 million in prizes to the most promising ideas.

    The event is the final leg of the Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society (WINS) Challenges, a $2 million competition run by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Mozilla. Launched in 2017, the initiative awards prizes to the people and projects who are connecting unconnected Americans with scalable, secure, and resilient solutions.

  • The Arch: Using Rust & WebAssembly to animate 30k colored LED lights

    In June, Mozilla collaborated with an artist named Ian Brill to create an installation called the “Arch” at JSConf EU in Berlin. This interactive environment allowed people to experience the intersection of art and technology in a physical, pulsating, immersive way.

    Visitors could view the larger-than-life Arch and experience an ever-changing light show of 30,000 colored LEDs. To support the exhibit, Mozilla engineers built a platform that enabled anyone to use web technologies (with underlying implementation in Rust & WebAssembly) to control the Arch animations and makes the light display interactive. The result was fun and colorful — and it gave developers a chance to interact with unfamiliar new technologies.

Mozilla News and Microsoft's Antitrust Push Against Linux/Android

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Android
Microsoft
Moz/FF
  • Biggest Mistakes with CSS Grid

    It’s easy to make lots of mistakes with a new technology, especially something that’s as big of a change from the past as CSS Grid. In this video, I explain the 9 Biggest Mistakes people are making, with advice and tips for avoiding these pitfalls and breaking old habits.

  • In loving memory of Abbackar DIOMANDE

    It brings us great sadness to share with you the recent news about one of our dear Rep we will so fondly remember. Abbackar DIOMANDE from Ivory Coast is unfortunately no longer with us.

    Diomande, was a Mozillian from Bouake, Ivory Coast and was contributing in various Mozilla projects including SUMO and L10n.
    He was a local community builder, that helped to build a healthy local community in his country while lately he had also taken the role of a Resources Rep, helping his fellow Mozillians on organizing local initiatives.

  • Mozilla Partners with Women Who Tech to Offer Startup Challenge Europe Award for Privacy, Transparency & Accountability

    The Women Startup Challenge Europe will connect women technology innovators from cities across Europe to compete for $60,000 in cash grants. In addition to the funding, all finalists will also receive: pitch coaching, one on one meetings with investors the day after the Women Startup Challenge, and other crucial startup friendly services. The Startup Challenge, co-hosted by the Office of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, will feature 10 finalists pitching their ventures before a panel of judges on October 25, 2018 at Paris Hôtel de Ville.

    Women Who Tech is a nonprofit organization on a mission to close the funding gap and disrupt a culture and economy that has made it incredibly difficult for women entrepreneurs to raise capital. At Mozilla, we are committed to an internet that catalyzes collaboration among diverse communities working together for the common good. Promoting diversity and inclusion is core to our mission, so working with organizations like Women Who Tech furthers our commitment to create more diversity in innovation.

  • This Week in Rust 243

    Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn't know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

  • Mozilla Responds to European Commission’s Google Android Decision

    For Mozilla, these issues of innovation, openness, and competition speak to our history. Twenty years ago, we made Firefox to combat the vertical integration of Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. Today, we are again witnessing vertical integration concerns on a larger scale, with powerful players at all parts of the internet ecosystem. Mozilla’s 2018 Internet Health Report identified decentralization as a major goal to promote a healthy internet.

    Targeted, effective interventions can strengthen technology markets and are necessary to advance consumer welfare. Mozilla will continue to build competitive products and to advocate for effective policies and approaches to build a competitive and open technology ecosystem.

  • Google Fined A Record $5 Billion For Abusing Its Dominance in Android Ecosystem

    The European regulators have slapped Google with a record-breaking fine of $5 billion for breaking antitrust laws revolving around its Android operating system.

  • EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse

    European Union regulators have slapped Alphabet-owned Google with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) antitrust fine for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system, which is by far the most popular smartphone OS in the world.

Mozilla and Google/Firefox and Chrome

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Google
Moz/FF
  • BATify extension brings Brave Payments to Firefox and Chrome

    A new browser extension lets users support their favorite websites, and YouTube and Twitch creators through donations of BAT cyrpto-tokens via Brave Payments.

    91 weeks ago, I argued that Brave Payments would be a better product as a browser extension than a whole web browser. Brave Software has since made no indications that they’re interested in making a browser extension, and have instead scrapped their current Muon based web browser product and begun making yet another web browser built on Chromium.

    Browser extension developer Michael Volz, however, have detangled the attention tracking and contribution system from the Brave browser in a new unofficial Brave Payments client called BATify.

  • Chrome’s “Heavy Page Capping” To Alert Users About Bandwidth Heavy Pages

    Is your phone on a bandwidth diet? This upcoming Chrome feature will tell you when you are on a page that uses a lot of data. This is currently available as a flag in the latest Canary channel of Chrome.

  • Chrome’s “Heavy Page Capping” Feature Will Alert You About Data-heavy Pages

    Google is continuously upgrading its Chrome web browser to refine the user experience. This time, Google has added a new feature named “Heavy Page Capping” in the Canary build channel that will notify users when a webpage is using excessive bandwidth.

  • The New Thunderbird Add-ons Site is Now Live

    As we announced last week, SeaMonkey and Thunderbird add-ons will now reside on https://addons.thunderbird.net. Add-ons for Firefox and Firefox for Android will remain on https://addons.mozilla.org (AMO). We wanted to let you know that the split is now done and the new site is live.

  • 360° Images on the Web, the Easy Way

    One of the most popular uses for VR today is 360° images and video. 360° images are easy to discover and share online, and you don’t need to learn any new interactions to explore the 360° experience.

    Building 360° views is not as easy as exploring them, especially if you want to make an experience where the viewer can navigate from scene to scene. Here is the solution I came up with using A-Frame, a web framework for building virtual reality experiences and Glitch, a creative community platform for building, remixing and hosting web apps and sites.

    I often teach students at my local public library. I have found the combination of A-Frame and Glitch to be ideal, especially for the younger learners. A-Frame lets you write markup that feels like HTML to produce 3D content. You don’t have to write any JS code if you don’t want to. And Glitch is wonderful because I can give my students a sample project that they then ‘remix’ to create their own version. Thinking about it, ‘remix’ is probably a better word for non-programmers than ‘fork’.

  • MOSS is Mozilla’s helping hand to the open-source ecosystem in India

    In a bid to support the fledging open-source ecosystem in India, Mozilla has started its Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) programme under which it will promote free software and open-source projects in India. Mozilla has set aside a total of around Rs 1.4 crore to fund India-based projects or programmes supporting open source in the current year. Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager of Mozilla Corporation, told ET that Mozilla was born out of the free software and open source movement. As a result, the programme started with the effort to give back to those communities, along with supporting other free software and open-source projects and helping advance those projects around the world. “India has always been a really important country for development, and also for Mozilla. As part of the opensource ecosystem, we have a lot of volunteer contributors around 30,000 of them out of which close to 10,000-20,000 are in India. So India is by far our largest community,” said Ben-Avie. He added that the firm wants to give back to the ecosystem and to the open-source movement in India through this programme.

  • How to help test the 2018 edition

    An edition brings together the features that have landed into a clear package, with fully updated documentation and tooling. By the end of the year we are planning to release the 2018 edition, our first since the Rust 1.0 release. You can currently opt-in to a preview of the 2018 edition to try it out and help test it.

    In fact, we really need help testing it out! Once you’ve turned it on and seen its wonderful new features, what then? Here we’ve got some specific things we’d like you to test.

Mozilla: Firefox Locales and More

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Moz/FF
  • Popular Firefox extensions now available in 7 new locales

    Firefox is available in over 90 languages, giving millions of people around the world access to the web in words they understand. Our community of translators and localizers do this because they believe that the web belongs to everyone, not just those who speak a popular tongue.

  • No Longer Lost in Translation

    You might have noticed that while Firefox supports 90 languages, many extensions and their listings on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) are only available in English.

    At present, we don’t have a way to connect extension developers with the translation community at scale, and Pontoon, Mozilla’s tool for localizing products and websites, currently only supports translating the AMO site itself.

    What we do have, however, is a desire to make translation resources available, a longstanding and active community of localizers, and friends on Mozilla’s Open Innovation team who specialize in putting the two together. Part of Open Innovation’s work is to explore new ways to connect communities of enthusiastic non-coding contributors to meaningful projects within Mozilla. Together with Rubén Martín, we ran a campaign to localize an initial group of top Firefox extensions into the 7 most popular languages of Firefox users.

  • Measuring Localization Time (in CI)

    As we all know, measuring things is a good way to get concrete information. Now that Firefox CI is fully on Taskcluster this was a good opportunity to measure and see what we can learn about timing in localization tasks.

    The code that generated the following charts and data is viewable in my Github repo, though as of this writing the code is rough and was modified manually to help generate the related graphs in various configurations. I’m working on adjusting them to be more general purpose and have better actual testing around logic.

  • Mozilla Reps Community

    The Reps program is working to prepare the ground for Mission Driven Mozillians and there are different tasks and issues to face for that.

    The most important point for the Reps Council is the Roles of Reps inside the communities. We know that in Mozilla there are a lot of international communities, local community and project specific communities, and we need to understand and be ready to support all of them.

  • QMO: Firefox 62 Beta 8 Testday Results

Browsers: Firefox, Browsh and Chrome

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Moz/FF
Web
  • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
  • Mozilla VR Blog: This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 12

    This week we landed a bunch of core features: in the browsers space, we landed WebVR support and immersive controllers; in the social area, added media tools to Hubs; and in the content ecosystem, we now have WebGL2 support on the WebGLRenderer in three.js.

  • Robert Kaiser: VR Map - A-Frame Demo using OpenStreetMap Data

    The prime driver for writing my first such demo was that I wanted to do something meaningful with A-Frame. Previously, I had only played around with the Hello WebVR example and some small alterations around the basic elements seen in that one, which is also pretty much what I taught to others in the WebVR workshops I held in Vienna last year. Now, it was time to go beyond that, and as I had recently bought a HTC Vive, I wanted something where the controllers could be used - but still something that would fall back nicely and be usable in 2D mode on a desktop browser or even mobile screens.

  • Firefox Test Pilot: The Evolution of Side View

    Side View is a new Firefox Test Pilot experiment which allows you to send any webpage to the Firefox sidebar, giving you an easy way to view two webpages side-by-side. It was released June 5 through the Test Pilot program, and we thought we would share with you some of the different approaches we tried while implementing this idea.

  • Browsh – A Modern Text Browser That Supports Graphics And Video

    Browsh is a modern, text-based browser that supports graphics including video. Yes, you read that right! It supports HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, photos, WebGL content and of course video as well. Technically speaking, it is not much of a browser, but some kind of terminal front-end of browser. It uses headless Firefox to render the web page and then converts it to ASCII art. According to the developer, Browsh significantly reduces the bandwidth and increases the browsing speed. Another cool feature of browsh is you can ssh from, for example an old laptop, to a regular computer where you have Browsh installed, and browse HTML5 webpages without much lag. Browsh is free, open source and cross-platform.

  • The most ambitious browser mitigation yet for Spectre attacks comes to Chrome

    Google’s Chrome browser is undergoing a major architectural change to enable a protection designed to blunt the threat of attacks related to the Spectre vulnerability in computer processors. If left unchecked by browsers or operating systems, such attacks may allow hackers to pluck passwords or other sensitive data out of computer memory when targets visit malicious sites.

Mozilla: Addons, OverbiteNX and Remarks on Indian Telecom Commission

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Addons Blog: Upcoming changes for themes

    Theming capabilities on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) will undergo significant changes in the coming weeks. We will be switching to a new theme technology that will give designers more flexibility to create their themes. It includes support for multiple background images, and styling of toolbars and tabs. We will migrate all existing themes to this new format, and their users should not notice any changes.

    [...]

    It’s only a matter of weeks before we release the new theme format on AMO. Keep following this blog for that announcement.

  • OverbiteNX is now available from Mozilla Add-Ons for beta testing

    OverbiteNX, a successor to OverbiteFF which allows Firefox to continue to access legacy resources in Gopher in the brave courageous new world of WebExtensions, is now in public beta. Unlike the alpha test, which required you to download the repo and install the extension using add-on debugging, OverbiteNX is now hosted on Mozilla Add-Ons.

    Because WebExtensions still doesn't have a TCP sockets API, nor a spec, OverbiteNX uses its bespoke Onyx native component to do network operations. Onyx is written in open-source portable C with no dependencies and is available in pre-built binaries for macOS 10.12+ and Windows (or get the repo and build it yourself on almost any POSIX system).

  • India advances globally leading net neutrality regulations

    India is now one step away from having some of the strongest net neutrality regulations in the world. This week, the Indian Telecom Commission’s approved the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations to introduce net neutrality conditions into all Telecom Service Provider (TSP) licenses. This means that any net neutrality violation could cause a TSP to lose its license, a uniquely powerful deterrent. Mozilla commends this vital action by the Telecom Commission, and we urge the Government of India to move swiftly to implement these additions to the license terms.

  • India sets the bar for net neutrality with 'world's strictest' rules

     

    Whilst the US is still fumbling after FCC head Ajit ‘Pumpkin' Pie deregulated the internet to please his cable pals, India has just past a whole chunk of recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Association of India (TRAI) to ensure it will never go the same way.

  • India implements strong net neutrality rules

     

    The government has taken an "unambiguous stand" in making sure that certain types of content are not prioritized over others and that broadband providers will be unable to slow down or block websites at their choosing, India's telecom regulatory body declared Thursday.
     

    Around two-thirds of the country’s 1.3 billion people still don't have [I]nternet access, but the country is moving forward with its net neutrality plans as more and more people begin to use smartphones.

Mozilla: Languages, New Features in Firefox Focus and Red Hat's E-mail Poll

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Moz/FF
  • Localization, Translation, and Machines

    Now that’s rule-based, and it’d be tedious to maintain these rules. Neural Machine Translation (NMT) has all the buzz now, and Machine Learning in general. There is plenty of research that improves how NMT systems learn about the context of the sentence they’re translating. But that’s all text.

    It’d be awesome if we could bring Software Analysis into the mix, and train NMT to localize software instead of translating fragments.

    For Firefox, could one train on English and localized DOM? For Android’s XML layout, a similar approach could work? For projects with automated screenshots, could one train on those? Is there enough software out there to successfully train a neural network?

  • New Features in Firefox Focus for iOS, Android – now also on the BlackBerry Key2

    Since the launch of Firefox Focus as a content blocker for iOS in December 2015, we’ve continuously improved the now standalone browser for Apple and Android while always being mindful of users’ requests and suggestions. We analyze app store reviews and evaluate regularly which new features make our privacy browser even more user-friendly, efficient and secure. Today’s update for iOS and Android adds functionality to further simplify accessing information on the web. And we are happy to make Focus for Android available to a new group: BlackBerry Key2 users.

  • Which email client do you prefer? [Ed: Thunderbird is probably still the best one around and it’s good that Mozilla hired people to maintain/develop it.]

    Email's decentralized nature makes it a fundamental part of the free and open internet. And because of this, there are a ton of clients to choose from, including several great open source choices. We've compiled lists of some of our favorites.

Codecs and Patents

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Moz/FF
OSS
Legal
  • An Invisible Tax on the Web: Video Codecs

    Here’s a surprising fact: It costs money to watch video online, even on free sites like YouTube. That’s because about 4 in 5 videos on the web today rely on a patented technology called the H.264 video codec.

    A codec is a piece of software that lets engineers shrink large media files and transmit them quickly over the internet. In browsers, codecs decode video files so we can play them on our phones, tablets, computers, and TVs. As web users, we take this performance for granted. But the truth is, companies pay millions of dollars in licensing fees to bring us free video.

    It took years for companies to put this complex, global set of legal and business agreements in place, so H.264 web video works everywhere. Now, as the industry shifts to using more efficient video codecs, those businesses are picking and choosing which next-generation technologies they will support. The fragmentation in the market is raising concerns about whether our favorite web past-time, watching videos, will continue to be accessible and affordable to all.

  • AV1, Opportunity or Threat for POWER and ARM Servers?

    While I haven’t seen an official announcement, Phoronix reported that the AV1 git repository was tagged 1.0, so the launch announcement is imminent. If you haven’t heard about it already, AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) is an open, royalty-free video coding format by the Alliance for Open Media.

  • VP9 & AV1 Have More Room To Improve For POWER & ARM Architectures

    Luc Trudeau, a video compression wizard and co-author of the AV1 royalty-free video format, has written a piece about the optimization state for video formats like VP9 and AV1 on POWER and ARM CPU architectures.

Mozilla: Privacy Laws, WebVR/XR, Funding, Privacy in Thunderbird and More

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla applauds passage of Brazilian data protection law

    Mozilla’s previous statement supporting the Brazilian Data Protection Bill can be found here. The bill will now go to Brazilian President Michel Temer for his signature.

  • My Journey to Tech Speaking about WebVR/XR

    Ever since a close encounter with burning out (thankfully, I didn't quite get there) forced me to leave my job with Mozilla more than two years ago, I have been looking for a place and role that feels good for me in the Mozilla community. I immediately signed up to join Tech Speakers as I always loved talking about Mozilla tech topics and after all breaking down complicated content and communicating it to different groups is probably my biggest strength - but finding the topics I want to present at conferences and other events has been a somewhat harder journey.

  • Mozilla Funds Top Research Projects

    We are very happy to announce the results of the 2018H1 Mozilla Research Grants. This was an extremely competitive process, with over 115 applicants. We selected a total of eight proposals, ranging from tools to fight online harassment to systems for generating speech. All these projects support Mozilla’s mission to make the Internet safer, more empowering, and more accessible.

    The Mozilla Research Grants program is part of Mozilla’s Emerging Technologies commitment to being a world-class example of inclusive innovation and impact culture-and reflects Mozilla’s commitment to open innovation, continuously exploring new possibilities with and for diverse communities. We will open the 2018H2 round in Fall of 2018: see our Research Grant webpage for more details and to sign up to be notified when applications open.

  • 4 add-ons to improve your privacy on Thunderbird

    Thunderbird is a popular free email client developed by Mozilla. Similar to Firefox, Thunderbird offers a large choice of add-ons for extra features and customization. This article focuses on four add-ons to improve your privacy.

  • Mozilla’s Test Pilot Program For Mobile Apps: Launches “Lockbox” and “Notes” App
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