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Mozilla News and Developments

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  • Happy BMO Push Day!
  • Lessons Learned while Designing for the Immersive Web

    It’s not necessarily more difficult – all the same design principles still apply – but it is quite different. One of the things that you have to account for is how the user perceives space in a headset – it seems huge. So instead of designing for a rectangular window inside a rectangular display, you’re suspending a window in what looks to be a very large room. The difficulty there is that people want to fill that room with a dozen browser windows, and maybe have a YouTube video, baseball game or stock ticker running in the background. But in reality, we only have these 2-inch screens to work with, one for each eye, and the pixels of just half a cell phone screen. But the perception is it’s 1,000 times bigger than a desktop. They think they’re in a movie theater.

  • Cross-language Performance Profile Exploration with speedscope

    The goal of speedscope is to provide a 60fps way of interactively exploring large performance profiles from a variety of profilers for a variety of programming languages. It runs totally in-browser, and does not send any profiling data to any servers. Because it runs totally in-browser, it should work in Firefox and Chrome on Mac, Windows, and Linux. It can be downloaded to run offline, either from npm, or just as a totally standalone zip file.

    In doing performance work across many language environments at Figma, I noticed that every community tends to create its own tools for visualizing performance issues. With speedscope, I hoped to de-duplicate those efforts. To meet this goal, speedscope supports import of profiles from a growing list of profilers:

  • How do people decide where or not to get a browser extension?

    The Firefox Add-ons Team works to make sure people have all of the information they need to decide which browser extensions are right for them. Past research conducted by Bill Selman and the Add-ons Team taught us a lot about how people discover extensions, but there was more to learn. Our primary research question was: “How do people decide whether or not to get a specific browser extension?”

  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 49
  • Friend of Add-ons: Jyotsna Gupta

    Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Jyotsna Gupta! Jyotsna first became involved with Mozilla in 2015 when she became a Firefox Student Ambassador and started a Firefox club at her college. She has contributed to several projects at Mozilla, including localization, SuMo, and WebMaker, and began exploring Firefox OS app development after attending a WoMoz community meetup in her area.

    In 2017, a friend introduced Jyotsna to browser extension development. Always curious and interested in trying new things, she created PrivateX, an extension that protects user privacy by opening websites that ask for critical user information in a private browsing window and removing Google Analytics tracking tokens. With her newfound experience developing extensions, Jyotsna began mentoring new extension developers in her local community, and joined the Featured Extensions Advisory Board.

  • This Week in Rust 259

    Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed.

  • Mozilla Reaffirms Commitment to Transgender Equality

Mozilla Politics

  • Why open source isn't just about code [Ed: Mozilla continues to unnecessarily alienate Firefox users who leave not because they don’t like the code or the program but because they don’t agree with company leadership using the company as a political vehicle]

    For sure. Yeah, and we've seen things like Firefox really succeed where people come together from all over the world to build a product openly, and invite contributions. And we've seen that succeed and really take down a monopoly. And we've seen this work, time and time again, in more than just code, but in businesses, in government, in science. Where people, when they work openly, when they're inviting contributions, they're more innovative, they get better ideas. And they get more buy-in from the community who wants to use them.

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More in Tux Machines

12 open source tools for natural language processing

Natural language processing (NLP), the technology that powers all the chatbots, voice assistants, predictive text, and other speech/text applications that permeate our lives, has evolved significantly in the last few years. There are a wide variety of open source NLP tools out there, so I decided to survey the landscape to help you plan your next voice- or text-based application. For this review, I focused on tools that use languages I'm familiar with, even though I'm not familiar with all the tools. (I didn't find a great selection of tools in the languages I'm not familiar with anyway.) That said, I excluded tools in three languages I am familiar with, for various reasons. The most obvious language I didn't include might be R, but most of the libraries I found hadn't been updated in over a year. That doesn't always mean they aren't being maintained well, but I think they should be getting updates more often to compete with other tools in the same space. I also chose languages and tools that are most likely to be used in production scenarios (rather than academia and research), and I have mostly used R as a research and discovery tool. Read more

Devices: Indigo Igloo, Raspberry Pi Projects and Ibase

  • AR-controlled robot could help people with motor disabilities with daily tasks
    Researchers employed the PR2 robot running Ubuntu 14.04 and an open-source Robot Operating System called Indigo Igloo for the study. The team made adjustments to the robot including padding metal grippers and adding “fabric-based tactile sensing” in certain areas.
  • 5 IoT Projects You Can Do Yourself on a Raspberry Pi
    Are you new to the Internet of Things and wonder what IoT devices can do for you? Or do you just have a spare Raspberry Pi hanging around and are wondering what you can do with it? Either way, there are plenty of ways to put that cheap little board to work. Some of these projects are easy while others are much more involved. Some you can tackle in a day while others will take a while. No matter what, you’re bound to at least get some ideas looking at this list.
  • Retail-oriented 21.5-inch panel PCs run on Kaby Lake and Bay Trail
    Ibase’s 21.5-inch “UPC-7210” and “UPC-6210” panel PCs run Linux or Windows on 7th Gen Kaby Lake-U and Bay Trail CPUs, respectively. Highlights include 64GB SSDs, mini-PCIe, mSATA, and IP65 protection.

NexDock 2 Turns Your Android Phone or Raspberry Pi into a Laptop

Ever wished your Android smartphone or Raspberry Pi was a laptop? Well, with the NexDock 2 project, now live on Kickstarter, it can be! Both the name and the conceit should be familiar to long-time gadget fans. The original NexDock was a 14.1-inch laptop shell with no computer inside. It successfully crowdfunded back in 2016. The OG device made its way in to the hands of thousands of backers. While competent enough, some of-the-time reviews were tepid about the dock’s build quality. After a brief stint fawning over Intel’s innovative (now scrapped) Compute Cards, the team behind the portable device is back with an updated, refined and hugely improved model. Read more

Graphics: Libinput 1.13 RC2, NVIDIA and AMD

  • libinput 1.12.902
    The second RC for libinput 1.13 is now available.
    
    This is the last RC, expect the final within the next few days unless
    someone finds a particulaly egregious bug.
    
    One user-visible change: multitap (doubletap or more) now resets the timer
    on release as well. This should improve tripletap detection as well as any
    tripletap-and-drag and similar gestures.
    
    valgrind is no longer a required dependency to build with tests. It was only
    used in a specific test run anyway (meson test --setup=valgrind) and not
    part of the regular build.
    
    As usual, the git shortlog is below.
    
    Benjamin Poirier (1):
          evdev: Rename button up and down states to mirror each other
    
    Feldwor (1):
          Set TouchPad Pressure Range for Toshiba L855
    
    Paolo Giangrandi (1):
          touchpad: multitap state transitions use the same timing used for taps
    
    Peter Hutterer (3):
          tools: flake8 fixes, typo fixes and missing exception handling
          meson.build: make valgrind optional
          libinput 1.12.902
  • Libinput 1.13 RC2 Better Detects Triple Taps
    Peter Hutterer of Red Hat announced the release of libinput 1.13 Release Candidate 2 on Thursday as the newest test release for this input handling library used by both X.Org and Wayland Linux systems. Libinput 1.13 will be released in the days ahead as the latest six month update to this input library. But with the time that has passed, it's not all that exciting of a release as the Logitech high resolution scrolling support as well as Dell Totem input device support for the company's Canvas display was delayed to the next release cycle. But libinput 1.13 is bringing touch arbitration improvements for tablets, various new quirks, and other fixes and usability enhancements.
  • Open-Source NVIDIA PhysX 4.1 Released
    Software releases are aplenty for GDC week and NVIDIA's latest release is their newest post-4.0 PhysX SDK. NVIDIA released the open-source PhysX 4.0 SDK just before Christmas as part of the company re-approaching open-source for this widely used physics library. Now the latest available is PhysX 4.1 and the open-source code drop is out in tandem.
  • AMD have launched an update to their open source Radeon GPU Analyzer, better Vulkan support
    AMD are showing off a little here, with an update to the Radeon GPU Analyzer open source project and it sounds great.