Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today released its annual financial report for 2012, and while revenue is up quite substantially, the organization's reliance on Google continues to grow. In 2011, 85 percent of Mozilla's revenue came from Google. In 2012, the figure increased to 90 percent."
Nine years ago today, Firefox 1.0 was released. Mozilla writes "Mozilla created Firefox to be an amazingly fun, safe, and fast Web browser that embodies the values of our mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity online. In the nine years since we first launched Firefox, we have moved and shaped the Web into the most valuable public resource of our time." The first release of the little project to write a lighter alternative to Seamonkey is a bit over a year older.
An anonymous reader writes "Remember when Mozilla announced that it would soon block third-party cookies by default? Not so fast. According to a new behind-the-scenes report in the San Francisco Chronicle, 'it's not clear when it will happen — or if it will at all.' Mozilla's leadership is apparently no longer committed to the feature, and the related Cookie Clearinghouse collaboration is delayed well into 2014. Who's to blame? According to Dan Auerbach, Staff Technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 'The ad industry has a ton of people, basically lobbyists, who spent a lot of time trying to convince Mozilla this was bad for the economy... I think they were somewhat successful.' Not a good showing for the purportedly pro-user organization."
SD-Arcadia writes "Mozilla Blog: 'Cisco has announced today that they are going to release a gratis, high quality, open source H.264 implementation — along with gratis binary modules compiled from that source and hosted by Cisco for download. This move enables any open source project to incorporate Cisco's H.264 module without paying MEPG LA license fees. Of course, this is not a not a complete solution. In a perfect world, codecs, like other basic Internet technologies such as TCP/IP, HTTP, and HTML, would be fully open and free for anyone to modify, recompile, and redistribute without license agreements or fees. Mozilla is fully committed to working towards that better future. To that end, we are developing Daala, a fully open next generation codec. Daala is still under development, but our goal is to leapfrog H.265 and VP9, building a codec that will be both higher-quality and free of encumbrances.'"
jfruh writes "Most day-to-day programmers have only a general idea of how compilers transform human-readable code into the machine language that actually powers computers. In an attempt to streamline applications, many compilers actually remove code that it perceives to be undefined or unstable — and, as a research group at MIT has found, in doing so can make applications less secure. The good news is the researchers have developed a model and a static checker for identifying unstable code. Their checker is called STACK, and it currently works for checking C/C++ code. The idea is that it will warn programmers about unstable code in their applications, so they can fix it, rather than have the compiler simply leave it out. They also hope it will encourage compiler writers to rethink how they can optimize code in more secure ways. STACK was run against a number of systems written in C/C++ and it found 160 new bugs in the systems tested, including the Linux kernel (32 bugs found), Mozilla (3), Postgres (9) and Python (5). They also found that, of the 8,575 packages in the Debian Wheezy archive that contained C/C++ code, STACK detected at least one instance of unstable code in 3,471 of them, which, as the researchers write (PDF), 'suggests that unstable code is a widespread problem.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 25 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include Web Audio API support, as well as guest browsing and mixed content blocking on Android. Firefox 25 can be downloaded from 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. The release notes are here: desktop, mobile."
An anonymous reader writes "Doug Belshaw and Carla Casilli, along with a community of stakeholders, have been working on a specification of skills needed for web literacy. Doug report that Brett Gaylor and Chris Lawrence announced version 1.0 of the spec. In a nutshell it's described as 'A map of the territory for the skills and competencies Mozilla and community think are important to get better at to more effectively read, write & participate on the Web.' Usages include writing curricula influenced by it, and issuing Open Badges that align with it (using the 'alignment' metadata field). Doug also calls for help with localization of the spec into other languages."
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today launched an experimental pilot project called Mozilla Location Service. The organization explains its goal is to provide geolocation lookups based on publicly observable cell tower and WiFi access point information. Mozilla admits that many commercial services already exist in this space, but it wants to provide a public one. The company points out there isn't a single 'large' public service that provides this data, which is becoming increasingly important when building various parts of the mobile ecosystem."
SmartAboutThings writes "LG has launched the Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone in a joint event with the Telefonica Vivo carrier. The Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone will be available for around $200 and will join the Alcatel One Touch Fire which Telfonia is launching in Brazil, starting today. Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay are the next countries to get it. The Fireweb smartphone is LG's very first Firefox OS device and it increases the small number of OEMs that have released Firefox OS devices on the market. The smartphone has a 4-inch screen with a 480 x 320 display, a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and 4GB internal storage that can be expanded with the microSD card slot by up to 32GB. It has a 5-megapixel cameras that comes with both autofocusing and an LED flash, which is a first for Firefox OS phones." Hopefully an OEM releases a Firefox OS phone with beefier hardware, but you can't argue with the price.
JG0LD writes "The Firefox web browser will, henceforth, require users to manually activate Java objects on sites that they visit, Mozilla has confirmed. This even affects up-to-date versions of Java, which you can see on the block list. The change is aimed at improving security and moving away from a dependence on proprietary plug-ins, but critics say it will cause untold headaches for developers, admins and less-technical end-users. "
SmartAboutThings writes "Mozilla has officially introduced the first update to its mobile Firefox OS. The very first update to Firefox OS adds some important new features, performance improvements and additional language support. Some of the most important changes include MMS support, Push Notifications API, Contact Management enhancements, Firefox browser downloads, Keyboard improvements and much more. In a separate announcement, Mozilla also said that new launches of Firefox OS smartphones will begin soon with more devices and in more markets around the world."
ananyo writes "An offshoot of Mozilla is aiming to discover whether a review process could improve the quality of researcher-built software that is used in myriad fields today, ranging from ecology and biology to social science. In an experiment being run by the Mozilla Science Lab, software engineers have reviewed selected pieces of code from published papers in computational biology. The reviewers looked at snippets of code up to 200 lines long that were included in the papers and written in widely used programming languages, such as R, Python and Perl. The Mozilla engineers have discussed their findings with the papers’ authors, who can now choose what, if anything, to do with the markups — including whether to permit disclosure of the results. But some researchers say that having software reviewers looking over their shoulder might backfire. 'One worry I have is that, with reviews like this, scientists will be even more discouraged from publishing their code,' says biostatistician Roger Peng at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. 'We need to get more code out there, not improve how it looks.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is dropping Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface support in Chrome. The company will be phasing out support over the coming year, starting with blocking webpage-instantiated plugins in January 2014. Google has looked at anonymous Chrome usage data and estimates that just six NPAPI plug-ins were used by more than 5 percent of users in the last month. To 'avoid disruption' (read: attempt to minimize the confusion) for users, Google will temporarily whitelist the most popular NPAPI plugins: Silverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Google Talk, and Facebook Video." Google offers NaCl as an alternative, and "Moving forward, our goal is to evolve the standards-based web platform to cover the use cases once served by NPAPI."
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 24 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Improvements include a new option to mass close tabs 'to the right,' as well as WebRTC support and NFC sharing on Android. Firefox 24 has now been released over 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. Compared to Firefox 23, this isn’t a big release for the desktop. Mac users will notice a new scrollbar style on OS X 10.7 and users of the browsers social features will appreciate the ability to tear-off chat windows by just dragging (full release notes: desktop, mobile)."
paroneayea writes "MediaGoblin 0.5.0 Goblin Force is released with a slew of new features: authentication plugins including OpenID and Mozilla Persona support, a new notification system, a new "reprocessing framework", and more! The project is also making progress towards its long-awaited federation goals via the Pump API, as used in pump.io. Rockin'!" (If the name doesn't ring a bell, Wikipedia helps: MediaGoblin is "a free, decentralized Web platform (server software) for hosting and sharing digital media.")
SmartAboutThings writes "It seems that LG is going to join Alcatel, GeeksPhone and ZTE in the Firefox OS market. During an interview with Bulgarian online outlet Dnevnik.bg (in Bulgarian), LG's mobile communications head in Bulgaria spilled the beans on company's plans for the future. While he tried to refer only to plans that regard Bulgaria, it's obvious that he also spoke about LG's global strategy. Mister Valev said that LG is also looking to come up with a new Android tablet, phablet and even a smartwatch. Valev said LG is already working on a Firefox OS that could possibly be released in the first quarter of 2014."
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla is finally getting close to releasing a Metro version of its Firefox browser that will run on Windows RT as well as the tablet-side of Windows 8. The touch flavor of the app will arrive on December 10 along with Firefox 26. That's assuming, of course, that there won't be more delays. Given what we've seen so far, we wouldn't be surprised to see a final Metro version arrive in 2014."