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Moz/FF

New Thunderbird Releases and New Thunderbird Staff

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Moz/FF

In April 2017 Thunderbird released its successful Extended Service Release (ESR) version 52. This release has just seen it’s fifth “dot update” 52.5.0, where fixes, stability and minor functionality improvements were shipped.

Thunderbird 57 beta was also very successful. While Thunderbird 58 is equally stable and offers further cutting-edge improvements to Thunderbird users, the user community is starting to feel the impact of Mozilla platform changes which are phasing out so-called legacy add-ons. The Thunderbird technical leadership is working closely with add-on authors who face the challenge of updating their add-ons to work with the Mozilla interface changes. With a few usually simple changes most add-ons can be made to work in Thunderbird 58 beta. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Add-ons_Guide_57 explains what needs to be done, and Thunderbird developers are happy to lend a hand to add-on authors.

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Backlash Over Mozilla Adware and Mozilla's Apology

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Moz/FF
  • Firefox users are ticked after Mozilla secretly installed Mr. Robot add-on

    If you use Firefox instead of Chrome, do you do so because you prefer Mozilla’s stance on privacy? Some loyal Firefox users and even employees were up in arms after Mozilla surreptitiously installed the add-on Looking Glass last week. It didn’t happen to all Firefox users, but the ones affected did not give the browser permission to install it.

  • Update: Looking Glass Add-on

    Over the course of the year Firefox has enjoyed a growing relationship with the Mr. Robot television show and, as part of this relationship, we developed an unpaid collaboration to engage our users and viewers of the show in a new way: Fans could use Firefox to solve a puzzle as part of the alternate reality game (ARG) associated with the show.

Mozilla Adware

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Angers Firefox Users After Force-Installing Mr. Robot Promo Add-On

    Mozilla took a bit of heat this week after the organization force-installed a Mr. Robot promotional add-on in some Firefox browsers.

    The add-on, called Looking Glass, was intended to promote the season 3 finale of Mr. Robot that aired on Wednesday, December 13, but the whole media stunt failed miserably.

  • Firefox is on a slippery slope

    This extension was sideloaded into browsers via the “experiments” feature. Not only are these experiments enabled by default, but updates have been known to re-enable it if you turn it off. The advertisement addon shows up like this on your addon page, and was added to Firefox stable. If I saw this before I knew what was going on, I would think my browser was compromised! Apparently it was a mistake that this showed up on the addon page, though - it was supposed to be silently sideloaded into your browser!

    There’s a ticket on Bugzilla (Firefox’s bug tracker) for discussing this experiment, but it’s locked down and no one outside of Mozilla can see it. There’s another ticket, filed by concerned users, which has since been disabled and had many comments removed, particularly the angry (but respectful) ones.

Firefox Focus Adds Quick Access Without Sacrificing Users’ Privacy

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Moz/FF

It’s been a little over a year since we launched Firefox Focus. We’ve had tremendous success since then, we launched in 27+ languages, launched on Android, and hit over 1 million downloads on Android within the first month of launch.

Today, we’re introducing a new feature: quicker access to your most visited sites, as well as the ability to add any search engine to your Focus app. They were the most requested items from our users and are aligned with our goals on what makes Focus so great.

We know our users want choice and miss the convenience of having their favorite websites and search engines at their fingertips, but they don’t want to sacrifice their privacy. Since the moment we’ve built Focus, our goal has been to get our users quickly to the information and sites all while keeping their data safe from unwanted targeting.

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Early Returns on Firefox Quantum Point to Growth

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Moz/FF

When we set out to launch Firefox Quantum earlier this year, we knew we had a hugely improved product. It not only felt faster — with a look and feel that tested off the charts — it was measurably faster. Thanks to multiple changes under the hood, we doubled Firefox’s speed while using 30% less memory than Chrome.

In less than a month, Firefox Quantum has already been installed by over 170M people around the world. We’re just getting started and early returns are super encouraging.

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Also: Mozilla Joins Net Neutrality Blackout for ‘Break the Internet’ Day

Mozilla on Fake News and Legal Disputes

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Moz/FF
  • Woke up and thought you were in a different reality? Reality Redrawn Challenge launches with a total prize value of $40,000

    It’s not often I get to invite artists and developers to collaborate together so I’m excited to see how they respond to the Reality Redrawn Challenge from Mozilla which launches today. The boundaries between truth and fiction are becoming harder to define, in part because of the proliferation of fake news and other forms of misinformation. Mozilla wants to shed light on this by sponsoring public demonstrations, using mixed reality and other art media that make the power of misinformation and its potential impacts visible and visceral.

    We live in strange times in which legitimate news organizations such as CNN have to launch advertising campaigns to remind people what real information is. Meanwhile social networks that connect millions more people struggle to help them differentiate truth from fiction and to define their unplanned role as media platforms.

    Throughout historic moments of upheaval people have used art to make sense of what appears to be dystopian reality. The west side of the Berlin wall became one of the largest canvases in the world as Berliners attempted to make sense of their divided city, while the east side remained blank as none were allowed to get close enough to paint. I also like to remember that Jazz icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone set an enduring challenge to all artists when she asked “how can you be an artist and not reflect the times?”

  • Mozilla Files Cross-Complaint Against Yahoo Holdings and Oath

    Yahoo Holdings and Oath filed a complaint against Mozilla on December 1, 2017, claiming that we improperly terminated the agreement between Mozilla and Yahoo. Today, in response, Mozilla filed a cross-complaint against Yahoo Holdings and Oath for breach of contract.

    While this is a legal matter and much of it is confidential, as Mozilla, we want to share as much information as we can in the spirit of our values of openness and transparency.

    We will create a wiki page with links to relevant public court documents – over time we expect to add more content as it becomes public.

Mozilla: Tor Browser Features and STT

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Quietly Adds Features From Tor Browser to Firefox

    In 2017, the developers at Mozilla have quietly added several features to Firefox that originated from the Tor Project’s Tor Browser. The new features come from the Tor Uplift project, which helps Mozilla integrate patches to Firefox that are used in the Tor Browser. The Tor Uplift project patches to Firefox help increase privacy and security, and the project has been helping improve Firefox since last year.

    Around 95% of the code in the Tor Browser itself comes from Mozilla, as it is based on Mozilla’s Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR). Mozilla, which earlier this month released Firefox version 57, known as Firefox Quantum, has most recently included a feature from the Tor Browser known as First Party Isolation.

  • Mozilla talks up speech-to-text application platform

    Mozilla is on a mission… and it’s a mission designed to ‘empower’ software application developers with tools to help create more STT apps.

    STT you say?

    Yes, that would be speech-to-text applications.

Mozilla’s new open source model aims to revolutionize voice recognition

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Moz/FF
OSS

You may have noticed the steady and sure progress of voice recognition tech in recent times – all the big tech firms want to make strides in this arena if only to improve their digital assistants, from Cortana to Siri – but Mozilla wants to push harder, and more broadly, on this front with the release of an open source speech recognition model.

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Also: Mozilla releases open source speech recognition tools

Mozilla Firefox Quantum

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Moz/FF
  • Can the new Firefox Quantum regain its web browser market share?

    When Firefox was introduced in 2004, it was designed to be a lean and optimized web browser, based on the bloated code from the Mozilla Suite. Between 2004 and 2009, many considered Firefox to be the best web browser, since it was faster, more secure, offered tabbed browsing and was more customizable through extensions than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. When Chrome was introduced in 2008, it took many of Firefox’s best ideas and improved on them. Since 2010, Chrome has eaten away at Firefox’s market share, relegating Firefox to a tiny niche of free software enthusiasts and tinkerers who like the customization of its XUL extensions.

    According to StatCounter, Firefox’s market share of web browsers has fallen from 31.8% in December 2009 to just 6.1% today. Firefox can take comfort in the fact that it is now virtually tied with its former arch-nemesis, Internet Explorer and its variants. All of Microsoft’s browsers only account for 6.2% of current web browsing according to StatCounter. Microsoft has largely been replaced by Google, whose web browsers now controls 56.5% of the market. Even worse, is the fact that the WebKit engine used by Google now represents over 83% of web browsing, so web sites are increasingly focusing on compatibility with just one web engine. While Google and Apple are more supportive of W3C and open standards than Microsoft was in the late 90s, the web is increasingly being monopolized by one web engine and two companies, whose business models are not always based on the best interests of users or their rights.

  • Firefox Nightly Adds CSD Option

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Firefox 57 is awesome — so awesome that I’m finally using it as my default browser again.

    But there is one thing it the Linux version of Firefox sorely needs: client-side decoration.

The Fox Hunt - Firefox and friends compared

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web

So what should you use? Well, it depends. You want extensions, the entire repertoire as it's meant to be? Go with Pale Moon, but be aware of the inconsistencies and problems down the road. However, another piece of penalty is less than optimal looks. If you are more focused on speed and future development, then it's Firefox, as it offers the most complete compromise. The add-ons will make it or break it. Waterfox makes less sense, because the margins of benefit are too small.

My take is - Firefox. It's not ideal, but Pale Moon does not solve the problem fully, it combines nostalgia with technicals, and that's a rough patch, even though the project is quite admirable in what it's trying to do. Alas, I'm afraid the old extensions will die, and the new ones won't be compatible, so the browser will be left stranded somewhere in between. But hopefully, this little comparison test gives you a better overview and understanding how things work.

Finally, we go back to the question of speed. We've seen how one flavor of Fox stacks against another, but what about Chrome? I will answer that in a follow-up article, which will compare Chrome to Vivaldi, again based on popular demand, and then we will also check how all these different browsers compare using my small, limited and entirely personal corner of the Web. Stay tuned.

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Also: Firefox Private Browsing vs. Chrome Incognito: Which is Faster?

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KDE/GNOME: Usability and Productivity, Krita Interview, GNOME Builder

  • This week in Usability and Productivity, part 2
    This is your weekly status update for the KDE community’s progress in the Usability and Productivity initiative. KDE contributors have been busy, and here’s a sampling of features, improvements, and bugfixes relevant to the initiative that KDE developers landed over the past week-and-a-half...
  • Interview with Baukje Jagersma
    How and when did you get to try digital painting for the first time? Probably when I first discovered Deviantart. I was already familiar with GIMP, which I used to create photo-manipulations with. But seeing all the amazingly talented artists on there made me want to try out digital painting for myself.
  • Builder happenings for January
    I’ve been very busy with Builder since returning from the holidays. As mentioned previously, we’ve moved to gitlab. I’m very happy about it. I can see how this is going to improve the engagement and communication between our existing community and help us keep new contributors. I made two releases of Builder so far this month. That included both a new stable build (which flatpak users are already using) and a new snapshot for those on developer operating systems like Fedora Rawhide.

KDE/GNOME: Usability and Productivity, K

  • This week in Usability and Productivity, part 2
    This is your weekly status update for the KDE community’s progress in the Usability and Productivity initiative. KDE contributors have been busy, and here’s a sampling of features, improvements, and bugfixes relevant to the initiative that KDE developers landed over the past week-and-a-half...
  • Interview with Baukje Jagersma
    How and when did you get to try digital painting for the first time? Probably when I first discovered Deviantart. I was already familiar with GIMP, which I used to create photo-manipulations with. But seeing all the amazingly talented artists on there made me want to try out digital painting for myself.
  • Builder happenings for January
    I’ve been very busy with Builder since returning from the holidays. As mentioned previously, we’ve moved to gitlab. I’m very happy about it. I can see how this is going to improve the engagement and communication between our existing community and help us keep new contributors. I made two releases of Builder so far this month. That included both a new stable build (which flatpak users are already using) and a new snapshot for those on developer operating systems like Fedora Rawhide.

Linux: PowerPC, GFS2, Userspace RCU