Via Phoronix comes news that Ubuntu is revisiting replacing Firefox with Chromium as the default browser. Reasons include that Chromium is the basis of Ubuntu Touch and their new web apps platform, and using a single browser for all versions of Ubuntu would simplify maintenance. From the article: "Expressed shortcomings of switching to Google's Chromium open-source web-browser is that data migration from Firefox isn't too obvious, extensions don't migrate between browsers, Chromium isn't supported on all architectures (e.g. PowerPC), the browser doesn't work with the Orca screen reader and doesn't integrate well for accessibility reasons, there is no native PDF plug-in, and Chromium is said to have worse performance under memory pressure. There were also some concerns expressed about differences with WebApps in Chromium. ... It looks like the switch to Chromium will happen in the name of a better user experience for the desktop with Chrome/Chromium now arguably surpassing Firefox in its features and performance while pushing Chromium as the default leads to a more consistent experience across Ubuntu form factors from phones/tablets to the desktop." The Ubuntu community will have their input solicited as the next step. The Ubuntu Developer Summit session has notes and a full video of today's discussion.
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AmiMoJo writes "It looks like Mozilla are finally going to remove the much hated blink tag from the Gecko rendering engine that powers Firefox. Work to remove support for the tag, which was always non-standard and is not supported by the most popular HTML layout engines WebKit and Blink (Chrome, Safari, Opera, Android), is progressing and should show up in a future version of the browser." A comment attached to the discussion of this (not completed) move points out the odd possibility that Google's new Blink rendering engine may feature the blink tag via CSS animation, which would be "hilarious/awesome."
hypnosec writes "WebKit developers have already started discussing the removal of Chrome- and Chromium-specific code from the rendering engine in a bid to make the code easier to maintain. Just a couple of days back, Google announced it will go ahead with a WebKit fork to develop a new browser engine — Blink. According to Google, having multiple rendering engines — just like multiple browsers — will allow for innovation as well as contribute toward a healthy open-web ecosystem. The discussion was started by Geoffery Garen, an Apple WebKit developer. He said Google's departure is an 'opportunity to streamline' the code of WebKit, which would eventually make development 'easier and more coherent for everyone.' Garen expects that developers who will be working on WebKit in the future should help to clean up the code. However, Adam Barth and Eric Seidel — two Google WebKit developers — have already offered their help." Google plans on making the switch to Blink in the stable Chrome release in around 10 weeks. They've posted a half-hour video explaining how the transition will work.
An anonymous reader writes "Google on Wednesday made a huge announcement to fork WebKit and build a new rendering engine called Blink. Opera, which only recently decided to replace its own Presto rendering engine for WebKit, has confirmed with TNW that it will be following suit. 'When we announced the move away from Presto, we announced that we are going with the Chromium package, and the forking and name change have little practical influence on the Opera browsers. So yes, your understanding is correct,' an Opera spokesperson told TNW. This will affect both desktop and mobile versions of Opera the spokesperson further confirmed."
Carewolf writes "In a blog post titled Blink: A rendering engine for the Chromium project, Google has announced that Chromium (the open source backend for Chrome) will be switching to Blink, a new WebKit-based web rendering engine. Quoting: 'Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation... This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem. ... In the short term, Blink will bring little change for web developers. The bulk of the initial work will focus on internal architectural improvements and a simplification of the codebase. For example, we anticipate that we’ll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 files—comprising more than 4.5 million lines—right off the bat. Over the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs.'"
New submitter jgb writes "WebKit is, now that Opera decided to join the project, in the core of three of the five major web browsers: Apple's Safari, Google's Chromium and Opera. Therefore, WebKit is also a melting pot for many corporate interests, since several competing companies (not only Google and Apple, but also Samsung, RIM, Nokia, Intel and many others) are finding ways of collaborating in the project. All of this makes fascinating the study of how they are contributing to the project. Some weeks ago, a study showed how they were submitting contributions to the code base. Now another one uncovers how they are reviewing those submitted contributions. As expected, most of the reviews during the whole life of the project were done by Apple, with Google as a close second. But things have changed dramatically during the last few years. In 2012, Google is a clear first, reviewing about twice as much (50%) as Apple (25%). RIM (7%) and Nokia (5%) are also relevant reviewers. Code review is very important in WebKit's development process, with reviewers acting as a sort of gatekeepers, deciding which changes make sense, and when they are conforming to the project practices and quality standards. In some sense, review activity reflects the responsibility each company is taking on how WebKit evolves. In some sense, the evolution over time for this activity by the different companies tells the history of how they have been shaping the project."
Dystopian Rebel writes "A Stanford comp-sci student has found a serious bug in Chromium, Safari, Opera, and MSIE. Feross Aboukhadijeh has demonstrated that these browsers allow unbounded local storage. 'The HTML5 Web Storage standard was developed to allow sites to store larger amounts of data (like 5-10 MB) than was previously allowed by cookies (like 4KB). ... The current limits are: 2.5 MB per origin in Google Chrome, 5 MB per origin in Mozilla Firefox and Opera, 10 MB per origin in Internet Explorer. However, what if we get clever and make lots of subdomains like 1.filldisk.com, 2.filldisk.com, 3.filldisk.com, and so on? Should each subdomain get 5MB of space? The standard says no. ... However, Chrome, Safari, and IE currently do not implement any such "affiliated site" storage limit.' Aboukhadijeh has logged the bug with Chromium and Apple, but couldn't do so for MSIE because 'the page is broken" (see http://connect.microsoft.com/IE). Oops. Firefox's implementation of HTML5 local storage is not vulnerable to this exploit."
An anonymous reader writes "Google is working on identifying Chrome tabs that are currently playing audio (or recording it). The feature is expected to show an audio animation if a tab is broadcasting or recording sound. François Beaufort spotted the new feature, a part of which is already available in the latest Chromium build."
The Firefox and Chrome teams have announced that their respective browsers can now communicate with each other via WebRTC for the purpose of audio and video communication without needing a third-party plugin. WebRTC is a new set of technologies that brings clear crisp voice, sharp high-definition (HD) video and low-delay communication to the web browser. From the very beginning, this joint WebRTC effort was embraced by the open web community, including engineers from the Chrome and Firefox teams. The common goal was to help developers offer rich, secure communications, integrated directly into their web applications. In order to succeed, a web-based communications platform needs to work across browsers. Thanks to the work and participation of the W3C and IETF communities in developing the platform, Chrome and Firefox can now communicate by using standard technologies such as the Opus and VP8 codecs for audio and video, DTLS-SRTP for encryption, and ICE for networking. To try this yourself, you’ll need desktop Chrome 25 Beta and Firefox Nightly for Desktop. In Firefox, you'll need to go to about:config and set the media.peerconnection.enabled pref to "true." Then head over to the WebRTC demo site and start calling."
chicksdaddy writes "Google cemented its reputation as the squarest company around Monday (pun intended), offering prizes totaling Pi Million Dollars — that's right: $3.14159 million greenbacks — in its third annual Pwnium hacking contest, to be held at the CanSecWest conference on March 7 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Google will pay $110,000 for a browser or system level compromise delivered via a web page to a Chrome user in guest mode or logged in. The company will pay $150,000 for any compromise that delivers 'device persistence' delivered via a web page, the company announced on the chromium blog. 'We believe these larger rewards reflect the additional challenge involved with tackling the security defenses of Chrome OS, compared to traditional operating systems,' wrote Chris Evans of Google's Security Team."
mask.of.sanity writes "Github has killed its search function to safeguard users who were caught out storing keys and passwords in public repositories. 'Users found that quite a large number of users who had added private keys to their repositories and then pushed the files up to GitHub. Searching on id_rsa, a file which contains the private key for SSH logins, returned over 600 results. Projects had live configuration files from cloud services such as Amazon Web Services and Azure with the encryption keys still included. Configuration and private key files are intended to be kept secret, since if it falls into wrong hands, that person can impersonate the user (or at least, the user's machine) and easily connect to that remote machine.' Search links popped up throughout Twitter pointing to stored keys, including what was reportedly account credentials for the Google Chrome source code repository. The keys can still be found using search engines, so check your repos."
An anonymous reader writes "Google on Friday announced yet another security improvement for Chrome 25. In addition to killing silent extension installation, the omnibox in Google's browser will send all searches over a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection. Chrome already does this for users who are signed in to Google: when they search from the address bar, their queries are sent over HTTPS. As of Chrome 25, however, the same will happen for users who aren't signed in to Google."
An anonymous reader writes "Google on Friday announced that it is changing its stance for silently installing extensions in its browser. As of Chrome 25, external extension deployment options on Windows will be disabled by default and all extensions previously installed using them will be automatically disabled."
If you use Chrome along with Google's Sync, you may have noticed something strange Monday: normally stable Chrome crashing. An article at Wired (excerpt below) explains why: "Late Monday, Google engineer Tim Steele confirmed what developers had been suspecting. The crashes were affecting Chrome users who were using another Google web service known as Sync, and that Sync and other Google services — presumably Gmail too — were clobbered Monday when Google misconfigured its load-balancing servers. ... Steele wrote in a developer discussion forum, a problem with Google's Sync servers kicked off an error on the browser, which made Chrome abruptly shut down on the desktop. 'It's due to a backend service that sync servers depend on becoming overwhelmed, and sync servers responding to that by telling all clients to throttle all data types,' Steele said. That 'throttling' messed up things in the browser, causing it to crash."
I recently sat down with Chris DiBona to talk about the 15th anniversary of Slashdot. In addition to discussing the joys of heading an email campaign against spamming politicians, and the perils of throwing a co-worker's phone into a bucket, even if you think that bucket is empty, we talked about the growth of Google Summer of Code. Below you'll find his story of how a conversation about trying to get kids to be more active with computers in the summer has led to the release of 55 million lines of code.
An anonymous reader writes "Last night, Google held its Pwnium 2 competition at Hack in the Box 2012, offering up a total of $2 million for security holes found in Chrome. Only one was discovered; a young hacker who goes by the alias 'Pinkie Pie' netted the highest reward level: a $60,000 cash prize and a free Chromebook (the second time he pulled it off). Google today patched the flaw and announced a new version of Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux."
puddingebola tips news that support for the 'do-not-track' privacy setting will soon be coming to Google Chrome. The feature was implemented for Chromium v23.0.1266.0 in a recent revision. Google has said DNT will make it into the public release of Chrome by the end of year. This will bring Chrome up to speed with Firefox, which has had it for a while, and IE 10, which will have it turned on by default. As for why Google is the last of the three do implement it, the LA Times points out a post earlier this year from Google's Susan Wojcicki: 'There’s been a lot of debate over the last few years about personalization on the web. We believe that tailoring your web experience — for example by showing you more relevant, interest-based ads, or making it easy to recommend stuff you like to friends — is a good thing.'"
Tackhead writes "Hot on the hooves of Sergey Glazunov's hack 5-minutes into Pwn2Own, an image of an axe-wielding pink pony was the mark of success for a hacker with the handle of Pinkie Pie. Pinkie Pie subtly tweaked Chromium's sandbox design by chaining together three zero-day vulnerabilities, thereby widening his appeal to $60K in prize money, another shot at a job opportunity at the Googleplex, and instantly making Google's $1M Pwnium contest about 20% cooler. (Let the record show that Slashdot was six years ahead of this particular curve, and that April Fool's Day is less than a month away.)"