In this issue…
- Firefox 3.0.12 released
- Firebug 1.4 accessibility features
- XULRunner releases
- Thunderbird 3 beta 3 shipped
- Jetpack for Thunderbird
- Quick survey for add-on developers
- Making Firefox faster
- Get involved: WebQA resources
- Self-empowering communities
- Mozilla Camp Europe 2009
- Fastest Firefox final video
- Recent press coverage
- Open Source for America
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Firefox 3.0.12 released
As part of the Mozilla Corporation’s ongoing security and stability process, Firefox 3.0.12 is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users as a free download from Firefox.com. We strongly recommend that all Firefox 3.0.x users upgrade to this latest release. If you already have Firefox 3, you will receive an automated update notification, or you can apply the update manually by selecting “Check for Updates…” from the Help menu. For more information about this update, see the original release announcement.
Firebug 1.4 accessibility features
The recent release of Firebug 1.4 included UI accessibility for many of the Firebug features. This work was done by Hans Hillen of the Paciello Group, with funding from Mozilla. Further funding is being provided so Hans can finish the remaining UI pieces, fix some outstanding issues, and work with the University of Illinois to develop Firebug features that will help developers check their sites and applications for accessibility support. The documentation for these accessibility features is extensive, and Marco Zehe has written about the project on his weblog.
Dave Townsend has posted that two new official releases of the XULRunner runtime and SDKs are now available. “XULRunner 188.8.131.52 is a maintenance release for the 1.9.0 branch (the code that matches Firefox 3.0.x). XULRunner 1.9.1 is the first official release of XULRunner on the 1.9.1 branch (which matches the code in Firefox 3.5.x). Unfortunately we’re not quite at the point of shipping XULRunner releases at the same time as Firefox 3.5.x releases, but we should have a 184.108.40.206 release soon.”
Thunderbird 3 beta 3 shipped
“After a lot of hard work by a lot of people, we’ve shipped Thunderbird 3.0 beta 3,” writes Dan Mosedale. This release includes a number of changes including improved tab functionality, a new message pane summary view, Smart Folders, and better Gmail support among other things. Additionally, the team is working hard on the Thunderbird developer documentation, and they would like developers to read through, edit, and add to the wiki pages where needed. For more information about this release, see Dan’s blog post.
Jetpack for Thunderbird
The Thunderbird team has also been working on making it easier to write extensions for Thunderbird 3, part of which is getting the Mozilla Labs Jetpack experiment running under Thunderbird and exposing Thunderbird-specific points. Andrew Sutherland has blogged about their initial successes, and has made code for the modified version of Jetpack available.
Quick survey for add-on developers
The addons.mozilla.org (AMO) team is looking for feedback. “If you’re an add-on developer who hosts an add-on on addons.mozilla.org, please take a moment to fill out our survey on the statistics dashboard we provide. This will help us improve the dashboard and make better decisions about further integrating statistics with the public site. Thanks!”
Making Firefox faster
Jesse Ruderman has blogged about recent work to improve Firefox’s speed and responsiveness. “User experience designers Alex Faaborg and Alexander Limi are looking to broaden the scope of efforts to make Firefox faster. Until recently, most of the effort has involved reducing the computation time needed to launch Firefox or render a web page. Faaborg and Limi argue that we should also look for ways to make computation time matter less.” The Perceived Performance wiki page contains a long list of ideas aimed at reducing the amount of time users spend waiting for Firefox to do things.
The team is looking for help and feedback. “What kinds of slowness do you encounter while using Firefox? Where should we focus performance efforts, whether by reducing computation time or through more clever means? Can you think of new ways to make Firefox faster where it matters?” Please post feedback and comments to Jesse’s blog.
Get involved: WebQA resources
The WebQA team has put together a page of information and resources for people who want to get involved with the Web testing community. Stephen Donner, the page’s author, is looking for feedback — “feel free to make direct edits within parentheses, as I’ll be editing this quite frequently and will incorporate suggested improvements/corrections, etc. I’m encouraged by the recent team momentum, and need your help in growing interest and documentation.”
Clint Talbert has written an interesting post exploring some ideas around growing leaders as a crucial part of growing communities, and about a possible new approach to help those leaders engage new contributors. His idea centers around the concept of “Community Personas” — various pre-defined roles people play within the community. The idea isn’t to shoehorn people into one or another cookie-cutter definition, as we all play different roles at different times, but to provide an analytical tool to help community leaders.
“By creating personas around specific roles for volunteers you can begin to think about what motivates her, what she’s interested in doing for the project, what she expects from her involvement, etc. Once you start answering these questions, you can create a handbook for your community leaders so that they can easily identify contributors in those roles and quickly know exactly what to do to engage them.”
Clint’s full post is available on his weblog, and you can take part in the discussion there.
Mozilla Camp Europe 2009
Mozilla Camp Europe 2009 has been announced and will be taking place in Prague on the weekend of October 3rd and 4th. Patrick Finch is leading the Advocacy track, and has issued a call for papers from anyone who would like to present on related topics, including: promoting Mozilla software; promoting open source, the open web, and open standards; influencing organizations to change; influencing public policy on software; and organizing communities. Proposals are due by Monday 24th of August by email (to patrick@REMOVE-THISmozilla.com).
Fastest Firefox final video
The Fastest Firefox campaign was launched to help spread the word about Firefox 3.5’s performance upgrades and to give the broader Mozilla community a chance to have a little fun by showing off their own speediest talents. Almost 250 videos were submitted, and the marketing team (with help from the folks at Nobox) has put together a compilation of their favourites. You can check out the final video over at the Fastest Firefox page.
Recent press coverage
Melissa Shapiro, Mozilla’s tireless PR lead, has blogged about some of our recent press. First is the Firefox 3.5 launch that received coverage in a large number of major media outlets including USA Today, Fast Company, Seattle Times, MTV, BusinessWeek, and many more. Then last week, John Lilly was a guest on the NBC Bay Area show “Press:Here“, a Sunday morning news roundtable discussion show featuring top tech leaders and reporters. And finally, this past weekend, Mozilla was featured in the New York Times Sunday Business section.
Open Source for America
Tim O’Reilly, at this year’s OSCON, announced the creation of Open Source for America, which Mark Surman describes as, “a loose, non-partisan coalition of organizations that will raise awareness about the huge potential for open source in government.” Mark continues, “Concretely, the idea is to connect people who know and care about open source with people inside the US government, to help them understand open source and to contribute back. It feels like that can only be a good thing.” Mozilla has signed on as a founding member of Open Source for America. See Mark’s post or the press release for more information.
* Fri, Aug 7 – Online – Testscripting with MozMill 1.2
* Fri, Aug 21 – Online – Fennec 1.0 beta Testday
* Fri, Sep 4 – Online – Firefox 3.5 Testday
* Sept 14-21 – Everywhere! – Mozilla Service Week
* Oct 3-4 – Prague – Mozilla Camp Europe
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 or announcements you would like to have included in our next issue, please send them to: about-mozilla[at]mozilla.com.
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28 Jul 2009 deb comments off