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      Mozilla lays off 60 people, wants to build AI into Firefox

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 14 February - 18:59 · 1 minute

    Mozilla lays off 60 people, wants to build AI into Firefox

    Enlarge (credit: Arturo Martinez / Flickr )

    Mozilla got a new "interim" CEO just a few days ago, and the first order of business appears to be layoffs. Bloomberg was the first to report that the company is cutting about 60 jobs, or 5 percent of its workforce. A TechCrunch report has a company memo that followed these layoffs, detailing one product shutdown and a "scaling back" of a few others.

    Mozilla started as the open source browser/email company that rose from the ashes of Netscape. Firefox and Thunderbird have kept on trucking since then, but the mozilla.org/products page is a great example of what the strategy has been lately: "Firefox is just the beginning!" reads the very top of the page; it then goes on to detail a lot of projects that aren't in line with Mozilla's core work of making a browser. There's Mozilla Monitor (a data breach checker), Mozilla VPN, Pocket (a news reader app), Firefox Relay (for making burner email accounts), and Firefox Focus, a fork of Firefox with a privacy focus.

    That's not even a comprehensive list of recent Mozilla products. From 2017–2020, there was "Firefox Send," an encrypted file transfer service, and a VR-focused " Firefox Reality " browser that lasted from 2018 to 2022. In 2022, Mozilla launched a $35 million venture capital fund called Mozilla Ventures . Not all Mozilla side-projects are losers—the memory-safe Rust programming language was spun out of Mozilla in 2020 and has seen rapid adoption in the Linux kernel and Android .

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      pubsub.blastersklan.com / omgubuntu · Tuesday, 13 February - 23:38 edit

    Mozilla, makers of the Firefox web browser, is the latest tech company to announce layoffs. The non-profit says it is scaling back development on a number of projects and, as a result, 60 employees (roughly 5% of its total workforce) will lose their jobs. Among projects TechCrunch reports Mozilla has earmarked for cutbacks is its Online Footprint Scrubber — a paid-for feature that was announced barely a week ago. Mozilla VPN, Relay and other privacy products are also being scaled back, with the company of the opinion its products don’t offer much differentiation with competitors. The Mozilla.social Mastodon instance is also […]

    You're reading Mozilla Announces Layoffs, Renewed Focus on Firefox, a blog post from OMG! Ubuntu. Do not reproduce elsewhere without permission.

    Mozilla Announces Layoffs, Renewed Focus on Firefox
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      pubsub.blastersklan.com / slashdot · Sunday, 11 February - 21:00 edit · 1 minute

    Remember "Servo," Mozilla's "next-generation browser engine," focused on performance and robustness? "The developers of Servo are starting 2024 by going all in..." reports It's FOSS News, citing a social media post from FOSDEM. "[T]he Servo Project team were there showing off the work done so far." If you were not familiar, Servo is an experimental browser engine that leverages the power of Rust to provide a memory-safe and modular experience that is highly adaptable. After Mozilla created Servo back in 2012 as a research project, it saw its share of ups and downs over the years, with it making a comeback in 2023; thanks to a fresh approach by the developers on how Servo should move forward. Even though there are plenty of open source Chrome alternatives, with this, there's a chance that we will get some really cool options based on Servo that just might give Blink and Gecko a run for the money! Just a few months back, in September 2023, after The Servo Project officially joined Linux Foundation Europe, the existing contributors from Igalia stepped up their game by taking over the project maintenance. To complement that, at Open Source Summit Europe last year, Manuel Rego from Igalia shared some really useful insights when he presented. He showcased stuff like the WebGL support, cross-platform support including mobile support for Android and Linux, among other things. They have experimented with Servo for embedded applications use-cases (like running it on Raspberry Pi), and have plans to make advances on it. As far as I can see, it looks like, Servo is faster for Raspberry Pi compared to Chromium. You can explore more such demos on Servo's demo webpage. 2024's roadmap includes "Initial Android support, that will see Servo being made to build on modern Android versions," according to the article, "with the developers publishing nightly APKs on the official website some time in the future." One fun fact? "Even though Mozilla dropped the experimental project, Firefox still utilizes some servo components in the browser" Another FOSDOM update from social media: "Thunderbird is also embracing Rust."

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    Mozilla's Abandoned Web Engine 'Servo' is Rebooting in 2024
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      pubsub.blastersklan.com / slashdot · Thursday, 8 February - 16:35 edit · 1 minute

    Mozilla, which manages the open-source Firefox browser, announced today that Mitchell Baker is stepping down as CEO to focus on AI and internet safety as chair of the nonprofit foundation. Laura Chambers, a Mozilla board member and entrepreneur with experience at Airbnb, PayPal, and eBay, will step in as interim CEO to run operations until a permanent replacement is found. Fortune: Baker, a Silicon Valley pioneer who co-founded the Mozilla Project, says it was her decision to step down as CEO, adding that the move is motivated by a sense of urgency over the current state of the internet and public trust. "We want to offer an alternative for people to have better products," says Baker, who wants to draw more attention to policies, products and processes to challenge business models built on fueling outrage. "What are the connections between this global malaise and how humans are engaging with each other and technology?" Chambers says she plans to focus on building out new products that address growing privacy concerns while actively looking for a full-time CEO. Prior to being recruited to the Mozilla board three years ago, Chambers says she was feeling "pretty disillusioned" about society because of the influence of money in politics and the growing power of the tech giants. "I was confused about what to do and this felt like a genuine way to make an impact." Chambers says she won't be seeking a permanent CEO role because she plans to move back to Australia later this year for family reasons. "I think this is an example of Mozilla doing the right role modelling in how to manage a succession," says Chambers.

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    Mozilla Names New CEO as It Pivots To Data Privacy
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      pubsub.blastersklan.com / slashdot · Tuesday, 6 February - 16:45 edit

    Mozilla has rolled out a new $9 per month service called Mozilla Monitor Plus that automatically scrubs personal information from over 190 data broker sites. The tool builds on the free Firefox Monitor platform, expanding monitoring capabilities and proactively removing exposed details to protect user privacy. Subscribers will also receive data breach alerts under the new service.

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    Mozilla Monitor Plus Scrubs Your Leaked Personal Information From the Web, For a Fee
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      Mozilla targets scummy data brokers with Monitor Plus removal service

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 6 February - 14:00

    Illustration of Mozilla Monitor's identity leak scanning and protections

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    “You may be shocked to find,” the people-search websites pitch, that you or the other person you’re searching for “has a criminal record.” Other sites offer “millions of records that expose” a person for who they “really are.”

    These kinds of “people search” sites are myriad. They copy from one another, and removing your information from them, while technically possible in fine-print fashion, could take days or weeks. Mozilla, the Firefox maker expanding into a suite of privacy-minded tools, has an alternative to clicking and hoping.

    Mozilla Monitor Plus , just launched today, pledges to automatically monitor such "people search" sites, along with known data breaches, for your information and then take care of the removal process. The "Plus" version costs $14 if you go month by month, or $108 for a year's subscription (about $9 per month). You can still get a free scan on Monitor to see the data breaches and data brokers where Mozilla finds your information (used with Mozilla's fairly human-readable privacy policy ).

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      Google and Mozilla don’t like Apple’s new iOS browser rules

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 5 February - 20:36 · 1 minute

    Extreme close-up photograph of finger above Chrome icon on smartphone.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images )

    Apple is being forced to make major changes to iOS in Europe, thanks to the European Union's " Digital Markets Act ." The act cracks down on Big Tech "gatekeepers" with various interoperability, fairness, and privacy demands, and part of the changes demanded of Apple is to allow competing browser engines on iOS. The change, due in iOS 17.4, will mean rival browsers like Chrome and Firefox get to finally bring their own web rendering code to iPhones and iPads. Despite what sounds like a big improvement to the iOS browser situation, Google and Mozilla aren't happy with Apple's proposed changes.

    Earlier, Mozilla spokesperson Damiano DeMonte gave a comment to The Verge on Apple's policy changes and took issue with the decision to limit the browser changes to the EU. “We are still reviewing the technical details but are extremely disappointed with Apple’s proposed plan to restrict the newly-announced BrowserEngineKit to EU-specific apps,” DeMonte said. “The effect of this would be to force an independent browser like Firefox to build and maintain two separate browser implementations—a burden Apple themselves will not have to bear.” DeMonte added: “Apple’s proposals fail to give consumers viable choices by making it as painful as possible for others to provide competitive alternatives to Safari. This is another example of Apple creating barriers to prevent true browser competition on iOS.”

    Apple's framework that allows for alternative browser engines is called "BrowserEngineKit" and already has public documentation as part of the iOS 17.4 beta. Browser vendors will need to earn Apple's approval to use the framework in a production app, and like all iOS apps, that approval will come with several requirements . None of the requirements jump out as egregious: Apple wants browser vendors to have a certain level of web standards support, pledge to fix security vulnerabilities quickly and protect the user's privacy by showing the standard consent prompts for access to things like location. You're not allowed to "sync cookies and state between the browser and any other apps, even other apps of the developer," which seems aimed directly at Google and its preference to have all its iOS apps talk to each other. The big negative is that your BrowserEngineKit app is limited to the EU, because—surprise—the EU rules only apply to the EU.

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      Mozilla VPN : notre avis sur le VPN frère du navigateur Firefox

      news.movim.eu / Numerama · Sunday, 21 January - 19:02

    Mozilla VPN

    Connu pour éditer Firefox, l'un des navigateurs historiques du web, Mozilla édite aussi depuis 2020 son propre service de VPN. Une étape logique dans le parcours d’une entreprise dédiée à la protection des données personnelles des internautes. Mais que vaut-il exactement ? Découvrez notre avis sur Mozilla VPN.

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      Firefox lost users during “failed” Yahoo search deal, says Mozilla CEO

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 2 November - 17:38 · 1 minute

    Mitchell Baker, Mozilla CEO, at a conference in 2019.

    Enlarge / Mitchell Baker, Mozilla CEO, at a conference in 2019. (credit: Horacio Villalobos / Contributor | Corbis News )

    This week, Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker rose as a key figure in Google's defense against the Justice Department's monopoly claims. Providing a video deposition for the landmark trial, Baker testified that Mozilla's popular browser Firefox tried to switch from using Google as a default search engine but reverted back after a "failed" bet on Yahoo made it clear that Google was Firefox users' preferred search engine.

    According to Bloomberg , Mozilla's temporary switch to Yahoo is "the only situation in which a browser has switched the default search engine provider." This makes Baker's testimony potentially very powerful because it's a clear example that backs up Google's core argument that its search engine wins default status due to its quality, not due to anticompetitive behaviors.

    "The evidence will show that the reasons behind Mozilla’s switch back to Google after selecting Yahoo as the default search engine for its Firefox browser confirms," Google's pre-trial brief said. "Google wins competitions that browser suppliers create for choosing their default search service by offering the best product at the best price. That is quintessential 'competition on the merits.'" In another court filing, Google argued , "there is no evidence of coercive conduct."

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