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Firefox 79 on Android - One step back, one step forward

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If you ask me, do I have a magic bullet solution to the Firefox market share? No, of course not. You can't solve that by logic, because most people are illogical, and most people can barely count to ten. Mozilla seems to be trying to bring some of the vast pool of idiots to its side, but so far, its experiments have not yielded any satisfactory results. The whole Firefox 57 saga and whatnot, didn't work out. I told you so.

But what Mozilla did do is alienate its hardcore users, the loyal veterans, the 1% who do not count. Only recently, I gave the company cautious praise for going back to its roots - Web designed around freedom and privacy (sort of). And now, they have undermined their own fragile platform once more. It's exhausting. Even depressing. This strategy is not winning anyone really, neither the plebes nor the geeks. That said, I intend to use Firefox as long as it exists, a decade or a century - if I exist that long. And I strongly recommend you do so, too. Because the alternative, a universe without a rival browser to the whole Chrome thingie, is a horrible one for people with triple-digit IQ. If you need convincing, just look at the "native sockets" API proposal or whatever.

So, mobile, Android, Firefox 79. It's okay. It has some nice attributes, and overall, it's a decent enough browser. Given what's happened with Firefox Quantum onwards, at some point in time, we will get extra functionality (that we already had in old Firefox, but hey, modern ftw). So if you're willing to suffer a little for the time being, then it will be sort of okay in the end. You will have to contend with a more simplified and less efficient interface, plus fewer addons, side by side with reasonable privacy and speed. But don't fight it. There's no point. The old net is dead, and it's not coming back. Just be rich, move to a secluded island, and problem solved! There.

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Mozilla: VR, SpiderMonkey and RustConf 2020

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  • Mozilla VR Blog: Why Researchers Should Conduct User Testing Sessions in Virtual Reality (VR): On Using Hubs by Mozilla for Immersive, Embodied User Feedback

    Amidst the pandemic, our research team from Mozilla and The Extended Mind performed user testing research entirely in a remote 3D virtual space where participants had to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This research aimed to test security concepts that could help users feel safe traversing links in the immersive web, the results of which are forthcoming in 2021. By utilizing a virtual space, we were able to get more intimate knowledge of how users would interact with these security concepts because they were immersed in a 3D environment.

    The purpose of this article is to persuade you that Hubs, and other VR platforms offer unique affordances for qualitative research. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the three key benefits of using VR platforms for research, namely the ability to perform immersive and embodied research across distances, with global participants, and the ability to test out concepts prior to implementation. Additionally, I will discuss the unique accessibility of Hubs as a VR platform and the benefits it provided us in our research.

  • SpiderMonkey Newsletter 6 (Firefox 80-81)

    SpiderMonkey is the JavaScript engine used in Mozilla Firefox. This newsletter gives an overview of the JavaScript and WebAssembly work we’ve done as part of the Firefox 80 and 81 Nightly release cycles. If you like these newsletters, you may also enjoy Yulia’s Compiler Compiler live stream.

    With the recent changes at Mozilla, some may be worried about what this means for SpiderMonkey. The team continues to remain strong, supported and is excited to show off a lot of cool things this year and into the future.


  • Will Kahn-Greene: RustConf 2020 thoughts

    Last year, I went to RustConf 2019 in Portland. It was a lovely conference. Everyone I saw was so exuberantly happy to be there--it was just remarkable. It was my first RustConf. Plus while I've been sort-of learning Rust for a while and cursorily related to Rust things (I work on crash ingestion and debug symbols things), I haven't really done any Rust work. Still, it was a remarkable and very exciting conference.

    RustConf 2020 was entirely online. I'm in UTC-4, so it occurred during my afternoon and evening. I spent the entire time watching the RustConf 2020 stream and skimming the channels on Discord. Everyone I saw on the channels were so exuberantly happy to be there and supportive of one another--it was just remarkable. Again! Even virtually!

    I missed the in-person aspect of a conference a bit. I've still got this thing about conferences that I'm getting over, so I liked that it was virtual because of that and also it meant I didn't have to travel to go.

7 Privacy-Preserving Addons for Firefox You Should Have

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Firefox is such a great web browser to save privacy by default; It blocks trackers, 3rd-party cookies, fingerprint trackers and cryptomining scripts by default. But even with this, the browser is still in need of few extra addons to enhance users’ privacy.

We’ll show them for you in less than 2 minutes to get you going in your way.

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Mozilla Leftovers

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  • Mozilla VR Blog: Update on Mozilla Mixed Reality

    Having developed a solid initial Firefox Reality offering that brings the web to virtual reality, we are going to continue to invest in standards. We’ll also be supporting our partners, but in light of Covid-19 we have chosen to reduce our investment in broad new features at this time.

    At the end of the month, we will release Firefox Reality v12 for standalone VR headsets, our last major release for a while. We’ll continue to support the browser (including security updates) and make updates to support Hubs and our partners. In addition, we’ll remain active in the Immersive Web standards group.

    Two weeks ago, we released a new preview for Firefox Reality for PC, which we’ll continue to support. We’ll also continue to provide Firefox Reality for Hololens, and it will be accessible in the Microsoft store.

    Finally, for iOS users, the WebXR Viewer will remain available, but not continue to be maintained.

  • Mozilla Addons Blog: Disconnect’s road to success

    Developers create extensions for a variety of reasons. Some are hobbyists who want to freely share their work with the world. Some find a way to turn their project into a small, independent business. Some companies build extensions as part of a business strategy. Earlier this year, we interviewed several add-on developers to learn more about the business models for their extensions. We learned a lot from those conversations, and have drawn on them to create upcoming experiments that we think will help developers succeed. We’ll be posting more information about participating in these experiments in the next few weeks.

    In the meantime, we asked Disconnect CEO Casey Oppenheim to share his thoughts about what has made his company’s popular privacy-enhancing browser extension of the same name successful. Disconnect is an open-source extension that enables users to visualize and block third-party trackers. Together, Mozilla and Disconnect studied the performance benefits of blocking trackers and learned that tracking protection more than doubles page loading speeds. This work led us to build Enhanced Tracking Protection directly into Firefox in 2019 using Disconnect’s tracking protection list.

    Today, Disconnect earns revenue by offering privacy apps at different price points and partnerships with organizations like Mozilla. They have also extensively experimented on monetizing the Disconnect browser extension to support its development and maintenance. Following are some of the learnings that Casey shared.

  • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: August 2020 Edition

    As you are probably aware, Mozilla just went through a massive round of layoffs. About 250 people were let go, reducing the overall size of the workforce by a quarter. The l10n-drivers team was heavily impacted, with Axel Hecht (aka Pike) leaving the company.

    We are still in the process of understanding how the reorganization will affect our work and the products we localize. A first step was to remove some projects from Pontoon, and we’ll make sure to communicate any further changes in our communication channels.

  • WebAssembly Reference Types in Wasmtime

    A few weeks ago, I finished implementing support for the WebAssembly reference types proposal in Wasmtime. Wasmtime is a standalone, outside-the-Web WebAssembly runtime, and the reference types proposal is WebAssembly’s first foray beyond simple integers and floating point numbers, into the exciting world of garbage-collected references. This article will explain what the reference types proposal enables, what it leaves for future proposals, and how it is implemented in Wasmtime.


    Unlike the other host environments we’ve considered, WASI isn’t natively implemented on the Web. There’s nothing stopping us, however, from polyfilling WASI APIs with a little bit of JavaScript and a couple DOM methods! This is still an improvement because there is overall less module-specific glue code. Once one person has written the polyfills, everyone’s Wasm modules can reuse them.

    There are many different things an “open file” could be modeled by on the Web. For this demo, we’ll use a DOM node: writing to it will append text nodes. This works well because we know our module is only writing text data. If we were working with binary data, we would choose another polyfilling approach, like in-memory array buffers backing the file data.

  • Get organized with Firefox Collections

    The Firefox for Android app lets you collect and organize tabs into any quick grouping you want. You can create and name your own Collections and add pages to them as you browse. To add any tab to a Collection, tap the three dots, then tap Save to collection.


    No matter how much time you spend on your phone, keeping yourself organized just feels good! And collections do just that. Let us know how you like Collections in Firefox for Android by sending us a screenshot on Twitter, and we’ll reply with something to add to it. We’d love to hear from you.

  • Four pillars of Android performance

    This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at Mozilla with the Android Performance Team. Previously, I had some experience with Android, but not particularly with the performance aspect except for some basic performance optimizations. Throughout the internship, my perspective on the importance of Android performance changed. I learned that we could improve performance by looking at the codebase through the lens of four pillars of android performance. In this blog, I will describe those four pillars of performance: parallelism, prefetching, batching, and improving XML layouts.


    Parallelism is the idea of executing multiple tasks simultaneously so that overall time for running a program is shorter. Many tasks have no particular reasons to run on the main UI thread and can be performed on other threads. For example, disk reads are almost always frowned upon and rightfully so. They are generally very time consuming and can block the main thread. It is often helpful to look through your codebase and ask: does this need to be on the main thread? If not, move it to another thread. The main thread’s only responsibilities should be to update the UI and handle the user interactions.


    Prefetching is the idea of fetching the resources early and storing them in memory for faster access when the data is eventually needed. Prefetching is a prevalent technique used by computer processors to get data from slow storage and store them in fast-access storage before the data is required. A standard pattern is to do the prefetching while the application is in the background. One example of prefetching is making network calls in advance and storing the results locally until needed. Prefetching, of course, needs to be balanced. For instance, if the application is trying to provide a smooth scrolling experience that relies on prefetching the data. If you prefetch too little, it’s not going to be very useful since the application will spend a lot of the time making a network call. However, prefetch too much, and you run into the risk of making your users wait and potentially draining the battery.

7 things to know (and love) about the new Firefox for Android

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The newly redesigned Firefox browser for Android is here! The Firefox app has been overhauled and redesigned from the ground up for Android fans, with more speed, customization and privacy than before. There are a ton of great reasons to love the new Firefox for Android app. Here are some of our favorites.

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Announcing Rust 1.46.0

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The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.46.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

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Mozilla/Firefox: Tor Browser and Firefox 80 on POWER

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  • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0a6

    Tor Browser 10.0a6 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.

  • End of #MoreOnionsPorFavor campaign

    This week we're officially wrapping up the campaign #MoreOnionsPorFavor. Non-profits, companies, media outlets, whistleblower platforms, service providers, hackerspaces, security conferences, bloggers, and web developers joined the campaign to make the web more secure. We will email swag winners in the next few days.

  • The Talospace Project: Firefox 80 on POWER

    Firefox 80 is available, and we're glad it's here considering Mozilla's recent layoffs. I've observed in this blog before that Firefox is particularly critical to free computing, not just because of Google's general hostility to non-mainstream platforms but also the general problem of Google moving the Web more towards Google.
    I had no issues building Firefox 79 because I was still on rustc 1.44, but rustc 1.45 asserted while compiling Firefox, as reported by Dan Horák. This was fixed with an llvm update, and with Fedora 32 up to date as of Sunday and using the most current toolchain available, Firefox 80 built out of the box with the usual .mozconfigs.

Mozilla Thunderbird 78.2 Released with More OpenPGP Improvements

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Coming a month after Thunderbird 78.1, the Thunderbird 78.2 release is here to further improve the recent OpenPGP implementation, which lets users send encrypted emails with ease.

In Mozilla Thunderbird 78.2, saved drafts are now encrypted by default when OpenPGP is enabled, encrypted email is now send even if the email address contains uppercase characters, and automatic signing for encrypted messages now works in more scenarios.

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Mozilla: Firefox 80 and Enigmail Upgrading in Thunderbird 78.2

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  • 4 Ways to Install Firefox 80 in Ubuntu / LinuxMint / CentOS

    Firefox or Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla foundation and generally utilized by thousands and thousands of individuals on their daily actions.

  • Introducing a scalable add-ons blocklist

    When we become aware of add-ons that go against user expectations or risk user privacy and security, we take steps to block them from running in Firefox using a mechanism called the add-ons blocklist. In Firefox 79, we revamped the blocklist to be more scalable in order to help keep users safe as the add-ons ecosystem continues to grow.

  • Fast, personalized and private by design on all platforms: introducing a new Firefox for Android experience

    Big news for mobile: as of today, Firefox for Android users in Europe will find an entirely redesigned interface and a fast and secure mobile browser that was overhauled down to the core. Users in North America will receive the update on August 27. Like we did with our “Firefox Quantum” desktop browser revamp, we’re calling this release “Firefox Daylight” as it marks a new beginning for our Android browser. Included with this new mobile experience are lots of innovative features, an improved user experience with new customization options, and some massive changes under the hood. And we couldn’t be more excited to share it.

  • Extensions in Firefox 80
  • [Enigmail] Upgrading info for Thunderbird 78.2

    Thunderbird 78.2 will be released soon. With that release, OpenPGP in Thunderbird is considered complete, and Enigmail users will start to be upgraded to Thunderbird 78. What does this mean for you: [...]

Firefox 81 Enters Beta with GPU Acceleration Enabled by Default on Linux

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Firefox 81 has been in the Nightly channel until today, but when a new stable Firefox version is released, the current Firefox version in Nighly moves to Beta, and the next version (Firefox 82 in this case) takes its place.

Firefox 80 introduces a highly anticipated feature for Linux users, namely VA-API/FFmpeg hardware acceleration for video playback on systems using the traditional X11/X.Org Server display server.

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Also: Firefox 80 Available With VA-API On X11, WebGL Parallel Shader Compile Support

Download Now: Firefox 80 Released with Optional GPU Acceleration on Linux

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More in Tux Machines

Devices/Embedded: Turing Pi, Raspberry Pi, MagPi

  • Turing Pi: A Plug-and-Play Raspberry Pi Cluster - IoT Tech Trends

    The Raspberry Pi is a versatile and relatively inexpensive single-board computer that you can use in a range of projects. However, if you really want to take your Raspberry Pi projects to the next level, you may want to build a Raspberry Pi cluster. This is where the Turing Pi v1 can come in handy. It allows you to easily connect multiple Raspberry Pis together to form a cluster.

  • Lidl (Silvercrest and Livarno Lux) branded Zigbee products for Open Source users

    The LED strip worked immediately with my Domoticz setup using a Zigate stick and Raspberry Pi. Notice that the diagram is wrong, the arrow on the controller must align with the VCC label on the LED strip. I opened up one of the gateways to see what it is and whether it can be adapted to run free, open source software. Inside, it is the Tuyo TYGWZ-01 white label gateway. On the board, there is a Realtek RTL8196E router chip, radio module with label 330010257 and part no. and an EM6AA160TSE-5G DRAM chip.

  • The MagPi #100: celebrate 100 amazing moments from Raspberry Pi history

Connect to WiFi Using Terminal in Arch Linux and Other Distros

This quick guide explains the steps you need to set up and connect to WiFi using terminal in Arch Linux and other distros. Read more

Android Leftovers

New Systemd 247 Is Out For Linux Operating System As Major Release

Systemd, a controversial system and service manager for Linux operating systems, has a major version release as Systemd 247. Speaking of new changes, systemd 247 has added a new service called systemd-oomd to monitor and take action on processes when memory or swap goes above the configured limits. Systemd, a controversial system and service manager for Linux operating systems, has a major version release as Systemd 247. Speaking of new changes, systemd 247 has added a new service called systemd-oomd to monitor and take action on processes when memory or swap goes above the configured limits. Read more