In this issue…
- Firefox 4: extension installation changes
- Webdev teachers needed for Drumbeat Festival
- Speed up TryServer by using TryChooser
- Drumbeat & Mozilla Foundation update
- Mozilla Consumer Education project
- Introducing polymorphic inline caches (PICs)
- Thunderbird “mute thread” add-on
- Web video & the future of education
- Mozilla user data privacy & vendors
- Release Engineering & student projects
- Reflections on a week long “bugday”
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Firefox 4: extension installation changes
The next beta of Firefox 4 will include a change to how Firefox installs and uses extensions. Dave Townsend explains, “Previously the files from the extension’s XPI would be extracted into their own directory and read from there, now the default is to just keep the XPI and load files out of it directly.” These changes cause no problems for many extensions, but if your extension’s code tries to access its files directly or if your extension includes binary code, search plugins, dictionaries or window icons, then you may need to make some changes. See Dave’s blogpost and the Updating extensions for Firefox 4 MDC page for more information.
Webdev teachers needed for Drumbeat Festival
The Drumbeat “Learning, Freedom and the Web” Festival is taking place in Barcelona from November 3 – 5, 2010, and organizers are looking for more people to help teach web development at the event. “One of our big aims with the Festival is to encourage people to teach and learn web development in interesting new ways. If you teach web development in one way or another, Barcelona is a chance to both learn and contribute a ton.” If you’re interested, you can find out more and register at the Festival website.
Speed up TryServer by using TryChooser
TryChooser is a new TryServer feature that allows developers to ask for only the builds and tests they actually want in their push-to-try commits. This avoids wasting CPU cycles on unwanted jobs, speeding up TryServer wait times for everyone. The Release Engineering team is requesting that more people give TryChooser a shot, as usage uptake has leveled off and there are still plenty of CPU cycles that could be saved. You can learn more about TryChooser (including the needed TryChooser syntax) from John O’Duinn and Lukas Blakk.
Drumbeat & Mozilla Foundation update
Mark Surman has posted another Drumbeat and Mozilla Foundation update. “This month’s status update is focused on the question: ‘where next for Drumbeat?’ There has been good conversation on this topic over the last few weeks — first on my blog and in the Drumbeat newsgroup and then in a recent MozFdn board meeting. The general consensus seems to be: Drumbeat is finding a solid footing as it does projects like Web Made Movies and School of Webcraft. Keep going on this track, use it to show what Mozilla can be beyond the browser. On the flip side, we haven’t yet found big new ways to build participation. Drumbeat (and all of Mozilla) needs to focus on this for 2011.” Read more at Mark’s blog.
Mozilla Consumer Education project
“There is a Consumer Education project under way at Mozilla to help non-technical users of the Open Web increase their general level of web-savvy.” The team is hoping to create engaging, easy-to-understand content that helps users better understand the Web, starting with topics such as: Shopping safely on the web, Protecting online identity, Choosing more secure passwords, Social media privacy, The risks presented by cookies, and Adding extra features to the browser. “If you are a writer, film-maker, teacher, cartoonist, artist or musician, you can help.” If you would like to get involved, head over to the Drumbeat project page to learn more.
Introducing polymorphic inline caches (PICs)
Thunderbird “mute thread” add-on
The Thunderbird team has created a new experimental add-on that gives users the ability to “mute” an email thread. “One thing that has been requested over the years is the ability to mute an individual email thread, so that once you’ve decided you don’t care about a particular conversation, you don’t have to wade through more messages in it as they continue to arrive. Mute Thread currently adds ‘Ignore Thread’ and ‘Ignore Sub-Thread’ menu entries to the Message menu for email messages, like Thunderbird already does with newsgroup messages.” The add-on is currently advertised as having “rough edges” and largely being a place for developers to experiment, but if you would like to try it out, head over to the project page to learn more.
Web video & the future of education
Mark Surman has written a great post in which he reflects on how web video is changing both how we learn and how we teach. “YouTube alone holds over 10 million tutorials. Videos with people teaching everything from how to set up WordPress, how to curl your hair with a paper bag, to how to moonwalk. If you look at the young people making these tutorials, web video isn’t just making learning easier. The web is creating a generation that takes it for granted that we can all be teachers. Teachers driven by the best aspects of the word ‘amateur’ — a love of a subject and a desire to share that knowledge.”
Mozilla user data privacy & vendors
The Mozilla legal team has shared a contract addendum they have created to help simplify the process of negotiating privacy terms in contracts with outside vendors. “We wanted to share these publicly so other organizations and individuals can use them as they see fit and hopefully contribute to the addendum’s evolution over time. Feel free to use and share these terms, but we hope you will share back your improvements so everyone can benefit.” Read more, including the full “Protection of Mozilla Data” addendum, at Julie Martin’s weblog.
Release Engineering & student projects
The Release Engineering team is hoping to get students involved with Mozilla by working with them on a variety of different projects. “A release engineer at Mozilla creates, maintains, and automates systems to deal with the release infrastructure. Our work affects you every time you get an update with Firefox. We generate releases and updates for all different platforms. Our systems also manage the continuous integration for developers working on Firefox and other Mozilla projects generating build, test, and performance results as developers commit changes.” Armen’s post goes on to outline a handful of projects for which they’re hoping to find help.
Reflections on a week long “bugday”
Anthony Hughes has written the results of a recent experiment, where the QA team held their first ever week-long bugday-like event. “Essentially, it was a week of workshops, writing test cases, bug triage, and testing new features. It was an effort to organize and execute, but it was very rewarding too.” Anthony’s post discusses what they learned related to community feedback, advertising and communications channels, documentation, and tools. “Overall, the bugweek was great. I can’t thank the contributors and people who helped enough. It took a lot of work to organize the bugweek but it gave us the opportunity to try out some new ideas and learn some lessons.”
* Sep 30-Oct 1, Paris, Open World Forum & Open Diversity Summit
* Oct 1-2, New York, Open Video Conference
* Oct 28-29, Toronto, FSOSS
* Nov 3-5, Barcelona, Drumbeat Festival 2010
* Nov 5-7, Gothenburg, FSCONS
For an up-to-date list of the coming week’s Mozilla project meetings and events, please see the Mozilla Community Calendar wiki page. Notes from previous meetings are linked to through the Calendar as well.
about:mozilla is by, for and about the Mozilla community, focusing on major news items related to all aspects of the Mozilla Project. The newsletter is written by Deb Richardson and is published every Tuesday morning.
If you have any news, announcements, events, or software releases you would like to have included in our next issue, please send them to: about-mozilla[at]mozilla.com.
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28 Sep 2010 deb comments off