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Moz/FF

Open Source Doesn’t Make Money Because It Isn’t Designed To Make Money

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Moz/FF
OSS

We all know the story: you can’t make money on open source. Is it really true?

I’m thinking about this now because Mozilla would like to diversify its revenue in the next few years, and one constraint we have is that everything we do is open source.

There are dozens (hundreds?) of successful open source projects that have tried to become even just modest commercial enterprises, some very seriously. Results aren’t great.

I myself am trying to pitch a commercial endeavor in Mozilla right now (if writing up plans and sending them into the ether can qualify as “pitching”), and this question often comes up in feedback: can we sell something that is open source?

I have no evidence that we can (or can’t), but I will make this assertion: it’s hard to sell something that wasn’t designed to be sold.

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Firefox Wayland By Default Diverted To Fedora 31

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Red Hat
Moz/FF

The plans to ship the Wayland-ized Firefox by default in Fedora 30 have been thwarted and will now have to wait until Fedora 31 to try again.

For a while now there's been the firefox-wayland package available for Fedora users to try the Wayland-native version of Firefox rather than having to run through XWayland when firing up this default web browser on Fedora Workstation. With Fedora 30 the developers were hopeful the Wayland Firefox version was finally in good enough shape to ship it by default, but that's not the case.

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Mozilla: Hiring a Vice President From Facebook, Homepage for the JavaScript Specification and More

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • Welcome Lindsey Shepard, VP Product Marketing [Ed: Hiring from Facebook (under criminal investigation for privacy infringement crimes) for VP role. Worst Mozilla hire since it put a Microsoft person -- yes, the company that puts back doors in everything and is most cooperative with the NSA (started PRISM) -- in charge of "security".]

    Most recently, Lindsey headed up corporate-level marketing for Facebook Inc., including leading product marketing for Facebook’s core products: News Feed, News, Stories, Civic Engagement, Privacy and Safety. Before joining Facebook, Lindsey led marketing at GoldieBlox, a Bay Area start-up focused on bridging the gender gap in STEM.

  • A Homepage for the JavaScript Specification

    Ecma TC39, the JavaScript Standards Committee, is proud to announce that we have shipped a website for following updates to the JavaScript specification. This is the first part of a two-part project aimed at improving our information distribution and documentation. The website provides links to our most significant documents, as well as a list of proposals that are near completion. Our goal is to help people find the information they need in order to understand the specification and our process.

    While the website is currently an MVP and very simple, we have plans to expand it. These plans include a set of documentation about how we work. We will experiment with other features as the need arises.

    The website comes as part of work that began last year to better understand how the community was accessing information about the work around the JavaScript specification. We did a series of in-person interviews, followed by a widely distributed survey to better understand what people struggled with. One of the biggest requests was that we publish and maintain a website that helps people find the information they are looking for.

  • A look at Mozilla's data science tooling, Google's Season of Docs, and more news

    Mozilla released Iodide, a new tool for publishing data science. Still in very early alpha, Iodide is a tool designed to help scientists write interactive documents. It is similar, but not exactly equivalent to Jupyter Notebooks or R Markdown in RStudio. Brendan Colloran shares all the technical details in a post on the Mozilla Hacks blog.If you want explore Iodide yourself, Mozilla has a demo site available.

  • QMO

    We are happy to let you know that Friday, March 29th, we are organizing Firefox 67 Beta 6 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Anti-tracking (Fingerprinting and Cryptominers) and Media playback & support.

    Check out the detailed instructions via this etherpad.

Vivaldi and Firefox Compared, TenFourFox FPR13 Now Available

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Moz/FF
  • Vivaldi vs. Firefox: A user's perspective

    However, it has yet to win over the spot as my default browser. For that, I rely on Firefox. But why? I decided to use both browsers side-by-side for a few weeks to find out what it is about Vivaldi that prevents me from making the switch on a permanent basis. The end results, surprisingly, had me even more confused as to which I should be running (I'll confess what tipped the scales in a moment.).

    [...]

    At this point, Vivaldi does a good job of mimicking the efficiency of Firefox. There's little more customization to be done. And yet, Firefox is still my default. Why? What is it about Firefox that makes me select it over Vivaldi? Unfortunately, the answer lies in one particular aspect that is not likely to change.

    You see, as an advocate of open source software, with all things being equal I will always go with the open source option. Now, if Vivaldi had the upper hand over Firefox with a particular feature or usability that I couldn't get with the open source equivalent, I'd happily set Vivaldi as my default (as I'm not a purist). But until said time, the open-source browser remains as my default.

    What does that say? Simple. With a few quick tweaks, Vivaldi is as efficient and solid a browser as Firefox. Outside of being open source, there is nothing Firefox can do that Vivaldi cannot mimic. Truth be told, if we're looking at a feature-for-feature comparison, Vivaldi easily comes out on top.

    Now, if Vivaldi were to shift to an open source license, I'd kick Firefox off that "Default" curb and go about my day, humming Spring's melody. Until then, Vivaldi will only come out to play for testing, or when Firefox Nightly (which is the version I use at the moment) has problems with a particular site.

  • Cameron Kaiser: TenFourFox FPR13 available

    TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 13 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). I added Olga's minimp3 patch for correctness; otherwise, there are no additional changes except for several security updates and to refresh the certificate and TLD stores. As usual it will go live Monday evening Pacific time assuming no difficulties.

    I have three main updates in mind for TenFourFox FPR14: expanding FPR13's new AppleScript support to allow injecting JavaScript into pages (so that you can drive a web page by manipulating the DOM elements within it instead of having to rely on screen coordinates and sending UI events), adding Olga's ffmpeg framework to enable H.264 video support with a sidecar library (see the previous post for details on the scheme), and a possible solution to allow JavaScript async functions which actually might fix quite a number of presently non-working sites.

AFS For Linux 5.1 Would Have Pleased Firefox/SQLite But Was Rejected As Untested Crap

Filed under
Linux
Moz/FF

The Andrew File-System (AFS) continues to evolve as a distributed file-system. Over the past year and a half there's been a lot of activity to AFS in the mainline Linux kernel, including material slated for the in-development Linux 5.1 kernel but then Linus Torvalds ended up having to un-pull the changes.

Should you be wanting to run the Mozilla Firefox web browser from this distributed file-system or other applications relying upon the SQLite embedded database, the process should be smoother once this new file-system driver code lands. AFS in the material for Linux 5.1 was going to have fine-grained locking that satisfies the likes of Firefox and SQLite. There's also other work to "improve the life of desktop applications" with other file locking fixes, silly-rename support, and other changes.

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Mozilla: Christchurch, Mozilla Foundation and These Weeks in Firefox

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla statement on the Christchurch terror attack

    Like millions of people around the world, the Mozilla team has been deeply saddened by the news of the terrorist attack against the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand.

    The news of dozens of people killed and injured while praying in their place of worship is truly upsetting and absolutely abhorrent.

  • VP search update — and Europe

    A year ago, Mozilla Foundation started a search for a VP, Leadership Programs. The upshot of the job: work with people from around the world to build a movement to ensure our digital world stays open, healthy and humane. Over a year later, we’re in the second round of this search — finding the person to drive this work isn’t easy. However, we’re getting closer, so it’s time for an update.

    At a nuts and bolts level, the person in this role will support teams at Mozilla that drive our thought leadership, fellowships and events programs. This is a great deal of work, but fairly straightforward. The tricky part is helping all the people we touch through these programs connect up with each other and work like a movement — driving to real outcomes that make digital life better.

    While the position is global in scope, it will be based in Europe. This is in part because we want to work more globally, which means shifting our attention out of North America and towards African, European, Middle Eastern and South Asian time zones. Increasingly, it is also because we want to put a significant focus on Europe itself.

  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 55

Mozilla: Iodide and Edoardo Viola, Mozillian of the Month

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • Mozilla releases Iodide, an open source browser tool for publishing dynamic data science

    Mozilla wants to make it easier to create, view, and replicate data visualizations on the web, and toward that end, it today unveiled Iodide, an “experimental tool” meant to help scientists and engineers write and share interactive documents using an iterative workflow. It’s currently in alpha, and available from GitHub in open source.

    “In the last ten years, there has been an explosion of interest in ‘scientific computing’ and ‘data science’: that is, the application of computation to answer questions and analyze data in the natural and social sciences,” Brendan Colloran, staff data scientist at Mozilla, wrote in a blog post. “To address these needs, we’ve seen a renaissance in programming languages, tools, and techniques that help scientists and researchers explore and understand data and scientific concepts, and to communicate their findings. But to date, very few tools have focused on helping scientists gain unfiltered access to the full communication potential of modern web browsers.”

  • Rep of the Month – February 2019

    Please join us in congratulating Edoardo Viola, our Rep of the Month for February 2019!

    Edoardo is a long-time Mozillian from Italy and has been a Rep for almost two years. He’s a Resource Rep and has been on the Reps Council until January. When he’s not busy with Reps work, Edoardo is a Mentor in the Open Leadership Training Program. In the past he has contributed to Campus Clubs as well as MozFest, where he was a Space Wrangler for the Web Literacy Track.

Mozilla, Firefox and Security on the Net

Filed under
Moz/FF
Security
  • A Look Back at the History of Firefox

    In the early 1990s, a young man named Marc Andreessen was working on his bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Illinois. While there, he started working for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. During that time Sir Tim Berners-Lee released an early form of the web standards that we know today. Marc was introduced to a very primitive web browser named ViolaWWW. Seeing that the technology had potential, Marc and Eric Bina created an easy to install browser for Unix named NCSA Mosaic). The first alpha was released in June 1993. By September, there were ports to Windows and Macintosh. Mosaic became very popular because it was easier to use than other browsing software.

    In 1994, Marc graduated and moved to California. He was approached by Jim Clark, who had made his money selling computer hardware and software. Clark had used Mosaic and saw the financial possibilities of the internet. Clark recruited Marc and Eric to start an internet software company. The company was originally named Mosaic Communications Corporation, however, the University of Illinois did not like their use of the name Mosaic. As a result, the company name was changed to Netscape Communications Corporation.

    The company’s first project was an online gaming network for the Nintendo 64, but that fell through. The first product they released was a web browser named Mosaic Netscape 0.9, subsequently renamed Netscape Navigator. Internally, the browser project was codenamed mozilla, which stood for “Mosaic killer”. An employee created a cartoon of a Godzilla like creature. They wanted to take out the competition.

  • Firefox Send – Securely Transfer Large Files for Free

    We have covered several file sharing applications over time with apps like Wormhole, EasyJoin, and Android File Transfer For Linux. Today, we introduce you to Firefox’s recently released file sharing service, Firefox Send.

    Firefox Send is a free, encrypted file sharing service that enables you to privately share files up to 1GB (and files up to 2GB using a Firefox account) with privileged parties. How does it work? Upload the files that you want to share and send the link to the recipients who just have to click the download button.

    Send uses end-to-end encryption coupled with an extra layer of security that you can advantage of by password-protecting the links. That way, people who are able to access the download link will not be able to use.

  • Why is no one signing their emails?

     

    It seems to me that there is a fairly easy solution to verify the author of an email: sign it with a digital signature. Either S/MIME or PGP will do. I don’t even care about encryption here, just signing to prevent phishing.

Mozilla: Doubling the Number of Content Processes in Firefox, SELinux With Firefox and Mobile Ports

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • Doubling the Number of Content Processes in Firefox

    Over the past year, the Fission MemShrink project has been working tirelessly to reduce the memory overhead of Firefox. The goal is to allow us to start spinning up more processes while still maintaining a reasonable memory footprint. I’m happy to announce that we’ve seen the fruits of this labor: as of version 66 we’re doubling the default number of content processes from 4 to 8.

    Doubling the number of content processes is the logical extension of the e10s-multi project. Back when that project wrapped up we chose to limit the default number of processes to 4 in order to balance the benefits of multiple content processes — fewer crashes, better site isolation, improved performance when loading multiple pages — with the impact on memory usage for our users.

    Our telemetry has looked really good: if we compare beta 59 (roughly when this project started) with beta 66, where we decided to let the increase be shipped to our regular users, we see a virtually unchanged total memory usage for our 25th, median, and 75th percentile and a modest 9% increase for the 95th percentile on Windows 64-bit.

  • Use Selinux with Firefox.
  • Get better password management with Firefox Lockbox on iPad [Ed: Apple in is NSA PRISM. There are back doors and data-sharing, passwords included.]

    We access the web on all sorts of devices from our laptop to our phone to our tablets. And we need our passwords everywhere to log into an account. This is why we made Firefox Lockbox, a way to securely track your Firefox passwords and access them anywhere.

  • Mozilla Firefox Lite Android App Officially Unveiled In India

    After getting a soft launch last year, Mozilla has officially launched the Firefox Lite Android version at an event in India.

    Additionally, Mozilla has collaborated with various companies such as Times Internet, DB Digital and MoMagic to enhance its presence in India.

    [...]

    For those who don’t know, Firefox Lite is now available in 15 markets in Asia including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

    Lite-er versions of apps have been quite prevalent in developing countries such as India, where such apps prove apt for low-end smartphones catering to tier 2 and tier 3 segments, which could also prove beneficial for Mozilla.

Mozilla: Firefox Send, Task Configuration at Scale and More

Filed under
Moz/FF
  • Use Firefox Send to safely share files for free

    Moving files around the web can be complicated and expensive, but with Firefox Send it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of services that let you send files for free but you often run up against small file sharing sizes or have to deal with links that don’t expire, leaving your information online indefinitely. Many of these tools can provide extra control and privacy, but only after you pay for a subscription.

  • Task Configuration at Scale

    A talk I did for the Automationeer’s Assemble series on how Mozilla handles complexity in their CI configuration.

  • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Iodide: an experimental tool for scientific communication and exploration on the web

    In the last 10 years, there has been an explosion of interest in “scientific computing” and “data science”: that is, the application of computation to answer questions and analyze data in the natural and social sciences. To address these needs, we’ve seen a renaissance in programming languages, tools, and techniques that help scientists and researchers explore and understand data and scientific concepts, and to communicate their findings. But to date, very few tools have focused on helping scientists gain unfiltered access to the full communication potential of modern web browsers. So today we’re excited to introduce Iodide, an experimental tool meant to help scientists write beautiful interactive documents using web technologies, all within an iterative workflow that will be familiar to many scientists.

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More in Tux Machines

First Release Candidate of Linux 5.3

  • Linux 5.3-rc1
    It's been two weeks, and the merge window is over, and Linux 5.3-rc1
    is tagged and pushed out.
    
    This is a pretty big release, judging by the commit count. Not the
    biggest ever (that honor still goes to 4.9-rc1, which was
    exceptionally big), and we've had a couple of comparable ones (4.12,
    4.15 and 4.19 were also big merge windows), but it's definitely up
    there.
    
    The merge window also started out pretty painfully, with me hitting a
    couple of bugs in the first couple of days. That's never a good sign,
    since I don't tend to do anything particularly odd, and if I hit bugs
    it means code wasn't tested well enough. In one case it was due to me
    using a simplified configuration that hadn't been tested, and caused
    an odd issue to show up - it happens. But in the other case, it really
    was code that was too recent and too rough and hadn't baked enough.
    The first got fixed, the second just got reverted.
    
    Anyway, despite the rocky start, and the big size, things mostly
    smoothed out towards the end of the merge window. And there's a lot to
    like in 5.3. Too much to do the shortlog with individual commits, of
    course, so appended is the usual "mergelog" of people I merged from
    and a one-liner very high-level "what got merged". For more detail,
    you should go check the git tree.
    
    As always: the people credited below are just the people I pull from,
    there's about 1600 individual developers (for 12500+ non-merge
    commits) in this merge window.
    
    Go test,
    
                Linus
    
  • Linux 5.3-rc1 Debuts As "A Pretty Big Release"

    Just as expected, Linus Torvalds this afternoon issued the first release candidate of the forthcoming Linux 5.3 kernel. It's just not us that have been quite eager for Linux 5.3 and its changes. Torvalds acknowledged in the 5.3-rc1 announcement that this kernel is indeed a big one: "This is a pretty big release, judging by the commit count. Not the biggest ever (that honor still goes to 4.9-rc1, which was exceptionally big), and we've had a couple of comparable ones (4.12, 4.15 and 4.19 were also big merge windows), but it's definitely up there."

  • The New Features & Improvements Of The Linux 5.3 Kernel

    The Linux 5.3 kernel merge window is expected to close today so here is our usual recap of all the changes that made it into the mainline tree over the past two weeks. There is a lot of changes to be excited about from Radeon RX 5700 Navi support to various CPU improvements and ongoing performance work to supporting newer Apple MacBook laptops and Intel Speed Select Technology enablement.

today's howtos and programming bits

  • How to fix Ubuntu live USB not booting
  • How to Create a User Account Without useradd Command in Linux?
  • Container use cases explained in depth
  • Containerization and orchestration concepts explained
  • Set_env.py

    A good practice when writing complicated software is to put in lots of debugging code. This might be extra logging, or special modes that tweak the behavior to be more understandable, or switches to turn off some aspect of your test suite so you can focus on the part you care about at the moment. But how do you control that debugging code? Where are the on/off switches? You don’t want to clutter your real UI with controls. A convenient option is environment variables: you can access them simply in the code, your shell has ways to turn them on and off at a variety of scopes, and they are invisible to your users. Though if they are invisible to your users, they are also invisible to you! How do you remember what exotic options you’ve coded into your program, and how do you easily see what is set, and change what is set?

  • RPushbullet 0.3.2

    A new release 0.3.2 of the RPushbullet package is now on CRAN. RPushbullet is interfacing the neat Pushbullet service for inter-device messaging, communication, and more. It lets you easily send alerts like the one to the left to your browser, phone, tablet, … – or all at once. This is the first new release in almost 2 1/2 years, and it once again benefits greatly from contributed pull requests by Colin (twice !) and Chan-Yub – see below for details.

  • A Makefile for your Go project (2019)

    My most loathed feature of Go was the mandatory use of GOPATH: I do not want to put my own code next to its dependencies. I was not alone and people devised tools or crafted their own Makefile to avoid organizing their code around GOPATH.

  • Writing sustainable Python scripts

    Python is a great language to write a standalone script. Getting to the result can be a matter of a dozen to a few hundred lines of code and, moments later, you can forget about it and focus on your next task. Six months later, a co-worker asks you why the script fails and you don’t have a clue: no documentation, hard-coded parameters, nothing logged during the execution and no sensible tests to figure out what may go wrong. Turning a “quick-and-dirty” Python script into a sustainable version, which will be easy to use, understand and support by your co-workers and your future self, only takes some moderate effort. 

  • Notes to self when using genRSS.py

The Status of Fractional Scaling (HiDPI) Between Windows & Linux

There’s a special type of displays commonly called “HiDPI“, which means that the number of pixels in the screen is doubled (vertically and horizontally), making everything drawn on the screen look sharper and better. One of the most common examples of HiDPI are Apple’s Retina displays, which do come with their desktops and laptops. However, one issue with HiDPI is that the default screen resolutions are too small to be displayed on them, so we need what’s called as “scaling”; Which is simply also doubling the drawn pixels from the OS side so that they can match that of the display. Otherwise, displaying a 400×400 program window on a 3840×2160 display will give a very horrible user experience, so the OS will need to scale that window (and everything) by a factor of 2x, to make it 800×800, which would make it better. Fractional scaling is the process of doing the previous work, but by using fractional scaling numbers (E.g 1.25, 1.4, 1.75.. etc), so that they can be customized better according to the user’s setup and needs. Now where’s the issue, you may ask? Windows operating system has been supporting such kind of displays natively for a very long time, but Linux distributions do lack a lot of things in this field. There are many drawbacks, issues and other things to consider. This article will take you in a tour about that. Read more Also: Vulkan 1.1.116 Published With Subgroup Size Control Extension

Android Leftovers