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Firefox Mozilla Open Source Software

Firefox 31 Released 172

An anonymous reader writes Mozilla has released version 31 of its Firefox web browser for desktops and Android devices. According to the release notes, major new features include malware blocking for file downloads, automatic handling of PDF and OGG files if no other software is available to do so, and a new certificate verification library. Smaller features include a search field on the new tab page, better support for parental controls, and partial implementation of the OpenType MATH table. Firefox 31 is also loaded with new features for developers. Mozilla also took the opportunity to note the launch of a new game, Dungeon Defenders Eternity, which will run at near-native speeds on the web using asm.js, WebGL, and Web Audio. "We're pleased to see more developers using asm.js to distribute and now monetize their plug-in free games on the Web as it strengthens support for Mozilla's vision of a high performance, plugin-free Web."
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Firefox 31 Released

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  • by Urquhardt ( 3529035 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:05PM (#47510563)
    Now... Now Now...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:06PM (#47510567)

    No disabling Canvas tracking and they even included
    navigator.sendBeacon by default so "analytics" is easier to send using onunload handlers. thanks Mozilla , i cant tell you how many users asked for that feature

    Mozilla : comitted to your privacy*

    *not applicable in your area

    • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:16PM (#47510643)

      Some background - since I was unaware:
      http://www.ghacks.net/2014/07/... [ghacks.net]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:18PM (#47510655)

      You mean the same thing that you could already do a number of ways, but had to be synchronous. You have to completely remove onunload and onbeforeunload to prevent such things.

    • by roca ( 43122 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:36PM (#47510775) Homepage

      sendBeacon was already possible with JS using XHR, just in a slower and more user-unfriendly manner. And unlike XHR, you can disable sendBeacon without breaking the Web, so it's actually better for privacy.

      However, if you want to completely prevent any sendBeacon-like activity, you need to just disable JS on that page.

    • by roca ( 43122 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:49PM (#47510859) Homepage

      Preventing canvas tracking isn't simply a matter of fixing a bug. A solution would require something like "don't use the GPU" or "don't use platform font rasterization", either of which are completely unacceptable for most users due to degradation of performance or visual quality.

      If you've got a simple fix to canvas tracking, let the world know what it is, OK?

    • No disabling Canvas tracking and they even included Go to about:config and set "webgl.disabled" to true.

      It's not perfect... But from what I can understand this will atleast mitigate the issue: http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~hovav/... [ucsd.edu]

      Either way, this does indeed seems like a very hard problem. And disabling canvas might not be enough. See the article from before.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:07PM (#47510577)

    All right. What features did they remove, hide, or obscure? What part of the established GUI did they fuck with?

  • no thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xeno ( 2667 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:12PM (#47510623)

    I'll install it when that godawful Australis interface is rolled back or replaced with something less eye-bleedingly bad. (And no, the craptastic classic plug-in is not a long-term solution.) For now, I'm holding at v28 (on Linux Mint or Ubuntu: "sudo apt-mark hold firefox"), and pondering what to do re security updates in the long run.

    Firefox has gone down the ugly-UI-shuffle-for-the-hell-of-it route, Chrome sends an astounding amount of telemetry back to the hive-mind, and IE's performance is still a total joke even if I can see past the OS implications and numbingly-bad design. Are niche browsers all we have left?

    • Re:no thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by xeno ( 2667 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:16PM (#47510639)

      ...and I'm not alone. According to Moz's own dev feedback tools, the Australis phelgm-globber of an interface has been trending at 80%-dislike from day one after introduction..

      http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/11/less-than-20-per-cent-of-users-like-firefoxs-new-australis-ui/
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/999831
      http://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=14/05/12/133214

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:51PM (#47510881)

      Pale Moon on windows.

      Seamonkey sorta kinda on linux, unless you want to build Pale Moon yourself for it.

    • Re:no thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @06:00PM (#47510939)

      My gripe about the new Firefox is not the Australis interface per se, but it's an example of the core problem: Firefox removes features without giving you a choice or a way to re-enable them without plugins. For example:

      Separate Stop/Reload buttons. I get shivers of terror when I think back on the days of slow dial-up when a page would seem to hang when it was almost loaded, so I would go to hit the Stop button, only to realize in horror that it changed to Reload an instant before I pressed it, and the page would start loading again from scratch. I don't want buttons to change functionality due to forces outside my control. But hey, at least it saves a few pixels. (More on that later)

      The Find bar. Without a plugin, it can no longer be made persistent across tabs. Whose genius idea was it to not only change the default behavior, but to make the previous default behavior impossible? Did it ever occur to them that I might want to look up the same thing on more than one tab?

      Then there are the defaults they changed that don't require a plugin, but you do have to go into about:config to fix them. Separate download folders for different sites? It took me 3 weeks to figure out why after downloading several files I couldn't find them. They were in the default Windows Download folder, which I never use. Then it took me another 3 weeks to figure out why it kept jumping back to that folder, seemingly at random. Finally I figured out that it "helpfully" separated the downloads by site, which is a horrible way of doing it. And not only do you have to go to about:config to fix it, but the entry to fix it isn't even there! You have to add it yourself!

      Since I'm on a roll, I might as well bitch about my other issues with Firefox. How about their schizophrenic design philosophy?

      They remove the menu bar because it's using up too much screen real estate. (Ignoring the fact that the menu bar is a GREAT place to put toolbar buttons so you don't need an extra toolbar) All right, I disagree with their philosophy of trying to save every pixel they can for the page itself, but at least I can understand that it's a legitimate philosophy. Then they go and make the Back/Forward buttons gigantic so that they waste pixels that could be used on the page. Not to mention the wasted space from the rounded tabs, which means you can fit fewer tabs on screen at once. They should at least be consistent. If they're willing to waste space, why not "waste" it on stuff that's functional, like the menu bar?

      In short, the designers are (willfully?) ignorant of the fact that not everyone uses their web browser exactly the same way they do. They could avoid all the gripes by all the users if they did one thing: Any time they change the interface, add an easy-to-find checkbox under the options to restore the old functionality. It shouldn't require looking through about:config (and especially searching the internet for the correct item to add), or worse, a plugin, to change things back to the way they were. EVER.

      • by Lennie ( 16154 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @06:28PM (#47511177)

        "Separate download folders for different sites"

        I've never seen that behavior, is that Windows specific ?

        ___

        When you say plugin, I think mean extension.

        ___

        While I may agree or not with you or the designers, but they've changed so much an 'easy-to-find checkbox under the options to restore the old functionality' seems infeasible.

      • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <.richardprice. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @08:12AM (#47514469)

        Welcome to the party, except you are many years behind the 'crowd' - a lot of people (but fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things) abandoned Firefox over the "Awesome Bar" debacle, where you couldn't even go back to the old functionality at all (yeah yeah, loads of people posted "fixes" which did nothing more than change the skin, while doing nothing to revert the underlying behaviour), so the current situation is nothing new.

        The way the Awesome Bar was dumped on us pushed Firefox way down on my list of browsers to use, and even today I only fire it up to check website functionality when I'm developing.

    • Re:no thanks (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @06:19PM (#47511097)

      I switched to Pale Moon [palemoon.org], and I am very pleased. I used Firefox and its Mozilla predecessors since about v. 0.92, and I was horrified and traumatized by FF v. 29. PM is the browser Firefox should have been. The following is taken from the Pale Moon home page.

      Pale Moon is an Open Source, Firefox-based web browser available for Microsoft Windows and Linux, focusing on efficiency and ease of use. ...
      Pale Moon offers you a browsing experience in a browser completely built from its own source with carefully selected features and optimizations to maximize the browser's speed, stability and user experience, while maintaining compatibility with thousands of Firefox extensions many have come to love and rely on. ... ... contrary to what Mozilla has done with their redesign of the user interface, Pale Moon will continue to provide a familiar set of controls and visual feedback similar to previous versions, including grouped navigation buttons of a decent size, a bookmarks toolbar that is enabled by default, tabs next to page content by default (easily switchable) and not in the least a functional status bar and more freedom in customization, to name a few things.

      I switched to Pale Moon right after FF v. 29 came out. I was able to copy my FF user profile into the Pale Moon user profile directory and it ran without any particular problems. I have not used FF since then.

      Four Stars and two thumbs up for Pale Moon.

    • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @10:24PM (#47512589) Homepage

      Firefox has gone down the ugly-UI-shuffle-for-the-hell-of-it route, Chrome sends an astounding amount of telemetry back to the hive-mind, and IE's performance is still a total joke even if I can see past the OS implications and numbingly-bad design. Are niche browsers all we have left?

      It's rather ironic that seamless integration with the OS is much less of a privacy issue than seamless integration with remote servers nowadays....

    • Re:no thanks (Score:4, Informative)

      by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @10:28PM (#47512609)

      I'll install it when that godawful Australis interface is rolled back or replaced with something less eye-bleedingly bad

      If enough of us move to Pale Moon, (it's all I've used since shortly after Australis first shat all over my computer screen), then perhaps Mozilla will get the hint that we love Firefox, but hate what it's become. And if they don't get the hint, well, then we're supporting a viable alternative for the time when Mozilla gets eaten by the shark it just jumped.

      BTW, although the Linux version of Pale Moon is 'unofficial' and maintained by somebody outside the organization, I've had no trouble running it under Debian Jessie with all of my usual addons.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @01:36PM (#47523701)

      I am not sure if it is the same thing but I have been using the craptastic Classic Theme Restorer which also fixed some other UI problems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:18PM (#47510653)

    The "malware blocking for file downloads" is a severe invasion of privacy. It works by sending the URL of nearly every downloaded file to Google.

    When a binary file is downloaded, the user-agent extracts several pieces of metadata about the file, including:

            The target URL from which the file was downloaded, its referrer URL and any URLs in the redirect chain.
            The SHA-256 hash of the contents of the file.
            Any certificate verification information obtained through the Windows Authenticode APIs.
            The length of the file in bytes.
            The suggested filename for the download.

    ...

      Remote lookup (present in FF 32)

    The user-agent stuffs all file metadata into a ClientDownloadRequest protocol buffer and sends it to the remote service.

    This remote service is https://sb-ssl.google.com/safe... [google.com]

  • Misfeatures (Score:3, Informative)

    by Arker ( 91948 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:21PM (#47510679) Homepage
    "Malware blocking" = yet another bad signature/reputation based scanner. If I wanted one, I would have one installed - and Firefox versions without this misfeature would still use it to scan, so in what universe was this worth doing?

    If you really want to do something about malware, disable javascript by default.

    "Automatic handling of pdf and ogg files" - I have a pdf reader already. I dont need another one, and I dont need one 'integrated' in my browser, period.

    "loaded with new features for developers." Pretty sure that means for advertisers.
    • by roca ( 43122 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:56PM (#47510913) Homepage

      > "Automatic handling of pdf and ogg files" - I have a pdf reader
      > already. I dont need another one, and I dont need one
      > 'integrated' in my browser, period.

      From the release notes: "audio/video .ogg and .pdf files handled by Firefox *if no application specified*" (emphasis added).

      > "loaded with new features for developers." Pretty sure that
      > means for advertisers.

      You just made that up.

      • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @10:33PM (#47512643) Journal

        From the release notes: "audio/video .ogg and .pdf files handled by Firefox *if no application specified*" (emphasis added).

        Does the bloat in the browser go away the moment I install Sumatra?

        • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @06:55AM (#47514209)

          The pdf javascript reader wastes kilobytes on your / or C:\ partition, that's all.
          But it is handy to have it for some people. I even like sometimes just to have a black and white pdf in a tab, it's not even crashing the browser like in the old days of using acrobat reader plugin. Then a click on the download button will open it in my pdf reader of choice if I need/want it.
          Chromium gets it worse : it thinks I want to open it in xpdf. I like having xpdf around (and will install it as the only reader on a lightweight junk box with lxde) but please.

    • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @06:12PM (#47511039) Homepage

      If you really want to do something about malware, disable javascript by default.

      What if you want to do something about malware, but don't want the hassle of re-enabling javascript when you actually want it to work (because, contrary to popular belief, it can actually be employed usefully)? What if you're too lazy to install another piece of software, or just don't want to install another piece of software? What if, god forbid, someone has different an idea on what to do about malware to you?

      "Automatic handling of pdf and ogg files" - I have a pdf reader already. I dont need another one

      Well, good news! Because as you carefully omitted to quote, "...if no other software is available to do so." So it'll be just like you don't have another PDF reader.

      TL:DR; this isn't how I use computers, therefore this isn't how anyone should use computers

    • Re:Misfeatures (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @07:28PM (#47511589)

      Speaking of misfeatures, your entire post is in tt.

  • by Dimwit ( 36756 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:47PM (#47510849)

    And also seen if there were any other interesting projects out there, and check on the latest versions of other free software that I use?

    Freecode.

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:49PM (#47510867)

    It's 2014 and we are all still transmitting passwords in clear text web forms over SSL.

  • by DF5JT ( 589002 ) <slashdot@bloatware.de> on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @06:13PM (#47511053) Homepage

    Thank you for turning my notebook into a feels-like-a-286 machine by now.

    With 10 tabs open it hogs almost 2GB of RAM. Used to be a fraction of it and I haven't noticed any functional improvements between now and then.

    Basically it now renders an obsolete machine (T60p) into an obsolete piece of hardware without the need to do so.

    Congratulations.

  • As Stephen Elop to Nokia, so Google to Mozilla. We should have known. Actually, we knew and there wasn't a damned thing anyone could do about it.

  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @07:08PM (#47511457)

    My bug has finally been fixed - if you've always wanted to vertically center text in a select box, you're now good to go. Seriously, filed it in November of 2010, as as I can recall.

  • by B2382F29 ( 742174 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @02:13AM (#47513415)

    Another release, another time when their own FTP server is the LAST place to get the release.

    Last time it took around a week until the Android version (30) was available here [mozilla.org], where previously that was the first place to find it.

    What's next, changelog on twitter only?

  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @05:16AM (#47513917) Journal

    1STABILITY
    2PERFORMANCE
    3FEATURES
    4USER INTERFACE FUCKING FIDDLING

    Christ lord almighty, this program has gone to the shitter and it's killing me, PLEASE focus in that damned order.

    First I thought it was me or my machine, because I'm an extremely heavy tab user, but I'm seeing it on my other machines too. Yes, I run a heck of a lot of tabs in some sessions (probably over 100 right now) however Firefox has run over 100 tabs for me for the best part of 8+ years.
    When I'm researching I have 8 tabs open, it's what I do. I middle click the link to open in the background (tab mix plus â(TM)¥) and then I read the current tab, switch instantly to the next one, no back buttons and clicking the next link, I've already clicked it, it's waiting for me.

    I just want the damn thing to be stable, I want them to STOP fiddling with the UI, I want them to STOP adding features. I've got 8gb of RAM use it (properly!) if you need it - but maintain stability and performance.
    I'm almost using Chrome at the moment and I can't stand Chromes, Apple style "our way or the highway" on stupid changes.
    FF with Tabs Menu, Xmarks, Tab Mix Plus, Lastpass is a joy to use when it's being reliable but god help me this is killing me.

  • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @07:05AM (#47514225) Journal

    Why? 99.99% of users will not use the development parts of Firefox which will no doubt bloat it up massively, introduce vulnerabilities and slow the browser down.

    If you want to create some kind of web development suit then fine, do that, but don't stick it in Firefox FFS.

  • by damnbunni ( 1215350 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @11:08AM (#47515641) Journal

    Pale Moon looks like what I really want in a browser, but there's no Mac version.

    Does anyone know of a similar project for Macs?

User hostile.

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