Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Chrome

Ask Slashdot: Best Browser Extensions -- 2016 Edition 164

Reader LichtSpektren writes: Almost eleven years ago, Slashdot featured an Ask titled "Favorite Firefox Extensions?". I thought it might be worthwhile to ask the question again (Editor's note: we couldn't agree more!), but expand the query to all web browsers now that there's more choices available.

Right now my main browser is Firefox, which I use with uBlock Origin, Disconnect, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, NoScript, Self-Destructing Cookies, Decentraleyes, Privacy Settings, and Clean Links. (N.B. the first four of these are also available in Chromium-based browsers.) I use Chrome as a secondary browser, with the first four of the aforementioned extensions, plus also Clear Cache and occasionally Flashcontrol.

This one has nothing to do with security or privacy, but Reedy on Chromium is a really nice tool for speed reading.

What do you use?
Let's get this going.
Firefox

Firefox To Block Non-Essential Flash Content In August 2016, Require Click-To-Activate In 2017 (mozilla.org) 156

Mozilla has announced that it plans to discontinue support for Flash in Firefox. Starting next month, Firefox will block Flash content "that is not essential to the user experience." Also, starting sometime in 2017, the browser will require click-to-activate approval from users before a website activates the Flash plugin for any content. In a blogpost, the company writes:Mozilla and the Web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing. Over the past few years, Firefox has implemented Web APIs to replace functionality that was formerly provided only by plugins. This includes audio/video playback and streaming capabilities, clipboard integration, fast 2D and 3D graphics, WebSocket networking, and microphone/camera access. As websites have switched from Flash to other web technologies, the plugin crash rate in Firefox has dropped significantly. [...] We continue to work closely with Adobe to deliver the best possible Flash experience for our users.
Windows

Windows 10 Warns Chrome and Firefox Users About Battery Drain, Recommends Switching To Edge (venturebeat.com) 377

A month after Microsoft claimed that its Edge web browser is more power efficient than Google Chrome and Firefox, the company is now warning Windows 10 users about the same. VentureBeat reports: Microsoft has turned on a new set of Windows Tips that warn Windows 10 users that Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is draining their laptop's battery. The solution, according to the notification, is to use Microsoft Edge.In a statement to the publication, the company said: "These Windows Tips notifications were created to provide people with quick, easy information that can help them enhance their Windows 10 experience, including information that can help users extend battery life. That said, with Windows 10 you can easily choose the default browser and search engine of your choice."
Chrome

Slashdot Asks: What's Your Computer Set-Up Look Like? 326

I thought it'd be fun to ask Slashdot readers one of the same questions we asked Larry Wall: What's your computer set-up look like? Slashdot reader LichtSpektren had asked: Can you give us a glimpse into what your main work computer looks like? What's the hardware and OS, your preferred editor and browser, and any crucial software you want to give a shout-out to?
Larry Wall is running Linux Mint (Cinnamon edition), and he surfs the web with Firefox (and Chrome on his phone) -- "but I'm not a browser wonk. Maybe I'll have more opinions on that after our JS backend is done for Perl 6..." And for a text editor, he's currently ensconced in the vi/vim camp, though "I've used lots of them, so I have no strong religious feelings."

So leave your answers in the comments. What's your OS, hardware, preferred editor, browser, "and any crucial software you want to give a shout-out to?" What does your computer set-up look like?
Media

Microsoft: Only Microsoft Edge Will Play Netflix Content At 1080p On Your PC (pcworld.com) 237

An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Microsoft made the bold claim on Wednesday that its Edge browser was the only browser of the big four browsers -- Chrome, Firefox, and Opera -- to play Netflix content at a 1080p resolution. PCWorld tested the four browsers and found this claim to be valid. The other three browsers capped out at a 720p resolution. Microsoft has been trying to boost Edge's reputation. Microsoft recently claimed that its Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome. (Opera later denied those claims.) This is the latest bold claim to come from Microsoft in regard to its Edge browser. Microsoft has even publicized a Netflix support document to show that Netflix streams at 1080p on Internet Explorer and Edge, and 720p on the other browsers. PCWorld used the "secret Netflix menus" that were first unearthed by Reddit users (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+D) to display the resolution and bitrate and confirm that Microsoft's claims are true. "In a blog post, Microsoft claimed Microsoft Edge was built to take advantage of platform features in Windows 10, including the PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine's Protected Media Path," reports PCWorld. "The company said it is working with the Open Media Alliance to develop next-generation media formats, codecs, and other technologies for UltraHD video, and with chipset companies to develop Enhanced Content Protection that moves the protected media path into peripheral hardware for an even higher level of security, and one that could be used to protect 4K media."
Firefox

Mozilla Will Ship Its First Rust Component In Firefox 48 (softpedia.com) 167

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: Mozilla announced today plans to ship its first ever Rust code with the production releases of Firefox. The first ever Rust components will arrive in Firefox 48, scheduled for release on August 2, 2016. After teasing Rust features last year, the Mozilla Foundation announced today that Firefox 48 would contain a new media stack component that's entirely coded in Rust. The first Firefox component to feature Rust code was not chosen at random because media components often execute malicious code when parsing multimedia files. "This makes a memory-safe programming language like Rust a compelling addition to Mozilla's tool-chest for protecting against potentially malicious media content on the Web," says Dave Herman, Director of Strategy at Mozilla Research. During tests of this Rust-based media component in Firefox's unstable builds, Mozilla says that after one billion uses they have yet to see a crash or issue in the Rust media component. Last month, Mozilla released the first versions of Servo, a minimal browser created in Rust code alone. At around the same time, Microsoft open-sourced Checked C, an extension to the C programming language that brings new features to address a series of security-related issues.
Chrome

Do We Need A Better Private Browsing Mode? (networkworld.com) 126

Network World's Alan Zeichi recently argued "We need a better Private Browsing mode." Slashdot reader Miche67 writes: As this writer says, Chrome's Incognito Mode "doesn't offer strong protection at all." [Incognito mode "only prevents Chrome from saving your site visit activity. It won't stop other sources from seeing your browsing activity."] And Firefox's Private Browsing with Tracking Protection -- while stronger than Chrome -- is an all-or-nothing option. "You can't turn it off for sites you trust, but have it otherwise enabled by default."
The submission ends, "Every single link to non-trusted websites should open, by default, in a Private/Incognito window. C'mon, browser makers, get this done." This raises two questions. How do Slashdot's readers browse? And do you think we need a better private mode for web browsing?
Yahoo!

Mozilla Could Walk Away and Still Get More Than $1 Billion If It Doesn't Like Yahoo's Buyer (recode.net) 144

Kara Swisher, reporting for Recode: Under terms of a contract that has been seen by Recode, whoever acquires Yahoo might have to pay Mozilla annual payments of $375 million through 2019 if it does not think the buyer is one it wants to work with and walks away. That's according to a clause in the Silicon Valley giant's official agreement with the browser maker that CEO Marissa Mayer struck in late 2014 to become the default search engine on the well-known Firefox browser in the U.S. Mozilla switched to Yahoo from Google after Mayer offered a much more lucrative deal that included what potential buyers of Yahoo say is an unprecedented term to protect Mozilla in a change-of-control scenario. It was a scenario that Mayer never thought would happen, which is why she apparently pushed through the possibly problematic deal point. According to the change-of-control term, 9.1 in the agreement, Mozilla has the right to leave the partnership if -- under its sole discretion and in a certain time period -- it did not deem the new partner acceptable. And if it did that, even if it struck another search deal, Yahoo is still obligated to pay out annual revenue guarantees of $375 million.
Mozilla

Mozilla Is Building Context Graph, a 'Recommender System For the Web' (venturebeat.com) 87

Mozilla is looking into ways to build a "better forward button" that helps you understand a topic, and find alternative solutions to a problem. On Wednesday, Firefox-maker announced Context Graph, which in addition also allows browsers to offer useful information without demanding input. From a VentureBeat report: Context Graph is a "recommender system for the web" that is supposed to help the company develop an understanding of browser activity at scale. By tapping into what and how people are browsing, Mozilla hopes to unlock "the next generation of web discovery on the internet." Another example is learning how to do something new, like bike repair. Context Graph should be able to help you learn bike repair based on the links others have navigated to when they attempted to learn the same thing. "This should work regardless of whom you're connected to, because your social network shouldn't be a prerequisite for getting the most from the web," Nick Nguyen, Firefox's vice president of product, said.
Stats

Linux Grabs More Than 2% of Desktop Market Share (w3counter.com) 249

LichtSpektren writes: W3Counter's stats for June 2016 are in, and Linux desktop accounts for 2.48% of all web visits from tracked websites... (Android is counted separately from "Linux desktop.")
Meanwhile, NetMarketShare shows Linux with a 2.02% share of the desktop market. And StatCounter shows a more detailed breakdown of the top 7 operating systems, with Windows 7 at 42.02%, Windows 10 at 21.88%, OSX at 9.94%, Windows 8.1 at 8.66%, Windows XP at 6.5%, and another 4.06% for "Unknown" (which is roughly tied with "Other") -- beating Windows 8.0 at 3.52%. In May they also reported another thought-provoking statistic: that Firefox's browser usage had surpassed that of IE and Edge combined for the first time.
Mozilla

Mozilla Releases First Build of Servo, Its Next-Generation Browser Engine (venturebeat.com) 131

An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Mozilla has released the first Nightly build of Servo, its new browser engine. This is the first tech demo of Servo, which Jack Moffitt, Servo project lead at Mozilla, described to us a few months ago as "a next-generation browser engine focused on performance and robustness." Packages for macOS and Linux are available to download from here: Servo Developer Preview Downloads. Mozilla promises that Windows and Android packages will be available "soon." And because this is Mozilla, you can check out all the code yourself over on GitHub.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu-Based Peppermint 7 Released (peppermintos.com) 74

Softpedia reports on the newest version of Peppermint OS, "a lightweight, stable, elegant, and fast computer operating system based on GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes their report: It's a bit earlier than expected, but the Peppermint OS 7 GNU/Linux distribution has been officially unveiled...based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system [with] a lot of packages from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS distro, which means that it will also be a long-term support release.... "Along with the shift to the 16.04 (Xenial) code base, Peppermint 7 continues our policy of choosing the best components from other desktop environments, wherever that may be, and integrating them into a cohesive whole with our own software," reads today's announcement.
"Team Peppermint" says they're switching to Firefox as their default browser for site-specific browser functionality (similar to Chrome's -app mode) after Google dropped their 32-bit version of Chrome and moved to PPAPI plugins "which effectively ends Flash support in 32-bit Chromium"... But you can also still choose Chrome or Chromium for site-specific browsing (and the OS comes in 32-bit and 64-bit editions).
Opera

Opera Denies Microsoft Edge Battery-Saving Claims (thestack.com) 57

An anonymous reader writes: According to the makers of the Opera browser, Microsoft's recent claim that its Windows 10 Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome are erroneous. Running its own tests with Opera, Edge and Chrome, the company finds that Opera runs 22% faster (with a battery life of 3hr 55m) than Edge (3hrs 12m). In Microsoft's own tests, Google's Chrome browser was the first to completely exhaust the battery, closely followed by Firefox and Opera. In May, Opera added a power-saving mode, but any advantage it can be verified to have in the energy-efficiency stakes may be more due to the native adblocking feature it introduced this year.
Microsoft

Microsoft Says Edge Browser Is More Power-Efficient Than Chrome (windows.com) 260

An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret that Google's Chrome browser eats up a considerable amount of memory (and by extension, battery). On Monday, Microsoft announced that its Edge browser has succeeded on that front. Citing several tests, Microsoft claims Edge browser is a better choice for portable device owners. The company took four identical laptops running Windows 10 to see which of the four most popular browsers would be most efficient when it comes to battery life. Interestingly, Chrome was the first to kill the laptop in the video streaming test at 4 hours and 19 minutes. Firefox closely followed its rival at 5 hours and 9 minutes, while Opera (running on the same tech as Chrome) managed to hit 6 hours and 18 minutes. In Microsoft's tests, it was found that Edge was best of the bunch when it came to enjoying a video online, lasting for 7 hours and 22 minutes. That's worked out to be 70% longer than Chrome.In a blog post, Microsoft wrote: "We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices."
Privacy

New 'Hardened' Tor Browser Protects Users From FBI Hacking (vice.com) 103

An anonymous reader quotes an article from Motherboard: According to a new paper, security researchers are now working closely with the Tor Project to create a "hardened" version of the Tor Browser, implementing new anti-hacking techniques which could dramatically improve the anonymity of users and further frustrate the efforts of law enforcement...

"Our solution significantly improves security over standard address space layout randomization (ASLR) techniques currently used by Firefox and other mainstream browsers," the researchers write in their paper, whose findings will be presented in July at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium in Darmstadt, Germany.

The researchers say Tor is currently field-testing their solution for an upcoming "hardened" release, making it harder for agencies like the FBI to crack the browser's security, according to Motherboard. "[W]hile that defensive advantage may not last for too long, it shows that some in the academic research community are still intent on patching the holes that their peers are helping government hackers exploit."
Firefox

Experimental Firefox Feature Lets You Use Multiple Identities While Surfing the Web (techcrunch.com) 103

Firefox web browser has a new experimental feature that allows a user to segregate their online identities and sign in into multiple mail or social media accounts side-by-side without having to use multiple browsers. From a TechCrunch report: This new "container tab" feature, which is now available in the unstable Nightly Firefox release channel, provides you with four default identities (personal, work, shopping, and banking) with their own stores for cookies, IndexedDB data store, local storage and caches. In practice, this means you can surf Amazon without ads for products you may have looked at following you around the web when you switch over to your work persona. As the Firefox team notes, the idea behind this feature isn't new, but nobody has figured out how to best present this new tool to users.
Firefox

Firefox Finally Confirms 'Largest Change Ever' Featuring Electrolysis In v48 (zdnet.com) 187

Firefox is finally getting multi-process support. Mozilla has announced that Electrolysis (e10s) will be available to users starting Firefox 48. The foundation finds it the most significant Firefox change since the browser's inception. From a ZDNet report: With Electrolysis, Firefox can use child processes for content (tabs), media playback and legacy plug-ins. This is some way short of Google Chrome, which uses a different process for each tab. However, the result is that Chrome is a huge resource hog: Chrome uses roughly twice as much memory as Firefox on Windows and Linux. Eric Rahm has run some browser tests with Electrolysis, and says: "Overall we see a 10-20 percent increase in memory usage for the 1 content process case (which is what we plan on shipping initially). This seems like a fair trade-off for potential security and performance benefits." With 8 content processes, Rahm says: "we see roughly a doubling of memory usage on the TabsOpenSettled measurement. It's a bit worse on Windows, a bit better on OS X, but it's not 8 times worse."The aforementioned feature will be available in Firefox 48 Beta shortly.
Firefox

Firefox 47 Arrives With Synced Tabs Sidebar, Better YouTube Playback (venturebeat.com) 129

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 47 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The browser has gained a sidebar for synced tabs from other devices, improvements to YouTube playback and HTML5 support, and is seeing the end of support for Android Gingerbread. [If you're logged in with your Firefox Account, the sidebar will show all your open tabs from your smartphone and other computers. The sidebar even lets you search for specific tabs. Next, Firefox 47 supports the open source VP9 video codec on machines with powerful multiprocessors. VP9 is the successor to VP8, both of which fall under Google's WebM project of freeing web codecs from royalty constraints.] Firefox 47 is available for download on Firefox.com, and will be slowly released on Google Play. You can view the full Firefox 47 changelog here. If you're a developer, Firefox 47 for developers offers more details for you.
Firefox

Firefox Tops Microsoft Browser Market Share For First Time (arstechnica.com) 141

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: For the first time, Firefox has pulled ahead of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Edge browsers. Mozilla's Firefox grabbed 15.6 percent of worldwide desktop browser usage in April, according to the latest numbers from Web analytics outfit StatCounter. Google Chrome continues to dominate two thirds of the market. StatCounter, which analyzed data from three million websites, found that Firefox's worldwide desktop browser usage last month was 0.1 percent ahead of the combined share of Internet Explorer and Edge at 15.5 percent. Firefox has reportedly been losing market share over the last three months, but Microsoft's Edge and Internet Explorer browsers appear to be declining faster. Last week, Mozilla launched Test Pilot, a program for trying out experimental Firefox features. They've also been fighting the FBI in court for details about a vulnerability in the Tor Browser hack, which may affect the company since the Tor browser is partially based on the Firefox browser code.

Slashdot Top Deals