We believe openness is a core component not just of a healthy Internet, but also a healthy society. Much like open practices can unlock innovation in the realm of technology, open practices can also invigorate fields like civics, journalism — and science.
In laboratories and at academic institutions, open source code, data and methodology foster collaboration between researchers; spark scientific progress; increase transparency and encourage reproducibility; and better serve the public interest.
Open data has been shown to speed up the study process and vaccine development for viruses, like Zika, at global scale. And open practices have allowed scientific societies from around the globe to pool their expertise and explore environments beyond Earth.
This April, Mozilla is elevating its commitment to open science. Mozilla Science Lab, alongside a broader network of scientists, developers and activists, is leading a series of programs and events to support open practices in science.
Our work aligns with the April 22 March for Science, a series of nonpartisan gatherings around the world that celebrate science in the public interest. We’re proud to say Teon Brooks, PhD — neuroscientist, open science advocate and Mozilla Science Fellow — is serving as a March for Science Partnership Outreach Co-Lead.
From science fellowships to NASA-fueled hackathons, here’s what’s happening at Mozilla this April:Signage for Science Marchers
We want to equip March for Science participants — from the neuroscientist to the megalosaurus-obsessed third grader — with signs that spotlight their passion and reverence for science. So Mozilla is asking you for your most clever, impassioned science-march slogans. With them, our designers will craft handy posters you can download, print and heft high.
Learn more here.Seeking Open Science Fellows
This month, Mozilla began accepting applications for Mozilla Fellowships for Science. For the third consecutive year, we are providing paid fellowships to scientists around the world who are passionate about collaborative, iterative and open research practices.
Mozilla Science Fellows spend 10 months as community catalysts at their institutions, and receive training and support from Mozilla to hone their skills around open source, data sharing, open science policy and licensing. Fellows also craft code, curriculum and other learning resources.
Fellowship alums hail from institutions like Stanford University and University of Cambridge, and have developed open source tools to teach and study issues like bioinformatics, climate science and neuroscience.
Apply for a fellowship here. And read what open science means to Mozillian Abigail Cabunoc Mayes: My Grandmother, My Work, and My Open Science Story
In the United States, federal taxes help fund billions of dollars in scientific research each year. But the results of that research are frequently housed behind pricey paywalls, or within complex, confounding systems.
Citizens should have access to the research they help fund. Further, open access can spark even more innovation — it allows entrepreneurs, researchers and consumers to leverage and expand upon research. Just one example: Thanks to publicly-funded research made openly available, farmers in Colorado have access to weather data to predict irrigation costs and market cycles for crops.
Add your name to the petition: https://iheartopendata.org.Calling for Open Citations
Earlier this month, Mozilla announced support for the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC), a project to make citations in scientific research open and freely accessible. I4OC is a collaboration between Wikimedia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a slate of scholarly publishers and several other organizations.
Presently, citations in many scholarly publications are inaccessible, subject to restrictive and confusing licenses. Further, citation data is often not machine readable — meaning we can’t use computer programs to parse the data.
I4OC envisions a global, public web of citation data — one that empowers teaching, learning, innovation and progress.
Each year, the Space Apps hackathon allows scientists, coders and makers around the world to leverage NASA’s open data sets. In 2016, 5,000 people across six continents contributed. Participants built apps to measure air quality, to remotely explore gelid glaciers and to monitor astronauts’ vitals.
For the 2017 Space Apps Hackathon — slated for April 28-30 — participants will use NASA data to study Earth’s hydrosphere and ecological systems. Mozilla Science is hosting a Brooklyn-based Space Apps event, which will include a data bootcamp.
Learn more at http://spaceappsbrooklyn.com/
Firefox faster and more stable with the first big bytes of Project Quantum, simpler with compact themes and permissions redesign
Today’s release of Firefox includes the first significant piece of Project Quantum, as well as various visible and the under-the-hood improvements.
The Quantum Compositor speeds up Firefox and prevents graphics crashes on Windows
In case you missed our Project Quantum announcement, we’re building a next-generation browser engine that takes full advantage of modern hardware. Today we’re shipping one of the first important pieces of this effort – what we’ve referred to as the “Quantum Compositor”.
Some technical details – we’ve now extracted a core part of our browser engine (the graphics compositor) to run in a process separate from the main Firefox process. The compositor determines what you see on your screen by flattening into one image all the layers of graphics that the browser computes, kind of like how Photoshop combines layers. Because the Quantum Compositor runs on the GPU instead of the CPU, it’s super fast. And, because of occasional bugs in underlying device drivers, the graphics compositor can sometimes crash. By running the Quantum Compositor in a separate process, if it crashes, it won’t bring down all of Firefox, or even your current tab.
In testing, the Quantum Compositor reduced browser crashes by about 10%. You can learn more about our findings here. The Quantum Compositor will be enabled for about 70% of Firefox users – those on Windows 10, 8, and 7 with the Platform Update, on computers with graphics cards from Intel, NVidia, or AMD.
And if you’re wondering about the Mac – graphics compositing is already so stable on MacOS that a separate process for the compositor is not necessary.
Save screen real estate – and your eyes – with compact themes and tabs
It’s a browser’s job to get you where you want to go, and then get out of the way.
That’s why today’s release of Firefox for desktop ships with two new themes: Compact Light and Compact Dark. Compact Light shrinks the size of the browser’s user interface (the ‘chrome’) while maintaining Firefox’s default light color scheme. The Compact Dark theme inverts colors so it won’t strain your eyes, especially if you’re browsing in the dark. To turn on one of these themes, click the menu button and choose Add-ons. Then select the Appearance panel, and the theme you’d like to activate.
Firefox for Android also ships with a new setting for compact tabs. When you switch tabs, this new setting displays your tabs in two columns, instead of one, so it’s easier to switch tabs when you have several open. To activate compact tabs, go to Settings > General.
Easily control a website’s permission to access device sensors or send you notifications
In order to fully function, many websites must first get your permission to access your hardware or alert you of information. For example, video conferencing apps need to use your camera and microphone, and maps request your location so you don’t have to type it in. Similarly, news sites and social networks often ask to send you notifications of breaking stories or messages.
Today’s Firefox desktop release introduces a redesigned interface for granting and subsequently managing a website’s permissions. Now, when you visit a website that wants to access sensitive hardware or send you a notification, you’ll be prompted with a dialog box that explicitly highlights the permissions that site is requesting. If later on you would like to change a site’s permissions, just click the ‘i’ icon in the Awesome Bar.
Lots more new
Check out the Firefox 53 release notes for a full list of what’s new, but here are a few more noteworthy items:
- Firefox for Android is now localized in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu
- Reader Mode now displays estimated reading times on both Android and desktop
- Send tabs between desktop and mobile Firefox by right-clicking the tab
- Firefox now uses TLS 1.3 to secure HTTPs connections
Web developers should check out the Hacks blog for more information about what’s in today’s release.
We hope you enjoy today’s release, and that you’re excited for the even bigger Quantum leaps still ahead.
At Mozilla we were born out of, and remain a part of, the open source and free software movement. Through the Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) program, we recognize, celebrate, and support open source projects that contribute to our work and to the health of the Internet. Since our last update We have provided a total of $365,000 in support of open source projects through MOSS. MOSS supports SecureDrop with a quarter of a million dollars The biggest award went to SecureDrop, a whistleblower submission system used by over 30 news organizations, maintained by the non-profit Freedom of the Press Foundation. The $250,000 given represents the largest amount we've ever provided to an organization since launching the MOSS program. It will support the creation of the next version of SecureDrop, which will be easier to install, easier for journalists to use, and even more secure. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyl8sh_MAPY[/embed] Additional awards We have also made awards to other projects we believe will advance a free and healthy Internet:
- $10,000 to the libjpeg-turbo project, the leading implementation of JPEG compression for photos and similar images;
- $25,000 to LLVM, a widely-used collection of technologies for building software;
- $30,000 to the LEAP Encryption Access Project, a nonprofit focusing on giving Internet users access to secure communication;
- $50,000 to Tokio, a Rust project to bring easy-to-use asynchronous input and output to the language.
- The OSVR project is a virtual and augmented reality platform that Mozilla uses in Firefox. They came to us with a proposal to improve their rendering pipeline; we offered to put up half of the money, if they can encourage their partner companies to provide the other half. They have until the end of June 2017 to make that happen, and we hope they succeed.
- The Hunspell project maintains the premier open-source spell-checking engine. They proposed to rewrite their software in C++ using a more modern, streaming, embeddable design. We accepted their proposal, but also offered more funds and time to rewrite it in Rust instead. After considering carefully, the Hunspell team opted for the C++ option, but we are happy to have been able to offer them a choice.
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