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  1. My theory is that this causes the browser-wide Firefox developer console to capture the exception object, which in turn presumably captures a bunch of JavaScript state, variables, and code, and means that none of them can be garbage collected the way they normally would be. Trigger such exceptions very often and there you go. Replacing the console.log(e) with 'console.log("some-message")' seemed to usually make the prominent leaks go away. The loss of information was irrelevant; it's not as if I'm going to debug addons (or core Firefox code written in JavaScript). I never even look at the browser console. It's possible that opening the browser console every so often and explicitly clearing it would make my memory usage drop. I may try that the next time I have a bloated-up Firefox, just to see. It's also possible that there's a magic option that causes Firefox to just throw away everything sent to console.log(), which would be fine by me. Article source
  2. The WebExtension version of the popular content blocker uBlock Origin has landed on Mozilla's official Add-ons website for the Firefox web browser. A big upcoming shift from legacy add-ons to WebExtensions forces add-on developers to port their legacy add-ons to ensure compatibility with Firefox 57 and newer versions of the browser. Mozilla plans to cut off legacy support in Firefox 57 Stable which means essentially that add-ons that are not WebExtensions by the time won't work anymore in the web browser. Legacy add-on developers face three major issues: first that Mozilla is still working on WebExtension APIs, second that WebExtensions will be limited in what developers can do with them when compared to legacy add-ons, and third that it is just a couple of months before the switch happens. uBlock Origin WebExtension on Firefox AMO Work on a WebExtension version of uBlock Origin began back in October 2016. The extension was released on GitHub back then which meant that it was not signed at that point in time. Users who were interested in the new version were only able to install it as a temporary add-on. Good for testing, but not really practicable for every day use. The move to being distributed through Mozilla's official add-on repository takes care of the issue. The WebExtension version of uBlock Origin is available on the development channel on AMO currently. Firefox users who want to install the extension can do so in the following way: Advertisement Load the official uBlock Origin page on the Mozilla website. Scroll down on the page until you find the Development Channel section on it. Click on Development Channel to expand it. Either click directly on the "add to Firefox" link to install the latest build -- which is the WebExtension version of uBlock Origin", or click on "see complete development channel history" to list previous versions as well. Note: Existing uBlock Origin users will notice a delay during the process. This is caused by the importing of data from legacy storage to WebExtension storage. The process may take up to five minutes. The legacy storage won't be touched during the process so that it is possible to return to the legacy extension at a later point in time. The WebExtension storage will be deleted however when you uninstall the uBlock Origin WebExtension. Other things worth noting are: The new version is a hybrid extension right now. It will show up as legacy in about:addons. script:contains filter do not work. cosmetic filters are limited as the browser's user styles cannot be used for that anymore. Users who are on the "legacy" dev channel will notice that the "dev channel will cease to work". These users need to install the new version manually it appears. Closing Words The publication of the WebExtension version of uBlock Origin on Mozilla AMO marks the next step in the development of the new version of the popular add-on for Firefox. There is work to be done for sure, but Gorhill still has several months before the change hits Firefox. The first version is less powerful right now than the current legacy add-on version for Firefox. Most Firefox users may want to stick with the legacy add-on version for now because of that. Article source
  3. Firefox browser New Tab Page has been replaced by Activity Stream, which is now landed as system add-on in version 56 and no longer a text pilot experiment. Activity Stream, which Mozilla says helps you ‘rediscover the things you love the most on the web’, displays thumbnails of top sites along with highlights from your bookmarks and browsing history. Activity Stream is Firefox’s new tab page in version 56 For each thumbnail displayed, these options are available in the context menu: pin, open in a New Window, Open in a New Private Window, Dismiss and Delete from History. The Activity Stream feature schedule to ship with Firefox 56, set to display and search bar and top sites, which can be hidden by clicking on the settings shown after clicking on the cog wheel. The hidden preference for AS is ‘browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.enabled’, you can toggle that preference value to attain old New Tab Page, but that pref won’t last for long as we know. These are the activity stream default sites, which you can find in about: config. Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Yahoo, ebay and Twitter. Firefox displays them only when the browser has no history to fetch and display the data, case with new Firefox installations. FYI, Mozilla is testing an experimental version of Activity Stream with Pocket integration, which you may see in later versions of the browser. Article source
  4. How to become a part of the future of talking to machines THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has announced that it is to release a library of audio to make it easier for users to create voice control apps. 'Common Voice' will crowdsource and file 10,000 hours of audio in a variety of accents and then make it available to anyone who needs it to analyse and verify snippets of data within their programs. M02!//@ wants your help, too. If you fancy it, you can spend some time reading out some text to get the system set up. There's a website or an iPhone app. You can also validate the voices of others who have previously read sentences to train the system on what good speaking English does sound like. This is very important as Samsung's engineers will tell you, after they failed to launch Bixby, the firm's AI voice assistant, along with the Galaxy S8 because there wasn't enough big data in English to do so. But it's the little guy that Mozilla is interested in. The aim of Common Voice is to democratise access to voice recognition. It's a worthy goal and a good example of the kind of projects that we can expect to see ^^*2!''AA diversifying into as it seeks to go beyond the browser market. Mozilla explains: "Experts think voice recognition applications represent the next big thing. The problem is the current ecosystem favours Big Tech and leaves out the next wave of innovators. These are the people who will take this incredible technology to the next level." "How is the game rigged for big tech? First, the data that is used to 'teach' computers how to understand our voices are biased towards English, Chinese and a select group of languages. The devices these data sets power don't understand all of us. "Second, these data sets are proprietary. Little guys like students, startups, and researchers who want to build voice-enabled devices can only access fairly limited data sets. Those can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. "The time has come for an open source data sets that can change the game. The time is right for Project Common Voice." The company's market share with Firefox has plummeted in recent years, but the existence of the Mozilla Foundation remains crucial and projects like this are an example of why. Yes, even with the silly logo. Project Common Voice continues into the Autumn before the results are released to developers in Q4. Article source
  5. TLS is the protocol invoked under the covers when viewing secure websites (those loaded with HTTPS rather than HTTP). There are multiple versions of the TLS protocol, and the most recent version, 1.2, is the most secure. Last time, I discussed tweaking Firefox so that it only supports TLS version 1.2 and not the older versions (1.0 and 1.1) of the protocol. But that begs the question: what happens when a security-reinforced copy of Firefox encounters a website that does not support TLS 1.2? The answer is shown below. The error message from Firefox 54 when a website does not support TLS 1.2 and it only supports TLS 1.2 For the benefit of search engines, the error reads The security protocol it refers to is TLS. There are three problems, however, with this Firefox error message. For one thing, TLS 1.0 and 1.1, which the website is using, is indeed supported by Firefox - its just that a particular instance of the browser was configured not to use them. And, annoyingly, the message does not say what unsupported version it encountered. Finally, the bottom of the message is a trap. Specifically, the note that "It looks like your network security settings might be causing this. Do you want the default settings to be restored?" along with the blue "Restore default settings" button. I consider this a trap because it resets Firefox to again accept the older, less secure TLS versions (1.0 and 1.1). The screen shot is from Firefox version 54 Windows, the error message on OS X is the same. On Android, however, Firefox 54 does not say that your network security settings are the issue and there is no button to restore the default settings. VERIFYING THE TWEAK You may go months before encountering a website that does not support TLS 1.2. In that case, how do you know the tweaking of Firefox really worked? In this blog I have repeatedly praised the SSL Server test from Qualys/SSL Labs. The same company also offers the reverse test. That is, rather than test websites, it tests your web browser. Visit the SSL Client Test site and the test runs automatically. Scroll down to the Protocols section. If the tweaking worked as expected, you should see a "Yes" for TLS 1.2 and a "No" for TLS 1.1, TLS 1.0, SSL 3 and SSL 2. That's good Defensive Computing. It also reports on TLS 1.3, but as this version is still in draft mode, it can be ignored. LIVE TESTING Tester pages are available at the badssl.com site, which is maintained by April King from Mozilla and Lucas Garron from Google. There are two test websites, one that only supports TLS version 1.1 and another that only supports version 1.0. They are TLS 1.1=> https://tls-v1-1.badssl.com:1011 TLS 1.0=> https://tls-v1-0.badssl.com:1010 If you try to load these pages in a normal web browser, all is well. But try to load them in a copy of Firefox that has been restricted to TLS 1.2 and they fail. Finally, is limiting Firefox to TLS 1.2 really worth the trouble? Qualys thinks so. At their SSL server test, any website that does not support TLS 1.2, can't score higher than a C. Deservedly so. Still to come: limiting Chrome and Internet Explorer to TLS 1.2, and doing the same with the Endless browser on iOS. Article source
  6. The Firefox web browser ships with an add-on management interface that users may load directly by typing about:addons in the browser's address bar, or by using menus of the browser the page is linked from. The management interface comes with several pages that separate extensions from themes, plugins, services, scripts and other "add-ons" that users may add to Firefox in one way or another. There is also a Get Add-ons page that lists add-on suggestions to users. It is making the rounds right now connects to Google Analytics when users access it. Nicolas Petton posted a message on Twitter on July 11, 2017 that Mozilla was using Google Analytics on the about:addons page. The message was picked up on social news sites such as Reddit and Hacker News shortly thereafter. Some users voiced concerned about the integration of Google Analytics in Firefox (on this one page), stating that a browser that advertises with being privacy-focused should not do that. Mozilla employees provided detailed information on the implementation on various sites, including on GitHub where a issue was raised by a concerned user. According to Mozilla employee Matthew Riley MacPherson, known as tofumatt on GitHub, about:addons loads an iFrame with content hosted on a Mozilla website which contains the Google Analytics script. Mozilla has a special agreement with Google which means that the data is aggregated and anonymised. Another Mozilla employee, who goes by the handle potch, added on Hacker News that Mozilla negotiated a special deal with Google that only a "subset of data" is collected, and that the "data is only used for statistical purposes". When asked why Mozilla was not using self-hosted analytics scripts like Piwik, Matthew replied that hosting their own analytics product -- Piwik in particular -- was more work for "a worse product". Matthew suggested to disable the tracking for users who have opted out of Telemetry tracking in the Firefox browser. This has not been implemented yet, and it is unclear whether this is going to happen. Ultimately, this seems to be Mozilla's stance on the issue right now according to Matthew: We won't be discontinuing our usage of analytics for our web properties, but I do think it would be nice to consider easy opt-outs for users like yourself who clearly do not want to participate in analytics sharing. The maker of uBlock Origin posted an interesting observation in the thread as well. The legacy version of uBlock Origin can block the requests on internal Firefox pages, while the WebExtension version cannot. Legacy uBlock Origin can block the network request to GA. However webext-hybrid uBO as per Network pane in dev tools does not block it. Same for pure webext Ghostery, the network request to GA was not blocked, again as per Network pane in dev tools. What is concerning is that both uBO webext-hybrid and Ghostery report the network request to GA as being blocked, while it is really not as per Network pane in dev tools. It's as if the order to block/redirect the network request was silently ignored by the webRequest API, and this causes webext-based blockers to incorrectly and misleadingly report to users what is really happening internally, GA was not really blocked on about:addons, but there is no way for the webext blockers to know this and report properly to users. The Tor browser developers, a browser that is a modified version of Firefox for added security and privacy, have voiced concerns as well. Disallow 'about:addons' unless the extensions directory is volatile, because regardless of what Mozilla PR says about respecting privacy, loading Google Analytics in a page that gets loaded as an IFRAME as part of an 'about:' internal page, is anything but. Tip: Firefox users who don't use Get Add-ons can disable the functionality in the following way: Load about:config?filter=extensions.webservice.discoverURL Double-click on the preference, and remove all characters so that the value is blank. Restart Firefox. See how to block automatic connections that Firefox makes for additional information, or the list of Firefox security and privacy preferences. Closing Words It is clear that there are multiple points of view on the issue at hand: Some users think that Firefox should never connect to third-parties without explicit user consent. Others think that the issue is blown out of proportion, as it is limited to a single page in the browser. Mozilla acknowledges that tracking is taking place, confirms that it has a special deal in place with Google, and that it considers opting users out that have opted out of Telemetry tracking. My personal stance on the matter is that I think it is unwise to integrate anything that connects back to Google in the Firefox browser. Unwise because it torpedos Mozilla's stance on privacy in the eyes of some Firefox users. Article source Others source: Discussions on reddit Firefox tracks users with Google Analytics in the add-on settings : linux Firefox secretly tracks users with Google Analytics in the add-on settings : programming
  7. Firefox Nightly users on Windows may configure the web browser to move Web Extensions to their own process in the most recent builds. Mozilla's work on Firefox's multi-process architecture continues. The organization rolled out the new architecture to Firefox Stable this year, and increased the number of multi-process content processes in the recently released Firefox 54 for some systems as well. The separation of Firefox core from websites and plugins improves stability of the browser, as crashes or slow downs that are caused by sites open in the browser won't affect the core process anymore. Downside to this is an increase in RAM usage. Out of Process Web Extensions in Firefox Nightly Firefox users may flip a switch in the most recent Nightly versions of the web browser to move Web Extensions to their own process as well. This benefits browser stability and sandboxing as well, and it should improve the responsiveness of the main user interface further. All WebExtensions are moved to a single content process when the feature is enabled. This means that they are less likely to crash or hang Firefox, and that security issues in WebExtensions are harder to exploit on top of that. Firefox Nightly users may enable out of process Web Extensions in Firefox in the following way: Load about:config?filter=extensions.webextensions.remote in the Firefox address bar. This should display the extensions.webextensions.remote on about:config directly. Double-click on the preference to set it to true. Restart the web browser. A value of true enables out of process WebExtensions in Firefox. You can undo the change at any time by setting the preference to false. When set to true, Firefox will use a content process for WebExtensions that are installed in the web browser. Note that this appears to be limited to WebExtensions; this means that legacy add-ons appear to still run in the main Firefox process. Firefox supports another preference that users may set to change the number of extension processes. Load about:config?filter=dom.ipc.processCount.extension in the Firefox address bar. The default value is 1. You can modify it by double-clicking on the value. Enter another value, e.g. 4 for four extension processes. Restart the browser. Note that the preference depends on extensions.webextensions.remote. Closing Words Moving WebExtensions to their own content process improves Firefox in several significant ways. I'm not sure if the new feature applies to system add-ons that are WebExtensions as well, or if this is limited to user installed WebExtensions. If the former is the case, the move will benefit all users of the browser; if the latter is the case, only users who have installed WebExtensions will benefit from it. Article source
  8. Avira announced today that it has integrated adblocking functionality into the company's browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The decision to integrate an adblocker into company products came as a result of a study that Avira ran back in February 2017. One of the takeaways of the study was that about a quarter of all hits could be tracked to the domains of five advertising networks. What this meant was that about 25% of all attacks originated from advertisement. Avira ran the study on a sample group of 11.5 million unique active devices during February 2017. A total of 3.67 million detections were recorded by Avira URL Cloud in that time period; 2.4 million of those were malware related, and 817000 phishing related. Of these 3.67 million detections, 894000 were traced back to five advertising networks. Avira names the advertising networks in question on the official company blog and mentions that the actual number of hits that can be traced back to advertising companies is larger as smaller advertising networks were not factored in. Avira integrated an adblocker, courtesy of AdGuard, into company products as a response to the analysis of the studay. With more than 24% of attacks traced back to advertising, Avira hopes that it will have a big impact on customer safety on the Internet. The company products in question, Avira Safe Shopping for Google Chrome and Avira Browser Safety for Mozilla Firefox and Opera, blocked malicious ads in previous versions already. The update introduces full ad blocking to the products to eliminate advertisement as an attack vector. Updates for both browser extensions are already available. Existing users may receive automatic updates that incorporate the new adblocking functionality. New users may download the extensions directly from Avira. The integrated adblocker comes with options to turn it off on select websites. Click on the icon in the browser's address bar to get started. It highlights the site's safety status, and the number of trackers and advertisements that were blocked on the page. You can toggle the "block on this website" slider to disable adblocking on the site in question. The option to show "useful ads" in search results is enabled however. You may want to turn this off as well with a click on Settings and toggling the option. Closing Words Advertisement on the Internet is something that more and more Internet users don't like, and rightfully so. There is tracking, the fact that even the largest advertising networks may serve malicious ads, and obnoxious ads on top of all that. If advertising companies don't get their acts together soon, and do something about all three of these issues, there is little hope that a sole focus on advertisement is a viable business model going forward. It is clear that adblocking is on the rise. Google plans to integrate an adblocker in Chrome in the future that blocks all ads on sites with "annoying ads". While Google may be in the position to do something about it, considering that it is a major advertisement company and has a firm grip on the browser market, it remains to be seen if it can pursuade users and publishers. Article source
  9. If you want to access Firefox about:config preferences directly, you can do so to speed up the editing of preferences, or bookmark them. Firefox's about:config feature, and the underlying structure that powers it, is a mighty feature that is more powerful than that of any other browser out there. While Chrome or Edge come with their own experimental flags section, these pale when compared to what Firefox users have access to. The usual method of editing these preferences is to load about:config, type the name of the preference that you want to edit, and start editing it once it is listed. Quick jump to about:config entries If you have used Chrome, or a Chromium-based browser, you may know that you can jump directly to any of the experimental preferences that browser ships with. A similar system is available in Firefox, but it is not highlighted anywhere in the browser's UI. Basically, what you do is use the following URL structure to jump directly to any preference on about:config: about:config?filter=Preference You see an example of that on the screenshot above. The URL about:config?filter=layout.css.servo.enabled takes you directly to the preference. It is a shortcut to opening about:config and entering the preference name manually in the search field at the top of the page. What is interesting about this is that you can type partial preference names as well, e.g. about:config?filter=sync to list any preference that matches the term in its name or value. This filter parameter servers two purposes. First, it lets you get quickly to any preference. That is great, but it may not save you a lot of time if you have to type it manually. It may be useful if you use partial preference names though. The second option however is super useful. You can bookmark these preference links to access them quicker. This is super useful if you change a preference regularly, e.g. toggling something on or off depending on what you do in Firefox. Closing Words The idea to use the filter parameter to bookmark about:config preference listings is what appeals the most to me when it comes to it. Quick jumping is nice, but I'd guess you are probably equally fast if you open about:config manually and type part of the preference's name in the search field. Article source
  10. Generally, Firefox is available as a small installer on its download page. Mozilla has redesigned the Stub Installer for Firefox and will be available with Firefox 55. The new installer, unlike before versions, doesn’t offer installation options like changing destination directory, if user wants such options, they’ve to download offline installer by visiting this link. Firefox 55 Stub Installer without advanced install options While downloading necessary files from Mozilla servers, the new Firefox installer displays the following message on your screen. Fast, responsive online experiences. Compatibility with more of your favorite sites. Built-in Privacy tools for safer browsing. This is the wording you see in the release notes for this change. “Windows stub installer is now streamlined for simpler installation. Users requiring advanced install options should use full installers.” Article source
  11. Compiler warnings are mostly good: they identify real problems, and when false positives do occur they are usually easy to work around. However, if they’re not fatal, they tend to be ignored and build up. (See bug 187528 for an idea!) One way to prevent the build-up is to make them fatal, so they become errors. But won’t that cause problems? Not if you’re careful. Here’s how we did it for Firefox. Choose with some care which warnings end up fatal. Don’t be afraid to modify your choices as time goes on. Introduce a mechanism for enabling fatal warnings on a per-directory basis. Mozilla code used to have a moz.build directive called FAIL_ON_WARNINGS for this purpose. Set things up so that fatal warnings are off by default, but enabled on continuous integration (CI). This means the primary coverage is via CI. You don’t want fatal warnings on by default because it causes problems for developers who use non-standard compilers (e.g. pre-release versions with new warning classes). Developers using the same compilers as CI can turn it on locally if they want without problem. Allow per-file exceptions for particular kinds of warnings, because there are occasionally warnings you just want to ignore. Fix warnings one directory at a time, and turn on fatal warnings for that directory as soon as it’s warning-free. Invert the sense of the per-directory mechanism once you’ve converted more than half of the directories. For Mozilla code we now have the ALLOW_COMPILER_WARNINGS directive. It’s almost exclusively used for directories containing third-party code which is not under our control. Gradually expand the coverage of which compilers you have fatal warnings for. Mozilla code now does this for GCC, clang, and MSVC. Congratulations! You now have fatal warnings on everywhere that is practical. With a setup like this, it’s possible for a patch to compile on a developer’s machine but fail to compile on CI. But that’s just one of many ways in which full CI runs may fail when local runs don’t. So it’s not as bad as it seems. Also, before upgrading the compilers on CI you need to fix any new warnings. But this isn’t a bad thing. It took a long time for Firefox to reach this stage, but I think it was worth the effort. Thank you to Chris Peterson and all the others who helped with this. Article source
  12. There has been overflow menu under the ‘>>’ icon since a long time in Firefox browser, that appears on toolbar only when your browser window is narrow to display all toolbar icons. Till now to save space on the toolbar or to make it tidy and clutter-free, you used to move unnecessary icons to old hamburger menu or customize window, which not the case in Firefox 57 as the photon menu is no longer customizable. In Photon customize mode: The overflow menu will be shown for the placement of icons and it has been set as destination instead of hamburger menu. You can now pin icons to overflow menu permanently and unpin them later whenever you want. When you upgrade from Firefox 56 to Firefox 57, which ships Photon, all icons (including webextensions’) that existed on hamburger menu will show up in the overflow menu. Article source Firefox 57 Photon Onboarding Tour For users installing Firefox 56 for the first time Mozilla to show onboarding overlay which appears when you click on the fox icon in about:home or new tab page, which contains 5 tours for existing non-photon features such as private browsing, add-ons, Customize, one-click search and Default Browser. Photon team to add additional tours to onboarding overlay in Firefox 57 with which they ship Photon design. These tours will introduce new photon features. Users who don’t want to see the tour will be allowed to hide the tour with a checkbox. At present, you can check the photon onboarding tour in latest Firefox Nightly. Do note, currently, Nightly has Photon UI enabled by default, so if you want to see non-Photon designed Firefox 56 tour, you need to flip the preference ‘browser.photon.structure.enabled’ value to false. Article source
  13. UBlock Origin 1.13.0 is a new version of the popular content blocking extension for Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers. It introduces two new features to the extension: Element Zapper and CSP filtering. The latest version of uBlock Origin is already listed on the official Chrome Web Store and Mozilla AMO website. Interested users can download it from the extension stores, existing users may use the automatic update functionality of the browser to update to the new version. The new version of the content blocker ships with two new features that will benefit users of the extension. Update: Chrome users here on Ghacks have reported issues with the new version. The update corrups the extension so that it is deactivated automatically in Chrome. You may want to wait for a patch before you make the update. Element Zapper Element Zapper has been designed to remove elements on web pages that you open temporarily. While you can hide elements on web pages temporarily using Developer Tools, the main benefit that Element Zapper offers is that it simplifies this process. Click on the uBlock Origin icon in the browser's address bar, and select the new Element Zapper icon (the lightning icon) to make use of it. This enables the element picker mode. Move the mouse cursor over the element that you want to remove from the page -- an overlay, annoying advertisement, auto-playing video, an image, or any other element -- and click on it. The element is removed right away, and it stays hidden until you reload the page. You can exit the mode at any time without removing an element by pressing Esc. There are also two options to remove multiple elements without exiting Element Zapper mode. You can hold down the Shift-key before you click on elements to remove them, or may hover over elements and hit the Del-key instead. Element Zapper mode remains active when you do this, so that you can remove multiple elements on a web page without having to activate the mode each time. Element Zapper mode has been designed for situations where rule creation does not make sense. This can be the case for web resources that you won't visit again for instance, or for testing functionality before you add a permanent rule to uBlock Origin's set of rules. Sometimes we visit a page on a site for which we do not intend to become a regular visitor, and many sites nowadays will throw nuisance visual elements preventing you from accessing the content. However oftentimes we would rather not go through the process of creating one or more filters for just that one visit. This is where the element-zapper mode is useful: you can quickly get rid of the nuisance visual element without having to pollute your filter set for this one single visit. The second new feature enables you to inject any Content Security Policy (csp) header in pages that match the filter. Currently all the following modifiers are supported when used with csp=: third-party, domain=, important, badfilter. Additionally, exception filters for csp= can be crafted two ways: Must be exact csp= match, i.e. @@||example.com/nice$csp=frame-src 'none' will cancel only whatever filter tries to inject exactly a csp=frame-src 'none' filter, but not a csp=frame-src 'self' filter; OR @@...$csp will cancel all CSP injection for URLs which match the filter. All this required refactoring on my side, as the semantic for csp= filters is that all matching filters must be found (and furthermore applied according to important and @@), while normal filters only the first hit is returned. The latest version of uBlock Origin supports the following keyboard shortcuts: Alt-Z to open the Element Zapper mode. Alt-X to open the Element Picker mode. Alt-L to open the Logger. Chrome users can customize shortcuts by loading chrome://extensions/ and clicking on the "keyboard shortcuts" link on the page. Firefox users need to create the following three preferences using about:config extensions.ublock0.shortcuts.launch-element-zapper extensions.ublock0.shortcuts.launch-element-picker extensions.ublock0.shortcuts.launch-logger Setting a value to - disables the shortcut in Firefox, and resetting them restores the initial values. You find additional information about the release on the project's GitHub webpage. Article source
  14. Firefox Focus for Android Browse like no one’s watching. The new Firefox Focus automatically blocks a wide range of online trackers — from the moment you launch it to the second you leave it. Easily erase your history, passwords and cookies, so you won’t get followed by things like unwanted ads. Firefox Focus for Android preview Homepage Focus / Klar - v1.0 RC 1 pocmo released this Jun 13, 2017 · 11 commits to master since this release Focus 1.0 - Release Candidate 1 (All countries) Klar 1.0 - Release Candidate 1 (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) Downloads 3.24 MB Focus-1.0-RC1-2017-06-13.apk 2.97 MB Klar-1.0-RC1-2017-06-14.apk EDITED: Google Play: Firefox Focus: Private Browser Requires Android 5.0 and up
  15. Mozilla plans to launch a redesigned options page later this year in Firefox, and one of the changes is a search option to find preferences quickly. The new preferences page lists less groups than before. The effect is that some preferences have moved to another location, and that users may need some time adjusting to the new hierarchy of preferences. Good news is that nothing is removed, so that all preferences that exist in Firefox 54 Stable will also be available when the change hits that introduces the new layout of the Firefox options. According to a Mozilla study, the new layout improves the "average success score", indicating whether a user found a particular preference, by about 30%. In short: the new options layout is more compact than the old. Less clicking, but more scrolling is the consequence. Firefox's Preferences Search One new feature of the new preferences page of Firefox is that search is available there as well. The new search field is displayed at the top of the preferences page. You can access it on any page of the preferences to find all matching preferences or values of those preferences. A search for cookie for instance highlights the preferences of the browser that use that term, among them the show cookies button and the preference "accept cookies from sites", but also a preference that changes how cookies are handled (use custom settings for history). The search did not highlight one instance of cookies on the screenshot above though. Not sure if that is by design, as its parent option was highlighted, or a bug. The search finds preference names and values. You can search for any integrated search engine name for instance, and be taken directly to the preference that lets you manage it. Search is nearly instant, but there is a short lag before results are displayed in the browser. Verdict Searching preferences is a good addition to Firefox, especially since it goes along well with the redesign and may help users find preferences that were moved to another location quickly. Firefox is not the first browser to integrate search on the options page. Google Chrome supports search, and so do most Chromium-based browsers such as Vivaldi and Opera. On a personal note, I'd like to see an option added to search to find about:config preferences that match as well. Article source
  16. A first Beta version is now ready for public testing As expected, a day after Mozilla launched Firefox 54 as the new stable version of the widely-used web browser, the next release entered Beta testing, in this case, Firefox 55. Preliminary release notes for Firefox 55 have already been published online, so we can't help but notice that it will ship with a new technology for using virtual reality (VR) devices, called WebVR. In fact, Mozilla teased Firefox users at the beginning of June with an announcement that it's working on bringing virtual reality support, and Firefox 55 would be the first release of the web browser to get it. "WebVR transforms Virtual Reality (VR) into a first-class experience on the web, giving it the infinite possibilities found in the openness and interoperability of the Web Platform," said Mozilla. "When coupled with WebGL to render 3D graphics, these APIs transform the browser into a platform that allows VR content to be published to the Web and instantaneously consumed from any capable VR device." According to Mozilla, Firefox 55's WebVR virtual reality technology will be enabled by default only on Microsoft Windows systems, supporting the Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE VR headsets, but they plan to extend it to other supported platforms, such as macOS and maybe GNU/Linux in future versions of the web browser if it turns out to be very popular among users and developers alike. New screenshot tool, search suggestions enabled by default, and more Firefox 55 could also come with the new screenshot tool that lets users make screenshots of web pages enabled by default, though Mozilla said that this feature would undergo A/B testing so that it won't be available to all users. Screenshots can be saved locally or uploaded to the cloud. Firefox 55 will also enable search suggestions by default for users who have not yet explicitly opted-out of them. Among other improvements that Mozilla prepared for the next major release of its Firefox web browser, we can mention the ability to instantly restore huge browsing sessions with a large number of tabs, support for printing jobs from within the Print Preview dialog, the ability to move the sidebar (bookmarks, history, synced tabs) to the right edge of the window, and support for searching from the location bar with any of the installed search engines. It also looks like there will be a new Options page under Preferences in Firefox 55 to allow users to fine-tune their web browser's performance. Additionally, users will need to manually activate the Adobe Flash plugin, which will only be allowed on http:// and https:// URL schemes. A first Beta of Firefox 55 is now available for download on GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems if you want to take it for a test drive. Firefox Screenshots Capture just what you want Capture screenshots as you like it Article source
  17. Mozilla plans to ship Firefox's new interface Photon, out with Firefox 57, without a search box for new users of the web browser. Mozilla notes however that the search box won't be removed entirely in Firefox 57. It remains visible for existing Firefox installations where it is displayed on, and remains also an option in the customize menu so that users who want to use it can add it to the main Firefox toolbar. Mozilla's reasoning for the change is summed up in the latest Photon Engineering Newsletter #5. The location bar now can do everything the search box can, and more. So at this point the search box is a vestigial leftover from how browsers worked 10+ years ago, and we’d like to remove it to reclaim precious UI space. Today, no other major browser ships with both a location field and search box. Lets take a closer look at the claim. It is true that neither Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Microsoft Internet Explorer ship with a search bar. In fact, all three of the browsers don't support an extra search box. Other browsers for Windows, Vivaldi or Opera for instance, ship with search box functionality, but it is turned off by default. Some stats on how many users of these browsers (in percent) activate the search box would be useful in this regard. It should not really matter however what other browser developers do or don't do. That's where the second part of the argument comes into play. Mozilla wants to "reclaim precious UI space" by removing it. This is understandable, as the UI is used not only by core navigation buttons and the address bar, but also by a growing number of icons that are either placed by extensions there, or by the Firefox browser natively. If you check out the screenshot above, you will notice that the icons on the address bar take up more space than the search bar, and about the same space as the address bar. Three of the icons have been added by extensions, the remaining icons are default buttons of the Firefox browser. Firefox offers better controls than Google Chrome when it comes to toolbar buttons. Google Chrome users may move the buttons to the menu only for instance, while Firefox users may remove them entirely from the browser UI. The future of the search box in Future Mozilla runs user studies right now to understand better how users of the browser search, and to make sure that Firefox's location bar matches the search needs of the user population. The organization launched on-off search functionality recently for instance in Firefox's address bar for searching using non-default search engines. The organization does note however that it discusses internally what to do when it comes to the search bar for existing users. Photon won’t be removing the search box entirely, you’ll still be able to add it back through Customize Mode if you so desire. (Please put down your pitchforks and torches. Thank you.) We’re still discussing what to do for existing users… The last sentence may make Firefox users nervous who use the search bar, because, what is there to discuss? Mozilla states that it won't remove the Search Box entirely when Firefox 57 comes along, so that new users may add it to the browser, and existing users will continue to have access to it. While it could mean disabling the Search Box by default for existing users of the browser as well, it could also mean considering to remove it entirely from Firefox at once point. The latter seems more likely, especially if the user tests come to the conclusion that the functionality provided by the location bar replicates the core functionality of the separate address bar. The next paragraph can be interpreted in that way as well. There’s a trade-off between proving a fresh, clean, and modern experience as part of the upgrade to Photon (especially for users who haven’t been using the search box), and removing a UI element that some people have come to expect and use. Closing Words I have to admit that I don't use the search box in Firefox as I run all my searches through the location bar (using keywords for the most part if I need to run a search using search engines that are not the default). I'm pretty sure that there will an an outcry by users who use the Search Box if Mozilla decides to remove it entirely. There is the question whether that is worth it, or if it would make more sense to keep the option if the cost of maintaining it is not unreasonably high. Article source
  18. Mozilla Firefox 54.0 - 32bit[x86] and 64bit[x64] Stable[New] + 52.2.0 ESR[New] Mozilla Firefox v54.0 stable + v52.2.0 ESR available for download. Tip: If you want to get rid of web notifications completely, you can Enable/Disable using about:config and toggle "dom.webnotifications.enabled" to "false" and Restart Firefox. If you want it back, just toggle to "true" and Restart Firefox. Release Notes: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/54.0/releasenotes/ Download Links - Stable: All Languages and OS: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/ FTP links: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/ Windows[x86 - 32bit]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-54.0-SSL&os=win&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/win32/en-US/Firefox Setup 54.0.exe Windows[x86 - 32bit - EME Free]: https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/win32-EME-free/en-US/Firefox%20Setup%2054.0.exe Windows[x64 - 64bit]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-54.0-SSL&os=win64&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/win64/en-US/Firefox Setup 54.0.exe Windows[x86 - 64bit - EME Free]: https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/win64-EME-free/en-US/Firefox%20Setup%2054.0.exe Mac: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-54.0-SSL&os=osx&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/mac/en-US/Firefox 54.0.dmg Mac[EME Free]: https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/mac-EME-free/ Linux[x86 - 32bit]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-54.0-SSL&os=linux&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/linux-i686/en-US/firefox-54.0.tar.bz2 Linux[x64]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-54.0-SSL&os=linux64&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/linux-x86_64/en-US/firefox-54.0.tar.bz2 Linux[x86-x64- EME Free]: https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/54.0/linux-x86_64-EME-free/ Download Links - ESR: All Languages and OS: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/organizations/all/ FTP links: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/52.2.0esr/ Windows[x86 - 32bit]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-52.2.0esr-SSL&os=win&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/52.2.0esr/win32/en-US/Firefox Setup 52.2.0esr.exe Windows[x64 - 64bit]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-52.2.0esr-SSL&os=win64&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/52.2.0/win64/en-US/Firefox Setup 52.2.0.exe Mac: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-52.2.0esr-SSL&os=osx&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/52.2.0esr/mac/en-US/Firefox 52.2.0esr.dmg Linux[x86 - 32bit]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-52.2.0esr-SSL&os=linux&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/52.2.0esr/linux-i686/en-US/firefox-52.2.0esr.tar.bz2 Linux[x64]: https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-52.2.0esr-SSL&os=linux64&lang=en-US Or https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/52.2.0esr/linux-x86_64/en-US/firefox-52.2.0esr.tar.bz2 Firefox for Android - 54.0: Not Yet Released
  19. Mozilla plans to launch a New Tab Page design and functionality when it releases Firefox 57 in November 2017 to the stable channel audience. Firefox users won't lose any functionality when the New Tab Page launches, but they will get more features on the page, and more customization options. The current New Tab Page of the Firefox web browser displays a search form prominently on the page, and below that popular or pinned sites. Firefox users may hide the display of sites, and replace the New Tab Page with a blank page instead if they prefer that. Websites listed on the page may be pinned, and it is also possible to drag and drop sites from the bookmarks to one of the available slots to add it to the page. Note: What follows is a look at a preview version of the New Tab Page. Months of development may, and will, modify certain aspects of the page. Firefox users may install the Activity Stream Test Pilot experiment test the most recent version of the New Tab PAge right now. Firefox 57's New Tab Page The New Tab Page features four elements instead of just the two of the old. They are: Search the Web form. Top sites listing. Top stories listing. Highlights listing. Search The Search form is the only element on the page that looks and behaves like the old element. Mozilla added preferences to the New Tab Page that allow you to remove the search form from it if you like. Some users may prefer to run searches using the address bar or search box for instance, so that the search field is not really used by them. To remove it, simply click on the cogwheel icon and remove the checkmark from the Search entry there. Top sites Top Sites have changed in design, but they are the popular or pinned sites of the old Tab Page of the Firefox browser. They use less space on the New Tab Page, and you may enable a second row of items with a click on the edit button. Some sites show screenshots of the pages, others only the first letter of the site title. Other improvements include the option to add sites directly to the Top Sites listing. All you have to do is enter a title and URL to do so. Top Stories Top Stories are pulled from Pocket, a service that Mozilla acquired some time ago (after having cooperated with Pocket by integrating the service natively into Firefox). It is unclear to me how these top stories are selected. Is there a selection process, or are the most popular or trending stories picked automatically based on user locale? I don't use Pocket, but the New Tab Page right now offers no option to customize what is displayed to you there. What you do get are links to popular topics (which lead to Pocket), and an option to open more stories, which also links to Pocket. Highlights Highlights finally displays recently bookmarked pages, as well as pages that were recently visited in the browser. Customization options The New Tab Page that Mozilla plans to launch as part of Firefox 57 offers better customization options than the old. Firefox users can disable any of the elements separately on the page. Other features that fall under customization are the ability to display a second row of Top Sites, and the option to collapse the Highlights section. Add-ons that modify the New Tab Page will continue to work. Closing Words The New Tab Page offers more flexibility and functionality; that is a good thing and there is very little that one could possibly criticize. The only thing that I would like to see is a selector to pick the Pocket Stories that you are interested in to avoid generic news stories. I won't be creating a Pocket account for that, but if Mozilla would enable the option directly for users without account, I would give it a try to see if it is useful to me. (thanks Sören) Article source
  20. Firefox: Always Open Site In Container Tab Mozilla added a much requested feature to Firefox's Container Tabs experiment recently that enables you to always open sites in a specific container. Container Tabs is an upcoming feature of the Firefox web browser that is available as a Test Pilot experiment, and in Firefox Nightly. Mozilla launched the Container Tabs experiment a couple of months ago as a Test Pilot experiment. We talked about the feature in 2016 before already when it was revealed for the first time. Called Containers back then, it allowed participants to load websites in containers. A container is a closed environment which uses custom storage for some data to separate it from the main Firefox data storage and other containers. This is useful for quite a few things, for instance to limit tracking, sign in to the same Web service at the same time in the same browser window, or to separate work from entertainment websites. Firefox: Always open site in Container Tab In the closing words under the original article here on Ghacks, I mentioned that I'd like to see Mozilla add features to Container Tabs that I think would improve the feature significantly. Among the features was a request to restrict sites to certain containers. This made sense in my opinion, as it would allow you to load bank websites in the security container, work related sites and services in the work container, and so on. Mozilla has added the functionality to the latest version of the Container Tabs experiment. Note that this feature has not landed yet in the Firefox Nightly implementation of Containers. A small informational panel is opened when you click on the Container Tabs icon in the Firefox toolbar after installation or update of the add-on in the browser. It highlights that the "always open sites in the containers you want" option is now available. To use it, you right-click inside a container tab to assign it to the loaded container. You may also right-click on the Container Tabs icon in the Firefox toolbar to check the option as well. A prompt is loaded next time you load the site in Firefox. In fact, this prompt is loaded each time you open the site, unless you check the "remember my decision for this site" option. If you check the box, the prompt is not displayed anymore. You can disable the loading of a site in a container tab by right-clicking either on the site or on the icon while the site is loaded in the active tab. Verdict Mozilla continues its work on the upcoming Container Tabs feature. While it is still possible that the feature won't land in Firefox, it seems very likely that it will land eventually. My hope is that Mozilla will address my other feature requests, especially the option to clear data only in a single container tab, as well in future updates. (via Sören Hentzschel) Now You: What is your take on the improvement and Container Tabs in general? Source
  21. Mozilla has added a feature to Firefox 46 that will convert old YouTube Flash code to HTML5 Video automatically under certain circumstances. When YouTube started out, Flash was the dominating technology used to stream video on the Internet, and the first player that YouTube made available to webmasters to embed videos on third-party sites used Flash exclusively. YouTube changed the code later on to reflect changes in streaming technologies. From a technical perspective, YouTube started to offer embed codes as iframes instead of objects. The Flash code works fine after all these years, but only if Adobe Flash is installed in the browser. If that is not the case, a "plugin is missing" error message is displayed. If you take this old Ghacks article on Line Rider, and there specifically the first video embedded on the page, you will get the error message "A plugin is needed to display this content" if Flash is not installed in the browser or blocked on the site. The second video on the same page uses the new embed code and it won't show the error message as the HTML5 video player is used in this case automatically. Since Mozilla does not have the luxury of a native Flash integration and the fact that plugins will be a thing of the past in the near future, something had to be done about that. Mozilla added code to its Firefox web browser to convert embedded YouTube videos using the old Flash embed code to the new embed code if Flash is not installed or enabled on the page. This affects YouTube embeds on third-party sites only. It needs to be noted that Firefox won't enforce the use of HTML5. If Flash is installed in the browser, nothing changes at all as Flash will be used in the case to power the video player. Deactivate the feature Mozilla plans to launch the feature in Firefox 46. It is already part of the organization's Nightly web browser and enabled by default. Firefox users who don't require the feature, can deactivate it in the following way: Load about:config in the browser's address bar. Confirm that you will be careful if a warning prompt is displayed. Find plugins.rewrite_youtube_embeds using search. Double-click on the preference name. If you set it to false, Firefox will not rewrite old Flash YouTube embed code if Flash is not installed or enabled. You may change the preference to its default value at any time by repeating the process outlined above. Closing Words While I don't encounter many old YouTube videos embedded on third-party websites, it seems to have been something of a problem for part of Mozilla Firefox's user base. The way it is implemented offers the best of both worlds as users who don't want the feature can disable it easily in the browser's advanced configuration dialog. (via Sören Hentzschel) Article source
  22. Disclaimer: I worked for 7 years at Mozilla and was Mozilla’s Chief Technology Officer before leaving 2 years ago to found an embedded AI startup. Mozilla published a blog post two days ago highlighting its efforts to make the Desktop Firefox browser competitive again. I used to closely follow the browser market but haven’t looked in a few years, so I figured it’s time to look at some numbers: The chart above shows the percentage market share of the 4 major browsers over the last 6 years, across all devices. The data is from StatCounter and you can argue that the data is biased in a bunch of different ways, but at the macro level it’s safe to say that Chrome is eating the browser market, and everyone else except Safari is getting obliterated. Trend I tried a couple different ways to plot a trendline and an exponential fit seems to work best. This aligns pretty well with theories around the explosive diffusion of innovation, and the slow decline of legacy technologies. If the 6 year trend holds, IE should be pretty much dead in 2 or 3 years. Firefox is not faring much better, unfortunately, and is headed towards a 2-3% market share. For both IE and Firefox these low market share numbers further accelerate the decline because Web authors don’t test for browsers with a small market share. Broken content makes users switch browsers, which causes more users to depart. A vicious cycle. Chrome and Safari don’t fit as well as IE and Firefox. The explanation for Chrome is likely that the market share is so large that Chrome is running out of users to acquire. Some people are stuck on old operating systems that don’t support Chrome. Safari’s recent growth is underperforming its trend most likely because iOS device growth has slowed. Desktop market share Looking at all devices blends mobile and desktop market shares, which can be misleading. Safari/iOS is dominant on mobile whereas on Desktop Safari has a very small share. Firefox in turn is essentially not present on mobile. So let’s look at the Desktop numbers only. The Desktop-only graph unfortunately doesn’t predict a different fate for IE and Firefox either. The overall desktop PC market is growing slightly (most sales are replacement PCs, but new users are added as well). Despite an expanding market both IE and Firefox are declining unsustainably. Adding users? Eric mentioned in the blog post that Firefox added users last year. The relative Firefox market share declined from 16% to 14.85% during that period. For comparison, Safari Desktop is relatively flat, which likely means Safari market share is keeping up with the (slow) growth of the PC/Laptop market. Two possible theories are that Eric meant in his blog post that browser installs were added. People often re-install the browser on a new machine, which could be called an “added user”, but it comes usually at the expense of the previous machine becoming disused. It’s also possible that the absolute daily active user count has indeed increased due to the growth of the PC/laptop market, despite the steep decline in relative market share. Firefox ADUs aren’t public so it’s hard to tell. From these graphs it’s pretty clear that Firefox is not going anywhere. That means that the esteemed Fox will be around for many many years, albeit with an ever diminishing market share. It also, unfortunately, means that a turnaround is all but impossible. With a CEO transition about 3 years ago there was a major strategic shift at Mozilla to re-focus efforts on Firefox and thus the Desktop. Prior to 2014 Mozilla heavily invested in building a Mobile OS to compete with Android: Firefox OS. I started the Firefox OS project and brought it to scale. While we made quite a splash and sold several million devices, in the end we were a bit too late and we didn’t manage to catch up with Android’s explosive growth. Mozilla’s strategic rationale for building Firefox OS was often misunderstood. Mozilla’s founding mission was to build the Web by building a browser. Mobile thoroughly disrupted this mission. On mobile browsers are much less relevant–even more so third party mobile browsers. On mobile browsers are a feature of the Facebook and Twitter apps, not a product. To influence the Web on mobile, Mozilla had to build a whole stack with the Web at its core. Building mobile browsers (Firefox Android) or browser-like apps (Firefox Focus) is unlikely to capture a meaningful share of use cases. Both Firefox for Android and Firefox Focus have a market share close to 0%. The strategic shift in 2014, back to Firefox, and with that back to Desktop, was significant for Mozilla. As Eric describes in his article, a lot of amazing technical work has gone into Firefox for Desktop the last years. The Desktop-focused teams were expanded, and mobile-focused efforts curtailed. Firefox Desktop today is technically competitive with Chrome Desktop in many areas, and even better than Chrome in some. Unfortunately, looking at the graphs, none of this has had any effect on market trends. Browsers are a commodity product. They all pretty much look the same and feel the same. All browsers work pretty well, and being slightly faster or using slightly less memory is unlikely to sway users. If even Eric–who heads Mozilla’s marketing team–uses Chrome every day as he mentioned in the first sentence, it’s not surprising that almost 65% of desktop users are doing the same. What does this mean for the Web? I started Firefox OS in 2011 because already back then I was convinced that desktops and browsers were dead. Not immediately–here we are 6 years later and both are still around–but both are legacy technologies that are not particularly influential going forward. I don’t think there will be a new browser war where Firefox or some other competitor re-captures market share from Chrome. It’s like launching a new and improved horse in the year 2017. We all drive cars now. Some people still use horses, and there is value to horses, but technology has moved on when it comes to transportation. Does this mean Google owns the Web if they own Chrome? No. Absolutely not. Browsers are what the Web looked like in the first decades of the Internet. Mobile disrupted the Web, but the Web embraced mobile and at the heart of most apps beats a lot of JavaScript and HTTPS and REST these days. The future Web will look yet again completely different. Much will survive, and some parts of it will get disrupted. I left Mozilla because I became curious what the Web looks like once it consists predominantly of devices instead of desktops and mobile phones. At Silk we created an IoT platform built around open Web technologies such as JavaScript, and we do a lot of work around democratizing data ownership through embedding AI in devices instead of sending everything to the cloud. So while Google won the browser wars, they haven’t won the Web. To stick with the transportation metaphor: Google makes the best horses in the world and they clearly won the horse race. I just don’t think that race matters much going forward. Article source
  23. Firefox Screenshots is a new upcoming feature of the Firefox web browser that enables you to capture screenshots or entire websites in Firefox. Firefox has supported the capturing of screenshots straight from the Developer Toolbar for about five years already, but the feature was never promoted in any way by Mozilla. While some Firefox users know about the functionality, the majority does not probably. Mozilla began to test a Test Pilot extension called Page Shot in September 2016 to find out if users would be interested in built-in screenshot support. Firefox Screenshots is the name of the new screen capturing feature that Mozilla plans to integrate in Firefox natively. The first version of the feature landed in Firefox Nightly recently. Firefox Screenshots Firefox Nightly users will notice the new screen capture icon in the browser's main toolbar after the update. This icon powers Firefox Screenshots. When you activate the icon for the first time, a short intro is displayed on the screen that informs you about the functionality that it provides. Once you have clicked through the screens of the intro, you can start using the functionality. A click on the icon paints a transparent gray over the website. This indicates that you are in selection mode. Firefox Screenshots supports two modes currently: full page and selection. Full page captures the entire page while selection only the area that you draw a rectangle around. Screenshots captured this way may be saved to the local system, or shared online on https://screenshots.firefox.com/. The option to save the screenshots online is optional. You can open the screenshots that you have captured in the past with a click on the "my shots" option when you activate the Firefox Screenshots feature. Note: The URLs the screenshots are posted on are not protected. This means that they may be opened by anyone with knowledge of the URL. Mozilla plans to release Firefox Screenshots for Chrome as well in the near future according to the official website. Why? One reason may be that it is easy to do as Chrome supports WebExtensions as well. Another, that it may promote the Firefox name to the Chrome audience. Disable Firefox Screenshots Firefox users who don't need Firefox Screenshots, for instance because they are using a different screen capturing tool or don't take screenshots at all, may deactivate the feature in the following way: Type about:config in the Firefox address bar and hit on the Enter-key afterwards to load the interface. Confirm that you will be careful if the warning screen appears. Search for extensions.screenshots.system-disabled. If the value does not exist, right.click in the main area and select New > Boolean from the menu. Name it extensions.screenshots.system-disabled. Set the value to true to disable Firefox Screenshots, or to false to enable it. You can change values with a double-click on the preference name. Verdict Firefox Screenshots is an upcoming feature that is currently available as a beta version for Nightly. If things go planned, it will land in Firefox Stable eventually. Firefox users who don't need it can disable it. It is unclear right now if an option to disable it will be added to the preferences, or if it works similar to disabling Pocket (remove icon from Firefox toolbar). Article source
  24. Mozilla plans to increase the number of content processes of Firefox's multi-process architecture to four (from one) with the release of Firefox 54. Tip: if you are new to the concept or want to find out more about it, read our extensive Firefox multi-process guide. Firefox Stable users who run a multi-process Firefox copy right now, run it with one content process and one browser process. This system divides the browser's core from the content -- read websites, services and apps -- that the user opens in the web browser. Mozilla announced plans some time ago to increase the content process limit so that multiple content processes would be used by the Firefox web browser. This has been tested in Firefox Nightly for some time, and appears to be ready for rollout to the stable user base of the browser. You can check the number of content processes by opening the system's Task Manager to see how many Firefox processes are listed there. The target for the change is Firefox 54, but late minute issues may delay the change to Firefox 55. Mozilla plans to enable the four content processes of Firefox for 80% of the eligible population. The remaining 20% of users remain on one content process when the switch happens; a control group so to speak to monitor stability, performance and other metrics. Tip: you can increase the number of Firefox content processes manually as well. This enables you to increase the limit, or decrease it. The latter may be useful to reduce the browser's memory usage. Some Firefox installations are still not eligible for Firefox's multi-process architecture. This includes systems with accessibility tools or settings enabled. Multiple processes won't be enabled for users with extensions either, regardless of whether those are legacy add-ons, or WebExtensions. Mozilla ran its memory test again to determine the right number of content processes. An increase in the number of content processes for the browser always goes along with an increase in memory usage. The latest test saw Firefox still using significantly less memory than Chrome on all tested desktop devices. On Windows devices, Chrome used up to 2.4 times the memory than Firefox. One reason for that is that Chrome uses content processes for each site or service opened in the browser. Firefox would use significantly more memory if Mozilla were to enable the same system in the browser so that sites and services would all open up in their own content process. Mozilla's initial estimation was that multi-process Firefox would use about 20% more RAM than the non-multi-process browser. Firefox has no option currently to replicate Chrome's handling of content processes. While you can set a high limit, for instance 50, it would mean that Firefox would use individual content processes for the first 50 sites or apps only, and re-use content processes for anything that is opened afterwards. Mozilla hopes that the increase to four content processes will improve system stability further. Closing Words Mozilla believes that it has found the sweet spot between the number of content processes for Firefox's multi-process architecture and memory usage of the browser. Further optimization may change the number from four to a higher number in the future. I ran a Firefox Nightly copy for months with four content processes, and the browser ran super stable in that time. (via Sören Hentzschel) Article source
  25. Mozilla is working on a new form autofill system in the Firefox web browser that will replace the current system eventually. Form autofill is a handy feature, as it allows users of the browser to fill out form fields automatically. The current implementation uses frecency (frequency + recency) for that, and has been part of the browser since 2009. Firefox displays suggestions when you type in a form field. It displays a sorted list of options for the field, and filters them once you start typing. The new form autofill that will launch later this year in Firefox changes this mechanic. Basically, what it does is use profiles to fill out all matching fields on the form immediately, instead of just a single field. Instead of having to fill out each field of the form individually, you'd simply pick one of the available profiles to fill out all fields at once. Note: The feature landed in Nightly. It is a work in progress, and things may change. You can give it a try right now if you run Nightly, but some things won't work properly right now. Setting up the new Form Autofill in Firefox The new Form Autofill requires that you set up at least one profile in Firefox. The browser picks those up automatically, and you can select them on a form by form basis if you have added multiple profiles to the browser. Step 1: Open the Privacy options Load about:preferences#privacy in the Firefox address bar. This opens the privacy preferences of the browser. Locate the "forms & passwords" section on the page. Make sure that "enable profile autofill" is enabled. Click on saved profiles to manage the profiles. Step 2: Add or edit profiles Firefox lists all profiles that exist on the page that opens. You can add, remove or edit profiles here. Click on the add button to create a new profile in the Firefox web browser. Step 3: Fill out profile information The next page lists the fields that are currently available for profiles. You can fill out some or all of them. Some restrictions apply currently. Only the United States is supported under Country for instance, some fields are missing, and data transformations for some types are not supported either. Click on the save button once you are done. Firefox takes you back to the list of available profiles. You should see the new profile listed there, and may click on edit at any time to change data, or remove to delete it completely. The future Mozilla notes that the new autofill functionality won't work on most sites right now, as it is currently limited to forms that support the @autocomplete attribute on <input> elements. This will change soon when heuristics are added to determine the right field types when @autocomplete is not supported. Mozilla plans to ship improvements soon. These include, among others, options to save data to profiles when you fill out forms, a preview of all data when you highlight a profile, and support for select dropdown fields. Closing Words I'm looking forward to this new autofill functionality of the Firefox web browser. I wish Mozilla would add support for custom fields as well, to make the system even more flexible than it is right now. You can follow development on the official Form Autofill Wiki page on the Mozilla website. Article source