Forging an Alliance for Royalty-Free Video

David Bryant

Things are moving fast for royalty-free video codecs. A month ago, the IETF NETVC Working Group had its first meeting and two weeks ago Cisco announced Thor. Today, we’re taking the next big step in this industry-wide effort with the formation of the Alliance for Open Media. Its founding members represent some of the biggest names in online video, such as Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube, multiple browser vendors including Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google, and key technology providers like Cisco and Intel. The Alliance has come together to share technology and run the kind of patent analysis necessary to build a next-generation royalty-free video codec.

Mozilla has long championed royalty-free codecs. The Web was built on innovation without asking permission, and patent licensing regimes are incompatible with some of the Web’s most successful business models. That’s why we already support great codecs like VP8, VP9, and Opus in Firefox. But the Web doesn’t stand still and neither do we. As resolutions and framerates increase, the need for more advanced codecs with ever-better compression ratios will only grow. We started our own Daala project and formed NETVC to meet those needs, and we’ve seen explosive interest in the result. We believe that Daala, Cisco’s Thor, and Google’s VP10 combine to form an excellent basis for a truly world-class royalty-free codec.

In order to allow us to move quickly, the alliance is structured as a Joint Development Foundation project. These are an ideal complement to a larger, open standards organization like the IETF: One of the biggest challenges in developing open standards in a field like video codecs is figuring out how to review the patents. The Alliance provides a venue for us to share the legal legwork without having to worry about it being used against us down the road. That distributes the load, allows us to innovate faster and cheaper, and gives everyone more confidence that we are really producing a royalty-free codec.

The Alliance will operate under W3C patent rules and release code under an Apache 2.0 license. This means all Alliance participants are waiving royalties both for the codec implementation and for any patents on the codec itself. The initial members are just a start. We invite anyone with an interest in video, online or off, to join us.

For further information please visit www.aomedia.org or view the press release.

Mozilla Webmaker, Meet the World

David Ascher

Mozilla is excited to announce that Webmaker for Android emerges from beta today. You can download the new version of our free, open source app from Google Play at mzl.la/webmaker.

Mozilla built Webmaker to empower first-time smartphone users and mobile-first Web users as active participants on the Web. Too often, individuals around the world experience a “read-only” mobile Web, passively consuming content and unable to actively contribute. But when consumers become creators, they’re introduced to social and economic opportunity. And when everyone can contribute equally, the Web becomes a better place.

Webmaker

Webmaker is Mozilla’s way of addressing the lack of local content in mobile-first markets. Initially available in four languages (Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, English and Indonesian) and with more coming soon, the app allows individuals across the globe to create original content in their language and relevant to their community. We built Webmaker after extensive research around the world, and it’s informed by hundreds of volunteers. Webmaker belongs as much to these communities as it does Mozilla.

Webmaker’s hallmark is simplicity: there’s no know-how required, no steep learning curve, and no complex toolbars. Users can create a range of content in minutes — from scrapbooks and art portfolios to games and memes. The intuitive design lets users iterate on the Web’s basic building blocks: text, images and links. With these three fundamentals, our community has already built wonderful creations: how-to manuals, photo albums, digital sketchbooks and wardrobes, exercise handbooks and more. Users are also free to remix and tinker with each other’s Webmaker projects in order to start slowly and steadily expand their creative potential.

Teenagers in Bangladesh using Webmaker

Teenagers in Bangladesh using Webmaker

How is this version different from the Webmaker beta we released in June? In addition to better performance and a more optimal user experience, shared projects can now be viewed on any platform (mobile or desktop), and users with poor connectivity will experience better performance while offline. Also, content discovery is now location-based — you can see what others in your community are creating and remixing.

Ready to discover, create and share local content, and learn the basics of the Web along the way? Download Webmaker today at mzl.la/webmaker. You can find ideas for your first project here.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you make! You can reach us anytime @Webmaker or at help-webmaker@mozilla.com.

Firefox Brings Fresh new Look to Windows 10 and Makes Add-ons Safer

Mozilla

Today, we are proud to bring all the features you love about Firefox to Windows 10, along with a fresh new look and a way to preserve your search engine choice.

Firefox Has a New Look for Windows 10

You can now download or update to the latest Firefox to see a fresh new look in Windows 10. We’ve made thoughtful tweaks to the interface to give Firefox a streamlined feel. You’ll also notice bigger, bolder design elements as well as more space for viewing the Web. We had a lot of fun building this version of Firefox and we hope you’ll enjoy the new look.

Firefox in Windows 10

If you upgrade to Windows 10 or get a device that already has it installed, your default browser is set to Microsoft Edge by Windows, so we created support materials to show you how to restore or choose Firefox as your default browser in Windows 10.

Firefox also helps you preserve your choice when using the search field on the Windows 10 taskbar to search the Web. When using this search field, Windows 10 launches your default browser but only shows search results in Microsoft Bing. When you have Firefox set as your default browser on Windows 10, all your Web searches from the taskbar search field will show results in the default search engine you choose in Firefox.

Making Third Party Add-ons Safer in Firefox

Add-ons are another important aspect of how you control and customize Firefox. Add-ons will continue to provide limitless possibilities for customizing the look and functionality of Firefox, but today we’re also taking steps to ensure that using add-ons is a safe and secure experience for our users. We’ve announced a process to certify add-ons based on guidelines we have provided to add-on developers.

In future releases of Firefox, any third-party add-on that has not been certified will be disabled by default. Today, you will start seeing warnings next to unsigned add-ons in Firefox, but no add-ons will be automatically disabled. These warnings will inform you about add-ons that have not been certified by Mozilla and we’re working with add-on developers to help them meet our standards and make add-ons safer for you.

For more information:
Release Notes for Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux
Release Notes for Android
Download Firefox

Safeguarding Choice and Control Online

Chris Beard

We are calling on Microsoft to “undo” its aggressive move to override user choice on Windows 10

Mozilla exists to bring choice, control and opportunity to everyone on the Web. We build Firefox and our other products for this reason. We build Mozilla as a non-profit organization for this reason. And we work to make the Internet experience beyond our products represent these values as much as we can.

Sometimes we see great progress, where consumer products respect individuals and their choices. However, with the launch of Windows 10 we are deeply disappointed to see Microsoft take such a dramatic step backwards. It is bewildering to see, after almost 15 years of progress bolstered by significant government intervention, that with Windows 10 user choice has now been all but removed. The upgrade process now appears to be purposefully designed to throw away the choices its customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.

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On the user choice benchmark, Microsoft’s Windows 10 falls woefully short, even when compared to its own past versions. While it is technically possible for people to preserve their previous settings and defaults, the design of the new Windows 10 upgrade experience and user interface does not make this obvious nor easy. Continue reading …

An Open Letter to Microsoft’s CEO: Don’t Roll Back the Clock on Choice and Control

Chris Beard

Satya,

I am writing to you about a very disturbing aspect of Windows 10. Specifically, that the update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.

When we first saw the Windows 10 upgrade experience that strips users of their choice by effectively overriding existing user preferences for the Web browser and other apps, we reached out to your team to discuss this issue. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in any meaningful progress, hence this letter. Continue reading …

MDN celebrates 10 years of documenting YOUR Web

Mozilla

Today, Mozilla proudly celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Mozilla Developer Network, one of the richest and also one of the few multilingual resources on the Web for documentation. It started in February 2005, when a small team dedicated to the open Web took DevEdge (Netscape’s developer materials) and set out to create an open, free, community-built online resource for all Web developers. Just a couple of months later, on 23 July, 2005 the original MDN wiki site launched and has evolved steadily ever since for the convenience and the benefit of its users.

MDN_10-Milestones_UK
Today, ten years later, not only has the amount of documentation grown – 34,500 documents and climbing – but also MDN’s global volunteer community is bigger than ever. Currently, MDN has more than 4 million users and over 1000 volunteer editors per month creating and translating documentation, sample code, tutorials and other learning resources for all open Web technologies, including CSS, HTML, JavaScript and everything that makes the open Web as rich and versatile as it is.

MDN_10_Facts_UK

For a wide range of Web developers, from learners to hobbyists to full-time professionals, MDN provides useful explanations for coding practice. It aims to inspire ideas, encourage collaboration, innovation and ultimately, foster the growth of the open Web. Moreover, as the digital industry flourishes and the demand for coding skills at young age rises, the importance of well-organized resources like MDN grows exponentially. That is why in 2014 MDN started to feed and expand all its learning pages into a “Learn the Web” area for beginning web developers, including a web terminology glossary, which MDN’s technical writers and volunteers will continue to develop over the next years.

All these efforts, which would not be possible without the active MDN volunteer base, are being greatly acknowledged by developers from all over the world who would not be doing what they do without MDN – or at least not as good.

Let’s hear it for MDN!

For more information:

Web: https://developer.mozilla.org/
MDN at 10: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/MDN_at_ten
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MozDevNet

All graphics are also available in French, German, Italien, Spanish and Polish.

Mozilla’s Maker Party Starts Today

Mozilla

It’s here: Maker Party starts today!

From July 15 – July 31, Mozilla community members around the globe will come together to teach the Web through fun, creative and hands-on activities. In past years, we’ve created everything from robots and educational browser games to original artwork and dance moves. We can’t wait to make more cool stuff this July.

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Over the course of the next 17 days, we’ll be sharing activities for teaching web literacy. Specifically, we’ll focus on three important digital skills: how to read, write and participate on the Web. This is a team effort: we’re working alongside like-minded organizations and individuals to achieve universal web literacy. So, attend a Maker Party or host one of your own. And make sure to invite your friends, family and community.

  • Our first Maker Party activity? The IP Address Tracer game, which helps you read the Web. With this activity, learn how your device connects to the Internet. Every device — whether a laptop, desktop or smartphone — has a unique IP address. You’ll also learn why an IP address is personal information, and how protecting it protects your privacy. If you don’t have an Internet connection, you can try our lo-fi version using just a pen and paper.
  • Our second activity is all about writing on the Web: meet Webmaker, Mozilla’s new, open-source Android app for creating and sharing original content. Webmaker allows you to create online in minutes — it’s intuitive, simple and built for smartphone users of any skill level. You can create so much: a recipe book, a birthday card, a photo album, a comic strip. And everything you create can easily be shared with and remixed by your friends. No device or Internet access? No problem. Try this lo-fi version of the activity.
  • Our third activity, Hack My Media, is all about participating on the Web. Use Mozilla’s X-Ray Goggles tool to peer at the code behind a website. Then, remix the HTML to create a version of your very own. Swap in photos, headlines and other content to make the site reflect your personal identity and reflections on the media you consume — then share the URL with your friends. If you’re offline, try the lo-fi version.

As you start planning your Maker Party, remember: we’re here to help. In addition to the above three activities, Mozilla has several other interactive ways to teach the Web. Find them on our Teaching Activities page.

Visit our Event Resources page to ensure your Maker Party is impactful: you can download all sorts of art and decorations. We’ll also help you plan your event by sharing tips for finding the perfect venue, inviting media and more. Whether your Maker Party is three friends around a kitchen table or 50 students in a classroom, we can help. Email us anytime at makerparty@mozilla.org.

And don’t forget to share your party with us — and the world. Tweet this message from your event (and send us a photo, too):

I’m taking part in @Mozilla’s #MakerParty this July! Join us to create cool stuff online and help #TeachTheWeb: mzl.la/makerparty

Thanks for reading. Now, let’s party!

 

 

New Sharing Features in Firefox

Mozilla

Whichever social network you choose, it’s undeniable that being social is a key part of why you enjoy the Web. Firefox is built to put you in control, including making it easier to share anything you like on the Web’s most popular social networks. Today, we’re announcing that Firefox Share has been integrated into Firefox Hello. We introduced Firefox Share to offer a simple way of sharing Web content across popular services such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Google+ and other social and email services  (full list here) to help you share anything on the Web with any or all of your friends.

Firefox Hello link sharing

Firefox Hello, which we’ve been developing in beta with our partner, Telefonica, is the only in-browser video chat tool that doesn’t require an account or extra software downloads. We recently added screen sharing to Firefox Hello to make it easier to share anything you’re looking at in your video call. Now you can also invite friends to a Firefox Hello video call by sharing a link via the social network or email account of your choice, all without leaving your browser tab. That includes a newly added Yahoo Mail integration in Firefox Share that lets Yahoo Mail users share Hello conversation links or other Web content directly from Firefox Share.

For more information:
Release Notes for Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux
Release Notes for Android
Download Firefox

Firefox Puts You in Control of Your Online Life

Mozilla

We created Firefox to give people choice and control of their Web experience and we’re always adding more ways to personalize your Firefox. Firefox is made by a non-profit organization and a global community dedicated to Mozilla’s mission of promoting openness, innovation and opportunity online.

One way we offer more choice and control is Firefox Accounts, which provides a personalized Web experience by connecting users to services like Firefox Sync and Firefox Hello. You can use Firefox Sync to access data including passwords, bookmarks, history and open tabs across your desktop and Android devices as well as Firefox for iOS (coming later this year). Firefox Accounts is also a great way to save your Firefox Hello contacts.

Today, we’re adding a new feature to Firefox Hello and a new integration with Pocket, the popular save-for-later service. Pocket started as a popular Firefox Add-on and is now a service in Firefox Accounts that helps you save all the articles, videos and websites that you want to read or watch later, all in one place. Pocket is available in Firefox Accounts in U.S. English, German, Japanese, Russian and European Spanish while we continue to add support for more languages and features.

Firefox Hello

We’ve been developing Firefox Hello with our long-term partner Telefónica and we’re excited to share that Firefox Hello now offers screen sharing. This new feature allows the host to share a browser tab or application window while in the video conversation. You can share any website or window that you’re viewing while talking to friends, family and co-workers. It’s a great way to shop online together, collaborate on a document or just watch a cat video with a friend.

Firefox Developer Edition Adds Performance Tools

We’re also excited to share an update to Firefox Developer Edition, the only browser created for developers. This fresh release has new performance tools to make it easier to build fast, interactive websites and Web apps. You can read the blog post from Dave Camp and the Developer Tools team here and play Power Surge, a little game we created to help developers find slow JavaScript code in the game, and their own websites and Web apps.

For more information:
Release Notes for Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android
Release Notes for Firefox Developer Edition
Download Firefox
Download Firefox Developer Edition

Open Web Device Compliance Review Board Certifies First Handsets

Mozilla

Announcement Marks Key Point in Development of Open Source Mobile Ecosystem

San Francisco, Calif. – May 18, 2015: – The Open Web Device Compliance Review Board (CRB), in conjunction with its members ALCATEL ONE TOUCH, Deutsche Telekom, Mozilla, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and Telefónica, has announced the first handsets to be certified by the CRB. The CRB is an independently operated organization designed to promote the success of the open Web device ecosystem by encouraging API compliance as well as ensuring competitive performance.

The two devices are the Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire C and the Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire E. ALCATEL ONETOUCH has also authorized a CRB lab.

Continue reading …