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Mozilla Firefox 62.0 is Out and Recommend Extensions ("Contextual Feature Recommender") Coming Soon

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  • Firefox 62.0 Now Available For Download With Some Wayland Fixes, CSS Variable Fonts

    While Mozilla isn't expected to officially announce Firefox 62.0 until tomorrow, as usual the binaries are available for wanting this web browser update right now.

    Firefox 62.0 delivers support for CSS Variable Fonts, easier clearing of site data/cookies, text-to-speech on Firefox for Android via the Speech Synthesis API, several bug fixes pertaining to Wayland support although the Wayland support doesn't appear complete yet, WebExtensions API additions, easier toggling of tracking protection items, and various other minor improvements.

  • Happy BMO Push Day!
  • Firefox to Recommend Extensions Related to Sites You Visit

    In future versions of Firefox, the browser will display recommended browser extensions that are related to the site that a user is visiting. These extension will provide extra functionality to the site such as enhancing search functions, protecting a user's privacy, or performing some other behavior.

    This new feature is called Contextual Feature Recommender, or CFR, and will recommend extensions that Mozilla feels would be beneficial to users of various sites. Currently this feature is only available in the Firefox Nightly builds, but is expected to be rolled out in Firefox 63.

  • Firefox Plans To Recommend Extensions as You Browse. Is That a Good Idea?

    An upcoming Firefox feature will highlight extensions as you browse the web, pointing out tools that might protect your privacy or otherwise enhance the site.

    The feature, called Contextual Feature Recommender, is currently only available in Nightly builds, but will roll out with Firefox 63 in October. The idea is that Firefox can point out potentially helpful extensions that are relevant to the site you’re currently browsing.

No More XP

  • Chris H-C: The End of Firefox Windows XP Support

    Firefox 62 has been released. Go give it a try!

    At the same time, on the Extended Support Release channel, we released Firefox ESR 60.2 and stopped supporting Firefox ESR 52: the final version of Firefox with Windows XP support.

    Now, we don’t publish all-channel user proportions grouped by operating system, but as part of the Firefox Public Data Report we do have data from the release channel back before we switched our XP users to the ESR channel. At the end of February 2016, XP users made up 12% of release Firefox. By the end of February 2017, XP users made up 8% of release Firefox.

  • Firefox 62.0 released

    Mozilla has released Firefox 62.0, with several new features. The Firefox Home (default New Tab) allows users to display up to 4 rows of top sites, Pocket stories, and highlights; for those using containers there is menu option to reopen a tab in a different container; Firefox 63 will remove all trust for Symantec-issued certificates, and it is optional in Firefox 62; FreeBSD support for WebAuthn was added; and more.

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More in Tux Machines

Review: Pop!_OS 20.04

Pop!_OS (or simply Pop, as I will refer to it throughout most of this article) is an Ubuntu-based distribution created by System76. The distribution sticks fairly close to its Ubuntu parent in terms of software, desktop environment, and features, but makes a number of customizations to the user interface and drivers. The focus of Pop appears to be on making it easier to use the desktop for work, especially for people who want to focus on keyboard usage over moving the mouse pointer. Pop is available in two editions for 64-bit (x86_64) computers. One edition ships with Intel and AMD video drivers while the other ships with NVIDIA drivers. Otherwise the two editions appear to be the same. The installation media is a 2GB download. The latest release of Pop is version 20.04 which is based on Ubuntu's 20.04 LTS release and should therefore receive five years of security updates. There are a handful of new features available. One is an easy point-n-click method for associating a specific application with a laptop's dedicated or NVIDIA video card. This should help users find a better balance between performance and energy savings. This release also puts more focus on providing keyboard shortcuts to manipulate windows instead of using the mouse. We can see a list of all available window management shortcuts in the desktop's notification menu under the heading "View All Shortcuts". I will come back to this feature later. There is an optional feature to auto-tile new application windows. This feature is off by default, but is available through the same notification menu in the upper-right corner of the desktop. On the subject of software management, Pop 20.04 offers a few new features. One is a firmware updating tool which can be found in the GNOME settings panel. The other feature is that Pop enables Flatpak support with the Flathub repository enabled by default. While Ubuntu has focused on Snap packages and does not enable Flatpak support by default, Pop is going the other way and focuses on Flatpak while not enabling Snap. [...] While Pop!_OS can and does stand on its own as a fairly friendly, fully featured desktop distribution, I spent most of my time mentally comparing Pop's 20.04 release against Ubuntu 20.04, which I had tested just a few weeks prior. For instance, Pop has a similar installer, and both are friendly, but Pop's feels more streamlined and its options feel better explained. Or at least explained in a way that I think more non-technical users will understand. The themes and desktop layout are quite a bit different. Not so much with the positioning of items, but the look and style of the two GNOME implementations is quite a bit different. Ubuntu is, shall we say, bold in its colour choices while Pop sticks with a more familiar blue and black combination. Ubuntu uses two software managers (one for installing and removing packages and one for upgrading software) while Pop uses just one. To make matters more interesting the harder working Pop!_Shop is again more streamlined than its Ubuntu equivalent. Pop's desktop performance ran circles around Ubuntu on the same test equipment and in the same VirtualBox environment. I found this especially interesting as the two distributions use the same kernel, the same desktop, and most of the same versions of software. Yet desktop performance was night-and-day in its contrast with Pop coming out the clear winner in both test environments. Despite the speed improvement, memory usage was about the same. When I was running Ubuntu I mentioned that when using ext4 the distribution failed to boot and, when using Ubuntu on ZFS the distribution often had to be launched from the recovery console. This problem did not manifest on Pop and the distribution consistently booted without problems. To me it is interesting that these two distributions can share so much in common, be nearly 99% identical, yet produce such different results. The little tweaks and shortcuts the Pop team have put into their distribution make it a much more pleasant operating system to use compared to its parent running on my equipment. Those little changes, the tiny customizations, may seem small on paper, but they produced a much better GNOME Shell experience than I have had on Ubuntu or Fedora to date and I think that makes Pop!_OS work looking at. Read more

Linux 5.7 RC7 and Torvalds Moves to AMD

  • Linux 5.7-rc7
    So if rc6 was a bit bigger than I would have liked, rc7 looks very
    normal. Not the smallest we've had, not the largest. It's right in the
    middle of the pack.
    And none of the fixes look like there's anything particularly scary
    going on. Most of it is very small, and the slightly larger patches
    aren't huge either and are well-contained (the two slightly larger
    patches are to s390 and rxrpc - and even those patches aren't really
    all _that_ big).
    Other than that, it's mostly drivers (gpu and networking stand out,
    but small stuff in various other drivers) and some misc small patches
    all over.
    So it looks like I was worried for nothing last rc. Of course,
    anything can still change, but everything _looks_ all set for a
    regular release scheduled for next weekend. Knock wood.
    Most of the discussion I have seen has already been about various
    cleanups and new features for 5.8, and I have one early pull request
    already pending.
    In fact, the biggest excitement this week for me was just that I
    upgraded my main machine, and for the first time in about 15 years, my
    desktop isn't Intel-based. No, I didn't switch to ARM yet, but I'm now
    rocking an AMD Threadripper 3970x. My 'allmodconfig' test builds are
    now three times faster than they used to be, which doesn't matter so
    much right now during the calming down period, but I will most
    definitely notice the upgrade during the next merge window.
    Anyway, go out and give this a good final test so that we won't have
    any unhappy surprises after 5.7 is released..
  • Linux 5.7-rc7 Kernel Released With It Looking To Be In Good Shape

    While last week's Linux 5.7-rc6 kernel was quite big, Linux 5.7-rc7 is out today and it's on the smaller side of things in reassuring Linus Torvalds that the stable release of this kernel can happen soon. Linus Torvalds noted in this evening's 5.7-rc7 announcement, "rc7 looks very normal. Not the smallest we've had, not the largest. It's right in the middle of the pack. And none of the fixes look like there's anything particularly scary going on. Most of it is very small, and the slightly larger patches aren't huge either and are well-contained (the two slightly larger patches are to s390 and rxrpc - and even those patches aren't really all _that_ big)."

  • Linus Torvalds Switches To AMD Ryzen Threadripper After 15 Years Of Intel Systems

    An interesting anecdote shared in today's Linux 5.7-rc7 announcement is word that Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds switched his main rig over to an AMD Ryzen Threadripper. At least for what he has said in the past, Linus has long been using Intel boxes given his close relationship with the company (and even close proximity to many of the Intel Portland open-source crew). In fact, he commented this is the first time in about fifteen years not using an Intel system as his primary machine.

  • Linux-creator Linus Torvalds joins Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips in embracing AMD over Intel

    I have long been an AMD "fanboy," usually choosing that company's processors for my PC builds. Why? I prefer value to just throwing cash at raw performance, and with AMD I have always gotten plenty of power for my money. Historically, on the higher-end, Intel used to beat AMD regularly, but nowadays, things have really changed. AMD often destroys the competition across the board, as Intel has grown quite stale. Are Intel chips bad now? Not at all, but the innovation is coming from AMD. Facts. And so, I was quite delighted when Linus Sebastian of YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips (of whom I am a big fan) saw the light and began embracing AMD lately (despite his love for Intel). It was very neat to see AMD Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper processors being heralded by someone who is typically an Intel guy. Believe it or not, yet another Linus (no, not Linus van Pelt from Peanuts) is jumping to AMD, and this time it is probably a bigger deal than Sebastian's current change of allegiance. You see, Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, is no longer using an Intel CPU on his main computer. Woah.

Open Data, Open Hardware and More

  • Scale AI releases free lidar data set to power self-driving car development
  • Waltham-based ICS partners with RespiraWorks to create open source ventilator
  • Physicists design FDA-approved, open-source ventilator to combat COVID-19

    A group of physicists specializing in the dark matter composition of the universe have shifted focus to design an FDA-authorized, open-source ventilator that can treat patients with COVID-19. The device, known as Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM), was designed by members of the Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration, an international coalition dedicated to the study of dark matter, in six weeks. A small number of off-the-shelf components were chosen to build it so manufacturing could take place swiftly. "As an open-source device the different components that are used in the design are known to the public, including the hardware and software components; and the software can even be downloaded and used as is,” Andrew Renshaw, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Houston and a member of the collaboration, told HCB News. “The idea behind this is that the design can then be picked up by different manufacturers from around the world and they can work with the MVM team to either use it as is, or make modifications that can be included in a model they would then market.”

  • Commons: how the art of co-operation is the only way out of this crisis

    Our broken systems are proving incapable to cope with the COVID-19 emergency, let alone the looming threat of social and environmental collapse. Yet the long-held practices of the commons are becoming more obvious solutions to the world’s biggest problems. The commons movement, as a complement to established movements – Degrowth, Open Source, anti-austerity, decolonialism, Social Solidarity Economy, ecofeminism, Buen Vivir – is rising. [...] You can find the commons in urban gardens, collective fisheries, farming, foresting, food systems, cities and creative commons licensing. They often transcend the limitations of the market/state system. Specific examples include cooperatively managed forests, water distribution irrigation systems, social currencies, Free/Libre and Open-Source Software, self organized urban spaces, distributed manufacturing networks and more.

  • Open Source Repository for COVID-19 Drug-Delivery Simulation Data Launched

    The Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI), based in Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center, has launched an open-source website that will allow biomolecular scientists from around the world to share computer-aided drug-testing simulations targeting the protein at the center of COVID-19. [...] Under the leadership of Teresa Head-Gordon, a MolSSI co-director and a professor of chemistry, bioengineering, and chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, the MolSSI team started work on the COVID-19 website about a month ago, after scores of scientists began discussing ways to share simulation modeling data they had on the coronavirus. The hub allows biomolecular researchers to compare computational models of the COVID-19 virus and to share what findings the scientists have made on drug delivery to the host protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “If we’re all trying to act fast, we’ll want to focus on a certain class of drugs that are repurposed, they’ve already been through clinical trials for other diseases or related viruses,” Head-Gordon said. “You have known molecules, and you want to see if there are places on the target protein that you can disrupt.”

  • Open source medical equipment repair database for Covid-19

    iFixit is creating a comprehensive database of repair manuals for medical equipment such as ventilators to help medical professionals around the world tackle the Covid-19 pandemic Teardown and repair specialist iFixit is creating a database of repair manuals for medical equipment to help tackle the Covid-19 outbreak around the world and is encouraging manufacturers to help. Hospitals are having trouble getting service information to fix medical equipment, and that is being made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’ve heard countless stories from biomedical technicians about how medical device manufacturers make their jobs more difficult by restricting access to repair information,” said Kyle Wiens, co-founder of iFixit.

  • Space10 designs open-source bee homes for digital fabrication

    "I want people to design a dream home for bees that provides the perfect environment for their offspring, while at the same time being incredibly easy to design, assemble and place," said Klein, who is based in Copenhagen. "It was important for me that Bee Home is aesthetically pleasing and almost feels like you've added a sculpture to your garden or your balcony," she continued. "This project really exemplifies how design can do good for both people and their environment."

  • SPACE10 Creates Open-Source Bee Homes for World Bee Day

    IKEA’s research and design lab SPACE10 has created a new open source Bee Home. Working with Bakken & Bæck and designer Tanita Klein, the team has launched the free Bee Home project to coincidence with the United Nations International Bee Day. The project takes advantage of digital fabrication and parametric design so that people can design and fabricate their own Bee Home locally.

  • Space10 Launches Free and Open-Source 'Bee Home' Project

    SPACE10 recently collaborated with Bakken & Bæck and Tanita Klein to launch Bee Home, an open invitation for everyone to give bees the space they need. Through a digital platform, the project allows anyone to design, customize and download their very own Bee Home locally. This project takes advantage of the newest developments in digital fabrication and parametric design and introduces entirely new distribution methods to enable a fully democratic design process. Not only are the design files available and free for download, but the assembly of the Bee Home doesn't require tools of any kind. Inspired by Japanese wood joinery and a few tricks in carpentry, the multiple storeys of the Bee Home are actually locked together through a 'spine and key' system that maintains the home's structural integrity while making it incredibly easy to assemble and dismantle.

  • Vote to include aero handicap and open source ideas

    While a lot of the main target in current weeks has been on the discount of a deliberate price range cap, different rules aimed toward enhancing the game have shaped a part of a ‘New Deal’ that has been championed by FIA president Jean Todt.

Kernel: READFILE and Linux 5.8

  • Linux Work Culminating On A "READFILE" Syscall For Reading Small Files Efficiently

    Stemming from recent kernel discussions over a hypothetical new system call for reading small files more efficiently, Greg Kroah-Hartman has been working on the readfile() system call and it's looking like it is taking shape well enough to premiere soon in a new mainline kernel release.

  • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Support Is Not Coming With Linux 5.8

    For those AMD Ryzen laptop users eager to see the Sensor Fusion Hub driver for supporting the different hardware sensors on these AMD Zen laptops, that driver still isn't going to be merged for the upcoming Linux 5.8 cycle even after the patches were first published months ago. AMD SFH missed the mark for Linux 5.7 due to concerns raised over the new code at the time. Since then, there hasn't been any new patch revisions out from AMD for their SFH driver. So it's not really a surprise over it not being queued for the upcoming Linux 5.8 merge window.