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Moz/FF

Mozilla: Facebook Container for Firefox, Issue Trackers, Securing Firefox with WebAssembly and Ad Hoc Profiling

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Moz/FF
  • The Facebook Container for Firefox

    Even with the ongoing #deletefacebook movement, not everyone is willing to completely walk away from the connections they’ve made on the social platform. After all, Facebook — and its subsidiary Instagram — is where the mountain biking club organizes rides, people post pet pics, dance moves catch on and life’s moments get shared with friends and family, near and far. Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has been greeted with more skepticism as it’s been under a hot spotlight on how it gathers, uses and gives access to our personal data for targeted advertising and manipulation, both on and off Facebook platforms. With recent news about their policy not to block false political ads, this targeting gets ever malicious.

  • Jira, Bugzilla, and Tales of Issue Trackers Past

    It seems as though Mozilla is never not in a period of transition. The distributed nature of the organization and community means that teams and offices and any informal or formal group is its own tiny experimental plot tended by gardeners with radically different tastes.

    And if there’s one thing that unites gardeners and tech workers is that both have Feelings about their tools.

    Tools are personal things: they’re the only thing that allows us to express ourselves in our craft. I can’t code without an editor. I can’t prune without shears. They’re the part of our work that we actually touch. The code lives Out There, the garden is Outside… but the tools are in our hands.

    But tools can also be group things. A shed is a tool for everyone’s tools. A workshop is a tool that others share. An Issue Tracker is a tool that helps us all coordinate work.

    And group things require cooperation, agreement, and compromise.

    While I was on the Browser team at BlackBerry I used a variety of different Issue Trackers. We started with an outdated version of FogBugz, then we had a Bugzilla fork for the WebKit porting work and MKS Integrity for everything else across the entire company, and then we all standardized on Jira.

  • Securing Firefox with WebAssembly

    Protecting the security and privacy of individuals is a central tenet of Mozilla’s mission, and so we constantly endeavor to make our users safer online. With a complex and highly-optimized system like Firefox, memory safety is one of the biggest security challenges. Firefox is mostly written in C and C++. These languages are notoriously difficult to use safely, since any mistake can lead to complete compromise of the program. We work hard to find and eliminate memory hazards, but we’re also evolving the Firefox codebase to address these attack vectors at a deeper level. Thus far, we’ve focused primarily on two techniques...

    [...]

    So today, we’re adding a third approach to our arsenal. RLBox, a new sandboxing technology developed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Texas, Austin, and Stanford University, allows us to quickly and efficiently convert existing Firefox components to run inside a WebAssembly sandbox. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Shravan Narayan, Deian Stefan, Tal Garfinkel, and Hovav Shacham, we’ve successfully integrated this technology into our codebase and used it to sandbox Graphite.

    This isolation will ship to Linux users in Firefox 74 and to Mac users in Firefox 75, with Windows support following soon after. You can read more about this work in the press releases from UCSD and UT Austin along with the joint research paper. Read on for a technical overview of how we integrated it into Firefox.

  • Nicholas Nethercote: Ad Hoc Profiling

    I have used a variety of profiling tools over the years, including several I wrote myself.

    But there is one profiling tool I have used more than any other. It is capable of providing invaluable, domain-specific profiling data of a kind not obtainable by any general-purpose profiler.

    It’s a simple text processor implemented in a few dozen lines of code. I use it in combination with logging print statements in the programs I am profiling. No joke.

Mozilla: DNS/DoH, USA FREEDOM Act, Critiquing Design and Sandboxing

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Moz/FF
  • Firefox continues push to bring DNS over HTTPS by default for US users

    Today, Firefox began the rollout of encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) by default for US-based users. The rollout will continue over the next few weeks to confirm no major issues are discovered as this new protocol is enabled for Firefox’s US-based users.

    A little over two years ago, we began work to help update and secure one of the oldest parts of the internet, the Domain Name System (DNS). To put this change into context, we need to briefly describe how the system worked before DoH. DNS is a database that links a human-friendly name, such as www.mozilla.org, to a computer-friendly series of numbers, called an IP address (e.g. 192.0.2.1).

  • The Facts: Mozilla’s DNS over HTTPs (DoH)

    The current insecure DNS system leaves billions of people around the world vulnerable because the data about where they go on the internet is unencrypted. We’ve set out to change that. In 2017, Mozilla began working on the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol to close this privacy gap within the web’s infrastructure. Today, Firefox is enabling encrypted DNS over HTTPS by default in the US giving our users more privacy protection wherever and whenever they’re online.

  • Goals for USA FREEDOM reauthorization: reforms, access, and transparency

    At Mozilla, we believe that privacy is a fundamental digital right. We’ve built these values into the Firefox browser itself, and we’ve pushed Congress to pass strong legal protections for consumer privacy in the US. This week, Congress will have another opportunity to consider meaningful reforms to protect user privacy when it debates the reauthorization of the USA FREEDOM Act. We believe that Congress should amend this surveillance law to remove ineffective programs, bolster resources for civil liberties advocates, and provide more transparency for the public. More specifically, Mozilla supports the following reforms...

    [...]

    Second, the program may not provide sufficiently valuable insights in the current threat environment. In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the government acknowledged that the intelligence value of the program was outweighed by the costs and technical challenges associated with its continued operation. This conclusion was supported by an independent analysis from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), which hopes to publicly release an unclassified version of its report in the near future. Additionally, the shift to other forms of communications may make it even less likely that law enforcement will obtain useful information through this specific authority in the future.

    And finally, some technological shifts may have made the CDR program too complex to implement today. Citing to “technical irregularities” in some of the data obtained from telecom providers under the program, the NSA deleted three years’ worth of CDRs that it was not authorized to receive last June. While the agency has not released a specific explanation, Susan Landau and Asaf Lubin of Tufts University have posited that the problem stems from challenges associated with measures in place to facilitate interoperability between landlines and mobile phone networks.

  • Critiquing Design

    This is me about 25 years ago, dancing with a yoga ball. I was part of a theater company where I first learned Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. We used this extensively—it was an integral part of our company dynamic. We used it to develop company work, we used it in our education programs and we even used it to redesign our company structure. It was a formative part of my development as an artist, a teacher, and later, as a user-centered designer.

    What I love about this process is that works by embedding all the things we strive for in a critique into a deceptively simple, step-by-step process. You don’t have to try to remember everything the next time you’re knee-deep in a critique session. It’s knowledge in the world for critique sessions.

  • Firefox for Mac and Linux to get a new security sandbox system

Google helps devs speed up Firefox with open source Lighthouse extension

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Google
Moz/FF
OSS

Google has released a Firefox version of its Lighthouse browser extension, giving developers an easy way to test the performance of websites and web apps.

The open source extension makes use of the PageSpeed Insights API, and the new release brings Firefox in line with Chrome which has had a version of the extension for a few years now. The ultimate aim is to make it easier for developers to improve app and page performance by encouraging better practices.

Read more

Mozilla/WWW: TenFourFox, Markdown, DOM, Firefox Spying ("Glean") and Apple Monopoly

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Moz/FF
Web
  • TenFourFox FPR20b1 available

    When using FPR20 you should notice ... absolutely nothing. Sites should just appear as they do; the only way you'd know anything changed in this version is if you pressed Command-I and looked at the Security tab to see that you're connected over TLS 1.3, the latest TLS security standard. In fact, the entirety of the debate was streamed over it, and to the best of my knowledge TenFourFox is the only browser that implements TLS 1.3 on Power Macs running Mac OS X. On regular Firefox your clue would be seeing occasional status messages about handshakes, but I've even disabled that for TenFourFox to avoid wholesale invalidating our langpacks which entirely lack those strings. Other than a couple trivial DOM updates I wrote up because they were easy, as before there are essentially no other changes other than the TLS enablement in this FPR to limit the regression range. If you find a site that does not work, verify first it does work in FPR19 or FPR18, because sites change more than we do, and see if setting security.tls.version.max to 3 (instead of 4) fixes it. You may need to restart the browser to make sure. If this does seem to reliably fix the problem, report it in the comments. A good test site is Google or Mozilla itself. The code we are using is largely the same as current Firefox's.

  • Moving to Markdown

    I'm writing this only for those who follows this blog via RSS feed and probably wonders why they had many notifications on their RSS reader. Sorry, this thing happen when upload a new version of my website. So, what's new on this new website? Not much, nothing changed visually... But everything changed under the hood!

  • Semantic markup, browsers, and identity in the DOM

    HTML was initially designed as a semantic markup language, with elements having semantics (meaning) describing general roles within a document. These semantic elements have been added to over time. Markup as it is used on the web is often criticized for not following the semantics, but rather being a soup of divs and spans, the most generic sorts of elements. The Web has also evolved over the last 25 years from a web of documents to a web where many of the most visited pages are really applications rather than documents. The HTML markup used on the Web is a representation of a tree structure, and the user interface of these web applications is often based on dynamic changes made through the DOM, which is what we call both the live representation of that tree structure and the API through which that representation is accessed.

    Browsers exist as tools for users to browse the Web; they strike a balance between showing the content as its author intended versus adapting that content to the device it is being displayed on and the preferences or needs of the user.

    Given the unreliable use of semantics on the Web, most of the ways browsers adapt content to the user rarely depend deeply on semantics, although some of them (such as reader mode) do have significant dependencies. However, browser adaptations of content or interventions that browsers make on behalf of the user very frequently depend on the persistent object identity in the DOM. That is, nodes in the DOM tree (such as sections of the page, or paragraphs) have an identity over the lifetime of the page, and many things that browsers do depend on that identity being consistent over time. For example, exposing the page to a screen reader, scroll anchoring, and I think some aspects of ad blocking all depend on the idea that there are elements in the web page that the browser understands the identity of over time.

  • Chris H-C: This Week in Glean: A Distributed Team Echoes Distributed Workflow

    I was recently struck by a realization that the position of our data org’s team members around the globe mimics the path that data flows through the Glean Ecosystem.

  • Apple May Soon Let You Set Third-Party Mail, Browser Apps as Default on iOS: Report

    Apple has always had its own apps set as defaults in cases like the music player and the browser, Apple Music and Safari respectively. But, this might change soon. Reportedly, Apple is considering allowing third party apps to be set as defaults on iOS. Apple is also debating whether to allow third-party music apps on the HomePod speaker, something would mean allowing users to stream music via Spotify, which is one of Apple Music's rivals. No decision has been made by the company as of now.

Mozilla: EU Policy, Localisation and More

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Moz/FF
    The new EU digital strategy: A good start, but more to be done

    In a strategy and two white papers published today, the Commission has laid out its vision for the next five years of EU tech policy: achieving trust by fostering technologies working for people, a fair and competitive digital economy, and a digital and sustainable society. This vision includes big ambitions for content regulation, digital competition, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. Here we give some recommendations on how the Commission should take it forward.

    We welcome this vision the Commission sketches out and are eager to contribute, because the internet today is not what we want it to be. A rising tide of illegal and harmful content, the pervasiveness of the surveillance economy, and increased centralisation of market power have damaged the internet’s original vision of openness. We also believe that innovation and fundamental rights are complementary and should always go hand in hand – a vision we live out in the products we build and the projects we take on. If built on carefully, the strategy can provide a roadmap to address the many challenges we face, in a way that protects citizens’ rights and enhances internet openness.

    However, it’s essential that the EU does not repeat the mistakes of the past, and avoids misguided, heavy handed and/or one-size-fits-all regulations. The Commission should look carefully at the problems we’re trying to solve, consider all actors impacted and think innovatively about smart interventions to open up markets and protect fundamental rights. This is particularly important in the content regulation space, where the last EU mandate saw broad regulatory interventions (e.g. on copyright or terrorist content) that were crafted with only the big online platforms in mind, undermining individuals’ rights and competition. Yet, and despite such interventions, big platforms are not doing enough to tackle the spread of illegal and harmful content. To avoid such problematic outcomes, we encourage the European Commission to come up with a comprehensive framework for ensuring that tech companies really do act responsibly, with a focus on the companies’ practices and processes.

  • Karl Dubost: Week notes - 2020 w07 - worklog - flask blueprint
  • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: February Edition
  • What’s happening on the SUMO Platform: Sprint updates

    So what’s going on with the SUMO platform? We’re moving forward in 2020 with new plans, new challenges and a new roadmap.

    We’re continuing this year to track all development work in 2 week sprints. You can see everything that is currently being worked on and our current sprint here (please note: this is only a project tracking board, do not use it to file bugs, bugs should continue to be filed via Bugzilla)

Mozilla: WebRender, Dexterity in Depth, WebThings and Departure of Ronaldo Lemos

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla GFX: Challenge: Snitch on the glitch! Help the Graphics team track down an interesting WebRender bug…

    For the past little while, we have been tracking some interesting WebRender bugs that people are reporting in release. Despite best efforts, we have been unable to determine clear steps to reproduce these issues and have been unable to find a fix for them. Today we are announcing a special challenge to the community – help us track down steps to reproduce (a.k.a STR) for this bug and you will win some special, limited edition Firefox Graphics team swag! Read on for more details if you are interested in participating.

  • Mike Hoye: Dexterity In Depth

    I’m exactly one microphone and one ridiculous haircut away from turning into Management Shingy when I get rolling on stuff like this, because it’s just so clear to me how much this stuff matters and how little sense I might be making at the same time. Is your issue tracker automatically flagging your structural blind spots? Do your QA and UX team run your next reorg? Why not?

    This all started life as a rant on Mastodon, so bear with me here. There are two empirically-established facts that organizations making software need to internalize.

    The first is that by wide margin the most significant predictive indicator that there will be a future bug in a piece of software is the relative orgchart distance of the people working on it. People who are working on a shared codebase in the same room but report to different VPs are wildly more likely to introduce errors into a codebase than two people who are on opposite sides of the planet and speak different first languages but report to the same manager.

    The second is that the number one predictor that a bug will be resolved is if it is triaged correctly – filed in the right issue tracker, against the right component, assigned to the right people – on the first try.

    It’s fascinating that neither of the strongest predictive indicators of the most important parts of a bug’s lifecycle – birth and death – actually take place on the developers’ desk, but it’s true. In terms of predictive power, nothing else in the software lifecycle comes close.

  • WebThings Gateway Goes Global

    Today, we’re releasing version 0.11 of the WebThings Gateway. For those of you running a previous version of our Raspberry Pi build, you should have already received the update. You can check in your UI by navigating to Settings ➡ Add-ons.

  • Thank You, Ronaldo Lemos

    Ronaldo Lemos joined the Mozilla Foundation board almost six years ago. Today he is stepping down in order to turn his attention to the growing Agora! social movement in Brazil.

    Over the past six years, Ronaldo has helped Mozilla and our allies advance the cause of a healthy internet in countless ways. Ronaldo played a particularly important role on policy issues including the approval of the Marco Civil in Brazil and shaping debates around net neutrality and data protection. More broadly, he brought his experience as an academic, lawyer and active commentator in the fields of intellectual property, technology and culture to Mozilla at a time when we needed to step up on these topics in an opinionated way.

    As a board member, Ronaldo also played a critical role in the development of Mozilla Foundation’s movement building strategy. As the Foundation evolved it’s programs over the past few years, he brought to bear extensive experience with social movements in general — and with the open internet movement in particular. This was an invaluable contribution.

Mozilla: Q&A, Firefox/Gecko Codebase and Spying (Glean)

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Moz/FF
  • I’m a (senior) staff engineer panel

    Last week, my colleague Chenxia Liu and I arranged a panel at our Berlin all-hands meeting called AMA: I’m a (senior) staff engineer. Our goal for this panel was to provide a Q&A session where staff and senior staff engineers could share their stories what that a typical day in that role looks like, how their career progressed to that level and their advice for others interested in the role.

    [...]

    Everyone company’s career ladder for individual contributors is different. At Mozilla, the change for senior engineer to staff engineer is the progression where the role changes to be substantially more self-directed. You aren’t just landing code to address issues identified by your manager or peers. Your role is to determine what problems the team should focus on. What value will solving these problems bring to the business? How can you elevate the work of your team from a technical perspective? How can you level the skills of early career engineers on your team? As a result, the promotion to staff engineer requires promotion paperwork to be approved by higher level of management than the individual’s direct manager.

    Ahead of the panel, we reached out to five staff or senior staff engineers and asked them to participate. We reached out to people from several geographies and domains of expertise within the company and also different demographics. The day before panel, Chenxia arranged a lunch with the panellists so we could share the logistics of the panel, proposed initial questions and allow the panellists to get to know each other a bit before the session. We also shared a doc in a company wide channel where attendees could add questions before the session.

  • ESLint now turned on for all of the Firefox/Gecko codebase

    About 4 years and 2 months ago, Dave Townsend and I landed a couple of patches on the Mozilla codebase that kick-started rolling out ESLint across our source code. Today, I’ve just landed the last bug in making it so that ESLint runs across our whole tree (where possible).

    ESLint is a static analyser for JavaScript that helps find issues before you even run the code. It also helps to promote best practices and styling, reducing the need for comments in reviews.

    Several Mozilla projects had started using ESLint in early 2015 – Firefox’s Developer Tools, Firefox for Android and Firefox Hello. It was clear to the Firefox desktop team that ESLint was useful and so we put together an initial set of rules covering the main desktop files.

    Soon after, we were enabling ESLint over more of desktop’s files, and adding to the rules that we had enabled. Once we had the main directories covered, we slowly started enabling more directories and started running ESLint checks in CI allowing us to detect and back out any failures that were introduced. Finally, we made it to where we are today – covering the whole of the Firefox source tree, mozilla-central.

    Along the way we’ve filed over 600 bugs for handling ESLint roll-out and related issues, many of these were promoted as mentored bugs and fixed by new and existing contributors – a big thank you to you all for your help.

  • Extending Glean: build re-usable types for new use-cases

    The philosophy of Glean has always been to offer higher-level metric types that map semantically to what developers want to measure: a Timespan metric type, for instance, will require developers to declare the resolution they want the time measured in. It is more than just a number. The build-time generated APIs will then offer a set of operations, start() and stop(), to allow developers to take the measurements without caring about the implementation details or about the consistency of times across platforms. By design, a Timespan will record time consistently and predictably on iOS, Android and even desktop. This also empowers the rest of the Glean ecosystem, especially pipeline and tooling, to know about the quality guarantees of the types, their format and, potentially, ways to aggregate and visualize them.

Firefox 73 Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

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Moz/FF
Ubuntu

Released earlier this week, on February 11th, the Firefox 73 open-source web browser introduces various enhancement to make your browsing experience more enjoyable. Among these improvements, we can mention the ability to add a custom default zoom level that applies to all web content.

Firefox comes with a 100% zoom level by default, but now it can be changed to whatever suits your needs thanks to a new “Default zoom” dropdown menu implemented in the Zoom section under “Language and Appearance” settings.

Read more

Mozilla: Privacy, NextDNS, Vista 10 and Spyware

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Moz/FF
  • What watching “You” on Netflix taught us about privacy

    We’re not sure if we can consider “You” a guilty pleasure considering how many people have binged every episode (over 43 million), but it certainly ranks up there right next to ASMR videos. There’s something oddly compelling about listening to and watching someone like Joe Goldberg who is just a regular, well, Joe (or psychopath), uncover everything there is to know about his “love” obsession Guinevere Beck through a few simple online searches.

    In reality, the whole premise of the show kind dissolves with the most basic of digital privacy setting, which is why it feels good to know with a few simple tweaks, someone like Joe could never snoop in on our lives and thus makes the whole experience of watching “You” completely voyeuristic.

    Season one, episode one kicks off with Beck, a struggling poet living in Manhattan, wandering into a bookstore to find a Paula Fox book. Joe, the clerk, immediately sets his eyes on the ingenue and starts building a mental profile of her based on her body language and reading preferences.

    It’s not long after their first encounter when we happen upon our first privacy tip. After soliciting his help to find the book, she checks out at the register and hands him her credit card. He thinks it’s because she wants him to know her name, we think it’s because she’s a struggling poet and probably needs the cash she has in her wallet to be liquid in case of emergencies, but anyway.

  • Firefox 73 Released With Security Fixes, New DoH Provider, More

    Mozilla has released Firefox 73 today, February 11th, 2020, to the Stable desktop channel for Windows, macOS, and Linux with bug fixes, new features, and security fixes.

    Included with this release are new features such as a default zoom setting, high contrast theme improvements, and NextDNS as a new DoH provider.

    Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop users can upgrade to Firefox 73.0 by going to Options -> Help -> About Firefox and the browser will automatically check for the new update and install it when available.

  • things one hates about Windows 10 – Thunderbird as default mail program for firefox mail sharing links

    use GNU Linux on a daily basis on all machines. run windows virtualized for various tasks and as a gaming station.

    but also have to support clients using Win 10.

    So here is why one would NOT use it.

    What the Open Source community shall do better: listen to the users and create high quality well tested reliable secure robust fast sleak software that makes the everyday life better for millions and millions.

  • Karl Dubost: Week notes - 2020 w06 - worklog - Finishing anonymous reporting

    Cleaning up emails. And let's restart coding for issue #3140 (PR #3167). Last week, I discussed with mike, if I should rebase the messy commits so we have a cleaner version. On one hand, the rebase would create a clean history with commits by specific sections, but the history of my commits also document the thought process. For now I think I will keep the "messy informative" commits.

Mozilla: Async Interview, EU Digital Services Act and Firefox for Android

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Moz/FF
  • Niko Matsakis: Async Interview #6: Eliza Weisman

    Hello! For the latest async interview, I spoke with Eliza Weisman (hawkw, mycoliza on twitter). Eliza first came to my attention as the author of the tracing crate, which is a nifty crate for doing application level tracing. However, she is also a core maintainer of tokio, and she works at Buoyant on the linkerd system. linkerd is one of a small set of large applications that were build using 0.1 futures – i.e., before async-await. This range of experience gives Eliza an interesting “overview” perspective on async-await and Rust more generally.

  • Mozilla Mornings on the EU Digital Services Act: Making responsibly a reality

    On 3 March, Mozilla will host the next installment of Mozilla Mornings – our regular breakfast series that brings together policy experts, policymakers and practitioners for insight and discussion on the latest EU digital policy developments.

    In 2020 Mozilla Mornings is adopting a thematic focus, starting with a three-part series on the upcoming Digital Services Act. This first event on 3 March will focus on how content regulation laws and norms are shifting from mere liability frameworks to more comprehensive responsibility ones, and our panelists will discuss how the DSA should fit within this trend.

  • FAQ for extension support in new Firefox for Android

    There are a lot of Firefox applications on the Google Play store. Which one is the new Firefox for Android?

    The new Firefox for Android experience is currently available for early testing on the Firefox Preview Nightly and Firefox Preview production channels.

    In February 2020, we will change which Firefox applications remain available in the Play store. Once we’ve completed this transition, Firefox Preview Nightly will no longer be available. New feature development will take place on what is currently Firefox Preview.

    We encourage users who are eager to make use of extensions to stay on Firefox Preview. This will ensure you continue to receive updates while still being among the first to see new developments.

    [...]

    GeckoView is Mozilla’s mobile browser engine. It takes Gecko, the engine that powers the desktop version of Firefox, and packages it as a reusable Android library. Rebuilding our Firefox for Android browser with GeckoView means we can leverage our Firefox expertise in creating safe and robust online experiences for mobile.

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