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Moz/FF

Mozilla: Turning 20, Comments to the European Commission, SQLite, Firefox 60, Trial Against Trump

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla’s profound open source momentum assisted rewrite rules of tech

    Mozilla’s profound open source momentum assisted rewrite rules of tech as twenty years ago Netscape Communications was despairing. It was the favorite of the first wave of internet companies for its capability to let you surf the web but Microsoft had squeezed business likelihood by conferring a web browser for free.

    So Netscape took a step that was radical for the time. On March 31, 1998 it conferred the source code following its Netscape communicator browser, the once undisclosed programming directives that developers utilized to construct the software. The project Mozilla constituted to submit the crown jewels.

  • Effective and rights-protective procedures for tackling illegal content – Mozilla files comment to the European Commission

    For many years we have sought to lead the way in developing an internet that promotes human dignity, civil discourse, individual expression and collaborative problem-solving. Unfortunately, illegal content online – from hate speech to terrorist content – undermines the overall health of the internet and stifles its empowering nature. In that context, developing policy frameworks and industry best practices for tackling illegal content in a rights-protective manner is one of our key policy objectives.

    The EU – like many other regulatory jurisdictions around the world – is currently considering new measures to ensure effective removal of illegal content from the internet. To that end, the European Commission recently published a policy roadmap on the issue, which included – amongst others – the suggestion that Internet platforms be obliged to implement automated mechanisms to both detect attempted uploads of illegal content and filter any such content on their services.

  • Bedrock: The SQLitening

    On its face www.mozilla.org doesn’t look like it’d be a complex application to write, maintain, or run. But when you throw over 100 million unique visitors per week at any site it can complicate things quickly. Add to that translations of the content into over 100 languages and you can start to get the idea of where it might get interesting. So we take every opportunity to simplify and reduce hosting complexity and cost we can get. This is the place from which the idea to switch to using SQLite for our database needs in production was born.

  • Firefox 60 Beta 6 Testday Results

    Last Friday, March 23rd we held a Testday event, for Firefox 60 Beta 6.

    Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place!

    From India team: Surentharan R.A and Suren, Aditya Anand, Baranitharan, ILANKHATIR, Nivetha and Fahima Zulfath A.

  • A Healthy Internet Needs Trust & Diversity

    Today, Mozilla joined 115 companies in filing a friend of the court brief with the United States Supreme Court to demonstrate our continued opposition to the U.S. travel ban in State of Washington v. Trump.

    As we’ve said from the outset, this travel ban threatens the free flow of ideas and innovation across borders that is an essential part of our DNA as a technology company. It also puts in jeopardy our mission to protect and advance the internet as a global public resource that is open and accessible to all.

    In a similar filing with the lower circuit court, we outlined these objections along with broader concerns about the disturbing way in which the executive order at the heart of this case erodes trust in U.S. immigration law. We cannot afford to have such a dangerous precedent set that could damage the international cooperation required to develop and maintain the open internet.

Mozilla: Turning 20, Doing Screenshots, Add-ons Manager

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla marks 20th anniversary with commitment to better human experiences online

    This coming Saturday — March 31 — is Mozilla’s 20th anniversary. We’ve accomplished a fair amount in the first 20 years. We aim to accomplish even more in the next 20 years. To do this, we’ve modernized nearly every aspect of Mozilla, from Firefox to the many ways we connect people and technology.

    We’re making our first major addition to the key principles that form the foundation for Mozilla’s work. These principles are set out in the Mozilla Manifesto, which was launched in 2007. The Mozilla Manifesto identifies ten principles that we work to build into Firefox and online life generally. The internet should be a global public resource, open and accessible to all. Individuals should have control of their experience. Safety is critical. Private commercial profit and social benefit should coexist in a healthy fashion. We use these principles regularly to describe Mozilla’s identity and inform our decision-making. You can see the Manifesto here.

  • You can edit, highlight and crop your screenshots!

    Two weeks ago, Screenshots started shipping with the ability to draw on and re-crop shots. Keep an eye out for the little edit icon on the top-right corner of your ‘My Shots’ page.

  • Hack on MDN: Building useful tools with browser compatibility data

    From Friday, March 16 to Sunday, March 18, 2018, thirty-four people met in Mozilla’s Paris office to work on improving MDN’s Browser Compat Data. The amazing results included 221 pull requests that improved the quality of our data and created, prototyped, and improved tools and dashboards.

  • Meet the Add-ons Manager

    Ever wanted to fancy up your Firefox experience but weren’t sure how to do it? Are you familiar with the Add-ons Manager in Firefox? If not, please allow us to introduce you. This Firefox feature can help you discover add-ons that will have you browsing like a power-user in no time.

  • Mozilla Releases Firefox Add-On That Prevents Facebook from Spying on You

    After the whole Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, many companies took measures to protect their clients, including Mozilla, which released a free Firefox add-on to protect the privacy of its users.

    Your privacy is the most important thing in the world, especially when browsing the Internet, so you need to make sure the platforms and websites you visit can be trusted. All of us though Facebook could be trusted, but it proved otherwise, so now you can prevent it from tracking you on the Web if you're using Firefox.

Mozilla's radical open-source move helped rewrite rules of tech

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Moz/FF
OSS

Twenty years ago, Netscape Communications was desperate. It was the darling of the first wave of internet companies for its ability to let you surf the web, but Microsoft had crushed its business prospects by giving away a web browser for free.

So Netscape did something that was radical for the time: On March 31, 1998, it gave away the source code behind its Netscape Communicator browser, the once-secret programming instructions that developers used to build the software. The project, called Mozilla, amounted to surrendering the crown jewels.

Read more

Mozilla News

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Moz/FF
  • Survey Says, Firefox Loves Oddballs

    For the second year in a row, we did a bit of informal censusing last month to get to know our users in the best way possible: anonymously and collectively. Maybe you saw and took the survey, which we shared through email, our about:home page, and social media. There were some important questions and some not quite as important questions on it, but what was important was that it was totally voluntary and—like everything we do—about openness and transparency. Well, and having at least some fun on the internet.

  • ES modules: A cartoon deep-dive

    ES modules bring an official, standardized module system to JavaScript. It took a while to get here, though — nearly 10 years of standardization work.

  • Briefly Noted: An overview of the past, present and future of Firefox Notes

    Hi, I’m Ryan Feeley, Staff Designer for Firefox Accounts, Sync and Privacy. Last year we launched the Notes experiment to see if a basic notepad in our newly extensible sidebar could, with regular user feedback and iterative development, grow to become an indispensable Firefox feature. It’s exciting that months later I’m writing my draft of this blog post in Notes, while I copy/paste source material from various tabs to my right.

  • Andy McKay: Leaving Mozilla

    Today is my last day at Mozilla as a paid employee. Seven and a half years at Mozilla has been a heck of ride. I feel lucky and honoured to have had such an awesome opportunity.

    In terms projects I've gone from AMO, through the Firefox OS Marketplace, through Marketplace Payments, then back to AMO and WebExtensions. Those last couple of years, as we rebooted the add-ons ecosystem, was probably my proudest moment professionally.

  • We’re Hiring a Build Engineer

    We at the Thunderbird project are hiring a Build and Release Engineer. Interested in getting paid to work on Thunderbird? You’ll find information about the role ,as well as how to apply, below!

  • New Firefox Extension Builds a Wall Around Facebook

    Mozilla on Tuesday announced Facebook Container, a Firefox browser extension that is designed to segregate users' activity on Facebook from their other Web activity, limiting Facebook's ability to track them and gather personal data.

    Mozilla recently has engaged in an aggressive strategy to counter Facebook data management policies that many see as intrusive.

    The extension is the culmination of more than two years of research into developing a more private browsing experience, Mozilla said. However, the organization accelerated its development after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal came to light.

  • Limit personal data exposure with Firefox containers

    There was some noise recently about the massive amount of data gathered by Cambridge Analytica from Facebook users. While I don't use Facebook myself, I do use Google and other services which are known to gather a massive amount of data, and I obviously know a lot of people using those services. I also saw some posts or tweet threads about the data collection those services do.

    Mozilla recently released a Firefox extension to help users confine Facebook data collection. This addon is actually based on the containers technology Mozilla develops since few years. It started as an experimental feature in Nightly, then as a test pilot experiment, and finally evolved into a fully featured extension called Multi-Account containers. A somehow restricted version of this is even included directly in Firefox but you don't have the configuration window without the extension and you need to configure it manually with about:config.

Mozilla and Facebook

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Moz/FF
  • The Firefox Accounts authentication zoo

    After my article on the browser sync mechanisms I spent some time figuring out how Firefox Accounts work. The setup turned out remarkably complex, with many different server types communicating with each other even for the most basic tasks. While this kind of overspecialization probably should be expected given the scale at which this service operates, the number of different authentication methods is surprising and the official documentation only tells a part of the story while already being fairly complex. I’ll try to show the entire picture here, in case somebody else needs to piece it all together.

    [...]

    Clearly, some parts of this setup made sense at some point but no longer do. This especially applies to the use of BrowserID: the complicated generation and verification process makes no sense if only one issuer is allowed. The protocol is built on top of JSON Web Tokens (JWT), yet using JWT without any modifications would make a lot more sense here.

    Also, why is Mozilla using their own token library that looks like a proprietary version of JWT? It seems that this library was introduced before JWT came along, today it is simply historical ballast.

  • Being Open and Connected on Your Own Terms with our New Facebook Container Add-On

    There’s an important conversation going on right now about the power that companies like Facebook wield over our lives. These businesses are built on technology platforms that are so complex, it’s unreasonable to expect users to fully understand the implications of interacting with them. As a user of the internet, you deserve a voice and should be able to use the internet on your own terms. In light of recent news on how the aggregation of user data can be used in surprising ways, we’ve created an add-on for Firefox called Facebook Container, based on technology we’ve been working on for the last couple of years and accelerated in response to what we see in terms of growing demand for tools that help manage privacy and security.

  • Mozilla Launches “Facebook Container” To Stop Your Data Tracking On The Web

    Mozilla has designed the addon to make it harder for the blue network to track people everywhere they can. The company says that it’s based on technologies they have been working for years to help manage privacy and security.

  • Facebook Container Extension: Take control of how you’re being tracked

    Our Multi-Account Containers extension has been a game changer for many users, letting them manage various parts of their online life without intermingling their accounts. To help Firefox users have more control of their data on Facebook, we’ve created the Facebook Container Extension.

  • Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

    Once upon a time the internet ran on open protocols, and anyone could host servers that ran these protocols. Your first dial-up internet connection probably came with a bundle of tools for groups and chat. If you weren't happy with the service from your ISP you'd point the client at another. The internet was open and federated, with tons of innovation at the client end.

    But the protocol developers went to sleep for 20 years. We haven't seen much infrastructure development since the crypto protocols in the mid-1990s. Naturally, people wanted to do what they've always done, groups and chat, and so along came Mark Zuckerberg to turn the open, federated web into a private plantation. And here we all are, complaining that Mark Zuckerberg has too much power and no competition.

  • Experiments with "Good First Experience"

    If we think of an OSS project like a team of climbers ascending a mountain, a GFE is a camp part-way up the route that backpackers can visit in order to get a feel for the real thing. A GFE is also like a good detective novel: you know the mystery is going to get solved by the end, but nevertheless, it's thrilling to experience the journey, and see how it happens. Could I solve this before the book does?

  • Improving the Add-ons Linter

Mozilla: Firefox 59.0.2 and Graduation Reports

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Releases Firefox 59.0.2 to Fix High CPU/Memory Bug, Audio Issue on BSD

    Mozilla released on Monday the second point release of its latest Firefox 59 "Quantum" web browser for all supported platforms, fixing quite a bunch of issues and adding various improvements.

    The Firefox 59.0.2 maintenance release is here to address a high CPU and memory bug caused by third-party apps on various computers, though Mozilla didn't mention if it affects all supported platforms. It also improves page rendering when hardware acceleration is enabled.

  • Snooze Tabs Graduation Report

    Snooze Tabs launched as an experiment in Test Pilot in February 2017 with the goal of making it easier for people to continue tasks in Firefox at a time of their choosing. From previous research conducted by the Firefox User Research team on task continuity and workflows, we started to develop an understanding of the ways people’s workflows can span multiple contexts and the types of behaviors and tools that people use to support context switching and task continuity. We knew, for example, that leaving browser tabs open is one way that people actively hold tasks to which they intend to return later.

  • Voice Fill Graduation Report

    Last year, Mozilla launched several parallel efforts to build capability around voice technologies. While work such as the Common Voice and DeepSpeech projects took aim at creating a foundation for future open source voice recognition projects, the Voice Fill experiment in Test Pilot took a more direct approach by building voice-based search into Firefox to learn if such a feature would be valuable to Firefox users. We also wanted to push voice research at Mozilla by contributing general tooling and training data to add value to future voice projects.

  • Min Vid Graduation Report

    We launched the Min Vid experiment in Test Pilot in the Fall of 2016. Min Vid created a pop-out video player that let participants play videos in a small, standalone window that would sit on top of any other content on the screen.

    Min Vid has been a success in Test Pilot, both in terms of usage, and in terms of what we learned in the process of building it. From the start, the feature proved extremely popular with our audience. It’s consistently been our most installed experiment since Page Shot left Test Pilot to become Firefox Screenshots.

Mozilla: Project Meeting, Controlling the Web, This Week In Servo and More

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  • Mozilla Weekly Project Meeting
  • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Report of High Level Expert Group on “Fake News”: A good first step, more work is needed

    In mid March, the European Commission published the final report of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Fake News, “A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Disinformation”. The group was established in early January of this year, and comprised a range of experts and stakeholders from the technology industry, broadcasters, the fact checking community, academics, consumer groups, and journalists. The group was expertly chaired by Dr Madeleine De Cock Buning of Utrecht University, specialised in Intellectual Property, Copyright and Media and Communication Law.

    I represented Mozilla in the HLEG, in close cooperation with Katharina Borchert, our Chief Innovation Officer, who spearheads the Mozilla Information and Trust Initiative. Mozilla’s engagement in this High Level Expert Group complements our efforts to develop products, research, and communities to battle information pollution and so-called “fake news” online.

    The HLEG was assigned an ambitious task of advising the Commission on “scoping the phenomenon of fake news, defining the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, grasping the international dimension, taking stock of the positions at stake, and formulating recommendations.” The added challenge was that this was to be done in under two months with only four in-person meetings.

  • This Week In Servo 109

    We also got Servo running under the hood of Firefox Focus on Android as a proof of concept.

  • Merge Pull Requests without Merge Commits

    By default, GitHub’s pull request (or GitLab’s merge request) will merge with a merge commit. That means your feature branch will be merged into the master by creating a new commit, and both the feature and master branch will be kept.

    Let’s illustrate with an example:

    Let’s assume we branch out a feature branch called “new-feature” from the master branch, and pushed a commit called “Finished my new feature”. At the same time someone pushed another commit called “Other’s feature” onto the master branch.

More ad-versarial tech: Mozilla to pop limited ad blocker into Firefox

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Mozilla intends to add basic ad filtering capabilities to its Firefox browser later this year, according to its recently updated roadmap.

The move follows from what Asa Dotzler, Firefox roadmap and community leader at Mozilla, describes as changes that are making the web experience worse.

"Trackers, intrusive ads and other dark patterns threaten to drive people away from the open web and that's not good for people browsing or publishing," he says in Firefox roadmap update made on Thursday.

"Over the next year or so, Firefox will take a stand against tracking, intrusive ads, and other dark patterns on the web by blocking the worst content and more clearly communicating the privacy and other protections the browser offers."

Read more

Mozilla: Facebook-Mozilla Rift, MDN, No More Notifications (If You Want)

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  • Mozilla stops Facebook advertising, demands privacy changes

    It’s probably not top of Mark Zuckerberg’s worry list this week but Mozilla Corporation, developer of the Firefox browser, is officially unhappy with Facebook.

  • Results of the MDN “Competitive Content Analysis” SEO experiment

    The next SEO experiment I’d like to discuss results for is the MDN “Competitive Content Analysis” experiment. In this experiment, performed through December into early January, involved selecting two of the top search terms that resulted in MDN being included in search results—one of them where MDN is highly-placed but not at #1, and one where MDN is listed far down in the search results despite having good content available.

    The result is a comparison of the quality of our content and our SEO against other sites that document these technology areas. With that information in hand, we can look at the competition’s content and make decisions as to what changes to make to MDN to help bring us up in the search rankings.

  • No More Notifications (If You Want)

    Online, your attention is priceless. That’s why every site in the universe wants permission to send you notifications about new stuff. It can be distracting at best and annoying at worst. The latest version of Firefox for desktop lets you block those requests and many others.

Mozilla News and Progress

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  • Zero coverage report

    Using these reports, we have managed to remove a good amount of code from mozilla-central, so far around 60 files with thousands of lines of code. We are confident that there’s even more code that we could remove or conditionally compile only if needed.

    As any modern software, Firefox relies a lot on third party libraries. Currently, most (all?) the content of these libraries is built by default. For example,~400 files are untested in the gfx/skia/ directory).

  • Shipping a security update of Firefox in less than a day

    One of Mozilla’s top priorities is to keep our users safe; this commitment is written into our mission. As soon as we discover a critical issue in Firefox, we plan a rapid mitigation. This post will describe how we fixed a Pwn2Own exploit discovery in less than 22 hours, through the collaborative and well-coordinated efforts of a global cross-functional team of release and QA engineers, security experts, and other stakeholders.

    Pwn2Own is an annual computer hacking contest. The goal of this event is to find security vulnerabilities in major software such as browsers. Last week, this event took place in Vancouver. Without getting into technical details of the exploit here, this blog post will describe how Mozilla responded quickly to ship updated builds of Firefox once an exploit was found during Pwn2Own.

  • Firefox Performance Update #4
  • The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies (Startklar?! March 2018)

    I presented today in Berlin at the Goethe Institute’s Startklar?! event. I went after a keynote (in German) by Cathleen Berger, Mozilla’s Global Engagement Lead. My time at Mozilla didn’t overlap with hers, but the subjects covered in our presentations certainly did!

    It was good to see Cathleen reference the Web Literacy Map, work that I led from 2012 to 2015 at Mozilla. She also referenced the recent Cambridge Analytica revelations and the DQ Institute.

  • Mozilla Accepting Applications for Internet Fellowships, Node.js Now Available as a Snap, Krita 4.0.0 Released and More

    Mozilla is accepting applications for its 2018–2019 Internet Fellowships: "Mozilla Fellows are technologists, activists, and policy experts building a more humane digital world." Apply here. Applications are due April 20, 2018 at 5pm EDT.

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More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • Debian XU4 images updated
    I've updated my Debian images for the ODROID XU4; the newest build was done before stretch release, and a lot of minor adjustments have happened since then.
  • Parrot 4.0 Ethical Hacking Linux Distro Released
  • FBI says Russians hacked [sic] hundreds of thousands of home and office routers

    The warning followed a court order Wednesday that allowed the FBI to seize a website that the hackers [sic] planned to use to give instructions to the routers. Though that cut off malicious communications, it still left the routers infected, and Friday’s warning was aimed at cleaning up those machines.

  • FBI tells router users to reboot now to kill malware infecting 500k devices

    Researchers from Cisco’s Talos security team first disclosed the existence of the malware on Wednesday. The detailed report said the malware infected more than 500,000 devices made by Linksys, Mikrotik, Netgear, QNAP, and TP-Link. Known as VPNFilter, the malware allowed attackers to collect communications, launch attacks on others, and permanently destroy the devices with a single command. The report said the malware was developed by hackers [sic] working for an advanced nation, possibly Russia, and advised users of affected router models to perform a factory reset, or at a minimum to reboot.

Software and Games: KStars, Opera, OpenStack, MariaDB and More

  • KStars 2.9.6 is Released!
    I'm glad to announce the release of KStars 2.9.6 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This is a minor bugfix release.
  • Opera 54 Browser Enters Beta with News on the Speed Dial, Update & Recovery Menu
    Opera has promoted its upcoming Opera 54 web browser to the beta channel, giving us a glimpse of what to expect from the final version, due for release sometime next month. Based on the open-source Chromium 67.0.3396.18 web browser, Opera 54 recently entered beta stages of development with a plethora of new features and improvements, among which we can mention a new Update & Recovery Opera menu page that makes it easier for users to update the web browser and reset it to its default state, including the ability to clear temporary data, such as cookies.
  • OpenStack at a Crossroads
    The OpenStack of a few years ago is dead, however. What has emerged from the hype cycle is a materially different foundation, mission and software stack, with a great deal of change still ahead of it.
  • The OpenStack Foundation grows beyond OpenStack
    The OpenStack Foundation has made a considerable change to its development process and governance structure by introducing two open source projects that are not part of the OpenStack cloud platform. This week, the organization launched version 1.0 of Kata Containers - a runtime system with an emphasis on speed and security, enabling users to boot a VM in as little as five seconds - and introduced a brand new project called Zuul, spinning out the software development and integration platform that has been used by the OpenStack community internally since 2012.
  • Oracle nemesis MariaDB tries to lure enterprise folk with TX 3.0
    Open-source database biz MariaDB has upped the ante in its war against Oracle, promising enterprise customers better compatibility with – and easier migration from – Big Red. The Finnish firm's latest offering, MariaDB TX 3.0, released for GA today, extends the number of use cases to include temporal processing and advanced data protection for sensitive and personally identifiable information, as well as Oracle compatibility. The broad aim is to tap into customers' grumbles over legacy vendor lock-in, while convincing the bigger customers that they can move to an open-source database without compromising performance.
  • The Humble Monthly Bundle just added two great Linux games
    For those that are interested, you can secure a copy of two great Linux games in the current Humble Monthly Bundle. Just added today are: Get Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth
  • SC-Controller 0.4.3 Released, Support Steam Controller & Sony DS4 Over Bluetooth
    For those looking to manage your Steam Controller and other supported Linux gaming peripheral input devices outside of Steam, there is a new release of the independently-developed SC-Controller Linux user-space software. While Linux 4.18 is bringing the Steam Controller kernel driver, for those looking for a Steam Controller solution right now to enjoy this excellent gaming controller for now outside of Steam, SC-Controller fills that void.

Huawei, Fuchsia and More

  • Huawei will no longer allow bootloader unlocking (Update: Explanation from Huawei)

    "In order to deliver the best user experience and prevent users from experiencing possible issues that could arise from ROM flashing, including system failure, stuttering, worsened battery performance, and risk of data being compromised, Huawei will cease providing bootloader unlock codes for devices launched after May 25, 2018. [...]"

  • Fuchsia Friday: How ad targeting might be a hidden cost of Fuchsia’s structure
     

    Fuchsia, by its nature, comes with the potential for a handful of new opportunities for ad targeting. Let’s peer into the dark side of Fuchsia’s innovative features.

  • iPhone Quarter, ZTE Troubles, Facebook Troubles, Nokia Come-back
     

    So the past month or two? The Quarterly results cycle came in. The item often of great interest is the Apple iPhone performance. 52.2 million iPhones shipped and that gives roughly a flat market share compared to the year before, so about 14%-15%. I'll come and do the full math later of the quarterly data. That race is no longer in any way interesting.

    But two Top 10 smartphone brands ARE in the news. One who is facing imminent death and the other who is making a miraculous return-from-dead. So imminent death and current Top 10 brand first. ZTE. The Trump administration has put a massive squeeze on ZTE and the company is in serious trouble of imminent collapse. Then bizarrely, Trump reversed course and felt he needed to protect CHINESE employment (???) and after yet another typical Trump-mess, we now are at a Never-Neverland where Trump's own party Republicans are revolting against their President and well, ZTE may end up a casualty of this mess. We'll keep an eye on it.

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