Mozilla Celebrates Firefox’s 10th Birthday With Privacy Pledges And Developer Version

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Mozilla pledges to protect users privacy and launches Firefox 33.1, Firefox for Developers and launches Polaris initiative with the Tor project

Mozilla is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Firefox by releasing special “birthday” and developer editions of the browser and pledging to continue to protect user privacy with new features and the establishment of the Polaris initiative.

The non-profit organisation is keen to celebrate its achievement of breaking Microsoft’s monopoly on the browser market following the collapse of Netscape and says Firefox has come a long way since 10,000 volunteers clubbed together to buy a full-page ad in the New York Times for the launch of Firefox 1.0.

Since then, Firefox has become the first browser to support custom themes and add-ons, in-browser 3D gaming through WebGL support as well as a range of privacy features like ‘Do Not Track’ and private browsing.

Breaking Internet Explorer

Firefox 33.1 “We saved the Internet by not accepting the status quo, by not allowing corporate interests to acquire a stranglehold on our online lives,” says Chris Beard, Mozilla CEO. “At the time, Microsoft dominated the Web. It was becoming stagnant, locked down and shaped by the vision of one company rather than the creativity of all. Firefox changed that.”

As a continuation of this theme, Firefox 33.1, the special “birthday” edition, adds privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo to the list of search providers, a ‘forget’ button that clears some recent activity and a walkthrough of some of the browsers’ privacy features.

Firefox Developer Edition aims to provide tools that simplify the process of creating pages and apps for the Web, with a responsive design mode, JavaScript debugger, page inspector for HTML and CSS, network monitor, web console, style editor and audio editor.  A new tool called Valence lets developers debug and develop applications for multiple browsers, while WebIDE can deploy web apps directly on a browser for Firefox OS device.

Privacy focus

Mozilla believes its work isn’t done and has promised to continue to support the development of the open web and protect user privacy. To this end, it has announced the formation of Polaris, an initiative to combine Mozilla’s privacy efforts with those of the wider industry.

Firefox Developer EditionLaunch partners include the Tor Project and the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) and two project are already underway. The first will see Mozilla engineers looking to optimise Firefox code so Tor can run more quickly and effectively, while the second will see how Mozilla can offer a feature that protects users from invasive tracking without penalising advertisers.

“We believe our role in the world is more important today than it’s ever been. Issues of digital rights, privacy, net neutrality and online safety and security are real and impact our lives daily,” adds Beard. “The pace and complexity of online life will only accelerate from here. The decisions we make today will fundamentally impact how we live online in the future.

“We pledge to stay focused on the most important issues facing the Internet today — and into the future. We will continue earning your trust, bringing an independent spirit and fiercely unconventional approach to unlock the promise of the Internet for us all.”

As part of the birthday celebrations, Mozilla has also made Firefox OS 2.0, the latest version its web-based mobile operating system available to developers with the ‘Flame’ reference device.

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