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Moz/FF

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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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.

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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?

Mozilla Promotes Asa Dotzler to "product manager for Firefox browser accessibility."

Filed under
Moz/FF

Several months ago I took on a new role at Mozilla, product manager for Firefox browser accessibility. I couldn’t be more excited about this. It’s an area I’ve been interested in for nearly my entire career at Mozilla.

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Mozilla: Security, UX and VR

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • How to stay safe online while on vacation
  • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part 1

    If you want to block annoying ads or populate your new tab with sassy cats, you can do it…with browser extensions and themes. Users can download thousands of these “add-ons” from Firefox’s host site, addons.mozilla.org (“AMO”), to customize their browsing experience with new functionality or a dash of whimsy.

  • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part 2

    Now that we had our new content model, we needed to make it a reality for the extension developers creating product pages.

  • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part

    A content model is a useful tool for organizations to structure, future-proof, and clean up their content. But that content model is only brought to life when content authors populate the fields you have designed with actual content. And the quality of that content is dependent in part on how the content system supports those authors in their endeavor.

    We had discovered through user research that developers create extensions for a great variety of reasons — including as a side hobby or for personal enjoyment. They may not have the time, incentive, or expertise to produce high-quality, discoverable content to market their extensions, and they shouldn’t be expected to. But, we can make it easier for them to do so with more actionable guidelines, tools, and governance.

    An initial review of the content submission flow revealed that the guidelines for developers needed to evolve. Specifically, we needed to give developers clearer requirements, explain why each content field mattered and where that content showed up, and provide them with examples. On top of that, we needed to give them writing exercises and tips when they hit a dead end.

    So, to support our developer authors in creating our ideal content state, I drafted detailed content guidelines that walked extension developers through the process of creating each content element.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Firefox Reality 1.1.3

    Firefox Reality 1.1.3 will soon be available for all users in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores.

    This release includes some major new features including support for 6DoF controllers, new environments, a curved browser window option and some bug fixes.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Wrapping up a week of WebVR experiments

    Earlier this week, we kicked off a week of WebVR experiments with our friends at Glitch.com. Glitch creator and WebVR expert Andrés Cuervo put together seven projects that are fun, unique, and will challenge you to learn advanced techniques for building Virtual Reality experiences on the web.

    If you are just getting started with WebVR, we recommend you check out this WebVR starter kit which will walk you through creating your very first WebVR experience.

Announcing Rust 1.34.0

Filed under
Development
Moz/FF

The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.34.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

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Also: Daniel Stenberg: no more global dns cache in curl

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Graphics: AMDGPU and X.Org Elections

  • amdgpu drm-next-5.2
  • AMDGPU Has Another Round Of Updates Ahead Of Linux 5.2
    Feature work on DRM-Next for the Linux 5.2 kernel cycle is winding down while today AMD has sent in what could be their last round of AMDGPU feature updates for this next kernel release. Building off their earlier Linux 5.2 feature work are more updates. That earlier round brought new SMU11 enablement code for Vega 20, various other Vega 20 features, HMM preparations, and other code changes.
  • 2019 Election Round 2 voting OPEN
    To all X.Org Foundation Members: The round 2 of X.Org Foundation's annual election is now open and will remain open until 23:59 UTC on 2 May 2019. Four of the eight director seats are open during this election, with the four nominees receiving the highest vote totals serving as directors for two year terms. There were six candidates nominated. For a complete list of the candidates and their personal statements, please visit the 2019 X.Org Elections page at https://www.x.org/wiki/BoardOfDirectors/Elections/2019/ The new bylaw changes were approved in the first round of voting. Here are some instructions on how to cast your vote: Login to the membership system at: https://members.x.org/ If you do not remember your password, you can click on the "lost password" button and enter your user name. An e-mail will be sent to you with your password. If you have problems with the membership system, please e-mail membership at x.org. When you login you will see an "Active Ballots" section with the "X.Org 2019 Elections Round 2" ballot. When you click on that you will be presented with a page describing the ballot. At the bottom you will find a number of dropdowns that let you rank your candidates by order of preference. For the election: There is a pull-down selection box for 1st choice, 2nd, choice, and so on. Pick your candidates top to bottom in order of preference, avoiding duplicates. After you have completed your ballot, click the "Cast vote" button. Note that once you click this button, your votes will be cast and you will not be able to make further changes, so please make sure you are satisfied with your votes before clicking the "Cast vote" button. After you click the "Vote" button, the system will verify that you have completed a valid ballot. If your ballot is invalid (e.g., you duplicated a selection or did not answer the By-laws approval question), it will return you to the previous voting page. If your ballot is valid, your votes will be recorded and the system will show you a notice that your votes were cast. Note that the election will close at 23:59 UTC on 2 May 2019. At that time, the election committee will count the votes and present the results to the current board for validation. After the current board validates the results, the election committee will present the results to the Members. Harry, on behalf of the X.Org elections committee
  • It's Time To Re-Vote Following The Botched 2019 X.Org Elections
    While there were the recent X.Org Foundation board elections, a do-over was needed as their new custom-written voting software wasn't properly recording votes... So here's now your reminder to re-vote in these X.Org elections. At least with the initial round of voting they reached a super majority and the ballot question of whether the X.Org Foundation should formally fold FreeDesktop.org into its umbrella worked and that X.Org + FreeDesktop.org hook-up passed so all is well on that front. But for the Board of Directors elections, that's where re-voting is needed with the voting software that now correctly records the votes.

today's howtos

Games: Lutris and More

  • Epic Games Store Now On Linux Thanks To Lutris
    While the Epic Games Store itself is not officially supported by the open source Linux operating system, a third-party gaming client has now made sure that you can access the store and launcher on your own distro. The Epic Games Store is now accessible on Linux via the Lutris Gaming client. The client is available to all Linux users, who in the past has provided the same users a way to play PC games without the need to have Windows installed in their machines. Although Linux is not necessarily the go-to platform when it comes to PC gaming, there is a very niche audience dedicated to making the platform work in favor of open-source and to counteract what could be perceived as a heavily Windows-biased PC gaming community. Linux gaming is somewhat tedious to the relatively casual or normal user, although there are some within the Linux community that advertise and try to foster its growth in terms of gaming, as there are some games that can run better on the operating system. That is to say, if you have a lot of patience to try and make it work.
  • You Died but a Necromancer revived you is good fun in a small package
    Sometimes, simplicity is what makes a game and in the case of You Died BaNRY that's very true. The game has little depth to it but makes up for that in just how frantic and fun it can be. The entire gameplay is just you (or you and friends) attempting to cross a small level filled with platforms, spikes and all sorts of crazy traps. It's ridiculously easy to get into as well, since the controls are so basic all you need to worry about is your movement.
  • Forager is a weirdly addictive casual grinding game that has mined into my heart
    I'm not usually one for games that have you endlessly wander around, collect resources, build a little and repeat but Forager is so ridiculously charming it's lovely.
  • DragonRuby Game Toolkit, a cross-platform way to make games with Ruby
    Now for something a little different! Ryan "Icculus" Gordon, a name known for many Linux ports and SDL2 teamed up with indie developer Amir Rajan to create a new cross-platform toolkit. Why was it created? Well, in a nutshell they both "hate the complexity of today's engines" and this toolkit was actually made to help ship A Dark Room for the Nintendo Switch, which shows how versatile it is.

10+ Open Source Software Writing Tools That Every Writer Should Know

Being a professional writer requires two key things to help ensure success: commitment and support. The former comes from the writer, and the latter comes from the tools he (or she) uses to get the job done. Below is a list of 11 great and lesser-known writing tools or apps, many of which are free and open-source, that can help improve the quality of your writing and make you a more productive and successful writer. Read more