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Moz/FF

Mozilla Firefox 65 Promises Enhanced Security for Linux, Android, and macOS

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Moz/FF
Security

That's right, we're talking here about Firefox 65, the next major release of the popular open-source web browser used by millions of computer and mobile users worldwide. With the Firefox 65 release, Mozilla adds support for the WebP image format for all platforms, the ability to change the UI's display language in the Options page, as well as AV1 video codec support for Window users.

macOS users would be happy to learn that with the Firefox 65 release they'll be able to continue browsing from their iPhone or iPad devices on their Macs as this release supports the Handoff feature. There's also good news for Linux users as they will finally be able to switch tabs by scrolling in the tab bar. Also, Windows users can now install Firefox using an MSI installer.

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Mozilla Announces Deal to Bring Firefox Reality to HTC VIVE Devices, Mozilla Developer Leaves

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Announces Deal to Bring Firefox Reality to HTC VIVE Devices

    Last year, Mozilla set out to build a best-in-class browser that was made specifically for immersive browsing. The result was Firefox Reality, a browser designed from the ground up to work on virtual reality headsets. To kick off 2019, we are happy to announce that we are partnering with HTC VIVE to power immersive web experiences across Vive’s portfolio of devices.

    What does this mean? It means that Vive users will enjoy all of the benefits of Firefox Reality (such as its speed, power, and privacy features) every time they open the Vive internet browser. We are also excited to bring our feed of immersive web experiences to every Vive user. There are so many amazing creators out there, and we are continually impressed by what they are building.

    “This year, Vive has set out to bring everyday computing tasks into VR for the first time,” said Michael Almeraris, Vice President, HTC Vive. “Through our exciting and innovative collaboration with Mozilla, we’re closing the gap in XR computing, empowering Vive users to get more content in their headset, while enabling developers to quickly create content for consumers.”

    Virtual reality is one example of how web browsing is evolving beyond our desktop and mobile screens. Here at Mozilla, we are working hard to ensure these new platforms can deliver browsing experiences that provide users with the level of privacy, ease-of-use, and control that they have come to expect from Firefox.

  • Gregory Szorc: Seeking Employment

    After almost seven and a half years as an employee of Mozilla Corporation, I'm moving on. I have already worked my final day as an employee.

    This post is the first time that I've publicly acknowledged my departure. To any Mozillians reading this, I regret that I did not send out a farewell email before I left. But the circumstances of my departure weren't conducive to doing so. I've been drafting a proper farewell blog post. But it has been very challenging to compose. Furthermore, each passing day brings with it new insights into my time at Mozilla and a new wrinkle to integrate into the reflective story I want to tell in that post. I vow to eventually publish a proper goodbye that serves as the bookend to my employment at Mozilla. Until then, just let me say that I'm already missing working with many of you. I've connected with several people since I left and still owe responses or messages to many more. If you want to get in touch, my contact info is in my résumé.

    [...]

    One of the reasons I worked for Mozilla was because of my personal alignment with the Mozilla Manifesto. So I gravitate towards employers that share those principles and am somewhat turned off by those that counteract them. But I recognize that the world is complex and that competing perspectives aren't intrinsically evil. In other words, I try to maintain an open mind.

    I'm attracted to employers that align their business with improving the well-being of the planet, especially the people on it. The link between the business and well-being can be tenuous: a B2B business for example is presumably selling something that helps people, and that helping is what matters to me. The tighter the link between the business and improving the world will increase my attraction to a employer.

    I started my university education as a biomedical engineer because I liked the idea of being at the intersection of technology and medicine. And part of me really wants to return to this space because there are few things more noble than helping a fellow human being in need.

Mozilla: Privacy, Firefox 65 Beta 10 Testday, VR and Servo Development

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Moz/FF
  • TIL: Firefox has a little-known feature to spare your blushes on the new-tab page

    For many of us, our browsers' new-tab pages are something of a liability. Whichever browser you use, they all follow a fairly similar style: a bunch of boxes linking to the sites that we use and visit regularly. This is great when your regular sites are Ars, Gmail, and Twitter. But all too often, sites of a less salubrious nature find their way onto our new-tab pages, disclosing to the world our dirty habits when nobody's watching. While we can, of course, clean up our new-tab pages by Xing out the buttons for the offending sites, a moment of inattention can all too easily expose our pornographic predilections to the world.

  • Firefox 65 Beta 10 Testday, January 11th

    We are happy to let you know that Friday, January 11th, we are organizing Firefox 65 Beta 10 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Firefox Monitor, Content Blocking and Find Toolbar.

    Check out the detailed instructions via this etherpad.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Navigation Study for 3DoF Devices

    Don’t touch the camera. The camera is part of the users head. Don’t try to move it. All apps which move the camera induce some form of motion sickness. Instead use one of a few different forms of teleportation, always under user control.

    The ideal control for me was teleportation to semantically meaningful locations, not just 'forward ten steps'. Further more, when presenting the user with a full 360 environment it is helpful to have a way to recenter the view, such as by using left/right buttons on the controller. Without a recentering option the user will have to physically turn themselves around, which is cumbersome unless you are in a swivel chair.

    To help complete the illusion I suggest subtle sound effects for movement, selection, and recentering. Just make sure they aren't very noticable.

  • This Week In Servo 122

    In the past three weeks, we merged 130 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

    Congratulations to Ygg01 for their new reviewer status for the html5ever repository!

Mozilla: Firefox on ARM64, Mozilla Thunderbird and Mark Surman

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Moz/FF
  • arm64 windows update #1

    A month ago, we formally announced that we were working to bring Firefox to ARM64 Windows. The last month has seen significant progress on our journey to that release.

    The biggest news is that we have dogfoodable (auto-updating) Nightly builds available! As that message states, these Nightlies are even nightlier than our normal Nightlies, as they have not gone through our normal testing processes. But Firefox is perfectly usable on ARM64 Windows in its present state, so if you have an ARM64 device, please give it a try and file any bugs you find!

  • Encryption? This time it'll be usable, Thunderbird promises

    Those who remember trying to configure the Thunderbird of old to work with PGP – an effort akin to learning how to run an Enigma machine while blindfolded – will be watching with interest: the project's coders promise that 2019 will be the year of easy encryption.

    When the Mozilla Foundation decided to turn the email client loose in May 2017, its future looked doubtful, but it's still here and, according to this post by community manager Ryan Sipes, donations are flowing freely enough for Thunderbird to expand its development team.

    The current eight personnel are to be expanded to 14, and one of the roles to be resourced is an engineer who will focus on security and privacy.

    "The UX/UI around encryption and settings will get an overhaul in the coming year," Sipes wrote.

  • Mark Surman: Raising my sights in 2019

    At the beginning of last year, I set the intention to ‘stay the course’ on big changes that I had made in both my personal life and at Mozilla. This has paid off. I have a house of my own that I have slowly, and with the help of others, turned into a home. I have a renewed sense of family and community, including a much richer relationship with my boys. And, I have energy, hope and gratitude for Mozilla and the people I work with that is stronger than it has been in years. Being present and staying the course on a good set of choices, made these things possible.

Mozilla: MOSS, Socorro and Thunderbird

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Moz/FF
  • MOSS 2018 Year in Review

    Mozilla was born out of, and remains a part of, the open-source and free software movement. Through the Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) program, we recognize, celebrate, and support open source projects that contribute to our work and to the health of the internet.

    2018 was a year of change and growth for the MOSS program. We worked to streamline the application process, undertook efforts to increase the diversity and inclusion of the program, and processed a record number of MOSS applications. The results? In total, MOSS provided over $970,000 in funding to over 40 open-source projects over the course of 2018. For the first time since the beginning of the program, we also received the majority of our applications from outside of the United States.

  • Socorro in 2018

    Socorro is the crash ingestion pipeline for Mozilla's products like Firefox. When Firefox crashes, the crash reporter collects data about the crash, generates a crash report, and submits that report to Socorro. Socorro saves the crash report, processes it, and provides an interface for aggregating, searching, and looking at crash reports.

  • Mozilla Looks to Improve Email With 2019 Thunderbird Roadmap

    Mozilla, an organization that is best known for its Firefox web browser, is starting 2019 by renewing focus on its Thunderbird email client. It's a move that comes after a meandering 20-year path for the open-source organization's email efforts.

    Email is not a new thing for Mozilla, and to understand how long the organization has been grappling with developing an email client, it's important to go back and look at the history of the internet itself. Mozilla has its roots in the Netscape browser, which in its final years had a full suite known as Netscape Communicator that included both email and web browser applications. The original Mozilla suite that debuted in 1998 included both email and browser capabilities.

    In 2003, Mozilla split its email and browser efforts into two groups, one for browsers that led to Firefox and the other effort for email, which is where Thunderbird comes in. So yeah, Mozilla has been trying to build traction for its stand-alone email client for 16 years, with a lot of ups and downs along the way.

Mozilla: Firefox Extensions, WebRender, ARCore and Arkit, Privacy

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Moz/FF
  • [Firefox] January’s featured extensions
  • WebRender newsletter #34

    Happy new year! I’ll introduce WebRender’s 34th newsletter with a rather technical overview of a neat trick we call primitive segmentation. In previous posts I wrote about how we deal with batching and how we use the depth buffer both as a culling mechanism and as a way to save memory bandwidth. As a result, pixels rendered in the opaque pass are much cheaper than pixels rendered in the blend pass. This works great with rectangular opaque primitives that are axis-aligned so they don’t need anti-aliasing. Anti-aliasing, however, requires us to do some blending to smoothen the edges and rounded corners have some transparent pixels. We could tessellate a mesh that covers exactly the rounded primitive but we’d still need blending for the anti-aliasing of the border. What a shame, rounded corners are so common on the web, and they are often quite big.

    Well, we don’t really need to render whole primitives at a time. for a transformed primitive we can always extract out the opaque part of the primitive and render the anti-aliased edges separately. Likewise, we can break rounded rectangles up into smaller opaque rectangles and the rectangles that contain the corners. We call this primitive segmentation and it helps at several levels: opaque segments can move to the opaque pass which means we get good memory bandwidth savings and better batching since batching complexity is mostly affected by the amount of work to perform during the blend pass. This also opens the door to interesting optimizations. For example we can break a primitive into segments, not only depending on the shapes of the primitive itself, but also on the shape of masks that are applied to it. This lets us create large rounded rectangle masks where only the rounded parts of the masks occupy significant amounts of space in the mask. More generally, there are a lot of complicated elements that can be reduced to simpler or more compact segments by applying the same family of tricks and render them as nine-patches or some more elaborate patchwork of segments (for example the box-shadow of a rectangle).

  • ARCore and Arkit: What is under the hood : Anchors and World Mapping (Part 1)

    Some of you know I have been recently experimenting a bit more with WebXR than a WebVR and when we talk about mobile Mixed Reality, ARkit and ARCore is something which plays a pivotal role to map and understand the environment inside our applications.

    I am planning to write a series of blog posts on how you can start developing WebXR applications now and play with them starting with the basics and then going on to using different features of it. But before that, I planned to pen down this series of how actually the "world mapping" works in arcore and arkit. So that we have a better understanding of the Mixed Reality capabilities of the devices we will be working with.

  • Rabimba: ARCore and Arkit, What is under the hood: SLAM (Part 2)

    In our last blog post (part 1), we took a look at how algorithms detect keypoints in camera images. These form the basis of our world tracking and environment recognition. But for Mixed Reality, that alone is not enough. We have to be able to calculate the 3d position in the real world. It is often calculated by the spatial distance between itself and multiple keypoints. This is often called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). And this is what is responsible for all the world tracking we see in ARCore/ARKit.

  • India attempts to turn online companies into censors and undermines security – Mozilla responds

    Last week, the Indian government proposed sweeping changes to the legal protections for “intermediaries”, which affect every internet company today. Intermediary liability protections have been fundamental to the growth of the internet as an open and secure medium of communication and commerce. Whether Section 79 of the Information Technology Act in India (under which these new rules are proposed), the EU’s E-Commerce Directive, or Section 230 of the US’ Communications Decency Act, these legal provisions ensure that companies generally have no obligations to actively censor and limited liability for illegal activities and postings of their users until they know about it. In India, the landmark Shreya Singhal judgment had clarified in 2015 that companies would only be expected to remove content when directed by a court order to do so.

  • Kenya Considers Protection of Privacy and Personal Data

    Mozilla applauds the government of Kenya for publishing the Data Protection Bill, 2018. This highly anticipated bill gives effect to Article 31 of the Constitution of Kenya, which protects the right to privacy, and, if passed, will be Kenya’s first data protection law.

Thunderbird in 2019

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Moz/FF
Web

Our team grew considerably in 2018, to eight staff working full-time on Thunderbird. At the beginning of this year we are going to be adding as many as six new members to our team. Most of these people with the exception of this author (Ryan Sipes, Community Manager) are engineers who will be focused on making Thunderbird more stable, faster, and easier to use (more on this below).

The primary reason we’ve been able to do this is an increase in donors to the project. We hope that anyone reading this will consider giving to Thunderbird as well. Donations from individual contributors are our primary source of funding, and we greatly appreciate all our supporters who made this year so successful!

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Mozilla's Adware Experiment

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla: Ad on Firefox’s new tab page was just another experiment

    Some Firefox users yesterday started seeing an ad in the desktop version of the browser. It offers users a $20 Amazon gift card in return for booking your next hotel stay via Booking.com. We reached out to Mozilla, which confirmed the ad was a Firefox experiment and that no user data was being shared with its partners.

    The ad appears at the bottom of Firefox’s new tab page on the desktop version with a “Find a Hotel” button that takes the user to a Booking.com page. The text reads: “Ready to schedule that next family reunion? Here’s a thank you from Firefox. Book your next hotel stay on Booking.com today and get a free $20 Amazon gift card. Happy Holidays from Firefox! (Restrictions apply).” A second version reads: “For the holidays, we got you a little something just for using Firefox! Book your next hotel stay on Booking.com today and get a free $20 Amazon gift card. Happy Holidays from Firefox! (Restrictions apply.)”

  • How to Disable Ad Banners on Firefox’s New Tab Page

    A Mozilla spokesperson told VentureBeat that this “was not a paid placement or advertisement,” and was “an experiment to provide more value to Firefox users through offers provided by a partner.” Who does Mozilla think they’re fooling?

    Anyway, if you don’t want to see these advertisement banners in the future, there’s a simple solution.

    Click Menu > Options > Home, or just click the gear-shaped “Options” button at the top-right corner of FIrefox’s New Tab page.

  • Firefox with ads on New Tab Page

    Reports indicate that the Firefox browser displays advertisement on the browser's New Tab Page to some users of the browser.

    A thread on Reddit offers some details: a user reported that Firefox was displaying an advertisement at the bottom of the New Tab Page.

Mozilla Labs is back!

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Moz/FF

Not seen for a number of years, Mozilla Labs used to be home to experimental Firefox projects. Now, the relaunched version is home to more, including Project Things, Spoke, Hubs and more -- Firefox is no longer the sole focus.

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Mozilla: Extensions, Privacy and Firefox Focus

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Moz/FF
  • December 2018 - what extensions do I use in Firefox desktop
  • Privacy in practice: Mozilla talks “lean data” in India

    How can businesses best implement privacy principles? On November 26th, Mozilla hosted its first “Privacy Matters” event in New Delhi, bringing together representatives from some of India’s leading and upcoming online businesses. The session was aimed at driving a practical conversation around how companies can better protect user data, and the multiple incentives to do so.

    This conversation is timely. The European GDPR came into force this May and had ripple effects on many Indian companies. India itself is well on its way to having its first comprehensive data protection law. We’ve been vocal in our support for a strong law, see here and here for our submissions to the Indian government. Conducted with Mika Shah, Lead Product and Data Counsel at Mozilla Headquarters in Mountain View, the meeting saw participation from thirteen companies in India, ranging from SMEs to large conglomerates, including Zomato, Ibibo, Dunzo, Practo and Zeotap. There was a mix of representatives across engineering, c-level, and legal/policy teams of these companies. The discussions were divided into three segments as per Mozilla’s Lean Data framework, covering key topics: “Engage users”, “Stay Lean”, and “Build-in Security”.

  • KStars v3.0.0 Now Available, Malware Targeting IoT Devices Is Growing, Enhanced Privacy Settings for Mozilla's Latest Firefox Focus, Coreboot 4.9 Released and Pivotal Announces Pivotal Cloud Foundry Platform Version 2.4

    Mozilla announces the latest release of Firefox Focus, introducing enhanced privacy settings. According to the Mozilla blog, "You can choose to block all cookies on a website, no cookies at all—the default so far—third party cookies or only 3rd party tracking cookies as defined by Disconnect's Tracking Protection list. If you go with the latter option, which is new to Firefox Focus and also the new default, cross-site tracking will be prevented." You can get the latest version of Firefox Focus from Google Play and in the App Store.

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Fedora's Adoption of Cgroups V2 and Fedora Infrastructure Detective Work

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    While the Linux kernel has shipped Cgroups V2 as stable since early 2016, on Fedora and most other Linux distributions it hasn't been enabled by default over the original control groups "Cgroups" implementation. But come Fedora 31 later this year, they are now planning to make it the default. Enabling Cgroups V2 by default will allow systemd and the various Linux container technologies along with libvirt and friends to make use of the new features and improvements over the original Cgroups like offering a unified hierarchy. The new implementation also provides better consistency, purpose-driven flexibility, and other design improvements over the original control groups. It's taken a while for CGroups V2 to become the default due to interface changes compared to V1 and all of the important containers/tooling needing to be adapted to make use of it.
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    The Fedora Project Mirrorlist system has evolved multiple times in the last 10 years. Originally written by Matt Domsch it underwent an update and rewrite by Adrian Reber, et al a couple of years ago. For many years Fedora used a server layout where the front end web servers would proxy the data over VPN to dedicated mirrorlist servers. While this made sense when systems were a bit slower compared to VPN latency, it had become more troublesome over the last couple of years.

GNU FreeDink 109.6

  • GNU FreeDink 109.6
    This is the first official announcement for the new 109.x line with updated technologies (SDL2, OpenGL), WebAssembly support and many fixes and improvements.
  • GNU's RPG/Adventure Game Updated For SDL2, Defaults To OpenGL Rendering
    Of the many free software projects under the GNU umbrella, there aren't many games. One of the only titles is GNU FreeDink, which is out this weekend with its newest update after several active weeks of development.

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