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Mozilla Announces Firefox Quantum Web-browser

Mozilla today released the Firefox Quantum web-browser for PCs. Technically version 57.0 of Firefox, Quantum comes with an overhauled user-interface, a more evolved multi-process sandbox than Google Chrome, and is geared for both performance and lower memory footprint. Mozilla claims that web-rendering performance has been doubled over the previous version (Firefox 56.0), making it play in a league above Google Chrome. It's also designed to have up to 30% smaller memory footprint than Chrome.

Firefox Quantum takes advantage of the very latest CPU instruction sets, and GPU features, to accelerate web-rendering, with a focus on keeping the interface as smooth as possible, without losing out on the quality of rendering. It also adds WebVR and and WASM support in-built, broadening its feature-set for browser-based gaming. Grab Firefox from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: Mozilla Firefox Quantum

Cryptojacking: Over 2,500 Websites Out There to Steal Your CPU Time

Cryptojacking is a new phenomenon, which was popularized by ThePirateBay embedding its website with a Javascript-based crypto-currency miner. It quickly sprung up the debate on whether crypto-currency miners hidden into web-pages could become the revenue model of the future, replacing online advertising or paid subscriptions. Some commentators argue that it's fine as long as users are made sufficiently aware that a website is embedding a miner, and is presented with a choice between ads and the miner. Others were steadfast against the idea as heavy Internet browsing (across multiple tabs), could bring down computers to a crawl, and have a more than tangible impact on electricity bills.

According to an ArsTechnica report, there could be at least 2,500 websites out there, with embedded crypto-currency miners that are hidden from the users. Willem de Groot, an independent cybersecurity researcher told the publication that he estimates JS miners may have proliferated to 2,496 websites, and its adoption is on the rise. Some dishonest websites embed miners as a revenue source in addition to ads and sponsored content. At the heart of the controversy is Coinhive. This company sells easy-to-integrate crypto-currency miners that can be embedded into websites as a revenue source. The company is on a marketing overdrive, writing to siteops and bloggers to spread their miners.

Mozilla Looks to Supercharge the Browsing Experience With Firefox Quantum

Mozilla is announcing that the latest version of its Firefox browser, Firefox 57, is just too good for just another numbered release. The improvements under the hood are so great, they say, and the performance improvements over previous Firefox releases are so grand, that only one name would have been enough to convey this message. That's why the latest Firefox release has been christened "Firefox Quantum".

Mozilla are saying their new Firefox Quantum browser delivers 2x the score in Speedometer as their previous Firefox 56. The new, refined browser didn't appear overnight, though; it's seen numerous improvements under the hood through the application of the Goldilocks principle to browser design, straddling an approach between increased performance and acceptable memory usage. Multi-process and optimized memory footprint are part of the secret sauce, but a new, super-charged CSS engine written in Rust goes a long way. Prioritization of the open tab also helps this increased speed, while (Mozilla says) reducing memory utilization by 30% when compared to Chrome.

Web Mining, Part Two: Adblock Plus Now Blocks Web Mining Efforts a la TPB

We here at TPU wrote an extensive editorial on the issue of web mining possibly becoming the revenue model of the future. The Pirate Bay may not have been the first site to adopt Coinhive's javascript code for mining purposes when users access its pages, but it was the highest-profile one to be caught, since the performance hogging was enough that users started seeing diminished responsiveness on their systems when visiting the torrent site. On that editorial piece, we talked about the issues of web mining, and compared it to the advent of ad-based revenue models for websites. A piece of our argument revolved around human nature and the pursuit of higher and higher revenue, in a system that would typically reward abuse with higher amounts of mining-generated money - and how users, browsers, and ad-blocking would evolve to also block these mining efforts.

Well, Adblock Plus has gone and done it, adding a filter for Coinhive-based web mining, filtering the mining script. This will likely ignite a cat and mouse game between web mining providers, users, and the browsers and extensions we use to protect ourselves, but it isn't something we hadn't mentioned before. The Adblock Plus extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Android. Look after the break for instructions on how to add these filters to your Adblock Plus-enabled browser of choice.

Firefox 54 Released: Multi-process, Optimized Memory Footprint

The Mozilla Foundation has recently launched the latest version of their Firefox web browser. The foxiest web browser around, which lets you access all of those amazing websites (like TPU) now features increased support for multitasking through its multi-process technology. A result of the Electrolysis effort from Mozilla's part, which has spawned more than eight years of work, Firefox 54 applies the Goldilocks principle to browser design, straddling an approach between increased performance and acceptable memory usage.

As such, Firefox won't be like Chrome, where each process is responsible for a single tab and its content handling (and can therefore increase memory usage immensely, which has justified Chrome's fame as a memory hog), but will instead opt for a more streamlined approach. Open 10 different tabs with 10 sites in Chrome, and you'll have 10 different processes. Each of those processes has its own memory - with their own instance of the browser's engine. Au contraire, Firefox now creates up to 4 separate processes for web page content. This means that the first 4 tabs each use those 4 processes, and additional tabs run using threads within those processes, optimizing, as per Firefox, memory usage and performance.

Microsoft to Rebrand Internet Explorer

Despite some genuine increases in performance and reliability, Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) is turning into a relic. Once an unbeatable web-browser that attracted anti-competition lawsuits the world over, its market-share (usage) has dropped below 10 percent, according to W3Schools. With Windows 10, Microsoft plans to completely rebrand the bundled web-browser.

Codenamed "Project Spartan," the browser will feature a new UI, and a different branding from MSIE. It will also shed useless code, and will have a smaller memory footprint, much in the same way Firefox was a toned, peppy rebrand of Mozilla/Netscape Navigator. You could even expect a new icon. Microsoft could undertake a massive marketing campaign for the new browser, of a scale similar to Google's, for its Chrome browser. Microsoft could even delink the browser from Windows Update, to facilitate faster security and bug fixes. The browser could debut with beta releases of Windows 10, and its first stable version could come out with Windows 10 RTM.Source: PC World

Mozilla Delivers Firefox 18.0 Beta

Mozilla has now made available a fresh beta build of the Firefox desktop browser. This latest release (version 18.0) brings improved tab switching performance, a new HTML scaling algorithm (for better image quality), support for Apple Retina Displays (on OS X 10.7+), for WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication), and for W3C touch events, plus tweaks and a few fixes.

The Firefox 18.0 Beta(1) is available here for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

Mozilla Gifts Microsoft IE Team Customary Cake

A nice little game Microsoft's Internet Explorer team and Mozilla play is gifting each other cake each time the other launches a new version of their browser. Mozilla sent Microsoft the latest one, to congratulate it on MSIE 10 launch (along with a much bigger one, of Windows 8). In its tweet, the MSIE team thanked Mozilla for the cake, and said it's looking forward to a version of Firefox optimized for Windows 8. It is rumored that Mozilla does/has in the past sent recipes along with their cake (keeping it open-source all the way). Microsoft launched its slickest, fastest version of Internet Explorer with Windows 8, a version for Windows 7 is slated for November.

Wolfenstein 3D Celebrates 20th Anniversary with a Browser Edition

This month is the 20th Anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D. To celebrate id Software and Bethesda have given us all a free browser-based version of its seminal shooter. John Carmack has also given a director's commentary, full of the usual fascinating Carmackchat. You can play the snazzy HTML 5 version of Wolf 3D if you're browsing in Firefox 10, Chrome 16, Internet Explorer 9, Safari 5, or newer. Fingers crossed that your work computer is updated vaguely frequently. id Software got distracted by Doom and Quake after the release of a Wolf 3D prequel, but the series returned in 2001 with Return to Castle Wolfenstein from Grey Matter and Nerve Software. Splash Damage followed this with the superb free multiplayer spin-off Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, then the last entry in the series was Raven's Wolfenstein in 2009. The iOS version is also going temporarily free in the App Store some time later today. Here is the Link

Source: Shacknews

Firefox 13 Beta Available for Download

Not wasting much time following the Firefox 12 launch, Mozilla has now made available the public beta version of its next browser release. The Firefox 13 beta features an updated default home page (providing quicker access to bookmarks, history and settings), a tweaked new tab experience (users are presented with their most visited pages), smooth scrolling, the SPDY protocol which is enabled from the get-go, experimental support for ECMAScript 6 Map and Set objects, and a few more dev-oriented goodies.

Firefox 13 Beta is available here for Windows, Max OS X and Linux.

Firefox 12 Officially Released

Open source supporter Mozilla has today announced the arrival of its latest Firefox release, Firefox 12. This build brings a stealthier update system on Windows (it removes the user account control dialog pop-up), multiple security fixes, better WebGL performance on Mac OS X, automatic downloads for URLs pasted into the download manager window, support for the text-align-last CSS property and for the ECMAScript 6 Map and Set objects, and a few more tweaks and improvements.

Firefox 12 is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux and can be downloaded via this page.

Mozilla Firefox To Pack H.264 Support

It looks like Mozilla has given in to the pressure of incorporating H.264 CODEC into its Firefox web-browser, and could incorporate it in future versions of the browser. The CODEC allows online videos utilizing H.264 format to run. Mozilla has been avoiding H.264 support since it is proprietary, riddled with patents, and requires Mozilla to purchase a license for millions of Dollars from MPEG-LA.

Mozilla has been trying to push for standards alternative to H.264, such as WebM, and the VP8 format. It had originally planned its push for an H.264-free web at a time when it was a much stronger player in the web-browser market, which now sees a strong presence of Google Chrome, which already features H.264. H.264 is superior to its alternatives, in being lighter on the system's resources (hence, lighter on the battery).

Sources: Engadget, The Inquirer

Mozilla Countering Firefox Update Fatigue with Silent Updates, Add-on Compatibility

Throughout 2011, Firefox users have seen their browser's major version number go up very 6 weeks or so, something that was unheard of, in the years before, when it could take years for a major version number increase. Mozilla was obviously inflating version numbers for better market placement with other browsers that have crossed version 9x (such as Chrome, MSIE, and Opera). With Firefox already at version 11, Mozilla wants to slow down with the version number game, which caused "update fatigue" among users. Apart from keeping track of their browser's version number, users that have important add-ons installed, stay away from updates because major version number changes break the add-ons.

Mozilla wants to counter update fatigue with a two pronged approach. Firstly, it will change the way browser version numbers affect add-on compatibility. With Firefox 11, any add-on that's compatible with Firefox 4+ will just run, without compatibility issues. Add-ons disabled by older versions of the browser will now resume working. Next up, Mozilla will introduce completely silent updates, which get downloaded in the background, and don't notify you about restarting the browser to apply updates. You'll never notice when your Firefox reaches version 9001.Sources: TheNextWeb Insider, Mozilla

Firefox 11 Launches Today

Over two months after launching Firefox 10, and backing it up two two security updates (10.0.1 and 10.0.2), Mozilla is almost ready with the stable version of Firefox 11, which it is reportedly launching later today. Mozilla posted what was supposedly Firefox 11 stable on its FTP, before redacting it, citing that the build is not actually stable, and that QA was still on.

Firefox 11 will introduce several new features, including performance improvements. To begin with, Firefox 11 supports the SPDY protocol, all pages are loaded on SSL with SPDY, which is both faster and more secure. Firefox' bookmarks and preferences migration assistant will now support Google Chrome, letting users migrate from Chrome to Firefox. Firefox Sync will now also synchronize addons between sync'd PCs. Lastly, Firefox 11 is said to include more feature-rich developer tools. The Android version of Firefox 11 will ship with Adobe Flash, for Android 2.3 and earlier.Source: PCWorld

Internet Explorer, Chrome slip in February, Safari Increases its Browser Market Share

According to data collected by Net Applications, February saw both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chome losing some browser market share which was quickly picked up by Apple's Safari, Mozilla's Firefox and Opera.

Last month's numbers still have IE on top with 52.84% of the market (down from 52.96% in January), while Firefox kept its silver medal by securing a 20.92% share (20.88%). On third place we have Chrome with 18.90% (18.94% in the previous month), while on fourth Safari has once again passed the 5% mark, topping 5.24% (4.90%). Opera was fifth with a 1.71% share (1.67%).

Source: Net Marketshare

Adobe Working on Sandboxed Flash Player for Firefox

Adobe is working on a new sandboxed version of the Flash Player browser plugin for Firefox. The move will make it tougher to compromise a system's security using malicious Shockwave Flash objects. The new plugin for Firefox (and other browsers like Opera, which rely on the common Netscape Plugin Wrapper model of browser plugins), will work essentially similar to the Flash Player Google Chrome ships with, which works in a "Protected Mode". When "sandboxed" Shockwave Flash objects in webpages will work as separate processes, with much lower privileges than the actual user, the user's machine environment will be kept abstract to it. Adobe has already redesigned the browser plugin of its Reader X (PDF viewer) to work this way, and hasn't seen a significant successful exploit since November, last year.

Source: Adobe Asset Blog

Firefox 11 Goes Beta

Don't worry if you just installed Firefox 10.0 cause there's a new Foxxy browser craving your attention, the Firefox 11.0 beta. This fresh build comes with an updated migration tool that can also import Chrome bookmarks, history, and cookies, and features add-on syncing capabilities, redesigned media controls for HTML5 video, and support for the CSS text-size-adjust property and the outerHTML property.

Firefox 11.0 also brings some goodies for devs like the Page Inspector 3D View, the new Style Editor tool, SPDY Support and more.

To download the Firefox 11.0 beta (for Windows, Mac OS or Linux) see this page.

Mozilla Firefox 10.0 Available for Download

Mozilla has today let loose the 10.0 version of the Firefox browser for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. This release includes several fixes, brings a hidden forward button (which appears when the user navigates back), Full Screen APIs, and features support for WebGL Anti-Aliasing, CSS3 3D-Transforms, and for the < bdi > element for bi-directional text isolation.

To download Firefox 10.0 (for any of three platforms mentioned above) visit this page.

Big Dollars Not Enough? SOPA Support Continues To Wither Away

The draconian internet censorship bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) being lobbied for by wealthy big media corporations (mostly fronted by the RIAA/MPAA, News Corporation and the like) and currently being debated in Congress is still losing support wherever one turns. A week ago, we reported that GoDaddy initially supported it, but soon changed its mind as it immediately began to haemorrhage customers. Now, it turns out that many video games companies are also coming out against it and with no pressure against them required.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is the game industry's trade association and stands firmly behind the much-despised bill, which means that the gaming industry as a whole is deemed to support SOPA. However, while some members openly support it, others just won't say so publically and some of its members actively do not support it, having made official statements to this effect. Here are just three of them:

Google Chrome will Overtake Internet Explorer in 2012: StatCounter

After overtaking Mozilla Firefox in terms of web-browser market-share in December 2011, Google Chrome has its eyes trained on Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE), still the most popular web-browser in use today. According to the most recent StatCounter figures, at the rate at which Google Chrome's market-share is growing, it will overtake that of MSIE in 2012. It will do that as early as in June-July. Interestingly, Google Chrome is the youngest web-browser among its competitors, launched in Q4 2008, but has surpassed the market shares of much older competitors in a matter of months. Apart from stats, Google's web-advertising prowess makes Chrome's MSIE overtake in June-July seem realistic.

Source: Pocket-lint

Mozilla a Partner, Not Competitor: Google Chrome Engineer

In what could be a sign of improving ties between Google and Mozilla, Peter Kasting, engineer in the Google Chrome web-browser development team referred to Mozilla as a partner, and not a competitor. The statement came in context of the recently-renewed search engine deal between the two, where Google pays Mozilla for setting Google as its primary search engine, both on its browser search bar, and its Firefox start page. Kasting also went to the extant of stating that Chrome isn't necessarily a profit-seeking operation by Google.

Kasting stated: "People never seem to understand why Google builds Chrome no matter how many times I try to pound it into their heads. It's very simple: the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible. It's completely irrelevant to this goal whether Chrome actually gains tons of users or whether instead the web advances because the other browser vendors step up their game and produce far better browsers. Either way the web gets better. Job done."

Firefox 10 Beta Available for Download

Since it already got its holiday present, the new three-year search agreement with Google, Mozilla has went into a gift-giving mode and served up the first public beta build of the next Firefox release, version 10.0.

According to the developers, Firefox 10 comes with Full Screen APIs (so web apps can run in full screen mode), with support for CSS3 3D-Transforms and WebGL Anti-Aliasing, and an added HTML5 treat, the < bdi > element for bi-directional text isolation.

The beta also includes a forward button which stays hidden until you navigate back, an Inspect tool with content highlighting, IndexedDB APIs, and a few fixes. Just like its predecessors, the Firefox 10.0 beta is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. The download links can be found here.

Mozilla Officially Releases Firefox 9.0, Signs New Search Deal with Google

Open source software supporter Mozilla has today announced two things, the launch of the 9.0 version of Firefox, and the signing of a new search deal with Google. Firefox 9.0 features the Type Inference which boosts JavaScript performance, it brings better theme integration on Mac OS X Lion, and also includes goodies like:

- two finger swipe navigation for Mac OS X Lion
- support for querying Do Not Track status via JavaScript
- support for font-stretch
- improved support for text-overflow
- improved standards support for HTML5, MathML, and CSS
- fixes for several stability and security issues

NSS Labs Accuses Google of Undertaking Campaign to Knock Firefox Off The Market

Google Chrome is a fast and functional web browser. Let's get that out of the way first. But one of the main reasons a largely successful corporation put resources into developing a web-browser into a market that isn't very profitable, is cost-cutting. Since it's inception, the search bar Mozilla Firefox came with, has Google as its default search provider. Every time people search using that search bar in Firefox, Mozilla Foundation makes money. It is estimated that these Google searches amount to a majority of Mozilla's revenue, as Google pays it as much as 50 million dollars an year. Google Chrome, despite its genuine merits, is a cost-cutting operation. The more people use it over Firefox, the less Google has to pay Mozilla.

Web security researchers have historically rated Google Chrome has having the worst security and privacy compared to Firefox, and Internet Explorer (read this, and here), but the most recent research by Denver-based security consultancy Accuvant claimed that Google Chrome has the best security and privacy features, while Mozilla Firefox has the worst. Want to hear the kicker? That research by Accuvant was funded by Google. Want to hear another one? A similar research firm that has historically done vendor-funded research, NSS Labs, voiced strong objections to Accuvant's research, calling it an all-out attempt to malign Mozilla Firefox.

Google Chrome Overtakes Mozilla Firefox in Browser Market-share: StatCounter

According to the latest data sourced by StatCounter for the month of November 2011, Google Chrome has overtaken Mozilla Firefox in terms of web-browser software market-share. The GlobalStats data provides a worldwide picture, and not just specific to a region. According to the data, Chrome took 25.69% of the worldwide market (up from 4.66% in November 2009) compared to Firefox's 25.23%.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer still maintains a strong lead globally with 40.63%. Google Chrome began in mid-2008 as an experimental minimalist UI web-browser based on the Chromium project, it is a multi-process tabbed web browser based on Apple Webkit and several other pieces of free, licensed, and open-source technologies. Its market share is on the rise. The stats can be accessed here.
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