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Moz/FF

WWW and Development

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Development
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OSS
Web
  • Acquisition roundabout sees Zend Framework spun off to Linux Foundation

    The Zend Framework is to get a new name and a new home, under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, just a few months after its parent co was itself swallowed whole.

    Zend – as was – is an open source, object-oriented web application framework implemented in PHP 7. It was synonymous with Zend Technologies, which was taken over by Rogue Wave Software in 2015. Rogue Wave Software was itself acquired by private equity outfit Clear Lake Capital earlier this year.

    According to the website for the new organisation, “To take it to the next step of adoption and innovation, we are happy to announce that we are transitioning Zend Framework and all its subprojects to an open source project hosted at the Linux Foundation.”

  • Five RESTful web service client examples for developers

    How do you access a RESTful web service? That depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

    If you just want to test connectivity, a terminal-based utility like curl is a great RESTful web service client. If you want to inspect the JSON a service returns to you, a browser-based plugin will probably be a better fit. And if you are in the midst of application development, you'll likely need to use JAX-RS, Spring or a similar framework.

  • 5 Best Reasons to Opt for PHP Web Development

    Many companies now are choosing PHP web development to realize their IT needs. According to research, almost 83 percent of web services are using PHP, and it is the preferred choice of industry stalwarts such as BlaBlaCar, Slack, and Spotify. PHP is open source and comes with a great community, and it is continuously upgrading. There is no doubt about the same.

  • It’s Complicated: Mozilla’s 2019 Internet Health Report

    The Report paints a mixed picture of what life online looks like today. We’re more connected than ever, with humanity passing the ‘50% of us are now online’ mark earlier this year. And, while almost all of us enjoy the upsides of being connected, we also worry about how the internet and social media are impacting our children, our jobs and our democracies.

    When we published last year’s Report, the world was watching the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal unfold — and these worries were starting to grow. Millions of people were realizing that widespread, laissez-faire sharing of our personal data, the massive growth and centralization of the tech industry, and the misuse of online ads and social media was adding up to a big mess.

    Over the past year, more and more people started asking: what are we going to do about this mess? How do we push the digital world in a better direction?

    As people asked these questions, our ability to see the underlying problems with the system — and to imagine solutions — has evolved tremendously. Recently, we’ve seen governments across Europe step up efforts to monitor and thwart disinformation ahead of the upcoming EU elections. We’ve seen the big tech companies try everything from making ads more transparent to improving content recommendation algorithms to setting up ethics boards (albeit with limited effect and with critics saying ‘you need to do much more!’). And, we’ve seen CEOs and policymakers and activists wrestling with each other over where to go next. We have not ‘fixed’ the problems, but it does feel like we’ve entered a new, sustained era of debate about what a healthy digital society should look like.

Mozilla on Nuisance Videos and Servo Progress

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Moz/FF

Mozilla: VoxelJS, AiC and Mozilla B-Team

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla VR Blog: VoxelJS: Chunking Magic

    A couple of weeks ago I relaunched VoxelJS with modern ThreeJS and modules support. Today I'm going to talk a little bit about how VoxelJS works internally, specifically how voxels are represented and drawn. This is the key magic part of a voxel engine and I owe a tremendous debt to Max Ogden, James Halliday and Mikola Lysenko

    Voxels are represented by numbers in a large three dimensional array. Each number says what type of block goes in that block slot, with 0 representing empty. The challenge is how to represent a potentially infinite set of voxels without slowing the computer to a crawl. The only way to do this is to load just a portion of the world at a time.

  • AiC: Collaborative summary documents

    One of my goals was that we could, at least for a moment, disconnect people from their particular position and turn their attention towards the goal of achieving a shared and complete summary. I didn’t feel that we were very succesful in this goal.

    For one thing, most participants simply left comments on parts they disagreed with; they didn’t themselves suggest alternate wording. That meant that I personally had to take their complaint and try to find some “middle ground” that accommodated the concern but preserved the original point. This was stressful for me and a lot of work. More importantly, it meant that most people continued to interact with the document as advocates for their point-of-view, rather than trying to step back and advocate for the completeness of the summary.

    In other words: when you see a sentence you disagree with, it is easy to say that you disagree with it. It is much harder to rephrase it in a way that you do agree with – but which still preserves (what you believe to be) the original intent. Doing so requires you to think about what the other person likely meant, and how you can preserve that.

    However, one possible reason that people may have been reluctant to offer suggestions is that, often, it was hard to make “small edits” that addressed people’s concerns. Especially early on, I found that, in order to address some comment, I would have to make larger restructurings. For example, taking a small sentence and expanding it to a bullet point of its own.

    Finally, some people who were active on the thread didn’t participate in the doc. Or, if they did, they did so by leaving comments on the original GitHub thread. This is not surprising: I was asking people to do something new and unfamiliar. Also, this whole process played out relatively quickly, and I suspect some people just didn’t even see the document before it was done.

    If I were to do this again, I would want to start it earlier in the process. I would also want to consider synchronous meetings, where we could go try to process edits as a group (but I think it would take some thought to figure out how to run such a meeting).

    In terms of functioning asynchronously, I would probably change to use a Google Doc instead of a Dropbox Paper. Google Docs have a better workflow for suggesting edits, I believe, as well, as a richer permissions model.

    Finally, I would try to draw a harder line in trying to get people to “own” the document and suggest edits of their own. I think the challenge of trying to neutrally represent someone else’s point of view is pretty powerful.

  • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!

    Bugfixes + enabling the new security feature for API keys.

Android Browser Choice Screen in Europe

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Android
Google
Moz/FF
Web

Today, Google announced a new browser choice screen in Europe. We love an opportunity to show more people our products, like Firefox for Android. Independent browsers that put privacy and security first (like Firefox) are great for consumers and an important part of the Android ecosystem.

There are open questions, though, about how well this implementation of a choice screen will enable people to easily adopt options other than Chrome as their default browser. The details matter, and the true measure will be the impact on competition and ultimately consumers. As we assess the results of this launch on Mozilla’s Firefox for Android, we’ll share our impressions and the impact we see.

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Introducing Mozilla WebThings

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Moz/FF

The Mozilla IoT team is excited to announce that after two years of development and seven quarterly software updates that have generated significant interest from the developer & maker community, Project Things is graduating from its early experimental phase and from now on will be known as Mozilla WebThings.

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Also: Mozilla "WebThings" No Longer An Experiment

Mozilla and Firefox News

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Moz/FF
  • Chris H-C: Distributed Teams: A Test Failing Because It’s Run West of Newfoundland and Labrador

    When Firefox starts up the first time, it doesn’t know where it is. And it needs to know where it is to properly make a first guess at what language you want and what search engines would work best. Google’s results are pretty bad in Canada unless you use “google.ca”, after all.

    But while Firefox doesn’t know where it is, it does know is what timezone it’s in from the settings in your OS’s clock. On top of that it knows what language your OS is set to. So we make a first guess at which search region we’re in based on whether or not the timezone overlaps a US timezone and if your OS’ locale is `en-US` (United States English).

    What this fails to take into account is that United States English is the “default” locale reported by many OSes even if you aren’t in the US. And how even if you are in a timezone that overlaps with the US, you might not be there.

  • Fluent 1.0: a localization system for natural-sounding translations

    Fluent is a family of localization specifications, implementations and good practices developed by Mozilla. It is currently used in Firefox. With Fluent, translators can create expressive translations that sound great in their language. Today we’re announcing version 1.0 of the Fluent file format specification. We’re inviting translation tool authors to try it out and provide feedback.

  • Mark Surman: Getting crisper about ‘better AI’

    As I wrote a few weeks back, Mozilla is increasingly coming to the conclusion that making sure AI serves humanity rather than harms it is a key internet health issue. Our internet health movement building efforts will be focused in this area in the coming years.

    In 2019, this means focusing a big part of our investment in fellowships, awards, campaigns and the Internet Health Report on AI topics. It also means taking the time to get crisper on what we mean by ‘better’ and defining a specific set of things we’d like to see happen around the politics, technology and use of AI. Thinking this through now will tee up work in the years to come.

    We started this thinking in an ‘issue brief’ that looks at AI issues through the lens of internet health and the Mozilla Manifesto. It builds from the idea that intelligent systems are ultimately designed and shaped by humans — and then looks at areas where we need to collectively figure out how we want these systems used, who should control them and how we should mitigate their risks. The purpose of this brief is to spark discussions in and around Mozilla that will help us come up with more specific goals and plans of action.

  • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
  • Mozilla reacts to European Parliament plenary vote on EU Terrorist Content regulation

    As the recent atrocities in Christchurch underscored, terrorism remains a serious threat to citizens and society, and it is essential that we implement effective strategies to combat it. But the Terrorist Content regulation passed today in the European Parliament is not that. This legislation does little but chip away at the rights of European citizens and further entrench the same companies the legislation was aimed at regulating. By demanding that companies of all sizes take down ‘terrorist content’ within one hour the EU has set a compliance bar that only the most powerful can meet.

    Our calls for targeted, proportionate and evidence-driven policy responses to combat the evolving threat, were not accepted by the majority, but we will continue to push for a more effective regulation in the next phase of this legislative process. The issue is simply too important to get wrong, and the present shortfalls in the proposal are too serious to let stand.

  • Mark J. Wielaard: Valgrind 3.15.0 with improved DHAT heap profiler

    Julian Seward released valgrind 3.15.0 which updates support for existing platforms and adds a major overhaul of the DHAT heap profiler. There are, as ever, many refinements and bug fixes. The release notes give more details.

    Nicholas Nethercote used the old experimental DHAT tool a lot while profiling the Rust compiler and then decided to write and contribute A better DHAT (which contains a screenshot of the the new graphical viewer).

  • A better DHAT

    DHAT is a heap profiler that comes with Valgrind. (The name is short for “Dynamic Heap Analysis Tool”.) It tells your where all your heap allocations come from, and can help you find the following: places that cause excessive numbers of allocations; leaks; unused and under-used allocations; short-lived allocations; and allocations with inefficient data layouts. This old blog post goes into some detail.

    In the new Valgrind 3.15 release I have given DHAT a thorough overhaul.

    The old DHAT was very useful and I have used it a lot while profiling the Rust compiler. But it had some rather annoying limitations, which the new DHAT overcomes.

    First, the old DHAT dumped its data as text at program termination. The new DHAT collects its data in a file which is read by a graphical viewer that runs in a web browser. This gives several advantages.

Mozilla: Firefox Accounts, Firefox for 'Hype' Things and Hubs

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Moz/FF

The Rapid Progress Of The AV1 Video Format Over The Past Year

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Movies
Moz/FF
Web

Mozilla presented at the NAB Streaming Summit last week over the state of the royalty-free AV1 video format aiming to compete with H.265/HEVC and succeeding VP9 for open-source use-cases.

In particular, a lot of AV1 progress was made over the past year compared to when the bitstream wasn't finalized, poor encoder performance, lack of AV1 support, and slow adoption. 2018 also brought the introduction of the Dav1d AV1 video decoder, more members joining the AOMedia Foundation, and other advancements.

Read more

Mozilla: Hubs Discord Bot, Pyodide, Brussels Mozilla Morning, CCADB and Tor

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla VR Blog: Announcing the Hubs Discord Bot

    We’re excited to announce an official Hubs integration with Discord, a platform that provides text and voice chat for communities. In today's digital world, the ways we stay connected with our friends, family, and co-workers is evolving. Our established social networks span across different platforms, and we believe that shared virtual reality should build on those relationships and that they enhance the way we communicate with the people we care about. Being co-present as avatars in a shared 3D space is a natural progression for the tools we use today, and we’re building on that idea with Hubs to allow you to create private spaces where your conversations, content, and data is protected.

    In recent years, Discord has grown in popularity for communities organized around games and technology, and is the platform we use internally on the Hubs development team for product development discussions. Using Discord as a persistent platform that is open to the public gives us the ability to be open about our ongoing work and initiatives on the Hubs team and integrate the community’s feedback into our product planning and development. If you’re a member of the Discord server for Hubs, you may have already seen the bot in action during our internal testing this month!

  • Pyodide: Bringing the scientific Python stack to the browser

    The impetus for Pyodide came from working on another Mozilla project, Iodide, which we presented in an earlier post. Iodide is a tool for data science experimentation and communication based on state-of-the-art web technologies. Notably, it’s designed to perform data science computation within the browser rather than on a remote kernel.

    Unfortunately, the “language we all have” in the browser, JavaScript, doesn’t have a mature suite of data science libraries, and it’s missing a number of features that are useful for numerical computing, such as operator overloading. We still think it’s worthwhile to work on changing that and moving the JavaScript data science ecosystem forward. In the meantime, we’re also taking a shortcut: we’re meeting data scientists where they are by bringing the popular and mature Python scientific stack to the browser.

  • Brussels Mozilla Mornings: A policy blueprint for internet health

    On 14 May, Mozilla will host the next installment of our Mozilla Mornings series – regular breakfast meetings where we bring together policy experts, policymakers and practitioners for insight and discussion on the latest EU digital policy developments.

    This event will coincide with the launch of the 2019 Mozilla Foundation Internet Health Report. We’re bringing together an expert panel to discuss some of the report’s highlights, and their vision for how the next EU political mandate can enhance internet health in Europe.

  • Google Accused Of Betraying Firefox To Boost Chrome Adoption

    We all know that since Google Chrome came into being, other popular web browsers–Mozilla Firefox being one of them–failed to maintain their position in the market. As a result, today Chrome is the most used web browser. However, it also faces scrutiny for its popularity and the most recent one to do so is an ex-Mozilla employee.

    According to a Twitter thread by Johnathan Nightingale, former general manager and vice president at Mozilla Firefox, Google deliberately sabotaged Mozilla with its “amateur hours” tactics.

  • Mozilla’s Common CA Database (CCADB) promotes Transparency and Collaboration

    The Common CA Database (CCADB) is helping us protect individuals’ security and privacy on the internet and deliver on our commitment to use transparent community-based processes to promote participation, accountability and trust. It is a repository of information about Certificate Authorities (CAs) and their root and subordinate certificates that are used in the web PKI, the publicly-trusted system which underpins secure connections on the web. The Common CA Database (CCADB) paves the way for more efficient and cost-effective management of root stores and helps make the internet safer for everyone. For example, the CCADB automatically detects and alerts root store operators when a root CA has outdated audit statements or a gap between audit periods. This is important, because audit statements provide assurance that a CA is following required procedures so that they do not issue fraudulent certificates.

  • How Bandwidth Scanners Monitor The Tor Network

     

    Tor relays report their own bandwidth based on the traffic they have sent and received. But this reported bandwidth is not verified by other relays. Bandwidth scanners help verify relay bandwidths. They also provide some initial traffic to new relays, so those relays can report a useful amount of bandwidth.

Mozilla: React, Firefox 67 Beta 10 Testday Results, and Privacy Rants

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Moz/FF
  • Peter Bengtsson: Whatsdeployed rewritten in React

    All old URLs will continue to work but now the canonical URL becomes /s/5HY/mozilla-services/tecken, for example. The :org/:repo isn't really necessary because the server knows exactly what 5HY (in this example means), but it's nice for the URL bar's memory.

    Another thing that changed was how it can recognize "bors commits". When you use bors, you put a bunch of commits into a GitHub Pull Request and then ask the bors bot to merge them into master. Using "bors mode" in Whatsdeployed is optional but we believe it looks a lot more user-friendly. Here is an example of mozilla/normandy with and without bors toggled on and off.

  • Firefox 67 Beta 10 Testday Results

    As you may already know, last Friday April 12th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 67 Beta 10.

    Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: Rok Žerdin, noelonassis, gaby2300, Kamila kamciatek

    From Mozilla Bangladesh Community: Sayed Ibn Masud, Md.Rahimul Islam, Shah Yashfique Bhuian, Maruf Rahman, Niyaz Bin Hashem, Md. Almas Hossain, Ummay hany eiti, Kazi Ashraf Hossain.

  • How you can take control against online tracking

    Picture this. You arrive at a website you’ve never been to before and the site is full of ads for things you’ve already looked at online. It’s not a difficult thing to imagine because it happens every day. It can feel creepy, especially if you don’t understand why you’re seeing those ads. It can be particularly uncomfortable when you start seeing ads that try to shape your political opinions. With elections coming up in the EU, Canada and the US, it’s important to understand how online tracking can influence you.

  • The Bug in Apple’s Latest Marketing Campaign [Ed: Mozilla calls out misleading ads from Apple, which is in NSA PRISM and is spying on people, putting back doors in everything and so on]

    Each iPhone that Apple sells comes with a unique ID (called an “identifier for advertisers” or IDFA), which lets advertisers track the actions users take when they use apps. It’s like a salesperson following you from store to store while you shop and recording each thing you look at. Not very private at all.

    The good news: You can turn this feature off. The bad news: Most people don’t know that feature even exists, let alone that they should turn it off. And we think that they shouldn’t have to.

    That’s why we’re asking Apple to change the unique IDs for each iPhone every month. You would still get relevant ads — but it would be harder for companies to build a profile about you over time.

  • Alex Gibson: My sixth year working at Mozilla

    This week marks my sixth year working at Mozilla! I’ll be honest, this year’s mozillaversary came by so fast I nearly forgot all about writing this blog post. It feels hard to believe that I’ve been working here for a full six years. I’ve guess grown and learned a lot in that time, but it still doesn’t feel like all that long ago when I first joined full time. Years start to blur together. So, what’s happened in this past 12 months?

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  • mintCast 307 – Encryption Part 1
    This is Leo and with me I have Joe, Moss, and the return of Rob for this episode! We’re recording on Sunday April 21st 2019. First up, in our Wanderings, I talk Kernel 5.0 and transfer speed, Joe reformats and loses Windows but gains NVidia peace of mind, and finally Moss digests more distros and has some success with migrating Kodi Then, our news is filled with updates from top to bottom. In our Innards section, we dive into file and disk encryption.
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    This week we discover the good word of Xfce and admit Joe was right all along. And share our tips for making Xfce more modern. Plus a new Debian leader, the end of Scientific Linux, and behind the scenes of Librem 5 apps.

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