Firefox

Firefox Will Soon Show You Which Tabs Are Making Noise, and Let You Mute Them 151 151

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla is working on identifying Firefox tabs that are currently playing audio. The feature will show an icon if a tab is making sounds and let the user mute the playback. It's worth noting that while Chrome has had audio indicators for more than a year now, it still doesn't let you easily mute tabs. The option is available in Google's browser, but it's not enabled by default (you have to turn on the #enable-tab-audio-muting flag in chrome://flags/).
Security

New Default: Mozilla Temporarily Disables Flash In Firefox 199 199

Trailrunner7 writes with news that "Mozilla has taken the unusual step of disabling by default all versions of Flash in Firefox." Two flaws that came to light from the recent document dump from Hacking Team could be used by an attacker to gain remote code execution. From Threatpost's article: One of the flaws is in Action Script 3 while the other is in the BitMapData component of Flash. Exploits for these vulnerabilities were found in the data taken from HackingTeam in the attack disclosed last week. An exploit for one of the Flash vulnerabilities, the one in ActionScript 3, has been integrated into the Angler exploit kit already and there's a module for it in the Metasploit Framework, as well. Reader Mickeycaskill adds a link to TechWeek Europe's article, which says these are the 37th and 38th flaws found in Flash so far this month, and that the development "is a blow for Flash after Alex Stamos, Facebook's new chief security officer, urged Adobe to set an 'end of life' date for the much-maligned software."
Firefox

Mozilla's Plans For Firefox: More Partnerships, Better Add-ons, Faster Updates 208 208

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla is reexamining and revamping the way it builds, communicates, and decides features for its browser. In short, big changes are coming to Firefox. Dave Camp, Firefox's director of engineering, sent out two lengthy emails, just three minutes apart: Three Pillars and Revisiting how we build Firefox. Both offer a lot more detail into what Mozilla is hoping to achieve.
Firefox

Firefox 39 Released, Bringing Security Improvements and Social Sharing 172 172

An anonymous reader writes: Today Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 39.0, which brings an number of minor improvements to the open source browser. (Full release notes.) They've integrated Firefox Share with Firefox Hello, which means that users will be able to open video calls through links sent over social media. Internally, the browser dropped support for the insecure SSLv3 and disabled use of RC4 except where explicitly whitelisted. The SafeBrowsing malware detection now works for downloads on OS X and Linux. (Full list of security changes.) The Mac OS X version of Firefox is now running Project Silk, which makes animations and scrolling noticeably smoother. Developers now have access to the powerful Fetch API, which should provide a better interface for grabbing things over a network.
Safari

Is Safari the New Internet Explorer? 311 311

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple.

"It's hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin' Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year's WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he'll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately."

He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it's time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we're going to hurt somebody's feelings."
Programming

WebAssembly: An Attempt To Give the Web Its Own Bytecode 126 126

New submitter Josiah Daniels writes with this kernel from a much more detailed article at Ars Technica about what already looks like a very important initiative: WebAssembly is a new project being worked on by people from Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, and Apple, to produce a bytecode for the Web. WebAssembly, or wasm for short, is intended to be a portable bytecode that will be efficient for browsers to download and load, providing a more efficient target for compilers than plain JavaScript or even asm.js
Security

"Let's Encrypt" Project To Issue First Free Digital Certificates Next Month 97 97

An anonymous reader writes: Let's Encrypt, the project that hopes to increase the use of encryption across websites by issuing free digital certificates, is planning to issue the first ones next month. Backed by the EFF, the Mozilla Foundation, the Linux Foundation, Akamai, IdenTrust, Automattic, and Cisco, Let's Encrypt will provide free-of-charge SSL and TSL certificates to any webmaster interested in implementing HTTPS for their products. The Stack reports: "Let's Encrypt's root certificate will be cross-signed by IdenTrust, a public key CA owned by smartphone government ID card provider HID Global. Website operators are generally hesitant to use SSL/TLS certificates due to their cost. An extended validation (EV) SSL certificates can cost up to $1,000. It is also a complication for operators to set up encryption for larger web services. Let's Encrypt aims to remove these obstacles by eliminating the related costs and automating the entire process."
Firefox

Mozilla Responds To Firefox User Backlash Over Pocket Integration 351 351

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, Mozilla updated Firefox to add Pocket integration — software that lets you save web articles to read later. Over the weekend, some Firefox users began to voice their displeasure over the move on public forums like Bugzilla, Google Groups, and Hacker News. The complaints center around Pocket being a proprietary third-party service, which already exists as an add-on, and is not a required component for a browser. Integrating Pocket directly into Firefox means it cannot be removed, only disabled. In response, Mozilla has released a statement saying users like the integration and the integration code is open source.
Mozilla

Mozilla Plans To Build Virtual Reality APIs Into Firefox By the End of 2015 91 91

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla's VR research team is hard at work making virtual reality native to the web. The group wants more than a few experimental VR-only websites, they want responsive VR websites that can adapt seamlessly between VR and non-VR, from mobile to desktop, built with HTML and CSS . Experimental work is already underway, and now the team says that they 'aim to have support for the WebVR API shipping with our release channel builds of Firefox Desktop by end of this year.' Those with the Oculus Rift developer kit can already try out a few native WebVR experiences using Firefox Nightly.
Chrome

Ask Slashdot: Options After Google Chrome Discontinues NPAPI Support? 208 208

An anonymous reader writes: I've been using Google Chrome almost exclusively for more than 3 years. I stopped using Mozilla Firefox because it was becoming bloated and slow, and I migrated all my bookmarks etc. to Chrome. Now Chrome plans to end NPAPI support — which means that I will not be able to access any sites that use Java, and I need this for work. I tried going back to Firefox for a couple of days but it still seems slow — starting it takes time, even the time taken to load a page seems more than Chrome. So what are my options now? Export all my bookmarks and go back to Mozilla Firefox and just learn to live with the performance drop? Or can I tweak Firefox performance in any way? FWIW, I am on a Windows 7 machine at work.
Cellphones

Mozilla Drops $25 Smartphone Plans, Will Focus On Higher Quality Devices 90 90

An anonymous reader writes: When Mozilla developed Firefox OS, its goal was not to provide the best smartphone experience, but to provide a "good enough" smartphone experience for a very low price. Unfortunately, these cheap handsets failed to make a dent in the overall smartphone market, and the organization is now shifting its strategy to start producing a better experience for better devices. CEO Chris Beard said, "If you are going to try to play in that world, you need to offer something that is so valuable that people are willing to give up access to the broader ecosystem. In the mass market, that's basically impossible." Of course, when moving to the midrange smartphone market, or even the high end, there's still plenty of competition, so the new strategy may not work any better. However, they've hinted at plans to start supporting Android apps, which could help them play catch-up. Beard seems fixated on this new goal: "We won't allow ourselves to be distracted, and we won't expand to new segments until significant traction is demonstrated." He adds, "We will build products that feel like Mozilla."
Firefox

Firefox's Optional Tracking Protection Reduces Load Time For News Sites By 44% 207 207

An anonymous reader writes: Former Mozilla software engineer Monica Chew and Computer Science researcher Georgios Kontaxis recently released a paper (PDF) that examines Firefox's optional Tracking Protection feature. The duo found that with Tracking Protection enabled, the Alexa top 200 news sites saw a 67.5 percent reduction in the number of HTTP cookies set. Furthermore, performance benefits included a 44 percent median reduction in page load time and 39 percent reduction in data usage.
Firefox

Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users 531 531

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla has announced plans to launch a feature called "Suggested Tiles," which will provide sponsored recommendations to visit certain websites when other websites show up in the user's new tab page. The tiles will begin to show up for beta channel users next week, and the company is asking for feedback. For testing purposes, users will only see Suggested Tiles "promoting Firefox for Android, Firefox Marketplace, and other Mozilla causes." It's not yet known what websites will show up on the tiles when the feature launches later this summer. The company says, "With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data."
Firefox

First Smart TVs Powered By Firefox OS On Sale In Europe, Worldwide Soon 119 119

An anonymous reader writes: The first smart TVs powered by Firefox OS have gone on sale in Europe. Panasonic's line of Viera smart TVs includes six that are powered by Firefox OS — CR850, CR730, CX800, CX750, CX700 and CX680 — including their first curved LED LCD TV. The full global launch of the TVs is expected “in the coming months.” From the Mozilla blog: "We’re happy to partner with Panasonic to bring the first Smart TVs powered by Firefox OS to the world,” said Andreas Gal, Mozilla CTO. “With Firefox and Firefox OS powered devices, users can enjoy a custom and connected Web experience and take their favorite content (apps, videos, photos, websites) across devices without being locked into one proprietary ecosystem or brand.”
Programming

Criticizing the Rust Language, and Why C/C++ Will Never Die 386 386

An anonymous reader sends an article taking a harsh look at Rust, the language created by Mozilla Research, and arguing that despite all the flaws of C and C++, the two older languages are likely to remain in heavy use for a long time to come. Here are a few of the arguments: "[W]hat actually makes Rust safe, by the way? To put it simple, this is a language with a built-in code analyzer and it's a pretty tough one: it can catch all the bugs typical of C++ and dealing not only with memory management, but multithreading as well. Pass a reference to an assignable object through a pipe to another thread and then try to use this reference yourself - the program just will refuse to compile. And that's really cool. But C++ too hasn't stood still during the last 30 years, and plenty of both static and dynamic analyzers supporting it have been released during this time."

Further, "Like many of new languages, Rust is walking the path of simplification. I can generally understand why it doesn't have a decent inheritance and exceptions, but the fact itself that someone is making decisions for me regarding things like that makes me feel somewhat displeased. C++ doesn't restrict programmers regarding what they can or cannot use." And finally, "I can't but remind you for one more time that the source of troubles is usually in humans, not technology . If your C++ code is not good enough or Java code is painfully slow, it's not because the technology is bad - it's because you haven't learned how to use it right. That way, you won't be satisfied with Rust either, but just for some other reasons."
DRM

Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix 371 371

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 38 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include Digital Rights Management (DRM) tech for playing protected content in the HTML5 video tag on Windows, Ruby annotation support, and improved user interfaces on Android. Firefox 38 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Note that there is a separate download for Firefox 38 without the DRM support. Our anonymous reader adds links to the release notes for desktop and Android.
Mozilla

Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web 324 324

jones_supa writes: Mozilla is officially beginning to phase out non-secure HTTP to prefer HTTPS instead. After a robust discussion on the mailing list, the company will boldly start removing capabilities of the non-secure web. There are two broad elements of this plan: setting a date after which all new features will be available only to secure websites, and gradually phasing out access to browser features for non-secure websites, especially regarding features that pose risks to users' security and privacy. This plan still allows for usage of the "http" URI scheme for legacy content. With HSTS and the upgrade-insecure-requests CSP attribute, the "http" scheme can be automatically translated to "https" by the browser, and thus run securely. The goal of this effort is also to send a message to the web developer community that they need to be secure. Mozilla expects to make some proposals to the W3C WebAppSec Working Group soon.
Android

Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps 179 179

Unknown Lamer writes: Microsoft and Cyanogen Inc have announced a partnership to bring Microsoft applications to Cyanogen OS. "Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft's consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services. As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences." Ars Technica comments, "If Cyanogen really wants to ship a Googleless Android, it will need to provide alternatives to Google's services, and this Microsoft deal is a small start. Microsoft can provide alternatives for Search (Bing), Google Drive (OneDrive and Office), and Gmail (Outlook). The real missing pieces are alternatives to Google Play, Google Maps, and Google Play Services."

Rather than distribute more proprietary services, how about ownCloud for Drive, K-9 Mail for Gmail, OsmAnd for Maps, and F-Droid for an app store? Mozilla and DuckDuckGo provide Free Software search providers for Android, too. With Google neglecting the Android Open Source Project and Cyanogen partnering with Microsoft, the future for Free Software Android as anything but a shell for proprietary software looks bleak.
Encryption

'Let's Encrypt' Project Strives To Make Encryption Simple 116 116

jones_supa writes: As part of an effort to make encryption a standard component of every application, the Linux Foundation has launched the Let's Encrypt project (announcement) and stated its intention to provide access to a free certificate management service. Jim Zemlin, executive director for the Linux Foundation, says the goal for the project is nothing less than universal adoption of encryption to disrupt a multi-billion dollar hacker economy. While there may never be such a thing as perfect security, Zemlin says it's just too easy to steal data that is not encrypted. In its current form, encryption is difficult to implement and a lot of cost and overhead is associated with managing encryption keys. Zemlin claims the Let's Encrypt project will reduce the effort it takes to encrypt data in an application down to two simple commands. The project is being hosted by the Linux Foundation, but the actual project is being managed by the Internet Security Research Group. This work is sponsored by Akamai, Cisco, EFF, Mozilla, IdenTrust, and Automattic, which all are Linux Foundation patrons. Visit Let's Encrypt official website to get involved.
Security

Apple Leaves Chinese CNNIC Root In OS X and iOS Trusted Stores 100 100

Trailrunner7 writes When it was revealed late last month that a Chinese certificate authority had allowed an intermediate CA to issue unauthorized certificates for some Google domains, both Google and Mozilla reacted quickly and dropped trust in CNNIC altogether. Apple on Wednesday released major security upgrades for both of its operating systems, and the root certificate for CNNIC, the Chinese CA at the heart of the controversy, remains in the trusted stores for iOS and OS X. The company has not made any public statements on the incident or the continued inclusion of CNNIC's certificates in the trusted stores.