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Yunier José Sosa Vázquez: Firefox para iOS mejora su seguridad y te hace ir más rápido por la Web

ma, 23/05/2016 - 14:39

La semana pasada Mozilla liberó una nueva versión Firefox para iOS y desde Mozilla Hispano te mostramos sus novedades. Principalmente, esta entrega mejora la privacidad y seguridad de las personas al navegar en la Web y aporta una experiencia más aerodinámica que te permitirá un mayor control sobre tu experiencia de navegación móvil.

¿Qué hay de nuevo en esta actualización?

El widget Today de iOS: Sabes que obtener lo que buscas en la Web rápidamente para ti es importante, especialmente en tu móvil. Por esa razón, ahora puedes acceder a Firefox a través del widget iOS Today para abrir nuevas pestañas o un enlace copiado recientemente.

El widget iOS Today en Firefox para iOS

El widget iOS Today en Firefox para iOS

La barra alucinante: De ahora en adelante al escribir en la barra de direcciones se mostrarán tus marcadores, historial y sugerencias de búsqueda que coincidan con el término deseado. Esto hará que el acceso a tus sitios web favoritos sea más rápido y fácil.

La barra alucinante muestra los marcadores y sugerencias de búsqueda.

La barra alucinante muestra los marcadores y sugerencias de búsqueda.

Administra tu seguridad: Por defecto, Firefox contribuye a garantizar tu seguridad avisándote cuando la conexión a determinada web no es segura. Cuando trates de acceder a una web poco segura, verás un mensaje de “error” avisándote de que esa conexión no es de fiar y estarás protegido a la hora de acceder a ellas. Con Firefox para iOS, puedes ignorar temporalmente esos mensajes de error de las páginas web que has considerado como “seguras” pero pueden quedar registradas como potencialmente no-seguras por Firefox.

Error de certificado en Firefox para iOS

Error de certificado en Firefox para iOS

Debido a que el mecanismo empleado por Apple para descargar e instalar aplicaciones en sus teléfonos es muy complicado, no podemos proveer la descarga de esta versión desde nuestro sitio. Quizás más adelante, si esta regla varía, podremos hacerlo y completaremos en kit de versiones de Firefox. Por lo que para experimentar y gozar estas nuevas funcionalidades añadidas a Firefox para iOS debes descargar esta actualización desde la AppStore.

download_on_appstore

Fuentes: The Mozilla Blog y Mozilla Press

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Niko Matsakis: Unsafe abstractions

ma, 23/05/2016 - 14:17

The unsafe keyword is a crucial part of Rust’s design. For those not familiar with it, the unsafe keyword is basically a way to bypass Rust’s type checker; it essentially allows you to write something more like C code, but using Rust syntax.

The existence of the unsafe keyword sometimes comes as a surprise at first. After all, isn’t the point of Rust that Rust programs should not crash? Why would we make it so easy then to bypass Rust’s type system? It can seem like a kind of flaw in the design.

In my view, though, unsafe is anything but a flaw: in fact, it’s a critical piece of how Rust works. The unsafe keyword basically serves as a kind of escape valve – it means that we can keep the type system relatively simple, while still letting you pull whatever dirty tricks you want to pull in your code. The only thing we ask is that you package up those dirty tricks with some kind of abstraction boundary.

This post introduces the unsafe keyword and the idea of unsafety boundaries. It is in fact a lead-in for another post I hope to publish soon that discusses a potential design of the so-called Rust memory model, which is basically a set of rules that help to clarify just what is and is not legal in unsafe code.

Unsafe code as a plugin

I think a good analogy for thinking about how unsafe works in Rust is to think about how an interpreted language like Ruby (or Python) uses C modules. Consider something like the JSON module in Ruby. The JSON bundle includes a pure Ruby implementation (JSON::Pure), but it also includes a re-implementation of the same API in C (JSON::Ext). By default, when you use the JSON bundle, you are actually running C code – but your Ruby code can’t tell the difference. From the outside, that C code looks like any other Ruby module – but internally, of course, it can play some dirty tricks and make optimizations that wouldn’t be possible in Ruby. (See this excellent blog post on Helix for more details, as well as some suggestions on how you can write Ruby plugins in Rust instead.)

Well, in Rust, the same scenario can arise, although the scale is different. For example, it’s perfectly possible to write an efficient and usable hashtable in pure Rust. But if you use a bit of unsafe code, you can make it go faster still. If this a data structure that will be used by a lot of people or is crucial to your application, this may be worth the effort (so e.g. we use unsafe code in the standard library’s implementation). But, either way, normal Rust code should not be able to tell the difference: the unsafe code is encapsulated at the API boundary.

Of course, just because it’s possible to use unsafe code to make things run faster doesn’t mean you will do it frequently. Just like the majority of Ruby code is in Ruby, the majority of Rust code is written in pure safe Rust; this is particularly true since safe Rust code is very efficient, so dropping down to unsafe Rust for performance is rarely worth the trouble.

In fact, probably the single most common use of unsafe code in Rust is for FFI. Whenever you call a C function from Rust, that is an unsafe action: this is because there is no way the compiler can vouch for the correctness of that C code.

Extending the language with unsafe code

To me, the most interesting reason to write unsafe code in Rust (or a C module in Ruby) is so that you can extend the capabilities of the language. Probably the most commonly used example of all is the Vec type in the standard library, which uses unsafe code so it can handle uninitialized memory; Rc and Arc, which enable shared ownership, are other good examples. But there are also much fancier examples, such as how Crossbeam and deque use unsafe code to implement non-blocking data structures, or Jobsteal and Rayon use unsafe code to implement thread pools.

In this post, we’re going to focus on one simple case: the split_at_mut method found in the standard library. This method is defined over mutable slices like &mut [T]. It takes as argument a slice and an index (mid), and it divides that slice into two pieces at the given index. Hence it returns two subslices: ranges from 0..mid, and one that ranges from mid...

You might imagine that split_at_mut would be defined like this:

1 2 3 4 5 impl [T] { pub fn split_at_mut(&mut self, mid: usize) -> (&mut [T], &mut [T]) { (&mut self[0..mid], &mut self[mid..]) } }

If it compiled, this definition would do the right thing, but in fact if you try to build it you will find it gets a compilation error. It fails for two reasons:

  1. In general, the compiler does not try to reason precisely about indices. That is, whenever it sees an index like foo[i], it just ignores the index altogether and treats the entire array as a unit (foo[_], effectively). This means that it cannot tell that &mut self[0..mid] is disjoint from &mut self[mid..]. The reason for this is that reasoning about indices would require a much more complex type system.
  2. In fact, the [] operator is not builtin to the language when applied to a range anyhow. It is implemented in the standard library. Therefore, even if the compiler knew that 0..mid and mid.. did not overlap, it wouldn’t necessarily know that &mut self[0..mid] and &mut self[mid..] return disjoint slices.

Now, it’s plausible that we could extend the type system to make this example compile, and maybe we’ll do that someday. But for the time being we’ve preferred to implement cases like split_at_mut using unsafe code. This lets us keep the type system simple, while still enabling us to write APIs like split_at_mut.

Abstraction boundaries

Looking at unsafe code as analogous to a plugin helps to clarify the idea of an abstraction boundary. When you write a Ruby plugin, you expect that when users from Ruby call into your function, they will supply you with normal Ruby objects and pointers. Internally, you can play whatever tricks you want: for example, you might use a C array instead of a Ruby vector. But once you return values back out to the surrounding Ruby code, you have to repackage up those results as standard Ruby objects.

It works the same way with unsafe code in Rust. At the public boundaries of your API, your code should act as if it were any other safe function. This means you can assume that your users will give you valid instances of Rust types as inputs. It also means that any values you return or otherwise output must meet all the requirements that the Rust type system expects. Within the unsafe boundary, however, you are free to bend the rules (of course, just how free you are is the topic of debate; I intend to discuss it in a follow-up post).

Let’s look at the split_at_mut method we saw in the previous section. For our purposes here, we only care about the public interface of the function, which is its signature:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 impl [T] { pub fn split_at_mut(&mut self, mid: usize) -> (&mut [T], &mut [T]) { // body of the fn omitted so that we can focus on the // public inferface; safe code shouldn't have to care what // goes in here anyway } }

So what can we derive from this signature? To start, split_at_mut can assume that all of its inputs are valid (for safe code, the compiler’s type system naturally ensures that this is true; unsafe callers would have to ensure it themselves). Part of writing the rules for unsafe code will require enumerating more precisely what this means, but at a high-level it’s stuff like this:

  • The self argument is of type &mut [T]. This implies that we will receive a reference that points at some number N of T elements. Because this is a mutable reference, we know that the memory it refers to cannot be accessed via any other alias (until the mutable reference expires). We also know the memory is initialized and the values are suitable for the type T (whatever it is).
  • The mid argument is of type usize. All we know is that it is some unsigned integer.

There is one interesting thing missing from this list, however. Nothing in the API assures us that mid is actually a legal index into self. This implies that whatever unsafe code we write will have to check that.

Next, when split_at_mut returns, it must ensure that its return value meets the requirements of the signature. This basically means it must return two valid &mut [T] slices (i.e., pointing at valid memory, with a length that is not too long). Crucially, since those slices are both valid at the same time, this implies that the two slices must be disjoint (that is, pointing at different regions of memory).

Possible implementations

So let’s look at a few different implementation strategies for split_at_mut and evaluate whether they might be valid or not. We already saw that a pure safe implementation doesn’t work. So what if we implemented it using raw pointers like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 impl [T] { pub fn split_at_mut(&mut self, mid: usize) -> (&mut [T], &mut [T]) { use std::slice::from_raw_parts_mut; // The unsafe block gives us access to raw pointer // operations. By using an unsafe block, we are claiming // that none of the actions below will trigger // undefined behavior. unsafe { // get a raw pointer to the first element let p: *mut T = &mut self[0]; // get a pointer to the element `mid` let q: *mut T = p.offset(mid as isize); // number of elements after `mid` let remainder = self.len() - mid; // assemble a slice from 0..mid let left: &mut [T] = from_raw_parts_mut(p, mid); // assemble a slice from mid.. let right: &mut [T] = from_raw_parts_mut(q, remainder); (left, right) } } }

This is a mostly valid implementation, and in fact fairly close to what the standard library actually does. However, this code is making a critical assumption that is not guaranteed by the input: it is assuming that mid is in range. Nowhere does it check that mid <= len, which means that the q pointer might be out of range, and also means that the computation of remainder might overflow and hence (in release builds, at least by default) wrap around. So this implementation is incorrect, because it requires more guarantees than what the caller is required to provide.

We could make it correct by adding an assertion that mid is a valid index (note that the assert macro in Rust always executes, even in optimized code):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 impl [T] { pub fn split_at_mut(&mut self, mid: usize) -> (&mut [T], &mut [T]) { use std::slice::from_raw_parts_mut; // check that `mid` is in range: assert!(mid <= self.len()); // as before, with fewer comments: unsafe { let p: *mut T = &mut self[0]; let q: *mut T = p.offset(mid as isize); let remainder = self.len() - mid; let left: &mut [T] = from_raw_parts_mut(p, mid); let right: &mut [T] = from_raw_parts_mut(q, remainder); (left, right) } } }

OK, at this point we have basically reproduced the implementation in the standard library (it uses some slightly different helpers, but it’s the same idea).

Extending the abstraction boundary

Of course, it might happen that we actually wanted to assume mid that is in bound, rather than checking it. We couldn’t do this for the actual split_at_mut, of course, since it’s part of the standard library. But you could imagine wanting a private helper for safe code that made this assumption, so as to avoid the runtime cost of a bounds check. In that case, split_at_mut is relying on the caller to guarantee that mid is in bounds. This means that split_at_mut is no longer safe to call, because it has additional requirements for its arguments that must be satisfied in order to guarantee memory safety.

Rust allows you express the idea of a fn that is not safe to call by moving the unsafe keyword out of the fn body and into the public signature. Moving the keyword makes a big difference as to the meaning of the function: the unsafety is no longer just an implementation detail of the function, it’s now part of the function’s interface. So we could make a variant of split_at_mut called split_at_mut_unchecked that avoids the bounds check:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 impl [T] { // Here the **fn** is declared as unsafe; calling such a function is // now considered an unsafe action for the caller, because they // must guarantee that `mid <= self.len()`. unsafe pub fn split_at_mut_unchecked(&mut self, mid: usize) -> (&mut [T], &mut [T]) { use std::slice::from_raw_parts_mut; let p: *mut T = &mut self[0]; let q: *mut T = p.offset(mid as isize); let remainder = self.len() - mid; let left: &mut [T] = from_raw_parts_mut(p, mid); let right: &mut [T] = from_raw_parts_mut(q, remainder); (left, right) } }

When a fn is declared as unsafe like this, calling that fn becomes an unsafe action: what this means in practice is that the caller must read the documentation of the function and ensure that what conditions the function requires are met. In this case, it means that the caller must ensure that mid <= self.len().

If you think about abstraction boundaries, declaring a fn as unsafe means that it does not form an abstraction boundary with safe code. Rather, it becomes part of the unsafe abstraction of the fn that calls it.

Using split_at_mut_unchecked, we could now re-implemented split_at_mut to just layer on top the bounds check:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 impl [T] { pub fn split_at_mut(&mut self, mid: usize) -> (&mut [T], &mut [T]) { assert!(mid <= self.len()); // By placing the `unsafe` block in the function, we are // claiming that we know the extra safety conditions // on `split_at_mut_unchecked` are satisfied, and hence calling // this function is a safe thing to do. unsafe { self.split_at_mut_unchecked(mid) } } // **NB:** Requires that `mid <= self.len()`. pub unsafe fn split_at_mut_unchecked(&mut self, mid: usize) -> (&mut [T], &mut [T]) { ... // as above } } Unsafe boundaries and privacy

Although there is nothing in the language that explicitly connects the privacy rules with unsafe abstraction boundaries, they are naturally interconnected. This is because privacy allows you to control the set of code that can modify your fields, and this is a basic building block to being able to construct an unsafe abstraction.

Earlier we mentioned that the Vec type in the standard library is implemented using unsafe code. This would not be possible without privacy. If you look at the definition of Vec, it looks something like this:

1 2 3 4 5 pub struct Vec<T> { pointer: *mut T, capacity: usize, length: usize, }

Here the field pointer is a pointer to the start of some memory. capacity is the amount of memory that has been allocated and length is the amount of memory that has been initialized.

The vector code is all very careful to maintain the invariant that it is always safe the first length elements of the the memory that pointer refers to. You can imagine that if the length field were public, this would be impossible: anybody from the outside could go and change the length to whatever they want!

For this reason, unsafety boundaries tend to fall into one of two categories:

  • a single functions, like split_at_mut
    • this could include unsafe callees like split_at_mut_unchecked
  • a type, typically contained in its own module, like Vec
    • this type will naturally have private helper functions as well
    • and it may contain unsafe helper types too, as described in the next section
Types with unsafe interfaces

We saw earlier that it can be useful to define unsafe functions like split_at_mut_unchecked, which can then serve as the building block for a safe abstraction. The same is true of types. In fact, if you look at the actual definition of Vec from the standard library, you will see that it looks just a bit different from what we saw above:

1 2 3 4 pub struct Vec<T> { buf: RawVec<T>, len: usize, }

What is this RawVec? Well, that turns out to be an unsafe helper type that encapsulates the idea of a pointer and a capacity:

1 2 3 4 5 6 pub struct RawVec<T> { // Unique is actually another unsafe helper type // that indicates a uniquely owned raw pointer: ptr: Unique<T>, cap: usize, }

What makes RawVec an unsafe helper type? Unlike with functions, the idea of an unsafe type is a rather fuzzy notion. I would define such a type as a type that doesn’t really let you do anything useful without using unsafe code. Safe code can construct RawVec, for example, and even resize the backing buffer, but if you want to actually access the data in that buffer, you can only do so by calling the ptr method, which returns a *mut T. This is a raw pointer, so dereferencing it is unsafe; which means that, to be useful, RawVec has to be incorporated into another unsafe abstraction (like Vec) which tracks initialization.

Conclusion

Unsafe abstractions are a pretty powerful tool. They let you play just about any dirty performance trick you can think of – or access any system capbility – while still keeping the overall language safe and relatively simple. We use unsafety to implement a number of the core abstractions in the standard library, including core data structures like Vec and Rc. But because all of these abstractions encapsulate the unsafe code behind their API, users of those modules don’t carry the risk.

How low can you go?

One thing I have not discussed in this post is a lot of specifics about exactly what is legal within unsafe code and not. Clearly, the point of unsafe code is to bend the rules, but how far can you bend them before they break? At the moment, we don’t have a lot of published guidelines on this topic. This is something we aim to address. In fact there has even been a first RFC introduced on the topic, though I think we can expect a fair amount of iteration before we arrive at the final and complete answer.

As I wrote on the RFC thread, my take is that we should be shooting for rules that are human friendly as much as possible. In particular, I think that most people will not read our rules and fewer still will try to understand them. So we should ensure that the unsafe code that people write in ignorance of the rules is, by and large, correct. (This implies also that the majority of the code that exists ought to be correct.)

Interestingly, there is something of a tension here: the more unsafe code we allow, the less the compiler can optimize. This is because it would have to be conservative about possible aliasing and (for example) avoid reordering statements.

In my next post, I will describe how I think that we can leverage unsafe abstractions to actually get the best of both worlds. The basic idea is to aggressively optimized safe code, but be more conservative within an unsafe abstraction (but allow people to opt back in with additional annotations).

Edit note: Tweaked some wording for clarity.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 131

ma, 23/05/2016 - 06:00

Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us an email! Want to get involved? We love contributions.

This Week in Rust is openly developed on GitHub. If you find any errors in this week's issue, please submit a PR.

This week's edition was edited by: Vikrant and llogiq.

Updates from Rust Community News & Blog Posts New Crates & Project Updates
  • Systemd Manager. A systemd service manager written in Rust with the GTK-rs wrapper and direct integration with dbus.
  • FLAME. A flamegraph profiling tool for Rust.
  • Jobsteal. A work-stealing fork-join threadpool written in Rust.
  • pest. Simple, efficient parser generator.
Crate of the Week

This weeks Crate of the Week is parking_lot which gives us synchronization primitives (Mutex, RWLock, CondVar and friends) that are both smaller and faster than the standard library's implementations.

Submit your suggestions for next week!

Call for Participation

Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn't know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

Some of these tasks may also have mentors available, visit the task page for more information.

If you are a Rust project owner and are looking for contributors, please submit tasks here.

Updates from Rust Core

117 pull requests were merged in the last two weeks.

New Contributors
  • Daniel Campoverde [alx741]
  • mark-summerfield
  • Postmodern
  • Rémy Rakic
  • Robert Habermeier
  • Val Vanderschaegen
Approved RFCs

Changes to Rust follow the Rust RFC (request for comments) process. These are the RFCs that were approved for implementation this week:

No RFCs were approved this week.

Final Comment Period

Every week the team announces the 'final comment period' for RFCs and key PRs which are reaching a decision. Express your opinions now. This week's FCPs are:

New RFCs Upcoming Events

If you are running a Rust event please add it to the calendar to get it mentioned here. Email Erick Tryzelaar or Brian Anderson for access.

fn work(on: RustProject) -> Money

No jobs listed for this week.

Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust to get your job offers listed here!

Quote of the Week

No quote was selected for QotW.

Submit your quotes for next week!

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

The Servo Blog: This Week In Servo 64

ma, 23/05/2016 - 02:30

In the last week, we landed 99 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

This is a week of many additions to the Servo team - a Research Assistant and two full-time hires!

Kyle Headley is joining us from U. Colorado at Boulder, where he is working with Matthew Hammer on incremental computation. He’s going to be working as a Research Assistant this summer, helping us find ways we can use incremental computation to improve the performance of Servo. He’s kheadley on IRC.

Manish Goregaokar is a long-time Servo contributor, initially participating in the first round of Google Summer of Code with Servo. He has mostly worked on DOM-related issues and Rust itself, but is looking forward to working on new things. He is currently working remotely from Mumbai, but will be relocating to the San Francisco office later this year. He is manishearth on IRC.

Diane Hosfelt previously did network and protocol analysis for the Department of Defense, and will start out working on Servo’s networking (an area sorely in need of some expert work!). Diane is working remotely from the UK. She is dd0x68 on IRC.

Welcome to the team, everybody!

Planning and Status

Our overall roadmap and quarterly goals are available online.

This week’s status updates are here.

Notable Additions
  • Manish added support for submit button data in form submissions
  • Jack made Servo DPI-aware on Windows
  • nox hoisted out a channel creation to reduce the number of channels and threads Servo creates
  • larsberg enabled AppVeyor/Windows testing on ipc-channel
  • dati implemented Included Services support for WebBluetooth
  • ajeffrey reduced the number of threads used in our scheduler
  • rzambre changed the profiler file output from CSV to TSV format
  • emilio added support for constants in classes in geckolib
  • ms2ger implemented reporting of panics in web worker threads
  • bholley added basic support for Gecko atoms
  • mbrubeck optimized text shaping for ASCII text
  • KiChjang implemented support for -moz-user-* CSS longhands in geckolib
  • jdm created markers for network and JS-related events in the timeline profiler
  • izgzhen filled in many missing pieces related to file inputs in forms
  • fduraffourg ported a large set of HTML/JS tests for cookie handling to Rust unit tests
  • wafflespeanut improved the usability of the highfive automated tests
  • creativcoder enabled intercepting network requests and synthesizing responses
New Contributors Get Involved

Interested in helping build a web browser? Take a look at our curated list of issues that are good for new contributors!

Screenshot

None this week.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Anjana Vakil: Outreachy: What? How? Why?

ma, 23/05/2016 - 02:00

Today was my first day as an Outreachy intern with Mozilla! What does that even mean? Why is it super exciting? How did I swing such a sweet gig? How will I be spending my summer non-vacation? Read on to find out!

Outreachy logo

What is Outreachy?

Outreachy is a fantastic initiative to get more women and members of other underrepresented groups involved in Free & Open Source Software. Through Outreachy, organizations that create open-source software (e.g. Mozilla, GNOME, Wikimedia, to name a few) take on interns to work full-time on a specific project for 3 months. There are two internship rounds each year, May-August and December-March. Interns are paid for their time, and receive guidance/supervision from an assigned mentor, usually a full-time employee of the organization who leads the given project.

Oh yeah, and the whole thing is done remotely! For a lot of people (myself included) who don’t/can’t/won’t live in a major tech hub, the opportunity to work remotely removes one of the biggest barriers to jumping in to the professional tech community. But as FOSS developers tend to be pretty distributed anyway (I think my project’s team, for example, is on about 3 continents), it’s relatively easy for the intern to integrate with the team. It seems that most communication takes place over IRC and, to a lesser extent, videoconferencing.

What does an Outreachy intern do?

Anything and everything! Each project and organization is different. But in general, interns spend their time…

Coding (or not)

A lot of projects involve writing code, though what that actually entails (language, framework, writing vs. refactoring, etc.) varies from organization to organization and project to project. However, there are also projects that don’t involve code at all, and instead have the intern working on equally important things like design, documentation, or community management.

As for me specifically, I’ll be working on the project Test-driven Refactoring of Marionette’s Python Test Runner. You can click through to the project description for more details, but basically I’ll be spending most of the summer writing Python code (yay!) to test and refactor a component of Marionette, a tool that lets developers run automated Firefox tests. This means I’ll be learning a lot about testing in general, Python testing libraries, the huge ecosystem of internal Mozilla tools, and maybe a bit about browser automation. That’s a lot! Luckily, I have my mentor Maja (who happens to also be an alum of both Outreachy and RC!) to help me out along the way, as well as the other members of the Engineering Productivity team, all of whom have been really friendly & helpful so far.

Traveling

Interns receive a $500 stipend for travel related to Outreachy, which is fantastic. I intend, as I’m guessing most do, to use this to attend conference(s) related to open source. If I were doing a winter round I would totally use it to attend FOSDEM, but there are also a ton of conferences in the summer! Actually, you don’t even need to do the traveling during the actual 3 months of the internship; they give you a year-long window so that if there’s an annual conference you really want to attend but it’s not during your internship, you’re still golden.

At Mozilla in particular, interns are also invited to a week-long all-hands meet up! This is beyond awesome, because it gives us a chance to meet our mentors and other team members in person. (Actually, I doubly lucked out because I got to meet my mentor at RC during “Never Graduate Week” a couple of weeks ago!)

Blogging

One of the requirements of the internship is to blog regularly about how the internship and project are coming along. This is my first post! Though we’re required to write a post every 2 weeks, I’m aiming to write one per week, on both technical and non-technical aspects of the internship. Stay tuned!

How do you get in?

I’m sure every Outreachy participant has a different journey, but here’s a rough outline of mine.

Step 1: Realize it is a thing

Let’s not forget that the first step to applying for any program/job/whatever is realizing that it exists! Like most people, I think, I had never heard of Outreachy, and was totally unaware that a remote, paid internship working on FOSS was a thing that existed in the universe. But then, in the fall of 2015, I made one of my all-time best moves ever by attending the Recurse Center (RC), where I soon learned about Outreachy from various Recursers who had been involved with the program. I discovered it about 2 weeks before applications closed for the December-March 2015-16 round, which was pretty last-minute; but a couple of other Recursers were applying and encouraged me to do the same, so I decided to go for it!

Step 2: Frantically apply at last minute

Applying to Outreachy is a relatively involved process. A couple months before each round begins, the list of participating organizations/projects is released. Prospective applicants are supposed to find a project that interests them, get in touch with the project mentor, and make an initial contribution to that project (e.g. fix a small bug).

But each of those tasks is pretty intimidating!

First of all, the list of participating organizations is long and varied, and some organizations (like Mozilla) have tons of different projects available. So even reading through the project descriptions and choosing one that sounds interesting (most of them do, at least to me!) is no small task.

Then, there’s the matter of mustering up the courage to join the organization/project’s IRC channel, find the project mentor, and talk to them about the application. I didn’t even really know what IRC was, and had never used it before, so I found this pretty scary. Luckily, I was RC, and one of my batchmates sat me down and walked me through IRC basics.

However, the hardest and most important part is actually making a contribution to the project at hand. Depending on the project, this can be long & complicated, quick & easy, or anything in between. The level of guidance/instruction also varies widely from project to project: some are laid out clearly in small, hand-holdy steps, others are more along the lines of “find something to do and then do it”. Furthermore, prerequisites for making the contribution can be anything from “if you know how to edit text and send an email, you’re fine” to “make a GitHub account” to “learn a new programming language and install 8 million new tools on your system just to set up the development environment”. All in all, this means that making that initial contribution can often be a deceptively large amount of work.

Because of all these factors, for my application to the December-March round I decided to target the Mozilla project “Contribute to the HTML standard”. In addition to the fact that I thought it would be awesome to contribute to such a fundamental part of the web, I chose it because the contribution itself was really simple: just choose a GitHub issue with a beginner-friendly label, ask some questions via GitHub comments, edit the source markup file as needed, and make a pull request. I was already familiar with GitHub so it was pretty smooth sailing.

Once you’ve made your contribution, it’s time to write the actual Outreachy application. This is just a plain text file you fill out with lots of information about your experience with FOSS, your contribution to the project, etc. In case it’s useful to anyone, here’s my application for the December-March 2015-16 round. But before you use that as an example, make sure you read what happened next…

Step 3: Don’t get in

Unfortunately, I didn’t get in to the December-March round (although I was stoked to see some of my fellow Recursers get accepted!). Honestly, I wasn’t too surprised, since my contributions and application had been so hectic and last-minute. But even though it wasn’t successful, the application process was educational in and of itself: I learned how to use IRC, got 3 of my first 5 GitHub pull requests merged, and became a contributor to the HTML standard! Not bad for a failure!

Step 4: Decide to go for it again (at last minute, again)

Fast forward six months: after finishing my batch at RC, I had been looking & interview-prepping, but still hadn’t gotten a job. When the applications for the May-August round opened up, I took a glance at the projects and found some cool ones, but decided that I wouldn’t apply this round because a) I needed a Real Job, not an internship, and b) the last round’s application process was a pretty big time investment which hadn’t paid off (although it actually had, as I just mentioned!).

But as the weeks went by, and the application deadline drew closer, I kept thinking about it. I was no closer to finding a Real Job, and upheaval in my personal life made my whereabouts over the summer an uncertainty (I seem never to know what continent I live on), so a paid, remote internship was becoming more and more attractive. When I broached my hesitation over whether or not to apply to other Recursers, they unanimously encouraged me (again) to go for it (again). Then, I found out that one of the project mentors, Maja, was a Recurser, and since her project was one of the ones I had shortlisted, I decided to apply for it.

Of course, by this point it was once again two weeks until the deadline, so panic once again set in!

Step 5: Learn from past mistakes

This time, the process as a whole was easier, because I had already done it once. IRC was less scary, I already felt comfortable asking the project mentor questions, and having already been rejected in the previous round made it somehow lower-stakes emotionally (“What the hell, at least I’ll get a PR or two out of it!”). During my first application I had spent a considerable amount of time reading about all the different projects and fretting about which one to do, flipping back and forth mentally until the last minute. This time, I avoided that mistake and was laser-focused on a single project: Test-driven Refactoring of Marionette’s Python Test Runner.

From a technical standpoint, however, contributing to the Marionette project was more complicated than the HTML standard had been. Luckily, Maja had written detailed instructions for prospective applicants explaining how to set up the development environment etc., but there were still a lot of steps to work through. Then, because there were so many folks applying to the project, there was actually a shortage of “good-first-bugs” for Marionette! So I ended up making my first contributions to a different but related project, Perfherder, which meant setting up a different dev environment and working with a different mentor (who was equally friendly). By the time I was done with the Perfherder stuff (which turned out to be a fun little rabbit hole!), Maja had found me something Marionette-specific to do, so I ended up working on both projects as part of my application process.

When it came time to write the actual application, I also had the luxury of being able to use my failed December-March application as both a starting point and an example of what not to do. Some of the more generic parts (my background, etc.) were reusable, which saved time. But when it came to the parts about my contribution to the project and my proposed internship timeline, I knew I had to do a much better job than before. So I opted for over-communciation, and basically wrote down everything I could think of about what I had already done and what I would need to do to complete the goals stated in the project description (which Maja had thankfully written quite clearly).

In the end, my May-August application was twice as long as my previous one had been. Much of that difference was the proposed timeline, which went from being one short paragraph to about 3 pages. Perhaps I was a bit more verbose than necessary, but I decided to err on the side of too many details, since I had done the opposite in my previous application.

Step 6: Get a bit lucky

Spoiler alert: this time I was accepted!

Although I knew I had made a much stronger application than in the previous round, I was still shocked to find out that I was chosen from what seemed to be a large, competitive applicant pool. I can’t be sure, but I think what made the difference the second time around must have been a) more substantial contributions to two different projects, b) better, more frequent communication with the project mentor and other team members, and c) a much more thorough and better thought-out application text.

But let’s not forget d) luck. I was lucky to have encouragement and support from the RC community throughout both my applications, lucky to have the time to work diligently on my application because I had no other full-time obligations, lucky to find a mentor who I had something in common with and therefore felt comfortable talking to and asking questions of, and lucky to ultimately be chosen from among what I’m sure were many strong applications. So while I certainly did work hard to get this internship, I have to acknowledge that I wouldn’t have gotten in without all of that luck.

Why am I doing this?

Last week I had the chance to attend OSCON 2016, where Mozilla’s E. Dunham gave a talk on How to learn Rust. A lot of the information applied to learning any language/new thing, though, including this great recommendation: When embarking on a new skill quest, record your motivation somewhere (I’m going to use this blog, but I suppose Twitter or a vision board or whatever would work too) before you begin.

The idea is that once you’re in the process of learning the new thing, you will probably have at least one moment where you’re stuck, frustrated, and asking yourself what the hell you were thinking when you began this crazy project. Writing it down beforehand is just doing your future self a favor, by saving up some motivation for a rainy day.

So, future self, let it be known that I’m doing Outreachy to…

  • Write code for an actual real-world project (as opposed to academic/toy projects that no one will ever use)
  • Get to know a great organization that I’ve respected and admired for years
  • Try out working remotely, to see if it suits me
  • Learn more about Python, testing, and automation
  • Gain confidence and feel more like a “real developer”
  • Launch my career in the software industry

I’m sure these goals will evolve as the internship goes along, but for now they’re the main things driving me. Now it’s just a matter of sitting back, relaxing, and working super hard all summer to achieve them! :D

Got any more questions?

Are you curious about Outreachy? Thinking of applying? Confused about the application process? Feel free to reach out to me! Go on, don’t be shy, just use one of those cute little contact buttons and drop me a line. :)

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Christian Heilmann: Google IO – A tale of two Googles

ma, 23/05/2016 - 01:59

Google IO main stage with audience

Disclaimer: The following are my personal views and experiences at this year’s Google IO. They are not representative of my employer. Should you want to quote me, please do so as Chris Heilmann, developer.

TL;DR: Is Google IO worth the $900? Yes, if you’re up for networking, getting information from experts and enjoy social gatherings. No, if you expect to be able to see talks. You’re better off watching them from home. The live streaming and recordings are excellent.

Google IO this year left me confused and disappointed. I found a massive gap between the official messaging and the tech on display. I’m underwhelmed with the keynote and the media outreach. The much more interesting work in the breakout sessions, talks and demos excited me. It seems to me that what Google wants to promote and the media to pick up is different to what its engineers showed. That’s OK, but it feels like sales stepping on a developer conference turf.

I enjoyed the messaging of the developer outreach and product owner team in the talks and demos. At times I was wondering if I was at a Google or a Mozilla event. The web and its technologies were front and centre. And there was a total lack of “our product $X leads the way” vibes.

Kudos to everyone involved. The messaging about progressive Web Apps, AMP and even the new Android Instant Apps was honest. It points to a drive in Google to return to the web for good.

Illuminated dinosaur at the after party

The vibe of the event changed a lot since moving out of Moscone Center in San Francisco. Running it on Google’s homestead in Mountain View made the whole show feel more like a music festival than a tech event. It must have been fun for the presenters to stand on the same stage they went to see bands at.

Having smaller tents for the different product and technology groups was great. It invited much more communication than booths. I saw a lot of neat demos. Having experts at hand to talk with about technologies I wanted to learn about was great.

Organisation

Feet in the sun watching a talk at the Amphitheatre

Here are the good and bad things about the organisation:

  • Good: traffic control wasn’t as much of a nightmare I expected. I got there two hours in advance as I anticipated traffic jams, but it wasn’t bad at all. Shuttles and bike sheds helped getting people there.
  • Good: there was no queue at badge pickup. Why I had to have my picture taken and a – somehow sticky – plastic badge printed was a bit beyond me, though. It seems wasteful.
  • Good: the food and beverages were plentiful and applicable. With a group this big it is hard to deliver safe to eat and enjoyable food. The sandwiches, apples and crisps did the trick. The food at the social events was comfort food/fast food, but let’s face it – you’re not at a food fair. I loved that all the packaging was paper and cardboard and there was not too much excess waste in the form of plastics. We also got a reusable water bottle you could re-fill at water dispensers like you have in offices. Given the weather, this was much needed. Coffee and tea was also available throughout the day. We were well fed and watered. I’m no Vegan, and I heard a few complaints about a lack of options, but that may have been personal experiences.
  • Good: the toilets were amazing. Clean, with running water and plenty of paper, mirrors, free sunscreen and no queues. Not what I expected from a music festival surrounding.
  • Great: as it was scorching hot on the first day the welcome pack you got with your badge had a bandana to cover your head, two sachets of sun screen, a reusable water bottle and sunglasses. As a ginger: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. The helpers even gave me a full tube of sunscreen on re-entry the second day, taking pity on my red skin.
  • Bad: the one thing that was exactly the same as in Moscone was the abysmal crowd control. Except for the huge stage tent number two (called HYDRA - I am on to you, people) all others were far too small. It was not uncommon to stand for an hour in a queue for the talk you wanted to see just to be refused entry as it was full up. Queuing up in the scorching sun isn’t fun for anyone and impossible for me. Hence I missed all but two talks I wanted to see.
  • Good: if you were lucky enough to see a talk, the AV quality was great. The screens were big and readable, all the talks were live transcribed and the presenters audible.

The bad parts

Apart from the terrible crowd control, two things let me down the most. The keynote and a total lack of hardware giveaway – something that might actually be related.

Don’t get me wrong, I found the showering of attendees with hardware excessive at the first few IOs. But announcing something like a massive move into VR with Daydream and Tango without giving developers something to test it on is assuming a lot. Nine hundred dollars plus flying to the US and spending a lot of money on accommodation is a lot for many attendees. Getting something amazing to bring back would be a nice “Hey, thanks”.

There was no announcement at the keynote about anything physical except for some vague “this will be soon available” products. This might be the reason.

My personal translation of the keynote is the following:

We are Google, we lead in machine learning, cloud technology and data insights. Here are a few products that may soon come out that play catch-up with our competition. We advocate diversity and try to make people understand that the world is bigger than the Silicon Valley. That’s why we solve issues that aren’t a problem but annoyances for the rich. All the things we’re showing here are solving issues of people who live in huge houses, have awesome cars and suffer from the terrible ordeal of having to answer text messages using their own writing skills. Wouldn’t it be better if a computer did that for you? Why go and wake up your children with a kiss using the time you won by becoming more effective with our products when you can tell Google to do that for you? Without the kiss that is – for now.

As I put it during the event:

I actually feel poor looking at the #io16 keynote. We have lots of global problems technology can help with. This is pure consumerism.

I stand by this. Hardly anything in the keynote excited me as a developer. Or even as a well-off professional who lives in a city where public transport is a given. The announcement of Instant Apps, the Firebase bits and the new features of Android Studio are exciting. But it all got lost in an avalanche of “Look what’s coming soon!” product announcements without the developer angle. We want to look under the hood. We want to add to the experience and we want to understand how things work. This is how developer events work. Google Home has some awesome features. Where are the APIs for that?

As far as I understand it, there was a glitch in the presentation. But the part where a developer in Turkey used his skills to help the Syrian refugee crisis was borderline insulting. There was no information what the app did, who benefited from it and what it ran on. No information how the data got in and how the data was going to the people who help the refugees. The same goes for using machine learning to help with the issue of blindness. Both were teasers without any meat and felt like “Well, we’re also doing good, so here you go”.

Let me make this clear: I am not criticising the work of any Google engineer, product owner or other worker here. All these things are well done and I am excited about the prospects. I find it disappointing that the keynote was a sales pitch. It did not pay respect to this work and failed to show the workings rather than the final product. IO is advertised as a developer conference, not a end user oriented sales show. It felt disconnected.

Things that made me happy

Chris Heilmann covered in sunscreen, wearing a bandana in front of Google Loon

  • The social events were great – the concert in the amphitheatre was for those who wanted to go. Outside was a lot of space to have a chat if you’re not the dancing type. The breakout events on the second day were plentiful, all different and arty. The cynic in my sniggered at Burning Man performers (the anthithesis to commercialism by design) doing their thing at a commercial IT event, but it gave the whole event a good vibe.
  • Video recording and live streaming – I watched quite a few of the talks I missed the last two days in the gym and I am grateful that Google offers these on YouTube immediately, well described and easy to find in playlists. Using the app after the event makes it easy to see the talks you missed.
  • Boots on the ground – everyone I wanted to meet from Google was there and had time to chat. My questions got honest and sensible answers and there was no hand-waving or over-promising.
  • A good focus on health and safety – first aid tents, sunscreen and wet towels for people to cool down, creature comforts for an outside environment. The organisers did a good job making sure people are safe. Huge printouts of the Code of Conduct also made no qualm about it that antisocial or aggressive behaviour was not tolerated.

Conclusion

Jatinder and me at the keynote

I will go again to Google IO, to talk, to meet, to see product demos and to have people at hand that can give me insight further than the official documentation. I am likely to not get up early next time to see the keynote though and I would love to see a better handle on the crowd control. It is frustrating to queue and not being able to see talks at the conference of a company who prides itself at organising huge datasets and having self-driving cars.
Here are a few things that could make this better:

  • Having screening tents with the video and the transcription screens outside the main tents. These don’t even need sound (which is the main outside issue)
  • Use the web site instead of two apps. Advocating progressive web apps and then telling me in the official conference mail to download the Android app was not a good move. Especially as the PWA outperformed the native app at every turn – including usability (the thing native should be much better). It was also not helpful that the app showed the name of the stage but not the number of the tent.
  • Having more places to charge phones would have been good, or giving out power packs. As we were outside all the time and moving I didn’t use my computer at all and did everything on the phone.

I look forward to interacting and working with the tech Google. I am confused about the Google that tries to be in the hands of end users without me being able to crack the product open and learn from how it is done.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Daniel Glazman: CSS Variables in BlueGriffon

zo, 22/05/2016 - 16:44

I guess the title says it all :-) Click on the thumbnail to enlarge it.

CSS Variables in BlueGriffon

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Gian-Carlo Pascutto: Technical Debt, Episode 1

za, 21/05/2016 - 00:30
One of the projects I'm working on for Mozilla is our Content Sandboxing. We've been using sandboxing for a while to protect some plugins like Flash, as well as media plugins, but now that Firefox can render webpages in a separate process, we can apply restrictions to what those "Web Content" processes can do, too. Those processes are the part of Firefox that is essentially exposed to the internet, and hence to potentially dangerous webpages.

Although we go to great lengths to make this impossible, there is always a chance that a bug in Firefox would allow an attacker to exploit and take over a Web Content process. But by using features provided by the operating system, we can prevent them from taking over the rest of the computing device by disallowing many ways to interact with it, for example by stopping them from starting new programs or reading or writing specific files.

This feature has been enabled on Firefox Nightly builds for a while, at least on Windows and Mac OS X. Due to the diversity of the ecosystem, it's taken a bit longer for Linux, but we are now ready to flip that switch too.

The initial version on Linux will block very, very little. It's our goal to get Firefox working and shipping with this first and foremost, while we iterate rapidly and hammer down the hatches as we go, shipping a gradual stream of improvements to our users.

One of the first things to hammer down is filesystem access. If an attacker is free to write to any file on the filesystem, he can quickly take over the system. Similarly, if he can read any file, it's easy to leak out confidential information to an attacking webpage. We're currently figuring out the list of files and locations the Web Content process needs to access (e.g. system font directories) and which ones it definitely shouldn't (your passwords database).

And that's where this story about technical debt really starts.

While tracing filesystem access, we noticed at some point that the Web Content process accesses /etc/passwd. Although on most modern Unix systems this file doesn't actually contain any (hashed) passwords, it still typically contains the complete real name of the users on the system, so it's definitely not something that we'd want to leave accessible to an attacker.

My first thought was that something was trying to enumerate valid users on the system, because that would've been a good reason to try to read /etc/passwd.

Tracing the system call to its origin revealed another caller, though. libfreebl, a part of NSS (Network Security Services) was reading it during its initialization. Specifically, we traced it to this array in the source. Reading on what it is used for is, eh, quite eyebrow-raising in the modern security age.

The NSS random number generator seeds itself by attempting to read /dev/urandom (good), ignoring whether that fails or not (not so good), and then continuing by reading and hashing the password file into the random number generator as additional entropy. The same code then goes on to read in several temporary directories (and I do mean directories, not the files inside them) and perform the same procedure.

Should all of this have failed, it will make a last ditch effort to fork/exec "netstat -ni" and hash the output of that. Note that the usage of fork here is especially "amusing" from the sandboxing perspective, as it's the one thing you'll absolutely never want to allow.

Now, almost none of this has ever been a *good* idea, but in its defense NSS is old and caters to many exotic and ancient configurations. The discussion about /dev/urandom reliability was raised in 2002, and I'd wager the relevant Linux code has seen a few changes since. I'm sure that 15 years ago, this might've been a defensible decision to make. Apparently one could even argue that some unnamed Oracle product running on Windows 2000 was a defensible use case to keep this code in 2009.

Nevertheless, it's technical debt. Debt that hurt on the release of Firefox 3.5, when it caused Firefox startup to take over 2 minutes on some people's systems.

It's not that people didn't notice this idea was problematic:
I'm fully tired of this particular trail of tears. There's no good reason to waste users' time at startup pretending to scrape entropy off the filesystem. -- Brendan Eich, July 2009RNG_SystemInfoForRNG - which tries to make entropy appear out of the air. -- Ryan Sleevi, April 2014 Though sandboxing was clearly not considered much of a use case in 2006:
Only a subset of particularly messed-up applications suffer from the use of fork. -- Well meaning contributor, September 2006Nevertheless, I'm - still - looking at this code in the year of our Lord 2016 and wondering if it shouldn't all just be replaced by a single getrandom() call.

If your system doesn't have getrandom(), well maybe there's a solution for that too.



Don't agree? Can we then at least agree that if your /dev/urandom isn't secure, it's your problem, not ours?

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Air Mozilla: Webdev Beer and Tell: May 2016

vr, 20/05/2016 - 20:00

 May 2016 Once a month web developers across the Mozilla community get together (in person and virtually) to share what cool stuff we've been working on in...

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Support.Mozilla.Org: Event Report: Mozilla Ivory Coast SUMO Sprint

vr, 20/05/2016 - 18:18

We’re back, SUMO Nation! This time with a great event report from Abbackar Diomande, our awesome community spirit in Ivory Coast! Grab a cup of something nice to drink and enjoy his report from the Mozilla Ivory Coast SUMO Sprint.

The Mozilla Ivory Coast community is not yet ready to forget Saturday, May 15. It was then that the first SUMO Sprint in Ivory Coast took place, lasting six hours!
For this occasion, we were welcomed and hosted by the Abobo Adjame University, the second largest university in the country.
Many students, some members of the Mozilla local community, and other members of the free software community gathered on this day.

The event began with a Mozilla manifesto presentation by Kouadio – a young member of our local SUMO team and the Lead of the Firefox Club at the university.

After that, I introduced everyone to SUMO, the areas of SUMO contribution, the our Nouchi translation project, and Locamotion (the tool we use to localize).
During my presentation I learned that all the guests were really surprised and happy to learn of the existence of support.mozilla.org and a translation project for Nouchi
They were very happy and excited to participate in this sprint, and you can see that in the photos, emanating from their smiles and the joy that you can read from their the faces.

After all presentations and introductions, the really serious things could begin. Everyone spent two hours answering questions of French users on Twitter – the session passed very quickly in the friendly atmosphere.

We couldn’t reach the goal of answering all the Army of Awesome posts in French, but everyone appreciated what we achieved, providing answers to over half the posts – we were (and still are) very proud of our job!

After the Army of Awesome session, our SUMO warriors have turned to Locamotion for Nouchi localization. It was at once serious and fun. Originally planned for three hours, we localized for four – because it was so interesting :-)

Mozilla and myself received congratulations from all participants for this initiative, which promotes the Ivorian language and Ivory Coast as a digital country present on the internet.

Even though we were not able to reach all our objectives, we are still very proud of what we have done. We contributed very intensely, both to help people who needed it and to improve the scale and quality of Nouchi translations in open source, with the help of new and dynamic contributors.

The sprint ended with a group tasting of garba (a traditional local dish) and a beautiful family picture.

Thank you, Abbackar! It’s always great to see happy people contributing their skills and time to open source initiatives like this. SUMO is proud to be included in Ivory Coast’s open source movement! We hope to see more awesomeness coming from the local community in the future – in the meantime, I think it’s time to cook some garba! ;-)

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Patrick Cloke: Google Summer of Code 2016 projects

vr, 20/05/2016 - 15:15

I’d like to introduce the 13 students that are being mentored by Mozilla this year as part of Google Summer of Code 2016! Currently the “community bonding” period is ongoing, but we are on the cusp of the “coding period” starting.

As part of Google Summer of Code (GSoC), we ask students to provide weekly updates of their progress in a public area (usually a blog). If you’re interested in a particular project, please follow along! Lastly, remember that GSoC is a community effort: if a student is working in an area where you consider yourself knowledgable, please introduce yourself and offer to provide help and/or advice!

Below is a listing of each student’s project (linked to their weekly updates), the name of each student and the name of their mentor(s).

Project Student Mentor(s) Download app assets at runtime (Firefox for Android) Krish skaspari File API Support (Servo) izgzhen Manishearth Implement RFC7512 PKCS#11 URI support and system integration (NSS) varunnaganathan Bob Relyea, David Woodhoue Implementing Service Worker Infrastructure in Servo Browser Engine creativcoder jdm Improving and expanding the JavaScript XMPP Implementation Abdelrhman Ahmed aleth, nhnt11 Mozilla Calendar – Event in a Tab paulmorris Philipp Kewisch Mozilla Investigator (MIG): Auditd integration Arun kang Prevent Failures due to Update Races (Balrog) varunjoshi Ben Hearsum Proposal of Redesign SETA MikeLing Joel Maher Schedule TaskCluster Jobs in Treeherder martianwars armenzg Thunderbird - Implement mbox -> maildir converter Shiva mkmelin Two Projects to Make A-Frame More Useful, Accessible, and Exciting bryik Diego Marcos Web-based GDB Frontend baygeldin jonasfj
Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Air Mozilla: Foundation Demos May 20 2016

vr, 20/05/2016 - 15:00

Foundation Demos May 20 2016 Foundation Demos May 20 2016

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Doug Belshaw: What does it mean to be a digitally literate school leader?

vr, 20/05/2016 - 12:32

As part of the work I’m doing with London CLC, their Director, Sarah Horrocks, asked me to write something on what it means to be a digitally literate school leader. I’d like to thank her for agreeing to me writing this for public consumption.

Image CC BY K.W. Barrett

Image CC BY K.W. Barrett

Before I start, I think it’s important to say why I might be in a good position to be able to answer this question. First off, I’m a former teacher and senior leader. I used to be Director of E-Learning of a large (3,000 student), all-age, multi-site Academy. I worked for Jisc on their digital literacies programme, writing my thesis on the same topic. I’ve written a book entitled The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. I also worked for the Mozilla Foundation on their Web Literacy Map, taking it from preliminary work through to version 1.5. I now consult with clients around identifying, developing, and credentialing digital skills.

That being said, it’s now been a little over six years since I last worked in a school, and literacy practices change quickly. So I’d appreciate comments and pushback on what follows.

Let me begin by saying that, as Allan Martin (2006) pointed out, “Digital literacy is a condition, not a threshold.” That’s why, as I pointed out in my 2012 TEDx talk, we shouldn’t talk about ‘digital literacy’ as a binary. People are not either digitally literate or digitally illiterate - instead literacy practices in a given domain exist on a spectrum.

In the context of a school and other educational institutions, we should be aware that that there are several cultures at play. As a result, there are multiple, overlapping literacy practices. For this reason we should talk of digital literacies in their plurality. As I found in the years spent researching my thesis, there is no one, single, definition of digital literacy that is adequate in capturing the complexity of human experience when using digital devices.

In addition, I think that it’s important to note that digital literacies are highly context dependent. This is perhaps most evident when addressing the dangerous myth of the 'digital native’. We see young people confidently using smartphones, tablets, and other devices and therefore we assume that their skillsets in one domain are matched by the requisite mindsets from another.

So to recap so far, I think it’s important to note that digital literacies are plural and context-dependent. Although it’s tempting to attempt to do so, it’s impossible to impose a one-size-fits-all digital literacy programme on students, teachers, or leaders and meet with success. Instead, and this is the third 'pillar’ one which my approach rests, I’d suggest that definitions of digital literacies need to be co-created.

By 'co-created’ I mean that there are so many ways in which one can understand both the 'digital’ and 'literacies’ aspects of the term 'digital literacies’ that it can be unproductively ambiguous. Instead, a dialogic approach to teasing out what this means in your particular context is much more useful. In my thesis and book I came up with eight elements of digital literacies from the research literature which prove useful to scaffold these conversations:

  1. Cultural
  2. Cognitive
  3. Constructive
  4. Communicative
  5. Confident
  6. Creative
  7. Critical
  8. Civic

In order not to make this post any longer than it needs to be, I’ll encourage you to look at my book and thesis for more details on this. Suffice to say, it’s important both to collaboratively define the above eight terms and define then what you mean by 'digital literacies’ in a particular context.

All of this means that the job of the school leader is not to reach a predetermined threshold laid down by a governing body or professional body. Instead, the role of the school leader is to be always learning, questioning their practice, and encouraging colleagues and students in all eight of the 'essential elements’ listed above.

As with any area of interest and focus, school leaders should model the kinds of knowledge, skills, and behaviours they want to see develop in those around them. Just as we help people learn that being punctual is important by always turning up on time ourselves, so the importance of developing digital literacies can be demonstrated by sharing learning experiences and revelations.

There is much more on this in my thesis, book, and presentations but I’ll finish with some recommendations as to what school leaders can do to ensure they are constantly improving their practices around digital literacies:

  • Seek out new people: it’s easy for us to become trapped in what are known as filter bubbles, either through the choices we make as a result of confirmation bias, or algorithmically-curated newsfeeds. Why not find people and organisations who you wouldn’t usually follow, and add them to your daily reading habits?
  • Share what you learn: why not create a regular way to update those in your school community about issues relating to the considered use of technology? This could be a discussion forum, a newsletter pointing to the work of people like the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Common Sense Media, or 'clubs’ that help staff and students get to grips with new technologies.
  • Find other ways: the danger of 'best practices’ or established workflows is that they can make you blind to new, better ways of doing things. As Clay Shirky notes in this interview it can be liberating to jettison existing working practices in favour of new ones. What other ways can you find to write documents, collaborate with others, be creative, and/or keep people informed?

Comments? Questions? I’m @dajbelshaw or you can get in touch with me at: hello@dynamicskillset.com. I consult around identifying, developing, and credentialing digital skills.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Air Mozilla: Bay Area Accessibility and Inclusive Design meetup: Fifth Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day

vr, 20/05/2016 - 03:30

 Fifth Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day Digital Accessibility meetup with speakers for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. #a11ybay. 6pm Welcome with 6:30pm Start Time.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Support.Mozilla.Org: What’s Up with SUMO – 19th May

do, 19/05/2016 - 23:59

Hello, SUMO Nation!

Glad to see all of you on this side of spring… How are you doing? Have you missed us as much as we missed you? Here we go yet again,  another small collection of updates for your reading pleasure :-)

Welcome, new contributors! If you just joined us, don’t hesitate – come over and say “hi” in the forums! Contributors of the week

We salute you!

Don’t forget that if you are new to SUMO and someone helped you get started in a nice way you can nominate them for the Buddy of the Month! Most recent SUMO Community meeting The next SUMO Community meeting
  • …is happening on WEDNESDAY the 25th of May – join us!
  • Reminder: if you want to add a discussion topic to the upcoming meeting agenda:
    • Start a thread in the Community Forums, so that everyone in the community can see what will be discussed and voice their opinion here before Wednesday (this will make it easier to have an efficient meeting).
    • Please do so as soon as you can before the meeting, so that people have time to read, think, and reply (and also add it to the agenda).
    • If you can, please attend the meeting in person (or via IRC), so we can follow up on your discussion topic during the meeting with your feedback.
Community Social Support Forum Knowledge Base & L10n
  • The Polish team have reached their monthly milestone – congratulations!
  • Final reminder: if you want to participate in the ongoing discussion about source material quality and frequency, take a look at this thread. We are going to propose a potential way of addressing your issues once we collate enough feedback.
  • Reminder: L10n hackathons everywhere! Find your people and get organized!
Firefox
  • for Android
    • Version 46 support discussion thread.
    • Reminder: version 47 will stop supporting Gingerbread. High time to update your Android installations!
      • Other than that, it should be a minor release. Documentation in progress!

And that’s it! We hope you are looking forward to the end of this week and the beginning of the next one… We surely are! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Yunier José Sosa Vázquez: Mozilla presenta a Alex Salkever como Vice Presidente de Marketing

do, 19/05/2016 - 20:16

En el día de hoy, Mozilla ha hecho público su más reciente adición del equipo de liderazgo en la fundación. Se trata de Alex Salkever, quién ejercerá como nuevo Vice Presidente de Marketing.

En el artículo publicado en el blog de Mozilla, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff (Director de Marketing) comenta que en su nuevo rol, Alex tendrá bajo su mando la conducción de las campañas estrategias de posicionamiento y marketing. Unido a ello, también se encargará de supervisar las comunicaciones globales, los medios de comunicación social, la asistencia de los usuarios y los equipos de marketing de contenido y de trabajo en toda la organización para desarrollar comunicaciones externas impactantes para los productos de Mozilla y Firefox.

Alex Salkever, foto tomada de blog.mozilla.org

Alex Salkever, foto tomada de blog.mozilla.org

Anteriormente, Alex fue Director de Marketing de Silk.co, donde centró sus esfuerzos al crecimiento de usuarios y las asociaciones de la plataforma. Además, Salkever ha ocupado una variedad de cargos relacionados con el mundo del marketing de productos en los campos de instrumentos científicos, computación en la nube, telecomunicaciones e Internet de las Cosas. En estas diversas capacidades, Alex ha gestionado campañas a través de todos los aspectos de marketing y comercialización de productos que incluyen relaciones públicas, marketing de contenidos, adquisición de usuarios, contratación de desarrolladores y análisis de marketing.

Alex también brindará a Mozilla su experiencia como ex editor de tecnología en BusinessWeek.com. Entre sus muchos logros, Alex es el co-autor del libro “The Immigrant Exodus” (en español El Éxodo del Inmigrante), un libro llamado El Libro de Economista de la lista del año en la categoría Libros de Negocio en 2012.

¡Bienvenido a Mozilla Alex!

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Air Mozilla: Web QA Team Meeting, 19 May 2016

do, 19/05/2016 - 18:00

Web QA Team Meeting Weekly Web QA team meeting - please feel free and encouraged to join us for status updates, interesting testing challenges, cool technologies, and perhaps a...

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Air Mozilla: Reps weekly, 19 May 2016

do, 19/05/2016 - 18:00

Reps weekly This is a weekly call with some of the Reps to discuss all matters about/affecting Reps and invite Reps to share their work with everyone.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

About:Community: Jakarta Community Space Launch

do, 19/05/2016 - 15:53

This post was written by Fauzan Alfi.

It was not an ordinary Friday 13th for Mozilla Indonesia because on May 13th, 2016, it was a very big day for us. After months of planning and preparation, the Mozilla Community Space Jakarta finally launched and opened for the community. It’s the 4th volunteer-run physical community space after Bangalore (now closed), Manila and Taipei and another one is opening soon in Berlin. Strategically located in Cikini – Central Jakarta, the Space will become a place for Mozillians from Greater Jakarta and Bandung to do many activities, especially developer-focused events, and to build relationships with other tech communities in the city.

The Space

The Space. Photo by Yofie Setiawan

Invited to the event were many open source and other communities around the city. Mozilla Reps, FSAs and Mozillians also joined to celebrate the Space opening. On his presentation, Yofie Setiawan (Mozilla Rep, Jakarta Space Manager) hopes that Jakarta Community Space can be useful for many people and communities, especially to educate anyone who comes and joins events that take place in the space.

Opening Event

Dian Ina and Rara talk to guests. Photo by Yofie Setiawan

Ceremonial first piece

Brian gets the ceremonial first bite. Photo by Yofie Setiawan

Also joining the event, Brian King from Participation Team at Mozilla. During his remarks, Brian said that the reason behind the Jakarta Community Space is because “the Mozilla community here is one of the most active globally, with deep roots and a strong network in tech scene”. He also added that “Indonesia is an important country with a very dynamic Web presence, and we’d like to engage with more people to make the online experience better for everyone.”

The Jakarta Community Space is around 40 square meters in area that fits 20-30 people inside. On the front side, it has glass wall that’s covered by frosted sticker with some Mozilla projects wording printed on it. Inside, we have some chairs, tables, home theater set, food & drink supplies and coffee machine. Most of the items were donated by Mozillians in Jakarta.

The tour

The tour. Photo by Yofie Setiawan

One area where the Jakarta Community excelled was with the planning and design. All the processes are done by the community itself. One of Reps from Indonesia, Fauzan Alfi – who has a background in architecture, helped design the space and kept the process transparent on the Community Design GitHub. The purpose is to ignite collaborative design, not only from Indonesian community but also from other parts of the globe. More creativity was shown by creating mural drawings of landmarks in selected cities around the world – including Monas of Jakarta.

Jakarta Community Space means a lot for Mozilla community in Greater Jakarta and Indonesia, in general. Having a physical place means the Indonesian community will have their own home to spread the mission and collaborate with more communities that are aligned with Mozilla, especially developer communities. Hopefully, the Space will bring more and more people to contribute to Mozilla and help shape the future of the Web.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Pascal Chevrel: Let's give Firefox Nightly some love!

do, 19/05/2016 - 15:37

After a decade working on making Mozilla Web properties available in dozens of languages, creating communities of localizers around the globe and building Quality Assurance tools, dashboards and APIs to help ship our software and websites internationally, I recently left the Localization department to report to Doug Turner and work on a new project benefiting directly the Platform and Firefox teams!

I am now in charge of a project aiming to turn Nightly into a maintained channel (just as we have the Aurora, Beta and Release channels) whose goal will be to engage our very technical Nightly users into the Mozilla project in activities that have a measurable impact on the quality of our products.

Here are a few key goals I would like us to achieve in 2016-2017:

  • Double the number of Nightly users so as to detect much earlier regressions, crashes and Web compatibility issues. A regression detected and reported a couple of days after the code landed on mozilla-central is a simple backout, the same regression reported weeks or even months later in the Aurora, Beta or even discovered on the Release channel can be much more work to get fixed.

  • Make of Firefox Nightly a real entry point for the more technical users that want to get involved in Mozilla and help us ship software (QA, code, Web Compatibility, security…). Not only for Firefox but also to all technical Mozilla projects that would benefit from a wider participation.

  • Make of Firefox Nightly a better experience for these technical contributors. This means as a first step using the built-in communication channels (about:home promotional snippets, default tiles, first run / what's New pages…) to communicate information adapted to technical users and propose resources, activities and ways to participate in Mozilla that are technical by nature. I also want to have a specific focus on three countries, Germany, France and Spain, where we have strong local communities, staff and MozSpaces and can engage people more easily IRL.

I will not work on that alone, Sylvestre Ledru, our Release Management Lead, has created a new team (with Marcia Knous in the US and Calixte Denizet in France) to work on improving the quality of the Nightly channel and analyse crashes and regressions. Members of other departments (Participation, MDN, Security, Developer Relations…) have also shown interest in the project and intend to get involved.

But first and foremost, I do intend to get the Mozilla community involved and hopefully also get people not involved in Mozilla yet to join us and help us make of this "Nightly Reboot" project a success!

A few pointers for this project:

  • There is an existing #nightly IRC channel that we are restoring with Marcia and a few contributors. I am pascalc on IRC and I am in the CET timezone, don't hesitate to ping me there if you want to propose your help, know more about the project or propose your own ideas.

  • Marcia created a "Nightly Testers" Telegram channel, ping me if you are already using Nightly to report bugs and want to be added

  • For asynchronous communication, there is a Nightly Testers mailing list

  • If you want to download Nightly, go to nightly.mozilla.org. Unfortunately the site only proposes en-US builds and this is definitely something I want to get fixed! If you are a French speaker, our community maintains its own download site for Nightly with links to French builds that you can find at nightly.mozfr.org, otherwise other localized builds can be found on our FTP.

  • If you want to know all the new stuff that gets into our Nightly channel, follow our @FirefoxNightly twitter account

  • If you are a Nightly user and report a bug on https://bugzilla.mozilla.org, please put the tag [nightly-community] in the whiteboard field of your bug report, this allows us to measure the impact of our active Nightly community on Bugzilla.

Interested? Do get involved and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestion or idea that could fit into that project. Several people I spoke with in the last weeks gave me very interesting feedback and concrete ideas that I preciously noted!

You can contact me (in English, French or Spanish) through the following communication channels:

  • Email: pascal AT mozilla DOT com
  • IRC on Moznet and Freenode: pascalc
  • Twitter: @pascalchevrel

update 15:33 See also this blog post by Mozilla Engineer Nicholas Nethercote I want more users on the Nightly channel

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

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