In this issue…
- Recent changes to Firefox 4
- Fennec 2: new and notable
- Kraken: New browser benchmark
- Mozilla joins Open Invention Network
- MDN survey for web developers and designers
- Hackers wanted to help fix Firefox 4 UI bugs
- Thunderbird needs more beta testers
- P2PU School of Webcraft begins
- Firefox Home now available worldwide
- Visualizing Firefox 4 beta usage
- Help with Firefox hardware acceleration
- PreFox is now available for testing
- AkiraChix: Empowering women in Africa
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Recent changes to Firefox 4
Fennec 2: new and notable
Fennec (aka: Firefox for mobile devices) has been under rapid development lately and a host of new and improved features have been introduced. Mark Finkle has blogged about some of those that are part of the recent Fennec 2.0 nightly builds, including: a newly designed awesomescreen, changes to the search providers list, SiteMenu and ContextMenu APIs so add-ons can access these more easily, awesomescreen “badging”, more context menus, Android notifications, and right-to-left language support. Read more over at Mark’s weblog.
Kraken: New browser benchmark
“We’re pleased to announce the first version of Kraken, a new browser benchmark. More than Sunspider, V8, and Dromaeo, Kraken focuses on realistic workloads and forward-looking applications. We believe that the benchmarks used in Kraken are better in terms of reflecting realistic workloads for pushing the edge of browser performance forward. These are the things that people are saying are too slow to do with open web technologies today, and we want to have benchmarks to reflect progress against making these near-future apps universally available.” Robert Sayre writes more about this new benchmark, including some future plans and current Firefox Kraken results.
Mozilla joins Open Invention Network
Harvey Anderson writes, “This week Mozilla joined Open Invention Network as a licensee. OIN is an organization which helps protect the Linux ecosystem by building a variety of defenses against patent attacks. As a licensee, we’ll have access to OIN resources in case we’re threatened by operating entities with patents, and over time we’ll likely become more involved in providing our own ideas and resources to OIN projects. This doesn’t mean we’re suddenly enthused about patents in any way, but OIN is doing some good work, and I believe that any protections that they afford Mozilla are on the whole more positive, and outweigh reservations about the patent system.”
MDN survey for web developers and designers
The Mozilla Developer Network team is looking for web developers and designers to take part in a new survey that will help them better understand the web development landscape and how MDN can be a better resource within it. “This survey asks questions about the web development experience: the technologies and resources you use, the communities you join, and the companies that influence the realm of your work. We plan to use your responses to improve our developer engagement efforts and deliver relevant programs and content through the Mozilla Developer Network.” Read more at Mozilla Hacks, and be sure to take the survey.
Hackers wanted to help fix Firefox 4 UI bugs
The Firefox UX team is looking for help in getting a short list of bugs cleared up in time for Firefox 4. “There’s a lot being worked on for Firefox 4 already, these are simply the bugs that are stuck in one way or another, or don’t have any implementers assigned to them yet. If you want to help make Firefox 4 the best browser it can be, these are good bugs to help out with getting resolved. Some of them are small, some are larger in scope, but all are important as far as the UX team is concerned.” The current version of the list is available on the Mozilla wiki. If you have time, the team would really appreciate your help!
Thunderbird needs more beta testers
Ludovic Hirlimann and the Thunderbird team are looking for more people to help with beta testing. “If you are currently running the 3.1 series or the 3.0.x series, we would appreciate having a few more folks on the beta channel and getting very early feedback on issues before we push releases to a wider audience.” To find out how to help, see Ludovic’s post.
P2PU School of Webcraft begins
The first session of the P2PU School of Webcraft is underway, and Matt Thompson has blogged about the first week of classes. “15 courses are now up and running on everything from WebDev 101 to Beginning Python to Programming Visual Media. Over 500 people applied for Fall Semester courses. 345 of those were approved to take part — with many more auditing or casually following along. This far exceeds the original goal of 12 courses with 200 learners — so an A+ on early metrics!” The School of Webcraft has set an aggressive goal to double the number of courses and learners for the January semester, and they are looking for help. Head over to Matt’s weblog to read more about the School’s first week and to find out how you can get involved.
Firefox Home now available worldwide
Firefox Home, a free app that syncs your Firefox browsing history, bookmarks, and open tabs to your iPhone or iPod Touch, is now available in 15 languages worldwide. Get Firefox Home in your language now! If you use Firefox 3.6 on your desktop, you’ll need to install the Firefox Sync add-on and create a Firefox Sync account in order for Firefox Home to work. See the full release announcement for more.
Visualizing Firefox 4 beta usage
The Mozilla Metrics team has started assessing the impact of recent Firefox 4 UI changes with the first update to the UI heatmap originally released last July. “By intuitively presenting usability data on top of the Firefox UI, we aim to reduce speculation about Firefox usage and help designers make better informed product decisions, faster. Here are just a few of the questions we can now answer: 1) Will users prefer tabs on top, or switch back to tabs on bottom? 2) Will Windows users smoothly transition to the combined Firefox menu button? 3) With fewer options to open new tabs, will use of the (tab bar) New Tab button rise? 4) Do advanced users interact with more of Firefox’s features, and, if so, which?” The Blog of Metrics article covers all of this and more.
Help with Firefox hardware acceleration
Joe Drew and the team working on Firefox hardware acceleration could use some help both testing and hacking on these new features. “Right now, Firefox has layers/compositing hardware acceleration enabled on Windows, and we have clean test runs on OS X. However, enabling our implementation of accelerated composition using OpenGL on Linux currently causes a lot of test failures, and we’d be ecstatic if you would try to help us fix them.” Joe has also written a post about how you can help with hardware acceleration testing on all versions of Windows.
PreFox is now available for testing
Dave Townsend has been working on a side project to port Firefox to the Palm Pre, and recently announced an initial alpha release. “I’ve finally been able to make some early alpha builds of PreFox available for testing. As someone who uses Firefox all the time, I felt that the Pre’s built-in browser was lacking in a number of ways. Fennec (which is the code name for the development versions of Mozilla Firefox for mobile) seemed like it would solve all those issues.” Dave has set up a PreFox project page, and you can read more on his blog post and release announcement.
Akirachix: Empowering women in Africa
William Quiviger spent some time in Africa recently and encountered a fantastic initiative called Akirachix, a forum for women interested in technology whose membership includes developers, system administrators, computer science students, digital marketers, and graphic designers among others. Judith Owigar, Akirachix’ president, works as an IT Engineer in a Peace Building NGO in Kenya, and has written an article about Akirachix that Delphine Lebédel has posted on the WoMoz weblog.
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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21 Sep 2010 deb