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Mozilla Is Removing Tab Groups and Complete Themes From Firefox ( 316

An anonymous reader writes: As part of Mozilla's "Go Faster" initiative for Firefox, the company is removing features that aren't used by many and require a lot of technical effort to continually improve. VentureBeat learned that the first two features to get the axe are tab groups and complete themes. Dave Camp, Firefox’s director of engineering, said, "Tab Groups was an experiment to help users deal with large numbers of tabs. Very few people chose to use it, so we are retiring it because the work required to maintain it is disproportionate to its popularity."

Mozilla Has 'No Plans' To Offer Firefox Without Pocket ( 199

An anonymous reader writes: In June, Mozilla integrated Pocket into Firefox, garnering a mixed response from the browser's community. This week, VentureBeat stumbled upon a Bugzilla ticket (bug 1215694) to "move Pocket to a built-in add-on" and immediately reached out to the company. "There are currently no plans to offer a version of Firefox that doesn't include Pocket," said Dave Camp, Firefox's director of engineering.

Mozilla Plans To Remove Support For Firefox Complete Themes 267

AmiMoJo writes: Mozilla's engineers have announced the removal of Firefox complete themes as a way to lighten the browser core and remove a feature they don't see as heavily used any more. "Personas", or lightweight themes that are basically just wallpaper images, will remain. The Firefox community did not respond well to this piece of news, most seeing it as the engineers "chromifying Firefox." The change is part of Mozilla's Great-or-Dead initiative, which plans to simplify the Firefox codebase and remove features that are not popular.

Open Source Anniversaries: 6 Years of Go, 11 of Firefox ( 65

digitalPhant0m writes: Six years ago today the Go language was released as an open source project. Since then, more than 780 contributors have made over 30,000 commits to the project's 22 repositories. The ecosystem continues to grow, with GitHub reporting more than 90,000 Go repositories. And, offline, we see new Go events and user groups pop up around the world with regularity And notes that Mozilla Firefox has just hit 11 years of age, too.

Microsoft Follows Mozilla In Considering Early Ban On SHA-1 Certificates ( 47

itwbennett writes: Following the first successful collision attack on the SHA-1 hashing algorithm last month, Mozilla said that it was considering a cut-off of July 1, 2016 to start rejecting all SHA-1 SSL certificates, ahead of an earlier scheduled date of Jan. 1, 2017. And now Microsoft is considering blocking the hashing algorithm on Windows by June next year.

Firefox 42 Arrives With Tracking Protection, Tab Audio Indicators 134

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 42 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include tracking protection, tab audio indicators, and background link opening on Android. The new private browsing mode goes further than just not saving your browsing history (read: porn sites) — the added tracking protection means Firefox also blocks website elements (ads, analytics trackers, and social share buttons) that could track you while you're surfing the web, and it works on all four platforms. The feature is almost like a built-in ad blocker, though it's really closer to browser add-ons like Ghostery and Privacy Badger because ads that don't track you are allowed through.

Mozilla Giving $1 Million To Open Source Projects It Relies On ( 68

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla has been a big part of the open source community for a long time, and their main projects rely heavily on independent open source work. They've now announced the Mozilla Open Source Support program, which aims to give back to the projects they rely on, and to also reward other projects that make the community stronger. Mozilla has allocated $1 million to award to these projects — to start. This appears to be Mozilla's efforts to fix a problem we've become painfully aware over the past year and a half: huge portions of the modern web rely on critical bits of open source software whose developers have minimal resources. The company has already begun to compile a list of the projects they rely on. Hopefully it will inspire other organizations to support the open source software projects they rely on as well.
Internet Explorer

Browser Tests Show Edge Fastest, But Weak On Standards ( 165

MojoKid writes: The Internet and web browsers are an ever changing congruous mass of standards and design. Browser development is a delicate balance between features, security, compatibility and performance. However, although each browser has its own catchy name, some of them share a common web engine. Regardless, if you are in a business environment that's rolling out Windows 10, and the only browsers you have access to are Microsoft Edge or IE — go with Edge. It's the better browser of the two by far (security not withstanding). If you do have a choice, then there might better options to consider, depending on your use case. The performance differences between browsers currently are less significant than one might think. If you exclude IE, most browsers perform within 10-20% of each other, depending on the test. For web standards compliance like HTML5, Blink browsers (Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi) still have the upper-hand, even beating the rather vocal and former web-standards champion, Mozilla. Edge seems to trail all others in this area even though it's often the fastest in various tests.

There Is No .bro In Brotli: Google/Mozilla Engineers Nix File Type As Offensive 781

theodp writes: Several weeks ago, Google launched Brotli, a new open source compression algorithm for the web. Since then, controversy broke out over the choice of 'bro' as the content encoding type. "We are hoping to establish a file ending .bro for brotli compressed files, a command line tool 'bro' for compressing and uncompressing brotli files, and a accept/content encoding type 'bro'," explained Google software engineer Jyrki Alakuijala. "Can I talk you out of it?," replied Mozilla SW engineer Patrick McManus. "'bro' has a gender problem, even though the dual meaning is unintentional. It comes of[f] misogynistic and unprofessional due to the world it lives in." Despite some pushback from commenters, a GitHub commit made by Google's Zoltan Szabadka shows that there will be no '.bro' in Brotli. "I have asked a feminist friend from the North American culture-sphere, and she advised against bro," explained Alakuijala. "We have found a compromise that satisfies us, so we don't need to discuss this further. Even if we don't understand why people are upset from our cultural standpoint, they would be (unnecessarily) upset and this is enough reason not to use it."

Firefox Support For NPAPI Plugins Ends Next Year ( 147

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla announced that it will follow the lead of Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge in phasing out support for NPAPI plugins. They expect to have it done by the end of next year. "Plugins are a source of performance problems, crashes, and security incidents for Web users. ... Moreover, since new Firefox platforms do not have to support an existing ecosystem of users and plugins, new platforms such as 64-bit Firefox for Windows will launch without plugin support." Of course, there's an exception: "Because Adobe Flash is still a common part of the Web experience for most users, we will continue to support Flash within Firefox as an exception to the general plugin policy. Mozilla and Adobe will continue to collaborate to bring improvements to the Flash experience on Firefox, including on stability and performance, features and security architecture." There's no exception for Java, though.

Mozilla Sets Out Its Proposed Principles For Content Blocking ( 318

Mark Wilson writes: With Apple embracing ad blocking and the likes of AdBlock Plus proving more popular than ever, content blocking is making the headlines at the moment. There are many sides to the debate about blocking ads — revenue for sites, privacy concerns for visitors, speeding up page loads times (Google even allows for the display of ads with its AMP Project), and so on — but there are no signs that it is going to go away. Getting in on the action, Mozilla has set out what it believes are some reasonable principles for content blocking that will benefit everyone involved. Three cornerstones have been devised with a view to ensuring that content providers and content consumers get a fair deal, and you can help to shape how they develop.

Mozilla Fixed a 14-Year-Old Bug In Firefox, Now Adblock Plus Uses Less Memory 410

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla launched Firefox 41 yesterday. Today, Adblock Plus confirmed the update "massively improves" the memory usage of its Firefox add-on. This particular memory issue was brought up in May 2014 by Mozilla and by Adblock Plus. But one of the bugs that contributed to the problem was actually first reported on Bugzilla in April 2001 (bug 77999).

Benchmark Battle, September 2015: Chrome Vs. Firefox Vs. Edge 137

An anonymous reader writes: The next browser battle is upon us. Edge has been out for more than a month, and its two biggest competitors have received significant updates: Chrome 45 and Firefox 40. This article puts all three through their paces, and each manages to win a few tests. Edge convincingly won the JetSteam and SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks, while also eking out a victory in Google's Octane test. Chrome was victorious in Mozilla's Kraken benchmark for JavaScript performance, while also edging out Firefox in HTML5Test and the Oort Online WebGL test. Firefox won the WebXPRT test that combines HTML5 and JavaScript performance, and also the Peacekeeper test for general browser performance. There's no clear dominant browser for performance, and none of the three are obvious laggards, either. Browser competition seems to be in a good place right now.

Bugzilla Breached, Private Vulnerability Data Stolen 97

darthcamaro writes: Mozilla today publicly announced that secured areas of bugzilla, where non-public zero days are stored, were accessed by an attacker. The attacker got access to as many as 185 security bugs before they were made public. They say, "We believe they used that information to attack Firefox users." The whole hack raises the issue of Mozilla's own security, since it was a user password that was stolen and the bugzilla accounts weren't using two-factor authentication. According to Mozilla's FAQ about the breach (PDF), "The earliest confirmed instance of unauthorized access dates to September 2014. There are some indications that the attacker may have had access since September 2013."

Browser Makers To End RC4 Support In Early 2016 40

msm1267 writes: Google, Microsoft and Mozilla today announced they've settled on an early 2016 timeframe to permanently deprecate the shaky RC4 encryption algorithm in their respective browsers. Mozilla said Firefox's shut-off date will coincide with the release of Firefox 44 on Jan. 26. Google and Microsoft said that Chrome and Internet Explorer 11 (and Microsoft Edge) respectively will also do so in the January-February timeframe. Attacks against RC4 are growing increasingly practical, rendering the algorithm more untrustworthy by the day.

Video Mozilla Project Working on Immersive Displays (Video) 47

Yes, it's 3-D, and works with the Firefox browser. But that's not all. The MozVR virtual reality system is not just for Firefox, and it can incorporate infrared and other sensors to give a more complete picture than can be derived from visible light alone. In theory, the user's (client) computer needs no special hardware beyond a decent GPU and an Oculus Rift headset. Everything else lives on a server.

Is this the future of consumer displays? Even if not, the development is fun to watch, which you can start doing at -- and if you're serious about learning about this project you may want to read our interview transcript in addition to watching the video, because the transcript contains additional information.

Mozilla, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Others Form 'Alliance For Open Media' 99

BrianFagioli tips news that Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Intel, Amazon, and Netflix are teaming up to create the Alliance for Open Media, "an open-source project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public interest." Several of these companies have been working on this problem alone: Mozilla started Daala, Google has VP9 and VP10, and Cisco just recently announced Thor. Amazon and Netflix, of course, are major suppliers of online video streaming, so they have a vested interested in royalty-free codecs. They're inviting others to join them — the more technology and patents they get on their side, the less likely they'll run into the issues that Microsoft's VC-1 and Google's VP8 struggled with. "The Alliance will operate under W3C patent rules and release code under an Apache 2.0 license. This means all Alliance participants are waiving royalties both for the codec implementation and for any patents on the codec itself."

Big Changes From Mozilla Mean Firefox Will Get Chrome Extensions 192

Mozilla announced yesterday a few high-level changes to the way Firefox and Firefox extensions will be developed; among them, the introduction of "a new extension API, called WebExtensions—largely compatible with the model used by Chrome and Opera—to make it easier to develop extensions across multiple browsers." (Liliputing has a nice breakdown of the changes.) ZDNet reports that at the same time, "Mozilla will be deprecating XPCOM and XUL, the foundations of its extension system, and many Firefox developers are ticked off at these moves."

Firefox Will Run Chrome Extensions 152

An anonymous reader writes: Today Mozilla announced some big changes to its extension support. Their new addon API, WebExtensions, is mostly compatible with the extension model used by Chrome and Opera. In short, this means we'll soon see cross-platform browser extensions. They say, "For some time we've heard from add-on developers that our APIs could be better documented and easier to use. In addition, we've noticed that many Firefox add-on developers also maintain a Chrome, Safari, or Opera extension with similar functionality. We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors."