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Moz/FF

WWW: Chrome 89 and DevOps at Mozilla

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Moz/FF

  • New in Chrome 89

    Chrome 89 is starting to roll out to stable now.

  • Chrome 89 Released With Various New Web APIs Deemed Stable

    Chrome 89 is out today as the latest stable version of Google's web browser. With Chrome 89 various new APis are deemed stable including WebHID, WebNFC, and Web Serial.

    Chrome 89 promoted its WebHID, WebNFC, and Web Serial support with those APIs for HID devices, near field communication, and serial devices being deemed ready for production use. Chrome 89 is also significant for AV1 encoding support for WebRTC in early form.

  •  

  • DevOps at Mozilla

    I first joined Mozilla as an intern in 2010 for the “Tools and Automation Team” (colloquially called the “A-Team”). I always had a bit of difficulty describing our role. We work on tests. But not the tests themselves, the the thing that runs the tests. Also we make sure the tests run when code lands. Also we have this dashboard to view results, oh and also we do a bunch of miscellaneous developer productivity kind of things. Oh and sometimes we have to do other operational type things as well, but it varies.

Mozilla Leftovers

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Moz/FF
  • A Better Terminal for Mozilla Build [Ed: Mozilla is moving in a bad direction that serves Windows, not standards or the open Web or software freedom]

    If you’re working with mozilla-central on Windows and followed the official documentation, there’s a good chance the MozillaBuild shell is running in the default cmd.exe console. If you’ve spent any amount of time in this console you’ve also likely noticed it leaves a bit to be desired. Standard terminal features such as tabs, splits and themes are missing. More importantly, it doesn’t render unicode characters (at least out of the box).

  • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: India’s new intermediary liability and digital media regulations will harm the open internet

    Last week, in a sudden move that will have disastrous consequences for the open internet, the Indian government notified a new regime for intermediary liability and digital media regulation. Intermediary liability (or “safe harbor”) protections have been fundamental to growth and innovation on the internet as an open and secure medium of communication and commerce. By expanding the “due diligence” obligations that intermediaries will have to follow to avail safe harbor, these rules will harm end to end encryption, substantially increase surveillance, promote automated filtering and prompt a fragmentation of the internet that would harm users while failing to empower Indians. While many of the most onerous provisions only apply to “significant social media intermediaries” (a new classification scheme), the ripple effects of these provisions will have a devastating impact on freedom of expression, privacy and security.

  • Karl Dubost: Capping User Agent String - followup meeting [Ed: Hopefully enough people understand the degree to which use agents in a Web browser are leveraged for fingerprinting/tracking/surveillance/abuse]

    A couple of weeks ago, I mentionned the steps which have been taken about capping the User Agent String on macOS 11 for Web compatibility issues. Since then, Mozilla and Google organized a meeting to discuss the status and the issues related to this effort. We invited Apple but probably too late to find someone who could participate to the meeting (my bad). The minutes of the meeting are publicly accessible.

Google for Slow Connections and Mozilla on Accessibility

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Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Lyra: A New Very Low-Bitrate Codec for Speech Compression

    Connecting to others online via voice and video calls is something that is increasingly a part of everyday life. The real-time communication frameworks, like WebRTC, that make this possible depend on efficient compression techniques, codecs, to encode (or decode) signals for transmission or storage. A vital part of media applications for decades, codecs allow bandwidth-hungry applications to efficiently transmit data, and have led to an expectation of high-quality communication anywhere at any time.

    [...]

    To solve this problem, we have created Lyra, a high-quality, very low-bitrate speech codec that makes voice communication available even on the slowest networks. To do this, we’ve applied traditional codec techniques while leveraging advances in machine learning (ML) with models trained on thousands of hours of data to create a novel method for compressing and transmitting voice signals.

  • Google's New Lyra Voice Codec + AV1 Aim For Video Chats Over 56kbps Modems In 2021

    Google's AI team has announced "Lyra" as a very low bit-rate codec for speech compression designed for use-cases like WebRTC and other video chats... With a bit rate so low that when combined with the likes of the AV1 video codec could potentially allow video chats over 56kbps Internet connections.

    Google engineers formally announced Lyra on Thursday as this new codec to challenge the likes of Opus. Lyra leverages machine learning to make it suitable for delivering extremely low bit-rate speech compression.

    Google's Lyra announcement noted, "Lyra is currently designed to operate at 3kbps and listening tests show that Lyra outperforms any other codec at that bitrate and is compared favorably to Opus at 8kbps, thus achieving more than a 60% reduction in bandwidth. Lyra can be used wherever the bandwidth conditions are insufficient for higher-bitrates and existing low-bitrate codecs do not provide adequate quality."

  • Mozilla Accessibility: 2021 Firefox Accessibility Roadmap Update [Ed: Mozilla is not consistent. It speaks of people with disabilities, but was eager to go on with DRM (EME) inside Firefox despite is being an attack on disabled people]

    People with disabilities can experience huge benefits from technology but can also find it frustrating or worse, downright unusable. Mozilla’s Firefox accessibility team is committed to delivering products and services that are not just usable for people with disabilities, but a delight to use.

    The Firefox accessibility (a11y) team will be spending much of 2021 re-building major pieces of our accessibility engine, the part of Firefox that powers screen readers and other assistive technologies.

    While the current Firefox a11y engine has served us well for many years, new directions in browser architectures and operating systems coupled with the increasing complexity of the modern web means that some of Firefox’s venerable a11y engine needs a rebuild.

    Browsers, including Firefox, once simple single process applications, have become complex multi-process systems that have to move lots of data between processes, which can cause performance slowdowns. In order to ensure the best performance and stability and to enable support for a growing, wider variety of accessibility tools in the future (such as Windows Narrator, Speech Recognition and Text Cursor Indicator), Firefox’s accessibility engine needs to be more robust and versatile. And where ATs used to spend significant resources ensuring a great experience across browsers, the dominance of one particular browser means less resources being committed to ensuring the ATs work well with Firefox. This changing landscape means that Firefox too must evolve significantly and that’s what we’re going to be doing in 2021.

Mozilla: Rust, Firefox Logo, Nightly, Surveillance and VR/Hubs

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Moz/FF
  • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Const generics MVP hits beta!

    After more than 3 years since the original RFC for const generics was accepted, the first version of const generics is now available in the Rust beta channel! It will be available in the 1.51 release, which is expected to be released on March 25th, 2021. Const generics is one of the most highly anticipated features coming to Rust, and we're excited for people to start taking advantage of the increased power of the language following this addition.

    Even if you don't know what const generics are (in which case, read on!), you've likely been benefitting from them: const generics are already employed in the Rust standard library to improve the ergonomics of arrays and diagnostics; more on that below.

    With const generics hitting beta, let's take a quick look over what's actually being stabilized, what this means practically, and what's next.

  • Remain Calm: the fox is still in the Firefox logo

    If you’ve been on the internet this week, chances are you might have seen a meme or two about the Firefox logo.

    And listen, that’s great news for us. Sure, it’s stressful to have hundreds of thousands of people shouting things like “justice for the fox” in all-caps in your mentions for three days straight, but ultimately that means people are thinking about the brand in a way they might not have for years.

    People were up in arms because they thought we had scrubbed fox imagery from our browser. Rest easy knowing nothing could be further from the truth.

    The logo causing all the stir is one we created a while ago with input from our users. Back in 2019, we updated the Firefox browser logo and added the parent brand logo as a new logo for our broader product portfolio that extends beyond the browser.

  • django-querysetsequence 0.14 released!

    django-querysetsequence 0.14 has been released with support for Django 3.2 (and Python 3.9). django-querysetsequence is a Django package for treating multiple QuerySet instances as a single QuerySet, this can be useful for treating similar models as a single model. The QuerySetSequence class supports much of the API available to QuerySet instances.

  • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 88
  • Will Kahn-Greene: Data Org Working Groups: retrospective (2020)

    Data Org architects, builds, and maintains a data ingestion system and the ecosystem of pieces around it. It covers a swath of engineering and data science disciplines and problem domains. Many of us are generalists and have expertise and interests in multiple areas. Many projects cut across disciplines, problem domains, and organizational structures. Some projects, disciplines, and problem domains benefit from participation of other stakeholders who aren't in Data Org.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Behind-the-Scenes at Hubs Hack Week

    Earlier this month, the Hubs team spent a week working on an internal hackathon. We figured that the start of a new year is a great time to get our roadmap in order, do some investigations about possible new features to explore this year, and bring in some fresh perspectives on what we could accomplish. Plus, we figured that it wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun doing it! Our first hack week was a huge success, and today we’re sharing what we worked on this month so you can get a “behind the scenes” peek at what it’s like to work on Hubs.

Mozilla Leftovers

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Moz/FF
  • Firefox 86 brings multiple Picture-in-Picture, “Total Cookie Protection”

    In December 2019, Firefox introduced Picture-in-Picture mode—an additional overlay control on in-browser embedded videos that allows the user to detach the video from the browser. Once detached, the video has no window dressing whatsoever—no title bar, min/max/close, etc.

    PiP mode allows users who tile their windows—automatically or manually—to watch said video while consuming a bare minimum of screen real estate.

    Firefox 86 introduces the concept of multiple simultaneous Picture-in-Picture instances. Prior to build 86, hitting the PiP control on a second video would simply reattach the first video to its parent tab and detach the second. Now, you can have as many floating, detached video windows as you'd like—potentially turning any monitor into something reminiscent of a security DVR display.

    The key thing to realize about multi-PiP is that the parent tabs must remain open—if you navigate away from the parent tab of an existing PiP window, the PiP window itself closes as well. Once I realized this, I had no difficulty surrounding my Firefox 86 window with five detached, simultaneously playing video windows.

  • This Week in Glean: Boring Monitoring [Ed: Mozilla insists that it is not surveillance when they call it "data science" and "big data"]

    Every Monday the Glean has its weekly Glean SDK meeting. This meeting is used for 2 main parts: First discussing the features and bugs the team is currently investigating or that were requested by outside stakeholders. And second bug triage & monitoring of data that Glean reports in the wild.

    [...]
    It probably can! But it requires more work than throwing together a dashboard with graphs. It’s also not as easy to define thresholds on these changes and when to report them. There’s work underway that hopefully enables us to more quickly build up these dashboards for any product using the Glean SDK, which we can then also extend to do more reporting automated. The final goal should be that the product teams themselves are responsible for monitoring their data.

  • William Lachance: Community @ Mozilla: People First, Open Source Second [Ed: Is this why Mozilla pays its CEO over 3 million dollars per year (quadruple the older sum) while sacking even its own people and spying on Firefox users (people)?]

    It seems ridiculously naive in retrospect, but I can remember thinking at the time that the right amount of “open source” would solve all the problems. What can I say? It was the era of the Arab Spring, WikiLeaks had not yet become a scandal, Google still felt like something of a benevolent upstart, even Facebook’s mission of “making the world more connected” sounded great to me at the time. If we could just push more things out in the open, then the right solutions would become apparent and fixing the structural problems society was facing would become easy!

    What a difference a decade makes. The events of the last few years have demonstrated (conclusively, in my view) that open systems aren’t necessarily a protector against abuse by governments, technology monopolies and ill-intentioned groups of individuals alike. Amazon, Google and Facebook are (still) some of the top contributors to key pieces of open source infrastructure but it’s now beyond any doubt that they’re also responsible for amplifying a very large share of the problems global society is experiencing.

Mozilla: Code Review, Translations, and Tor Browser 10.0.12

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Moz/FF
  • The Benefits Of Code Review For The Reviewer

    Code Review is an essential part of the process of publishing code. We often talk about the benefits of code review for projects and for people writing the code. I want to talk about the benefits for the person actually reviewing the code.

    [...]

    There is a feel good opportunity when doing good code reviews. Specifically, when the review helped to improve both the code and the developer. Nothing better than the last comment of a developer being happy of having the code merged and the feeling of improving skills.

  • Introducing Fabiola Lopez

    Please join us in welcoming Fabiola Lopez (Fabi) to the team. Fabi will be helping us with support content in English and Spanish, so you’ll see her in both locales.

  • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0.12

    Tor Browser 10.0.12 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

    This version updates Desktop Firefox to 78.8.0esr and Android Firefox to 86.1.0. In addition, Tor Browser 10.0.12 updates NoScript to 11.2.2, Openssl to 1.1.1j, and Tor to 0.4.5.6. This version includes important security updates to Firefox for Desktop, and similar important security updates to Firefox for Android.

Firefox 86 Brings Total Cookie Protection and Multi-PIP Feature

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Moz/FF

Mozilla announced the latest release of Firefox 86 and it brings important features that make you more secure on the web.
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Firefox 87 Enters Beta with the Backspace Key Disabled as a “Back” Button

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Moz/FF

While it doesn’t appear to include any major or important changes, Firefox 87 will apparently be the first update to the popular web browser used by default on numerous GNU/Linux distributions to disable the Backspace key from working as a “Back” button when you want to navigate back to the previous page.

This change was supposed to land in the Firefox 86 release that arrived earlier today, but, for some reason unknown to me, it didn’t happen, and it looks like Mozilla delayed it for Firefox 87. Mozilla recommends that you use the Alt + Left arrow keyboard shortcut instead.

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Firefox 86 Released with Multiple Picture-in-Picture Support by Default

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Moz/FF

The biggest change in Firefox 86 was supposed to be the enablement of AV1 Image File Format (AVIF) support by default. AVIF is a powerful, royalty-free and open-source image file format designed to encode AV1 bitstreams in the HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) container.

While AVIF support was offered in during the beta testing, Firefox 86 doesn’t come with AVIF support enabled by default. However, you can enable it yourselves by setting the image.avif.enable option in about:config to true.

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Firefox Proton upcoming update - Half-integer spin

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Moz/FF

Every few years, there's a new visual revamp in Firefox. First, we had the classic look, then Australis, then Quantum, which sort of gave us the old look but in a new guise, and now, Mozilla is aiming for yet another makeover called Proton. The UI refresh seems to be all the rage, except, I don't see why there's a need for one, but hey. Modern problems require modern solutions, or something.

I wanted to get an early glimpse of the change, mostly to see what I ought to expect. As you very well recall from me articles and rants, I found Australis abominable, Quantum okay, and now, I'm not sure why Firefox should be modified yet again. If by any measure we look at competition, say Chrome, what made it popular definitely isn't any series of UI changes, because largely, it hasn't changed much since inception. Not that Firefox should ape Chrome, far from it. But the sense of activity associated with visual polish doesn't necessarily translate into anything meaningful. Whether it does, well, we need to see. Early hands on, let's see.

[...]

I don't see any major value in this revamp. On its own, the name Proton, while full of punchy sounds, is also tricky. Because it's associated with tons of other products - including but not limited to mail service, car manufacturer, gaming engine, and so on. Then, the tab redesign and the icon stripping from menus don't add any great value. I really don't understand - for the time being, that is - how this is going to contribute in any great way to the success of Firefox.

'Tis a painful realization for me, because I want Firefox to remain around, alive and relevant and fun, because at the moment, it's the only thing that makes the Internet still usable, especially on the mobile. A last bastion of semi-sanity in the great ocean of idiocracy. But then, that does not mean I blindly embrace whatever Mozilla has in its repertoire of daily surprises.

And at this point, I'm not sure how Mozilla can recapture some of the lost market share. Yes, the nerds are now all waking up, shouting privacy, but a) nerds are a tiny tiny minority Cool these are the same nerds that help convert everyone to Chrome because JAVASCRIPT SPEED in the last few years. My view is, this should be Mozilla's one and only argument - privacy. Everything else is a game of attrition that it cannot win. Simple, innocent privacy and a calm, quiet browser that does not upend established usage patterns, the opposite of what Mozilla is occasionally doing.

Idiots don't care either way, and nerds deeply care about any change in their ecosystem. Revamping the UI is a lose-lose situation really, and a waste of resources. Privacy is going to be the next battlefield, and here Mozilla has a huge lead over its competitors. Hopefully, this is where the browser's future and focus will be. And trust me, you don't want to contemplate the Internet future without Firefox. Nerds, you've been warned.

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More in Tux Machines

Audiocasts/Shows: Open Source Security Podcast, Linux Action News, and SMLR

Review: Artix Linux in 2021

Artix Linux is a fork (or continuation as an autonomous project) of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects. Artix Linux offers a lightweight, rolling-release operating system featuring alternative init software options, including OpenRC, runit, and s6. The distribution is available in many editions, including Base, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, KDE Plasma and Xfce. With all of the desktop options, combined with the available init choices, there are 21 editions, not including community spins from which to choose. All editions appear to be built for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. Picking randomly, I selected Artix's Plasma edition featuring the runit init software. The download for this edition is is 1.3GB. Browsing the other editions it looks like most flavours are about 1.1GB to 1.3GB in size, though the minimal Base edition is a compact 618MB. The project's live media boots to the KDE Plasma desktop. On the desktop we find multiple documentation and README icons. There is also an icon for launching the system installer. The default layout places a panel at bottom of the screen where we can find the application menu and system tray. The default wallpaper is a soft blue while the theme for windows and menus is dark with high contrast fonts. [...] Artix Linux is one of those distributions I really enjoy using and yet struggle to review in a meaningful way because it doesn't really go out of its way to introduce new or exciting features and everything works smoothly. The distribution is wonderfully easy to install, offers top-notch performance, and is unusually light on resources. Artix is somewhat minimal, but still ships enough software to be immediately useful right out of the gate. We can browse the web, install packages, view files, and play videos. Meanwhile the application menu isn't cluttered with a lot of extras. The developers clearly expect us to install the functionality we need, while doing a really good job of providing enough for the desktop environment to feel base-line useful right from the start. Artix does a nice job of balancing performance and functionality while also juggling ease of use against not getting in the way. There is a little documentation, but no initial welcome screen or configuration wizards that might distract the user. The one piece I felt was missing was a graphical package manager which would have made it easier to build the extra functionality I wanted on top of the base distribution. However, that one piece aside, I felt as though Artix was really well designed and put together, at lease for someone like me. It's not a distribution geared toward beginners, it's not a "first distro". It is a bit minimal and requires command line knowledge. However, for someone with a little experience with Linux, for someone who doesn't mind the occasional trip to the command line or installing new applications as needed, then Artix provides an excellent experience. It's fast, light, looks (in my opinion) great with the default theme, and elegantly walks the line between minimalism and having enough applications ready to go out of the box to be immediately useful. I'm unusually impressed with how smooth and trouble-free my experience was with this distribution and the fact it offers such a range of desktop and init diversity is all the more appealing. Read more

Alpine Linux Review: Ultimate Distro for Power Users

Alpine Linux is gathering a lot of attention because of its super-small size and focus on security. However, Alpine is different from some of the other lightweight distros we covered on FOSSLinux. It isn’t your typical desktop distribution as it is terminal-based like Arch and is marketed as a “general purpose distro.” It is currently widely adopted as a Docker container thanks to its ultra-small footprint. However, it can be used for all sorts of Linux deployments that benefit from small, resource-efficient Linux distros. Now, that statement might feel too generic. But don’t worry, as we have put together an in-depth and comprehensive review of Alpine Linux, giving you a detailed look at what it has under the hood and how to use it. As such, by the end, you should have a clear understanding of whether you should consider Alpine Linux as your next Linux distro. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Read more

Programming Leftovers

  • How to manipulate strings in bash

    Without explicit support for variable types, all bash variables are by default treated as character strings. Therefore more often than not, you need to manipulate string variables in various fashions while working on your bash script. Unless you are well-versed in this department, you may end up constantly coming back to Google and searching for tips and examples to handle your specific use case. In the spirit of saving your time and thus boosting your productivity in shell scripting, I compile in this tutorial a comprehensive list of useful string manipulation tips for bash scripting. Where possible I will try to use bash's built-in mechanisms (e.g., parameter expansion) to manipulate strings instead of invoking external tools such as awk, sed or grep. If you find any missing tips, feel free to suggest it in the comment. I will be happy to incorporate it in the article.

  • Python Generators

    Python generators are very powerful for handling operations which require large amount of memory.

  • We got lucky

    If you’re having enough production incidents to be able to evaluate your preparation, you’re probably either unlucky or unprepared ;) If you have infrequent incidents you may be well prepared but it’s hard to tell. Chaos engineering experiments are a great way to test your preparation, and practice incident response in a less stressful context. It may seem like a huge leap from your current level of preparation to running automated chaos monkeys in production, but you don’t need to go straight there. Why not start with practice drills? You could have a game host who comes up with a failure scenario. You can work up to chaos in production.

  • React Testing Library – Tutorial with JavaScript Code Examples

    This post will help you to learn what React Testing Library is, and how you can use it to test your React application. This tutorial will assume you already know some basic JavaScript and understand the basics of how React works. React Testing Library is a testing utility tool that's built to test the actual DOM tree rendered by React on the browser. The goal of the library is to help you write tests that resembles how a user would use your application, so that you'll have more confidence that your application work as intended when a real user do use it.

  • Why I Moved From Ops to DevOps (and why you might want to)