ilikenwf writes "Pioneers of the Inevitable has announced on their blog that they will be folding on June 28. Started in 2007, the company went on to create the Songbird Desktop and mobile players, as well as the Songbird.me Facebook app. Their legacy lives on in Nightingale, an open source fork of the Songbird Desktop player that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac. No word yet on whether or not their currently closed source code will be opened up or not, but their contributions to the world of open source software are appreciated, and won't be forgotten."
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
An anonymous reader writes "Today Mozilla announced the Mozilla Science Lab, a project to help modernize scientific practices to make better use of the open web. "Scientists created the web — but the open web still hasn't transformed scientific practice to the same extent we've seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the "analog" age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around "papers," for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.' Hopefully this can be another step in moving away from traditional publishing practices, and encourage a new generation of scientists to make their data available in more useful ways."
Nerval's Lobster writes "In an open letter addressed to U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller, Google chief legal officer David Drummond again insisted that reports of his company freely offering user data to the NSA and other agencies were untrue. 'However,' he wrote, 'government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.' In light of that, Drummond had a request of the two men: 'We therefore ask you to help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope.' Apparently Google's numbers would show 'that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made.' Google, Drummond added, 'has nothing to hide.'" Another open letter was sent to Congress from a variety of internet companies and civil liberties groups (headlined by Mozilla, the EFF, the ACLU, and the FSF), asking them to enact legislation to prohibit the kind of surveillance apparently going on at the NSA and to hold accountable the people who implemented it. (A bipartisan group of senators has just come forth with legislation that would end such surveillance.) In addition to the letter, the ACLU sent a lawsuit as well, directed at President Obama, Eric Holder, the NSA, Verizon and the Dept. of Justice (filing, PDF). They've also asked (PDF) for a release of court records relevant to the scandal. Mozilla has also launched Stopwatching.us, a campaign to "demand a full accounting of the extent to which our online data, communications and interactions are being monitored." Other reactions: Tim Berners-Lee is against it, Australia's Foreign Minister doesn't mind it, the European Parliament has denounced it, and John Oliver is hilarious about it (video). Meanwhile, Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked the information about the NSA's surveillance program, is being praised widely as a hero and a patriot. There's already a petition on Whitehouse.gov to pardon him for his involvement, and it's already reached half the required number of signatures for a response from the Obama administration.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla is planning a major design overhaul of its flagship browser with the release of Firefox 25, slated to arrive in October. The company makes a point to discuss its plans for changes openly, and this upcoming new version is by no means an exception. In fact, even though Firefox 22 is in the Beta channel, Firefox 23 is in the Aurora channel, and Firefox 24 is in the Nightly channel, Mozilla has set up a special Nightly UX channel for Firefox 25. Grab it here."
It's not called Google Grand Canyon View, but Street View can show you what the canyon looks like even though there are no streets there -- or in the Meteor Crater or thousands of other places Google Street View Cars or tricycles or other vehicles can't go. How? With a 40 pound, human-carried version of the camera rig in the cars, complete with GPS and a "pause" button in case the human motive power system needs to take a break. But, asks Slashdot's Tim Lord, what about new, small cameras? Like GoPro? Don't they make the Trekker rig kind of obsolete? Well... Google's always working on "new and improved" everything, so the next version of the Trekker is likely to be kind of interesting.
hypnosec writes "Mozilla has confirmed reports that indicated a probable collaboration with Foxconn for development of Firefox OS based devices. Announcing the 'wide ranging partnership' with Foxconn, Mozilla's SVP of Mobile Devices noted in a blog post that collaboration between the two companies 'demonstrates the full potential of Firefox OS,' and it would not only enable the smartphone 'but also a wide range of mobile devices.'"
Trailrunner7 writes "Bug bounty programs have been a boon for both researchers and the vendors who sponsor them. From the researcher's perspective, having a lucrative outlet for the work they put in finding vulnerabilities is an obvious win. Many researchers do this work on their own time, outside of their day jobs and with no promise of financial reward. The willingness of vendors such as Google, Facebook, PayPal, Barracuda, Mozilla and others to pay significant amounts of money to researchers who report vulnerabilities to them privately has given researchers both an incentive to find more vulnerabilities and a motivation to not go the full disclosure route. This set of circumstances could be an opportunity for the federal government to step in and create its own separate bug reward program to take up the slack. Certain government agencies already are buying vulnerabilities and exploits for offensive operations. But the opportunity here is for an organization such as US-CERT, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, to offer reasonably significant rewards for vulnerability information to be used for defensive purposes. There are a large number of software vendors who don't pay for vulnerabilities, and many of them produce applications that are critical to the operation of utilities, financial systems and government networks. DHS has a massive budget–a $39 billion request for fiscal 2014–and a tiny portion of that allocated to buy bugs from researchers could have a significant effect on the security of the nation's networks. Once the government buys the vulnerability information, it could then work with the affected vendors on fixes, mitigations and notifications for customers before details are released."
The Register is one of several outlets reporting (based on a Reuters report) that Mozilla is working with Foxconn on a mobile device and "plans to unveil it at an event next week." Firefox OS is already running on other makers' phones; CNET speculates that this new device may be a tablet, which matches the Register's "insider" information.
hypnosec writes "Mozilla is not going ahead with its plans to block third-party cookies by default in the Beta version of its upcoming Firefox 22. Mozilla needs more time to analyze the outcome of blocking these cookies. The non-profit organization released Firefox Aurora on April 5 with a patch by Jonathan Mayer built into it which would only allow cookies from those websites which the user has visited. The patch would block the ones from sites which hadn't been visited yet. The reason for Mozilla's change in plans is that they're currently looking into 'false positives.' If a user visits one part of a group of site, cookies from that part will be allowed, but cookies from related sites in the group may be blocked, and they're worried it will create a poor user experience. On the other side of the coin, there are 'false negatives.' Just because a user may have visited a particular site doesn't mean she is comfortable with the idea of being tracked."
An anonymous reader writes "A report released this morning looks at the maintainability level of the Firefox codebase through five measures of architectural complexity. It finds that 11% of files in Firefox are highly interconnected, a value that went up significantly following version 3.0 and that making a change to a randomly selected file can, on average, directly impact eight files and indirectly impact over 1,400 files. All the data is made available and the report comes with an interactive Web-based exploratory tool." The complexity exploration tool is pretty neat.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 21 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Improvements include the addition of multiple social providers on the desktop as well as open source fonts on Android. In the changelog, the company included an interesting point that's worth elaborating on: 'Preliminary implementation of Firefox Health Report.' Mozilla has revealed that FHR so far logs 'basic health information' about Firefox: time to start up, total running time, and number of crashes. Mozilla says the initial report is pretty simple but will grow 'in the coming months.' You can get it now from Mozilla."
MojoKid writes "Is the world really ready to shift from native apps to HTML5 Web apps? Probably not, at least not in North America yet, but developing nations may see it differently. That's the hope with Firefox OS, a web-based operating system that's (in theory) a lot more open. Of course, one needs only look at Microsoft's battle to get Windows Phone into a place of competition to realize that gaining market share is no easy task, which is why Mozilla will soon be handing out Firefox OS developer phones in order to bolster that. The company's goal is to get app builders to build for Firefox OS, so Mozilla is sending out free Preview handsets for folks to tinker with."
An anonymous reader writes "Frédéric Wang, an engineer at the MathJax project, reports that the latest nightly build of Firefox now passes the MathML Acid2 test. Screenshots in his post show a comparison with the latest nightly Chrome Canary, and it's not pretty. He writes 'Google developers forked Webkit and decided to remove from Blink all the code (including MathML) on which they don't plan to work in the short term.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Thursday announced the release of Firefox OS Simulator 3.0, polishing all the features in the preview release as well as making a few more improvements. You can download version 3.0 now for Windows, Mac, and Linux from Mozilla Add-Ons. The following features included in the simulator are now functionally stable, according to Mozilla:
- Push to Device
- Rotation simulation
- Basic geolocation API simulation
- Manifest validation
- Stability fixes for installation and updates to apps
- Newer versions of the Firefox rendering engine and Gaia (the UI for Firefox OS)."
Jakob Perry organized the first LinuxFest Northwest when he was still a student. He got off to a good start: now LFNW has been running for 14 years, and has retained its flavor as a low-key, friendly conference. Exhibitors from Linux distributions from tiny (CrunchBang) to huge (Red Hat) were on hand for 2013, and enough speakers and topics to fill about 80 different sessions over the two days of the conference. Not all of it's about Linux per se, either: the EFF and FSF were represented, along with a BSD table, and a local astronomy group with a great name. At this year's event I ran into the first Firefox OS phone that I've had a chance to play with in person. Firefox OS integrates Linux by way of the Android kernel, but is otherwise its own beast. Ubuntu and Mozilla contributor Benjamin Kerensa was on hand to talk about what makes it tick, and to give a demo of the all-HTML5 interface.
nk497 writes "Mozilla has sent a cease-and-desist order to Gamma International, after it was revealed the controversial creator of spyware for governments was disguising itself as Firefox on PCs. 'We cannot abide a software company using our name to disguise online surveillance tools that can be — and in several cases actually have been — used by Gamma's customers to violate citizens' human rights and online privacy,' Mozilla said." DavidGilbert99 writes on the wider implications of the Citizen Lab report: "Governmental spying software has been in the news a lot in recent months and today Citizen Lab has revealed its latest findings, showing that one of the most prolific tools in use, Finfisher, is now in use in 36 countries around the world [beware the auto playing video ads with sound]." And, Voulnet adds "According to analysis and report by CitizenLab of the Gamma FinFisher trojan spyware used against dissidents in the middle east and around the world, the FinFisher codebase uses the LGPL GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library, possibly without adhering to its distribution restrictions."
ndogg writes "Mozilla is considering pulling TeliaSonera from its list of root certificate SSL providers. They have asked for comments on this on their mailing list. They're concerned about the use of the certificates by those governments for spying on its citizens, particularly in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan — where TeliaSonera operates subsidiaries or is heavily invested. Mozilla's concern is that TeliaSonera has possibly issued certificates that allow hardline government servers to masquerade as legitimate websites — so-called man-in-the-middle attacks — and decrypt web traffic. This alleged activity would contradict Mozilla's policy against 'knowingly issuing certificates without the knowledge of the entities whose information is referenced in the certificates.'"
krygny sends this quote from The Economist: "The internet browser you are using to read this blog post could help a potential employer decide whether or not you would do well at a job. How might your choice of browser affect your job prospects? When choosing among job applicants, employers may be swayed by a range of factors, knowingly and unknowingly. ... Evolv, a company that monitors recruitment and workplace data, has suggested that there are better ways to identify the right candidate for job. ... Among other things, its analysis found that those applicants who have bothered to install new web browsers on their computers (such as Mozilla's Firefox or Google's Chrome) perform better and stay in their posts for 15% longer, on average."