Archive for the ‘Mozilla Blog’ Category

This week Mozilla joined Open Invention Network as a licensee. OIN is an organization which helps protect the Linux ecosystem by building a variety of defenses against patent attacks. These defenses include both traditional mechanisms, like defensive patent pools, and more innovative approaches, like the Linux Defenders project, which uses a variety of methods to proactively prevent the publication of particularly egregious patents. As a licensee, we’ll have access to OIN resources in case we’re threatened by operating entities with patents, and over time we’ll likely become more involved in providing our own ideas and resources to OIN projects.

Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. By joining, Mozilla receives cross-licenses from other OIN licensees, but more importantly, for the long term, it affords us a chance to work with OIN in reducing IP threats to open source development and innovation. This may include a defensive publications program that would make it harder for others to patent work created by Mozilla contributors, sharing defensive tactics, and cooperation to minimize patent threats.

This doesn’t mean we’re suddenly enthused about patents in any way, but OIN is doing some good work, and I believe that any protections that they afford Mozilla are on the whole more positive, and outweigh reservations about the patent the system.

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Firefox Home, a free app that syncs your Firefox browsing history, bookmarks and open tabs to your iPhone or iPod touch, is now available in 15 languages worldwide. Get Firefox Home in your language now!

We appreciate your feedback and worked to incorporate some of the top suggestions in this latest release.

What’s new in this release:

  • Worldwide Availability: Use Firefox Home in 15 languages, including French, German, Japanese, Polish and Spanish. See all supported languages.
  • URL Search Bar: Want to visit a website that’s not in your bookmarks or history? Only remember part of the URL? You can now type the site’s URL into the Search Bar and Firefox Home will take you there.
  • Custom Servers: Advanced users can now set up Firefox Home to connect to their own custom Firefox Sync servers.
  • Visit the release notes for full details.

Watch the demo to see the latest version of Firefox Home in action.

Setting Up Firefox Home
If you use Firefox 3.6 on your desktop, you’ll need to install the Firefox Sync Add-on and set up a Firefox Sync account to synchronize your desktop data with your iPhone. Watch this video on how to set up Firefox Home on your iPhone.

For more details

If you love using Firefox Home, go to iTunes and write a review to help us share the app with the world.

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Today we’re releasing an update to the Firefox 4 Beta to resolve two issues that have been causing problems for some of our testers:

  • a stability issue on Windows,
  • an issue with plugins on Mac OS X which made it difficult for users to type in some web pages, and showed white boxes over other web pages.

It’s thanks to our hundreds of thousands of beta testers and their continued feedback that we were able to identify, diagnose and address these issues. Existing beta users will be updated automatically, but of course we also welcome anyone to download the latest version from the beta website. Other than these bug fixes, today’s release has the same features and functionality as the previous beta update. The beta schedule hasn’t been impacted by this additional release, and we expect the next version of the beta in the coming weeks.

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Editor’s note: On Sept. 14, Mozilla released a new JavaScript benchmark named Kraken. For more details, check out Rob Sayre’s announcement, reposted below.

We’re pleased to announce the first version of Kraken, a new browser benchmark. More than Sunspider, V8, and Dromaeo, Kraken focuses on realistic workloads and forward-looking applications. We believe that the benchmarks used in Kraken are better in terms of reflecting realistic workloads for pushing the edge of browser performance forward. These are the things that people are saying are too slow to do with open Web technologies today, and we want to have benchmarks that reflect progress against making these near-future apps universally available.

My Mozilla colleague Nicholas Nethercote pointed to Hennessy and Patterson’s “Computer Architecture” in the comments of a previous benchmark blog post on the state of benchmarks today. Hennessy and Patterson list five categories of benchmarks, from best to worst:

1. Real applications

2. Modified applications (eg. with I/O removed to make it CPU-bound)

3. Kernels (key fragments of real applications)

4. Toy benchmarks (eg. sieve of Erastosthenes)

5. Synthetic benchmarks (code created artificially to fit a profile of particular operations, eg. Dhrystone)

We think Kraken is a step in the right direction. Kraken will evolve quickly over the coming weeks and months as we build out its test suite and continue to push forward the capabilities of the open Web, as we make the workloads more realistic and varied. Of course, as with everything we do, Kraken will be free and open source and we welcome contributions and participation from the wider community.

Our testing indicates that Firefox 4 is currently more than 2.5X faster than Firefox 3.6 on Kraken 1.0. Try it out, and let us know how it works for you.

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The latest update to Firefox 4 Beta brings super fast graphics and incredible new audio capabilities to the Web. Firefox 4 Beta now leverages hardware acceleration to improve graphics performance for Windows users and also allows, for the first time, the visualization of audio data within the browser. If you haven’t already, you should download it for free, today!

Visualizing Sound
Until now, people haven’t had the ability to interact with sound on the Web in all the creative ways that video and images allow. Firefox 4 Beta introduces a
new audio API to expose the raw audio data housed within the <video> and <audio> elements in HTML5 to redefine how people experience sound on the Web. With this new API, developers can read and write raw audio data within the browser, presenting audio information in completely new ways that could allow, for example, for people to visually experience a speech or a song through Firefox. Professor and Mozilla Developer Dave Humphrey has a more detailed blog post, and offers this demonstration to illustrate the power of this new API:

Enjoy Faster Graphics
Firefox 4 Beta now takes advantage of the built-in graphics hardware in Windows computers with DirectX 10 to improve graphics performance. On supported hardware, Firefox will use Direct2D by default to speed up the display of content on graphically intensive websites, giving more power to the Web. To learn more, read Bas Schouten’s blog post or Paul Rouget’s blog post and check out this demo:

More Secure Connections
HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is a new security protocol in Firefox 4 Beta that allows websites to insist that Firefox always use secured connections. Firefox 4 Beta now remembers what sites use the HSTS protocol and will only connect to those sites using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) in the future, helping to prevent “man in the middle” attacks. For more details, please read this blog post from Sid Stamm of the Mozilla Security team.

The Feedback program we launched in our first beta continues to be an incredible tool that allows our users to help us understand what they are liking most about the upcoming Firefox 4. We wouldn’t be able to make the progress we have without this vital feedback from the community of beta testers. Check out the Input page to see what people are experiencing in Firefox 4 Beta.

As always, Firefox 4 Beta testers will continue to receive automatic updates, so stay tuned for the next release in the coming weeks.

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The Alpha release of the next major version of Fennec is now available for Android and Nokia N900 users to download and test. Fennec (codename for Firefox mobile) is the first mobile browser to offer add-ons and is built on the same technology that powers desktop Firefox. The latest version of Fennec builds on the rich set of features from the previous release and makes it easier for you to bring your Firefox experience with you anywhere.

Fennec Alpha now creates one fluid Web experience between desktop and mobile devices by providing Firefox Sync built-in into the browser, which provides seamless access to Awesome Bar browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs.

The main focus of this release is to increase performance and responsiveness to user actions. This is being implemented using two major technologies, “Electrolysis” and “Layers.” This Alpha release includes Electrolysis, which allows the browser interface to run in a separate process from the one rendering Web content. By doing this, Fennec is able to react much faster to user input while pages are loading or CPU intensive JavaScript is running. The upcoming beta release will start taking advantage of Layers to greatly improve performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming, animations and video. We’re also working to optimize these actions using the hardware-accelerated graphics rendering capabilities showing up in today’s mobile devices.

Watch the demo:

This first Alpha release of Fennec for Android is an exciting first step in bringing browser choice and customization, along with a seamless Web experience across devices, to a leading open mobile platform. Now, developers have the power to use the latest Web technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to to build fast, powerful and beautiful mobile apps and add-ons that can reach many millions of devices.

See the release notes for a full list of features with this release.

We value your feedback and will work to incorporate it in future versions of the browser, so please test Fennec Alpha and let us know what you think.

Stay tuned for updates in our newsletter.

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The latest update to Firefox 4 Beta is now available with new features that offer more control over your Web experience. This release lets you own and control your personal Web experience by syncing your data across devices, and by helping you organize your tabs in order to juggle and prioritize your busy online life.

What new features are in this Firefox 4 Beta update?

Stay in Sync
Fire ​fox ​Sync​ makes your bookmarks, history, Awesome Bar, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs accessible across multiple computers and mobile devices. Now, with Firefox Sync, you can customize and take your Web experiences with you anywhere, even on your iPhone with Firefox Home.

Firefox Sync encrypts all of your data before sending it to the server and does not track your travels throughout the Web. This means that you never have to compromise your privacy for the convenience of using Firefox Sync.

When downloading or updating to the latest version of the Firefox 4 beta, you will automatically be prompted to create a Firefox Sync account. You can watch this video for a step-by-step guide:

Visit the Firefox Sync page for more information on how to use Firefox Sync. For an engineer’s perspective, see Mike Connor’s post.

A Tab Revolution
When tabs were first introduced, the feature changed the way people browse the Web. To continue the tab revolution, the beta now includes Firefox Panorama (formerly Tab Candy) as a new approach to tab management that makes it easy to organize and multi-task while on the Web. If you juggle many open tabs for work, shopping, music, social sites, vacation planning and more, you can easily group and prioritize those tabs any way you want. With one keystroke you can see an overview of all tabs to quickly locate and switch between tabs or groups of tabs.

See Aza Raskin’s blog post for more details.

Better feedback, a better browser
As always, Firefox 4 Beta includes a Feedback Add-on with Mozilla Labs Test Pilot, which enable you to take part in anonymous studies. You can choose to opt-out of any or all studies by managing your settings in the Feedback button.

We value feedback from our beta testers and ask for continued feedback on Firefox 4 Beta. The feedback is used to help improve future Firefox Beta releases.

Firefox 4 Beta testers will receive automatic updates, so stay tuned for the next release in the coming weeks.

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Today, Mitchell Baker was announced as the recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s 2010 Growth, Innovation and Leadership Award. Mitchell will be honored for her achievements at the annual GIL 2010 event in Silicon Valley on September 13, 2010.

The award honor was announced in a press release issued by Frost & Sullivan, excerpt below:

“Profiled in TIME Magazine among their top 100 Scientists and Thinkers, Mitchell Baker is the visionary behind the Mozilla Project and is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide collective of employees and volunteers who are breathing new life into the Internet with the Firefox Web browser and other Mozilla products.

Serving as general manager of the Mozilla project since 1999, Baker shaped the license under which Netscape’s source code was released. In 2003, she became president and founder of the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to openness and innovation on the Internet. As Chairperson of Mozilla, Baker continues her commitment to an open, innovative Web and the infinite possibilities it presents.”

Please join in congratulating Mitchell on this achievement!

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The latest update of Firefox 4 Beta is now available for download and testing in more than 30 languages, adding 10 new languages. This update includes multi-touch support for Windows 7 and new JavaScript values to experience faster and smoother graphics. We also have vital feedback from our testers that we will incorporate into future updates.

More details on the cool new features for Web developers in this Firefox 4 Beta update:

Firefox 4 Beta now has multi-touch support for Windows 7 to enable people to
interact with Web content with their hands naturally. Developers can use multi-touch capabilities to leverage touch-enabled devices and provide people with an intuitive and fun browsing experience. For more details, see the blog posts by Paul Rouget and Felipe Gomes.

New JavaScript Values
Changes to the C++ representation of JavaScript enable Firefox to execute heavy, numeric code more efficiently. This sort of code is used to produce smooth, streamlined graphics in modern Web applications. For more details, see Rob Sayre’s blog post.

Firefox 4 Beta includes a Feedback Add-on with Mozilla Labs Test Pilot, which will ask you to take part in anonymous studies. You can choose to opt-out of any or all studies and manage your settings in the Feedback button. The feedback is used to help us improve future Firefox Beta releases. See Mike Beltzner’s blog post for more details.

The Feedback tool has been a great success, and our half-million testers submit approximately 3,500 pieces of feedback every day. Test Pilot recently conducted a survey of Firefox 4 Beta testers to help us better understand the dedicated testers who have been giving us this fantastic feedback. We discovered that our beta users are primarily men who use the Web between two and six hours each day, mostly for entertainment and communication. This doesn’t come as a surprise to us, but it also isn’t a great representation of Internet users. We need your help! If you’re enjoying using the Firefox 4 Beta, tell your friends, get them set up and don’t forget to point out the Feedback button.

Firefox 4 Beta testers will receive automatic updates, so stay tuned for the next release in the coming weeks.

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The response has been tremendous since Firefox Home, our free iPhone app, became available in Apple’s App Store. We made some updates to Firefox Home, which are now available, so if you haven’t tried it yet, get it now.

We read your comments in the App Store and on our forum and truly appreciate all the feedback you have given us. Your comments and ideas are great input for our future plans with Firefox Home. Keep ‘em coming!

Firefox Home 1.0.1 Available in the App Store
We worked quickly to address the top three problems you reported and have released updates to both Firefox Home (v 1.0.1) and the Firefox Sync add-on (v 1.4.3)

In Firefox Home 1.0.1:
* FIXED: Now supports usernames with uppercase letters
* ADDED: Help button on login page that links to troubleshooting tips
* IMPROVED: More helpful error messages when problems occur
Get this update on iTunes.

In Firefox Sync 1.4.3:
* FIXED: Now correctly supports multi-byte characters in passwords
* ADDED: Ability to complete initial sync if setting up in Private Browsing mode
* IMPROVED: Helpful UI indicator to show sync status
* See the Firefox Sync Account Setup Demo
Get this update on the Mozilla Add-Ons site.

We believe Firefox Home is an excellent Web companion for the iPhone because it lets you access your Firefox history, bookmarks and tabs no matter where you are. We are humbled by all the interest and positive reviews we’ve seen on the Web.

“If you’re at all like me and leave dozens (or more!) tabs open on your home machine, you’ll definitely like the convenience of being able to access something you left open while you’re on the go.” — Chris Foresman, ars technica

“Can’t remember where you saw that important story just before you left the office? Open the app and check your history. Want a shortcut to save you from typing a long URL on the iPhone or iPod Touch? Open the app. (As a bonus, on my tests, it opened Web pages faster than Safari.)” — Bob Tedeschi, New York Times: Gadgetwise

“Firefox’s Home App for iPhone has opened my eyes to a world where desktop and mobile web browsing become one, but we’re not quite there yet. Being able to pick up on the iPhone where I left off on the PC is one of those ideas that suddenly seems long overdue,”  – Jared Newman, PC World.

Firefox Home, Different from Firefox Web Browser
Firefox Home is a part of making the personal Web experience portable across multiple computers and devices. Firefox Home is a valuable app that gives you instant access to your most recently and frequently visited sites, right at your fingertips. You now have the ability to get up and go in a moment’s notice, and access your flight status, reservation time or driving directions you were looking at at your desk without a second thought!

Going Global
Many of you have asked when Firefox Home will be available for download in your country’s App Store. We’re working to make Firefox Home available worldwide in the very near future. Stay tuned!

Get Involved & Stay Connected
This is the first release of Firefox Home on iPhone, and with your ideas, we hope to provide more features to this application over time. Please leave your comments or ask questions on our Firefox Home Support Forum. Designers, let the creative juices flow and participate in the Firefox Home iPhone Skin Design Challenge.

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