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Moz/FF

The 'New' Microsoft

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Moz/FF
Web
  • Windows derails Chrome, Firefox installation, promotes Microsoft Edge instead [iophk: "Where are the Microsoft apologists on this? They sure have been quiet."]

    Microsoft is trying a new tactic to get people to use its Edge browser: a warning dialog box that interrupts the installation of other browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

  • Microsoft tests ‘warning’ Windows 10 users not to install Chrome or Firefox

    While the prompts can be turned off, they’re yet another example of Microsoft infesting Windows 10 with annoying ads and pop-ups. Some similar prompts already appear and attempt to push Chrome or Firefox users to use Edge, but this latest one steps up Microsoft’s war against Chrome even further. It’s not clear why Microsoft thinks it’s a good idea to include these irritating prompts, as all they’re likely to do is anger Windows 10 users rather than convince them to switch to Edge.

  • Microsoft Tests Warning Windows 10 Users About Installing Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox [iophk: "yeah, Microsoft "loves" FOSS"]

    While the warning does not block the installation, it is a blatant move from Microsoft to try and stop users from downloading a rival's Web browser. As per a CNET report, test was confirmed in Windows 10 version 1809, build 17758.1. It is worth noting that it is a preview release, which will not be available to the general public for another month or so. In a statement to CNET, Microsoft referred to its Windows test programme, and said, "We're currently testing this functionality with insiders only. The Windows Insider Program enables Microsoft to test different features, functionality and garner feedback before rolling out broadly. Customers remain in control and can choose the browser of their choice." The Verge, on the other hand, cites its sources to say the warning will not make its way to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

Mozilla: Firefox Focus with GeckoView, WebRender, DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • Firefox Focus with GeckoView

    Firefox Focus is private browsing as an app: It automatically blocks ads and trackers, so you can surf the web in peace. When you’re done, a single tap completely erases your history, cookies, and other local data.

  • WebRender newsletter #22

    The closer we get to shipping WebRender, the harder it is for me to take the time to go through commit logs and write the newsletter. But this time is special.

    Yesterday we enabled WebRender by default on Firefox Nightly for a subset of the users: Desktop Nvidia GPUs on Windows 10. This represents 17% of the nightly population. We chose to first target this very specific configuration in order to avoid getting flooded with driver bugs, and we’ll gradually add more as things stabilize.

  • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: DNS over HTTPS (DoH) – Testing on Beta

    DNS is a critical part of the Internet, but unfortunately has bad security and privacy properties, as described in this excellent explainer by Lin Clark. In June, Mozilla started experimenting with DNS over HTTPS, a new protocol which uses encryption to protect DNS requests and responses. As we reported at the end of August, our experiments in the Nightly channel look very good: the slowest users show a huge improvement, anywhere up to hundreds of milliseconds, and most users see only a small performance slowdown of around 6 milliseconds, which is acceptable given the improved security.

Looking at Firefox performance 57 vs 63

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Moz/FF

Last November we released Firefox v.57, otherwise known as Firefox Quantum. Quantum was in many ways a whole new browser with the focus on speed as compared to previous versions of Firefox.

As I write about many topics on my blog which are typically related to my current work at Mozilla, I haven’t written about measuring or monitoring Performance in a while. Now that we are almost a year out I thought it would be nice to look at a few of the key performance tests that were important for tracking in the Quantum release and what they look like today.

First I will look at the benchmark Speedometer which was used to track browser performance primarily of the JS engine and DOM.

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Programming: Compiling Firefox, Mozilla's Rust, and Go/Python Adventures

Filed under
Development
Moz/FF
  • Firefox is now built with clang LTO on all* platforms

    You might have read that Mozilla recently switched Windows builds to clang-cl. More recently, those Windows builds have seen both PGO and LTO enabled.

    As of next nightly (as of writing, obviously), all tier-1 platforms are now built with clang with LTO enabled. Yes, this means Linux, Mac and Android arm, aarch64 and x86. Linux builds also have PGO enabled.

    Mac and Android builds were already using clang, so the only difference is LTO being enabled, which brought some performance improvements.

  • Rust office hours

    ...I’m going to start an experiment that I call Rust office hours. The idea is simple: I’ve set aside a few slots per week to help people work through problems they are having learning or using Rust. My goal here is both to be of service but also to gain more insight into the kinds of things people have trouble with. No problem is too big or too small!

  • This Week in Rust 251

    Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community.

  • Return to Limbo

    When the time came to pack up and return to Norway I considered whether I wanted to continue writing small examples in Go and porting some of my Python modules. It didn't feel all that comfortable or intuitive to write in Go, though I realise that it simply takes practice to gain familiarity. Despite this, it was worth taking some time to get an overview of the basics of Go for reasons that I'll get to later.

    [...]

    As mentioned earlier, I was interested in setting up Inferno on an old netbook – an Efika MX Smartbook – and had already experimented with running the system in its hosted form on top of Debian GNU/Linux. Running hosted Inferno is a nice way to get some experience using the system and seems to be the main way it is used these days. Running the system natively requires porting it to the specific hardware in use, and I knew that I could use the existing code for U-Boot, FreeBSD and Linux as a reference at the very least. So, the task would be to take hardware-specific code for the i.MX51 platform and adapt it to use the conventions of the Inferno porting layer. Building from the ground up, there are a few ports of Inferno to other ARM devices that could be used as foundations for a new port.

Browsh and Firefox on Old PCs (Better on GNU/Linux)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Moz/FF
Web
  • Browsh – A Modern Text Based Browser Which Supports Graphics And Video

    We had wrote many articles about text based browser in the past such as Links, Links2, ELinks, Lynx, w3m and Netrik.

    Why we need a text-based browser in Linux? As you already know most of the Linux servers are running without GUI. It helps Linux administrator to browse the website from CLI.

    As i know, all these text-based browsers renders only web pages and supports color but browsh is advanced, well-established, feature-rich modern text based browser which supports graphics and video.

  • Firefox Just Dropped Windows XP and Vista Support, and Soon Steam Will Too

    Version 52 of Firefox’s Extended Support Edition (ESR) was the last version of Firefox compatible with Windows XP and Vista machines, but it is no longer getting security updates as of last week. This means any security flaws will never be patched, potentially putting users in danger of breaches.

Mozilla identifies 10 open source personas: What you need to know

Filed under
Moz/FF
OSS

Participating in open source communities—or in any open organization, for that matter—means collaborating with others who might not operate the same way you do. Their motivations may differ. Their governance models might seem foreign. Their goals might not immediately speak to you. So if you're going to work together, you'll need to develop a clear sense of what makes the project tick—and decide quickly whether working together is best for your team and your business.

Similarly, if you're instigating an open source project, you should ask yourself, "what kind of community do I want to attract?" Then you can plan for and signal that accordingly.

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Mozilla: AR, Bugs, and Common Voice

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • New API to Bring Augmented Reality to the Web
  • New API to Bring Augmented Reality to the Web

    Mozilla is excited to enter a new phase of work on JavaScript APIs that will help everyone create and share virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) projects on the open web.

    As you might know, Mozilla formally launched this work last year with the release of Firefox desktop support for the WebVR 1.1 API. Using that draft API, early adopters like WITHIN were able to distribute 3D experiences on the web and have them work well on a range of devices, from mobile phones and cardboard viewers to full-fledged, immersive VR headsets.

  • Security Bugs in Practice: SSRF via Request Splitting

    One of the most interesting (and sometimes scary!) parts of my job at Mozilla is dealing with security bugs. We don't always ship perfect code – nobody does – but I'm privileged to work with a great team of engineers and security folks who know how to deal effectively with security issues when they arise. I'm also privileged to be able to work in the open, and I want to start taking more advantage of that to share some of my experiences.

    One of the best ways to learn how to write more secure code is to get experience watching code fail in practice. With that in mind, I'm planning to write about some of the security-bug stories that I've been involved in during my time at Mozilla. Let's start with a recent one: Bug 1447452, in which some mishandling of unicode characters by the Firefox Accounts API server could have allowed an attacker to make arbitrary requests to its backend data store.

  • Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for Common Voice

    Today Common Voice — our crowdsourcing-initiative for an open and publicly available voice dataset that anyone can use to train speech-enabled applications — was honored as a Finalist in the Experimental category in Fast Company’s 2018 Innovation by Design Awards.

    Fast Company states that Innovation by Design is the only competition to honor creative work at the intersection of design, business, and innovation. 

The awards, which can be found in the October 2018 issue of Fast Company, on stands September 18th, recognize people, teams, and companies solving problems through design. After spending a year researching and reviewing applicants Fast Company is honoring an influential and diverse group of 398 leaders in fashion, architecture, graphic design and data visualization, social good, user experience, and more.

  • We’re intentionally designing open experiences, here’s why.

    At Mozilla, our Open Innovation team is driven by the guiding principle of being Open by Design. We are intentionally designing how we work with external collaborators and contributors — both at the individual and organizational level — for the greatest impact and shared value. This includes foundational strategic questions from business objectives to licensing through to overall project governance. But importantly, it also applies to how we design experiences for our communities. Including how we think about creating interactions, from onboarding to contribution.

    [...]

    What is now Common Voice, an multi-language voice collection experience, started merely as an identified need. Since early 2016 Mozilla’s Machine Learning Group has been working on an Open Source speech recognition engine and model, project “Deep Speech”. Any high quality speech-to-text engines require thousands of hours of voice data to train them, but publicly available voice data is very limited and the cost of commercial datasets is exorbitant. This prompted the question, how might we collect large quantities of voice data for Open Source machine learning?

What Is the Point of Mozilla?

Filed under
Moz/FF

Few journeys in the world of open source have been as exciting as Mozilla's. Its birth was dramatic. Netscape, the pioneering company whose Netscape Navigator browser shaped the early Web, had enjoyed the most successful IPO up until then, valuing the 18-month-year-old company at nearly $3 billion. That was in 1995. Three years later, the company was in freefall, as the browser wars took their toll, and Microsoft continued to gain market share with its Internet Explorer, launched alongside Windows 95. Netscape's response was bold and unprecedented. On January 27, 1998, it announced that it was making the source code for the next generation of its web browser freely available under a GPL-like license.

Although of huge symbolic importance for the still-young Free Software world—the term "open source" was coined only a month after Netscape's announcement—the release and transformation of the code for what became the Mozilla browser suite was fraught with difficulties. The main problem was trying to re-write the often problematic legacy code of Netscape Navigator. Mozilla 1.0 was finally released in 2002, but by then, Internet Explorer dominated the sector. The failure of the Mozilla browser to make much of an impact ultimately spurred development of the completely new Firefox browser. Version 1.0 was launched in 2004, after three years of work.

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Also: Firefox Snap is the best way to run Beta Firefox

The WebExtocalypse

Filed under
Moz/FF
Web

Mozilla recently dropped support for Firefox XUL extensions.

The initial threat of this prompted me to discover how to re-enable XUL extensions by modifying Firefox's omni.ja file. That clearly is not going to last very long since Mozilla is also deleting XPCOM interfaces but I note the Tor Browser is temporarily still using XUL extensions.

Since I have some extensions I wrote for myself, I will need to rewrite them as WebExtension add-ons.

The first thing to do is check how to install WebExtension add-ons. My local XUL extensions are run from the corresponding git trees. Using an example extension I discovered that this no longer works. The normal way to install add-ons is to use the web-ext tool, upload to the Mozilla app store and then install from there. This seems like overkill for an unpolished local add-on. One way to workaround this is to disable signing but that seems suboptimal if one has installed Mozilla-signed add-ons, which I will probably have to do until Debian packages more add-ons. Luckily Mozilla offers alternative "sideloading" distribution mechanisms and Debian enables these by default for the Debian webext-* packages. Installing a symlink to the git repository into the extensions directory and adding a gecko identifier to the add-on manifest.json file works.

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Mozilla Firefox 62 "Quantum" Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

Filed under
Moz/FF
Ubuntu

Firefox 62 introduces Canadian English (en-CA) locale, FreeBSD support for the WebAuthn (Web Authentication) API used for accessing Public Key Credentials Level 1, support for Firefox Home to display up to four rows of top sites, highlights, and Pocket stories, and a new "Reopen in Container" tab menu option that lets users reopen conternized tabs in a different container.

Furthermore, Firefox 62 enables web developers to create richer web page layouts and beautiful typography for sites thanks to the addition of CSS Shapes support and CSS Variable Fonts (OpenType Font Variations) support, as well as a brand-new Shape Path Editor in the CSS Inspector. It also allows users to distrust certificates issued by Symantec by setting "security.pki.distrust_ca_policy" to 2.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: XRGEARS and Arcan's Latest

  • XRGEARS: Infamous "Gears" Now On VR Headsets With OpenHMD, Vulkan
    Well, the virtual reality (VR) demo scene is now complete with having glxgears-inspired gears and Utah teapot rendering on VR head mounted displays with the new XRGEARS. Kidding aside about the gears and teapot, XRGEARS is a nifty new open-source project with real value by Collabora developer Lubosz Sarnecki. XRGEARS is a standalone VR demo application built using the OpenHMD initiative for tracking and Vulkan for rendering. XRGEARS supports both Wayland and X11 environments or even running off KMS itself. This code also makes use of VK_EXT_direct_mode_display with DRM leasing.
  • Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity
    This is the first article out of three in a series where I will go through what I consider to be the relevant Xorg feature set, and compare it, point by point, to how the corresponding solution or category works in Arcan. This article will solely focus on the Display Server set of features and how they relate to Xorg features, The second article will cover the features that are currently missing (e.g. network transparency) when they have been accounted for. The third article will cover the features that are already present in Arcan (and there are quite a few of those) but does not exist in Xorg.
  • Arcan Display Server Is Nearing Feature Parity With The X.Org Server
    The Arcan display server, which started off years ago sounding like a novelty with being a display server built off a game engine in part and other interesting features, is nearing feature parity with the X.Org Server. While most hobbyist display server projects have failed, Arcan has continued advancing and with an interesting feature set. Recently they have even been working on a virtual reality desktop and an interesting desktop in general. Arcan is getting close to being able to offering the same functionality as a traditional X.Org Server. If you are interested in a lengthy technical read about the differences between Arcan and X.Org, the Arcan developers themselves did some comparing and contrasting when it comes to the display support, windowing, input, font management, synchronization, and other areas.

CoC/Systemd Supremacy Over Linux Kernel

  • New Linux Code of Conduct Revisions: CoC Committee Added Plus Interpretation & Mediator
    The Linux Code of Conduct introduced last month that ended up being quite contentious will see some revisions just ahead of the Linux 4.19 stable kernel release. Greg Kroah-Hartman has outlined the planned changes as well as a new Code of Conduct Interpretation document. In the weeks since the Linux kernel CoC was merged, various patches were proposed but none merged yet. It turns out Greg KH was working in private with various kernel maintainers/developers on addressing their feedback and trying to come up with solutions to the contentious issues in private.
  • Some kernel code-of-conduct refinements
    Greg Kroah-Hartman has posted a series of patches making some changes around the newly adopted code of conduct. In particular, it adds a new document describing how the code is to be interpreted in the kernel community.
  • Systemd Adds Feature To Fallback Automatically To Older Kernels On Failure
    Systemd's latest feature is the concept of "boot counting" that will track kernel boot attempts and failures as part of an automatic boot assessment. Ultimately this is to provide automatic fallback to older kernels should a newer kernel be consistently failing. The feature was crafted over the past few months by Lennart Poettering himself to provide a way when making use of systemd-boot on UEFI systems it can automatically fallback to an older kernel if a newer kernel is consistently causing problems. This is treated as an add-on to the Boot Loader Specification. The systemd boot assessment is designed that it could also be used by non-UEFI systems and other boot platforms.

ODROID 'Hacker Board'

  • ODROID Rolling Out New Intel-Powered Single Board Computer After Trying With Ryzen
    While ODROID is most known for their various ARM single board computers (SBCs), some of which offer impressive specs, they have dabbled in x86 SBCs and on Friday announced the Intel-powered ODROID-H2. In the announcement they mentioned as well they were exploring an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U powered SBC computer, which offered fast performance but the price ended up being prohibitive. After the falling out with Ryzen over those cost concerns, they decided to go ahead with an Intel Geminilake SoC. Geminilake is slower than their proposed Ryzen board, but the price was reasonable and it ends up still being much faster than ODROID's earlier Apollolake SBC.
  • Odroid-H2 is world’s first Gemini Lake hacker board
    Hardkernel unveiled the Odroid-H2, the first hacker board with an Intel Gemini Lake SoC. The Ubuntu 18.10 driven SBC ships with 2x SATA 3.0, 2x GbE, HDMI and DP, 4x USB, and an M.2 slot for NVMe. When the Odroid-H2 goes on sale in November at a price that will be “higher than $100,” Hardkernel will join a small group of vendors that have launched a community backed x86-based SBC. This first open spec hacker board built around Intel’s new Gemini Lake SoC — and one of the first Gemini Lake SBCs of any kind — follows earlier Arm-based Odroid winners such as the Odroid-C2 Raspberry Pi pseudo clone and the octa-core Odroid-XU4.

A Look At The Many Features On The Table For The Upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 Kernel

If all goes as planned, tomorrow will mark the availability of the Linux 4.19 stable kernel. That is also expected to mark the return of Linus Torvalds from his retreat where he was working on his empathy skills and politeness. The 4.19 stable release will then kick off the merge window for the next kernel cycle. It's still not set in stone yet whether the next kernel release will be Linux 4.20 or Linux 5.0. Linus Torvalds previously communicated -- and what he did in going from Linux 3.19 to 4.0 -- was that when otherwise hitting the x.20 release is time to bump the major kernel version number. So it's likely the next kernel cycle will be Linux 5.0, but we'll see if the new-and-improved Torvalds has different feelings now over the versioning scheme. Read more