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Moz/FF

Mozilla: Firefox Accounts, Firefox for 'Hype' Things and Hubs

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Moz/FF

The Rapid Progress Of The AV1 Video Format Over The Past Year

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Movies
Moz/FF
Web

Mozilla presented at the NAB Streaming Summit last week over the state of the royalty-free AV1 video format aiming to compete with H.265/HEVC and succeeding VP9 for open-source use-cases.

In particular, a lot of AV1 progress was made over the past year compared to when the bitstream wasn't finalized, poor encoder performance, lack of AV1 support, and slow adoption. 2018 also brought the introduction of the Dav1d AV1 video decoder, more members joining the AOMedia Foundation, and other advancements.

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Mozilla: Hubs Discord Bot, Pyodide, Brussels Mozilla Morning, CCADB and Tor

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla VR Blog: Announcing the Hubs Discord Bot

    We’re excited to announce an official Hubs integration with Discord, a platform that provides text and voice chat for communities. In today's digital world, the ways we stay connected with our friends, family, and co-workers is evolving. Our established social networks span across different platforms, and we believe that shared virtual reality should build on those relationships and that they enhance the way we communicate with the people we care about. Being co-present as avatars in a shared 3D space is a natural progression for the tools we use today, and we’re building on that idea with Hubs to allow you to create private spaces where your conversations, content, and data is protected.

    In recent years, Discord has grown in popularity for communities organized around games and technology, and is the platform we use internally on the Hubs development team for product development discussions. Using Discord as a persistent platform that is open to the public gives us the ability to be open about our ongoing work and initiatives on the Hubs team and integrate the community’s feedback into our product planning and development. If you’re a member of the Discord server for Hubs, you may have already seen the bot in action during our internal testing this month!

  • Pyodide: Bringing the scientific Python stack to the browser

    The impetus for Pyodide came from working on another Mozilla project, Iodide, which we presented in an earlier post. Iodide is a tool for data science experimentation and communication based on state-of-the-art web technologies. Notably, it’s designed to perform data science computation within the browser rather than on a remote kernel.

    Unfortunately, the “language we all have” in the browser, JavaScript, doesn’t have a mature suite of data science libraries, and it’s missing a number of features that are useful for numerical computing, such as operator overloading. We still think it’s worthwhile to work on changing that and moving the JavaScript data science ecosystem forward. In the meantime, we’re also taking a shortcut: we’re meeting data scientists where they are by bringing the popular and mature Python scientific stack to the browser.

  • Brussels Mozilla Mornings: A policy blueprint for internet health

    On 14 May, Mozilla will host the next installment of our Mozilla Mornings series – regular breakfast meetings where we bring together policy experts, policymakers and practitioners for insight and discussion on the latest EU digital policy developments.

    This event will coincide with the launch of the 2019 Mozilla Foundation Internet Health Report. We’re bringing together an expert panel to discuss some of the report’s highlights, and their vision for how the next EU political mandate can enhance internet health in Europe.

  • Google Accused Of Betraying Firefox To Boost Chrome Adoption

    We all know that since Google Chrome came into being, other popular web browsers–Mozilla Firefox being one of them–failed to maintain their position in the market. As a result, today Chrome is the most used web browser. However, it also faces scrutiny for its popularity and the most recent one to do so is an ex-Mozilla employee.

    According to a Twitter thread by Johnathan Nightingale, former general manager and vice president at Mozilla Firefox, Google deliberately sabotaged Mozilla with its “amateur hours” tactics.

  • Mozilla’s Common CA Database (CCADB) promotes Transparency and Collaboration

    The Common CA Database (CCADB) is helping us protect individuals’ security and privacy on the internet and deliver on our commitment to use transparent community-based processes to promote participation, accountability and trust. It is a repository of information about Certificate Authorities (CAs) and their root and subordinate certificates that are used in the web PKI, the publicly-trusted system which underpins secure connections on the web. The Common CA Database (CCADB) paves the way for more efficient and cost-effective management of root stores and helps make the internet safer for everyone. For example, the CCADB automatically detects and alerts root store operators when a root CA has outdated audit statements or a gap between audit periods. This is important, because audit statements provide assurance that a CA is following required procedures so that they do not issue fraudulent certificates.

  • How Bandwidth Scanners Monitor The Tor Network

     

    Tor relays report their own bandwidth based on the traffic they have sent and received. But this reported bandwidth is not verified by other relays. Bandwidth scanners help verify relay bandwidths. They also provide some initial traffic to new relays, so those relays can report a useful amount of bandwidth.

Mozilla: React, Firefox 67 Beta 10 Testday Results, and Privacy Rants

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Moz/FF
  • Peter Bengtsson: Whatsdeployed rewritten in React

    All old URLs will continue to work but now the canonical URL becomes /s/5HY/mozilla-services/tecken, for example. The :org/:repo isn't really necessary because the server knows exactly what 5HY (in this example means), but it's nice for the URL bar's memory.

    Another thing that changed was how it can recognize "bors commits". When you use bors, you put a bunch of commits into a GitHub Pull Request and then ask the bors bot to merge them into master. Using "bors mode" in Whatsdeployed is optional but we believe it looks a lot more user-friendly. Here is an example of mozilla/normandy with and without bors toggled on and off.

  • Firefox 67 Beta 10 Testday Results

    As you may already know, last Friday April 12th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 67 Beta 10.

    Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: Rok Žerdin, noelonassis, gaby2300, Kamila kamciatek

    From Mozilla Bangladesh Community: Sayed Ibn Masud, Md.Rahimul Islam, Shah Yashfique Bhuian, Maruf Rahman, Niyaz Bin Hashem, Md. Almas Hossain, Ummay hany eiti, Kazi Ashraf Hossain.

  • How you can take control against online tracking

    Picture this. You arrive at a website you’ve never been to before and the site is full of ads for things you’ve already looked at online. It’s not a difficult thing to imagine because it happens every day. It can feel creepy, especially if you don’t understand why you’re seeing those ads. It can be particularly uncomfortable when you start seeing ads that try to shape your political opinions. With elections coming up in the EU, Canada and the US, it’s important to understand how online tracking can influence you.

  • The Bug in Apple’s Latest Marketing Campaign [Ed: Mozilla calls out misleading ads from Apple, which is in NSA PRISM and is spying on people, putting back doors in everything and so on]

    Each iPhone that Apple sells comes with a unique ID (called an “identifier for advertisers” or IDFA), which lets advertisers track the actions users take when they use apps. It’s like a salesperson following you from store to store while you shop and recording each thing you look at. Not very private at all.

    The good news: You can turn this feature off. The bad news: Most people don’t know that feature even exists, let alone that they should turn it off. And we think that they shouldn’t have to.

    That’s why we’re asking Apple to change the unique IDs for each iPhone every month. You would still get relevant ads — but it would be harder for companies to build a profile about you over time.

  • Alex Gibson: My sixth year working at Mozilla

    This week marks my sixth year working at Mozilla! I’ll be honest, this year’s mozillaversary came by so fast I nearly forgot all about writing this blog post. It feels hard to believe that I’ve been working here for a full six years. I’ve guess grown and learned a lot in that time, but it still doesn’t feel like all that long ago when I first joined full time. Years start to blur together. So, what’s happened in this past 12 months?

Mozilla Promotes Asa Dotzler to "product manager for Firefox browser accessibility."

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Moz/FF

Several months ago I took on a new role at Mozilla, product manager for Firefox browser accessibility. I couldn’t be more excited about this. It’s an area I’ve been interested in for nearly my entire career at Mozilla.

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Mozilla: Security, UX and VR

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Moz/FF
  • How to stay safe online while on vacation
  • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part 1

    If you want to block annoying ads or populate your new tab with sassy cats, you can do it…with browser extensions and themes. Users can download thousands of these “add-ons” from Firefox’s host site, addons.mozilla.org (“AMO”), to customize their browsing experience with new functionality or a dash of whimsy.

  • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part 2

    Now that we had our new content model, we needed to make it a reality for the extension developers creating product pages.

  • Firefox UX: Paying Down Enterprise Content Debt: Part

    A content model is a useful tool for organizations to structure, future-proof, and clean up their content. But that content model is only brought to life when content authors populate the fields you have designed with actual content. And the quality of that content is dependent in part on how the content system supports those authors in their endeavor.

    We had discovered through user research that developers create extensions for a great variety of reasons — including as a side hobby or for personal enjoyment. They may not have the time, incentive, or expertise to produce high-quality, discoverable content to market their extensions, and they shouldn’t be expected to. But, we can make it easier for them to do so with more actionable guidelines, tools, and governance.

    An initial review of the content submission flow revealed that the guidelines for developers needed to evolve. Specifically, we needed to give developers clearer requirements, explain why each content field mattered and where that content showed up, and provide them with examples. On top of that, we needed to give them writing exercises and tips when they hit a dead end.

    So, to support our developer authors in creating our ideal content state, I drafted detailed content guidelines that walked extension developers through the process of creating each content element.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Firefox Reality 1.1.3

    Firefox Reality 1.1.3 will soon be available for all users in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores.

    This release includes some major new features including support for 6DoF controllers, new environments, a curved browser window option and some bug fixes.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Wrapping up a week of WebVR experiments

    Earlier this week, we kicked off a week of WebVR experiments with our friends at Glitch.com. Glitch creator and WebVR expert Andrés Cuervo put together seven projects that are fun, unique, and will challenge you to learn advanced techniques for building Virtual Reality experiences on the web.

    If you are just getting started with WebVR, we recommend you check out this WebVR starter kit which will walk you through creating your very first WebVR experience.

Announcing Rust 1.34.0

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Development
Moz/FF

The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.34.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

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Also: Daniel Stenberg: no more global dns cache in curl

Mozilla: Black Hole, US House Votes to Save the Internet and WebRender Newsletter

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Moz/FF
  • First photo of a black hole or cosmic cousin of the Firefox logo?

    A photo of a small, fiery circular shape floating in blackness will go down in history as the first photo of a black hole. It might not look like much, but this is the first time humans are getting a glimpse into one of nature’s greatest mysteries.

    [...]

    Like the logo, the first photo of a black hole is bursting with warm colors. You can see a fiery tail that thickens around the circle. The corona of the black hole represents incredible speed. Things move so fast that you’d have to travel faster than the speed of light to escape it past the event horizon.

    While the Firefox web browser isn’t as fast as one of the most powerful forces in the universe, it’s still pretty good. The Firefox logo represents speeds that are two times faster than before, and using 30 percent less memory than Google Chrome.

  • US House Votes to Save the Internet

    Today, the House took a firm stand on behalf of internet users across the country. By passing the Save the Internet Act, members have made it clear that Americans have a fundamental right to access the open internet. Without these protections in place, big corporations like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T could block, slow, or levy tolls on content at the expense of users and small businesses. We hope that the Senate will recognize the need for strong net neutrality protections and pass this legislation into law. In the meantime, we will continue to fight in the courts as the DC Circuit considers Mozilla v. FCC, our effort to restore essential net neutrality protections for consumers through litigation.

  • Mozilla GFX: WebRender newsletter #43

    The gfx team got together in Mozilla’s Toronto office last week. These gatherings are very valuable since the team is spread over many timezones (in no particular order, there are graphics folks in Canada, Japan, France, various parts of the US, Germany, England, Australia and New Zealand).

    It was an intense week, filled with technical discussions and planning.

Mozilla: DoH, Triaging Firefox Bugs and Protections Against Fingerprinting/Cryptocurrency Mining Available in Firefox Nightly and Beta

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Security Blog: DNS-over-HTTPS Policy Requirements for Resolvers

    Over the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH), a protocol which uses encryption to protect DNS requests and responses, with the goal of deploying DoH by default for our users. Our plan is to select a set of Trusted Recursive Resolvers (TRRs) that we will use for DoH resolution in Firefox. Those resolvers will be required to conform to a specific set of policies that put privacy first.

  • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Teaching machines to triage Firefox bugs

    Mozilla receives hundreds of bug reports and feature requests from Firefox users every day. Getting bugs to the right eyes as soon as possible is essential in order to fix them quickly. This is where bug triage comes in: until a developer knows a bug exists, they won’t be able to fix it.

    Given the large number of bugs filed, it is unworkable to make each developer look at every bug (at the time of writing, we’d reached bug number 1536796!). This is why, on Bugzilla, we group bugs by product (e.g. Firefox, Firefox for Android, Thunderbird, etc.) and component (a subset of a product, e.g. Firefox::PDF Viewer).

    Historically, the product/component assignment has been mostly done manually by volunteers and some developers. Unfortunately, this process fails to scale, and it is effort that would be better spent elsewhere.

  • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: Protections Against Fingerprinting and Cryptocurrency Mining Available in Firefox Nightly and Beta

    At Mozilla, we have been working hard to protect you from threats and annoyances on the web, so you can live your online life with less to worry about. Last year, we told you about adapting our approach to anti-tracking given the added importance of keeping people’s information on the web private in today’s climate. We talked about blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites. One of the three key initiatives we listed was mitigating harmful practices like fingerprinting and cryptomining. We have added a feature to block fingerprinting and cryptomining in Firefox Nightly as an option for users to turn on.

Mozilla Designing Better Security Warnings and Firefox Front-End Performance Update

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Moz/FF
  • Designing Better Security Warnings

    Security messages are very hard to get right, but it’s very important that you do. The world of internet security is increasingly complex and scary for the layperson. While in-house security experts play a key role in identifying the threats, it’s up to UX designers and writers to communicate those threats in ways that enlighten and empower users to make more informed decisions.
    We’re still learning what works and what doesn’t in the world of security messages, but there are some key insights from recent studies from the field at large. We had a chance to implement some of those recommendations, as well as learnings from our own in-house research, in a recent project to overhaul Firefox’s most common security certificate warning messages.

  • Firefox Front-End Performance Update #16

    With Firefox 67 only a few short weeks away, I thought it might be interesting to take a step back and talk about some of the work that the Firefox Front-end Performance team is shipping to users in that particular release.

    To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of the great performance work that’s gone into Firefox 67 – but I picked a few things that the front-end team has been focused on to talk about.

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Graphics: Intel, XWayland and Vulkan

  • Intel Linux Graphics Driver Adding Support For The Mule Creek Canyon PCH
    Mule Creek Canyon is the PCH to be paired with Intel Elkhart Lake processors. Elkhart Lake as a reminder is the Gemini Lake SoC successor that will feature Gen11 class graphics and now thanks to the open-source Intel Linux graphics driver we know that new PCH is the Mule Creek Canyon. Mule Creek Canyon doesn't appear to be widely publicized up to this point but appeared in today's latest open-source development activity. Mule Creek Canyon is the new PCH for Elkhart Lake and required some minor changes around Port-C remapping that differ from other Icelake graphics hardware.
  • XWayland Receive An EGL-Based GLX Provider, Helping Various Games On Linux
    A notable improvement was merged into the "xserver" Git tree for the eventual X.Org Server 1.21 release that will improve the support for various Linux games relying on XWayland for running under a Wayland compositor.
  • Vulkan 1.1.109 Released With Two New Intel Extensions
    Vulkan 1.1.109 was released today as the latest update to this graphics/compute specification ahead of the US holiday weekend. With two weeks having passed since Vulkan 1.1.108 there are a few different documentation corrections/clarifications. There are also two new vendor extensions contributed by Intel.

Rob Szumski’s Keynote and Abby Kearns Interview at CloudNativeCon & KubeCon

GNOME: Theming, Mutter and Sprint 1

  • App Devs Ask Linux Distros to “Stop Theming Our Apps”
    A group of independent Linux app developers have written an open letter to ask wider GNOME community to ask: “stop theming our apps”. The letter is addressed to the maintainers of Linux distributions who elect to ship custom GTK and icons themes by default in lieu of upstream defaults. By publicising the issues they feel stem from the practice of “theming” it’s hoped that distros and developers might work together to create a “healthier GNOME third party app ecosystem”.
  • A Group of Independent Linux App Developers Has Asked Wider GNOME Community To 'Stop Theming' Its Apps
  • GNOME's Mutter Makes Another Step Towards X11-Less, Starting XWayland On-Demand
    GNOME 3.34 feature development continues at full-speed with a lot of interesting activity this cycle particularly on the Mutter front. On top of the performance/lag/stuttering improvements, today Mutter saw the merging of the "X11 excision" preparation patches. The Mutter patches by longtime GNOME developer Carlos Garnacho around preparing for X11 excision were merged minutes ago.
  • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: New Background panel, Calendar search engine, GTK4 shortcut engine (Sprint 1)
    GNOME To Do is full GTK4 these days. Which means it’s both a testbed for new GTK4 features, and also a way to give feedback as an app developer for the GTK team. Unfortunately, it also means To Do is blocked on various areas where GTK4 is lacking. One of these areas is keyboard shortcut. Last year, Benjamin wrote a major revamp for keyboard shortcuts. As part of this cycle, I decided to rebase and finish it; and also make To Do use the new API. Unfortunately, I failed to achieve what I set myself to. Turns out, adding a shortcuts engine to GTK4 is more involving and requires way more context than I had when trying to get it up to speed. I failed to predict that one week would have not been enough to finish it all. However, that does not mean all the efforts were wasted! The rebasing of the shortcuts engine was a non-trivial task successfully completed (see gtk!842), and I also fixed a few bugs while working on it. I also got a working prototype of GNOME To Do with the new APIs, and confirmed that it’s well suited — at least for a simpler application such as To Do. In retrospect, I believe I should have been more realistic (and perhaps slightly pessimistic) about the length and requirements of this task.

Programming: SVE2, Graphical Interface, Guile, Python and More

  • Arm SVE2 Support Aligning For GCC 10, LLVM Clang 9.0
    Given the significant performance benefits to Arm's Scalable Vector Extension 2 (SVE2), they are working on ensuring the open-source Linux compiler toolchains support these new CPU instructions ahead of SoCs shipping that support this big addition. Arm announced Scalable Vector Extension 2 (SVE2) recently as their latest advancement around SIMD programming and increasing data-level parallelism in programs. SVE2 is designed to ultimately deliver better SIMD performance than their long-available Neon extensions and to scale the performance with vector length increases as well as enabling auto-vectorization techniques. More details in this post on SVE2.
  • Intake: Discovering and Exploring Data in a Graphical Interface
    Do you have data that you’d like people to be able to explore on their own? Are you always passing around snippets of code to load specific data files? These are problems that people encounter all the time when working in groups and using the same datasources or when trying to distribute data to the public. Some users are comfortable interacting with data entirely programatically, but often it is helpful to use a GUI (Graphical User Interface) instead. With that in mind we have reimplemented the Intake GUI so that in addition to working in a jupyter notebook, it can be served as a web application next to your data, or at any endpoint.
  • lightening run-time code generation
    The upcoming Guile 3 release will have just-in-time native code generation. Finally, amirite? There's lots that I'd like to share about that and I need to start somewhere, so this article is about one piece of it: Lightening, a library to generate machine code.
  • Python Language Creator: “Male Attitude” Is Hurting The Programming Space
    Guido van Rossum is a famous name in the programming world. He is the creator of the Python programming language which was developed back in 1989. It is only since the last few years when this general-purpose programming language started gaining popularity. The number of Python users has increased significantly and it was not only named as the best programming language by IEEE but also the most asked-about language on Stack Overflow, overthrowing JavaScript — the all-time winner for decades.
  • Avant-IDLE: an experiment