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Moz/FF

Mozilla: Rust, Firefox 80/81, Golden Era of Computing and Firefox Nightly

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Moz/FF

Mozilla: Fake News and AI Fund

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Moz/FF
  • How to spot (and do something) about real fake news

    Think you can spot fake news when you see it? You might be surprised even the most digitally savvy folks can (at times) be fooled into believing a headline or resharing a photo that looks real, but is actually not.

  • Launching the European AI Fund

    Right now, we’re in the early stages of the next phase of computing: AI. First we had the desktop. Then the internet. And smartphones. Increasingly, we’re living in a world where computing is built around vast troves of data and the algorithms that parse them. They power everything from the social platforms and smart speakers we use everyday, to the digital machinery of our governments and economies.

    In parallel, we’re entering a new phase of how we think about, deploy, and regulate technology. Will the AI era be defined by individual privacy and transparency into how these systems work? Or, will the worst parts of our current internet ecosystem — invasive data collection, monopoly, opaque systems — continue to be the norm?

    A year ago, a group of funders came together at Mozilla’s Berlin office to talk about just this: how we, as a collective, could help shape the direction of AI in Europe. We agreed on the importance of a landscape where European public interest and civil society organisations — and not just big tech companies — have a real say in shaping policy and technology. The next phase of computing needs input from a diversity of actors that represent society as a whole.

Mozilla: More on Firefox 81, Security and UX

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Moz/FF
  • Firefox 81 Arrives with New Theme, Media Controls, PDF Viewer + More

    Mozilla Firefox 81 has been released and it features some genuinely useful improvements.

    I know I probably say the same thing ever release, but last month’s Firefox 80 was a very low-key release for such a high-key milestone.

    Thankfully Mozilla has delivered plenty to talk about in the latest update.

    For instance, the famed open source web browser now lets you to pause/play audio and video in Firefox using keyboard shortcuts (physical ones), via MPRIS (e.g., sound menu), or using a connected headset (assuming it has player controls).

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Your Security and Mozilla Hubs

    Mozilla and the Hubs team takes internet security seriously. We do our best to follow best practices for web security and securing data. This post will provide an overview of how we secure access to your rooms and your data.

    [...]

    When you deploy your own Hubs Cloud instance, you have full control over the instance and its data via AWS or DigitalOcean infrastructure--Mozilla simply provides the template and automatic updates. Therefore, you can integrate your own security measures and technology as you like. Everyone’s use case is different. Hubs cloud is an as-is product, and we’re unable to predict the performance as you make changes to the template.

    Server access is limited by SSH and sometimes two-factor authentication. For additional security, you can set stack template rules to restrict which IP addresses can SSH into the server.

  • Firefox UX: From a Feature to a Habit: Why are People Watching Videos in Picture-in-Picture?

    At the end of 2019, if you were using Firefox to watch a video, you saw a new blue control with a simple label: “Picture-in-Picture.” Even after observing and carefully crafting the feature with feedback from in-progress versions of Firefox (Nightly and Beta), our Firefox team wasn’t really sure how people would react to it. So we were thrilled when we saw signals that the response was positive.

Mozilla: Firefox, Hubs and SeaMonkey

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Moz/FF
Web

  • 81.0 Firefox Release
  • Firefox 81 Released With Security Fixes, PDF Viewer Enhancements

    Firefox 81 is out this morning as the newest monthly update to the Mozilla web browser.

    Firefox 81.0 brings the ability for keyboard/headset-based controls for audio/video playback in the browser, various accessibility fixes for HTML5 audio/video controls, Picture-in-Picture mode is now more accessible with icon improvements, and other video work. It also looks like a few VA-API fixes made it into this version too after the big push in Firefox 80.

  • Your Privacy and Mozilla Hubs

    At Mozilla, we believe that privacy is fundamental to a healthy internet.

    [...]

    There’s a certain amount of information that we have to process in order to provide you with the Hubs experience. For example, we receive and send to others the name and likeness of your avatar, its position in the room, and your interactions with objects in the room. If you create an account, you can store custom avatars and their names.

    We receive data about the virtual objects and avatars in a room in order to share that data with others in the room, but we don’t monitor the individual objects that are posted in a room. Users have the ability to permanently pin objects to a room, which will store them in the room until they’re deleted. Unpinned files are deleted from Mozilla’s servers after 72 hours.

    We do collect basic metrics about how many rooms are being created and how many users are in those rooms, but we don’t tie that data to specific rooms or users. What we don’t do is collect or store any data without the user's explicit consent.

    [...]

    We will never perform user monitoring or deep tracking, particularly using VR data sources like gaze-tracking. We will continue to minimize the personal data we collect, and when we do need to collect data, we will invest in privacy preserving solutions like differential privacy.

  • [PCLinuxOS] Seamonkey updated to 2.53.4

    SeaMonkey is a free and open-source Internet suite. It is the continuation of the former Mozilla Application Suite, based on the same source code, which itself grew out of Netscape Communicator and formed the base of Netscape 6 and Netscape 7.

The great filter of open source projects

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LibO
Moz/FF
OSS

So, with the recent layoffs at Mozilla — among other things — a bit of discussion on the sustainability of open source projects has been reignited. There was a wide range of takes: from “FOSS is dead” (no) to “we need to re-decentralize the internet” (yes). I could not quite help putting forth opinions on the matter myself and did so on a short twitter thread. Fundamentally though, the opinions expressed on this matter seem to almost talk past each other — and I think the reasons for this might be found in history of open source(1).

[...]

Another — later — project, that I am assuming to have been quite resilient and which I am assuming will continue to be quite resilient is gentoo linux: By requiring users to compile all software themselves, this distribution makes their users either give up on their installs or gets them at least halfway to be packagers (and for a distribution, packagers are contributors) themselves. Also, by not having to deal with binaries, gentoo reduces its infrastructure needs to a minimum. And even while there are some signs of downsizing at gentoo, I am hopeful that the flexibility mentioned above makes gentoo more sustainable and self-reliant than others for quite some time to come.

[...]

All of the above projects, commoditized their complements and this allowed users, who were not contributors to still benefit from the work of those who were as these contributors were interested in protecting the complement.

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TenFourFox FPR27 available

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Mac
Moz/FF
Web

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 27 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). Unfortunately, I have thus far been unable to solve issue 621 regarding the crashes on LinkedIn, so to avoid drive-by crashes, scripts are now globally disabled on LinkedIn until I can (no loss since it doesn't work anyway). If you need them on for some reason, create a pref tenfourfox.troublesome-js.allow and set it to true. I will keep working on this for FPR28 to see if I can at least come up with a better wallpaper, though keep in mind that even if I repair the crash it may still not actually work anyway. There are otherwise no new changes since the beta except for outstanding security updates, and it will go live Monday evening Pacific assuming no new issues.

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Mozilla Shuts Down Firefox Send and Notes Service

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Moz/FF

Mozilla announced that they shut down two products - Firefox Send and Notes.
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Mozilla: PGP in Thunderbird, Departures, Firefox Send and Firefox Notes

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Moz/FF
  • Thunderbird implements PGP crypto feature requested 21 years ago

    Mozilla's mail reader Thunderbird has implemented a feature first requested 21 years ago.

    The somewhat garbled request – "I'd appreciate a plugin for PGP to ede and encrypt PGP crypted messages directly in Mozilla" [sic] – appears to have gone unimplemented due to concerns about US laws that bar export of encryption, debate about whether PGP was the right way to do crypto, and other matters besides.

    Thunderbird eventually chose to use Enigmail and its implementation of OpenPGP public key email encryption. However, it was an add-on rather than integrated. Commenters in the Bugzilla thread stemming from the request kept the dream of an integrated solution alive, though.

    Then in October 2019, the Thunderbird blog announced that Thunderbird 78 "will add built-in functionality for email encryption and digital signatures using the OpenPGP standard."

    Thunderbird 78 emerged in July 2020, and late in August Thunderbird contributor Kai Engert (:KaiE:) posted: "We have released support for OpenPGP email in Thunderbird version 78.2.1. Marking fixed."

  • Upcoming US Holidays (for Mike Taylor)

    This is my last full week at Mozilla, with my last day being Monday, September 21. It’s been just over 7 years since I joined (some of them were really great, and others were fine, I guess).

  • Update on Firefox Send and Firefox Notes

    As Mozilla tightens and refines its product focus in 2020, today we are announcing the end of life for two legacy services that grew out of the Firefox Test Pilot program: Firefox Send and Firefox Notes. Both services are being decommissioned and will no longer be a part of our product family. Details and timelines are discussed below.

    Firefox Send was a promising tool for encrypted file sharing. Send garnered good reach, a loyal audience, and real signs of value throughout its life. Unfortunately, some abusive users were beginning to use Send to ship malware and conduct spear phishing attacks. This summer we took Firefox Send offline to address this challenge.

    In the intervening period, as we weighed the cost of our overall portfolio and strategic focus, we made the decision not to relaunch the service. Because the service is already offline, no major changes in status are expected. You can read more here.

  • Mozilla Browser Extension to Track YouTube Recommendations

    It’s easy to get caught up in YouTube as it recommends an endless array of videos, with each one offering you more of the same type of content. But it’s not always the same content. Sometimes the process gets convoluted, and you wind up watching something you have no interest in. Mozilla is curious why this happens and created a browser extension to track YouTube recommendations.

Mozilla and Tor

Filed under
Software
Moz/FF
  • Update on Firefox Send and Firefox Notes

    As Mozilla tightens and refines its product focus in 2020, today we are announcing the end of life for two legacy services that grew out of the Firefox Test Pilot program: Firefox Send and Firefox Notes. Both services are being decommissioned and will no longer be a part of our product family. Details and timelines are discussed below.

    Firefox Send was a promising tool for encrypted file sharing. Send garnered good reach, a loyal audience, and real signs of value throughout its life. Unfortunately, some abusive users were beginning to use Send to ship malware and conduct spear phishing attacks. This summer we took Firefox Send offline to address this challenge.

    In the intervening period, as we weighed the cost of our overall portfolio and strategic focus, we made the decision not to relaunch the service. Because the service is already offline, no major changes in status are expected. You can read more here.

  • Mozilla files comments with the European Commission on safeguarding democracy in the digital age

    As in many parts of the world, EU lawmakers are eager to get greater insight into the ways in which digital technologies and online discourse can serve to both enhance and create friction in democratic processes. In context of its recent ‘Democracy Action Plan’ (EDAP), we’ve just filed comments with the European Commission, with the aim of informing thoughtful and effective EU policy responses to key issues surrounding democracy and digital technologies.

  • Mozilla Addons Blog: Download Statistics Update

    In June, we announced that we were making changes to add-on usage statistics on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Now, we’re making a similar change to add-on download statistics. These statistics are aggregated from the AMO server logs, do not contain any personally identifiable information, and are only available to add-ons developers via the Developer Hub.

    Just like with usage stats, the new download stats will be less expensive to process and will be based on Firefox telemetry data. As users can opt out of telemetry reporting, the new download numbers will be generally lower than those reported from the server logs. Additionally, the download numbers are based on new telemetry introduced in Firefox 80, so they will be lower at first and increase as users update their Firefox. As before, we will only count downloads originating from AMO.

  • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0a7

    Tor Browser 10.0a7 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

    Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

  • Updates on Tor Project’s Board

    We would like to share some updates regarding the Tor Project’s Board. Last year Megan Price stepped down as she took a second maternity leave. And in the Spring of this year, Shari Steele asked to step down from the Board for personal reasons. Both Megan and Shari provided great contributions for the Board that Tor will always be thankful for. We are grateful to have them as supporters and friends of Tor.

    But to move forward we decided to invite two new members. We are happy to say both have accepted our invitation and joined the Board.

Mozilla: The Future of Sync, Africa, Firefox and Tor

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Cloud Services Blog: The Future of Sync

    There’s a new Sync back-end! The past year or so has been a year of a lot of changes and some of those changes broke things. Our group reorganized, we moved from IRC to Matrix, and a few other things caught us off guard and needed to be addressed. None of those should be excuses for why we kinda stopped keeping you up to date about Sync. We did write a lot of stuff about what we were going to do, but we forgot to share it outside of mozilla. Again, not an excuse, but just letting you know why we felt like we had talked about all of this, even though we absolutely had not.

    So, allow me to introduce you to the four person “Services Engineering” team whose job it is to keep a bunch of back-end services running, including Push Notifications and Sync back-end, and a few other miscellaneous services.

    [...]

    Sync needs to run with new versions of Firefox, as well as older ones. In some cases, very old ones, which had some interesting “quirks”. It needs to continue to be at least as secure as before while hopefully giving devs a chance to fix some of the existing weirdness as well as add new features. Oh, and switching folks to the new service should be as transparent as possible.

  • Mozilla announces partnership to explore new technology ideas in the Africa Region

    Mozilla and AfriLabs – a Pan-African community and connector of African tech hubs with over 255 technology innovation hubs spread across 47 countries – have partnered to convene a series of roundtable discussions with African startups, entrepreneurs, developers and innovators to better understand the tech ecosystem and identify new product ideas – to spur the next generation of open innovation.

    This strategic partnership will help develop more relevant, sustainable support for African innovators and entrepreneurs to build scalable resilient products while leveraging honest and candid discussions to identify areas of common interest. There is no shortage of innovators and creative talents across the African continent, diverse stakeholders coming together to form new ecosystems to solve social, economic problems that are unique to the region.

  • Make Firefox your default browser on iOS (finally!)

    Firefox is an independent browser, backed by Mozilla, the not-for-profit organization. We believe you should be able to decide who sees your personal info, not just among your friends, but with advertisers and companies on the internet — including us. In contrast to other major tech companies, Firefox products don’t harvest, sell or monetize your personal data. So you do you online. We’re here for it.

  • New Release: Tor 0.4.4.5

    After months of work, we have a new stable release series! If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for 0.4.4.5 on thedownload page. Packages should be available within the next several weeks, with a new Tor Browser by some time next week.

    Tor 0.4.4.5 is the first stable release in the 0.4.4.x series. This series improves our guard selection algorithms, adds v3 onion balance support, improves the amount of code that can be disabled when running without relay support, and includes numerous small bugfixes and enhancements. It also lays the ground for some IPv6 features that we'll be developing more in the next (0.4.5) series.

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