Mozilla Links Newsletter – 26 – April 28, 2005

Mozilla Links – English Edition
Issue # 26 – April 28, 2005

One of the most prevalent Internet threats currently is, no doubt, phishing. This
consists of tricking a user to believe they are going to a trusted site like a bank,
eBay, PayPal and or some other popular site. The trick is usually done using a web
address very similar in appearance to the original (like At the fake site
(which would have the appearance of the authentic web site) the user is asked for
personal information like social security number, account number, username, password or
birth date, which can then be used to impersonate the user and access their account,
money or credit.

Firefox and Thunderbird provide a number of anti-phishing features. Firefox 1.0.1,
released a couple of weeks ago, comes with International Domain Names support crippled
to avoid phishing attacks. This feature, which allows the use of international
characters like Chinese or Arabic in web addresses (domain names) is properly
implemented by Firefox. However, malicious sites can be created with web addresses
which, when converted to occidental characters in the location
bar, look similar to different trusted sites. Since the risk of being phished is worse
than the inconvenience of having international addresses displayed in encoded form, the
trade off makes complete sense.

Alternatives to this crude fix are being evaluated, including a proposal by Gervase
Markham to associate a specific color to a site so we can easily know if we are at the
original site.

Thunderbird 1.1 will alert when going to a site which web address doesn’t match the one
stated in the text of and e-mail link. In the meantime, be alert when visiting
money-related web sites. Double check the complete spelling for the site address, check
the secure connection status and always be suspicious when you are asked for personal
and financial information.

Thanks for reading and please leave your comments at

Percy Cabello
Mozilla Links Continue reading Mozilla Links Newsletter – 26 – April 28, 2005

Mozilla Links Newsletter – 25 – January 24, 2005

Mozilla Links - English Edition
Issue # 25 - January 24, 2005
On November 9th, the highly anticipated Firefox 1.0 arrived. If you'd been using Firefox
Preview Release or a Release Candidate there was no news at all feature-wise, since most
changes were related to bug fixes or under the hood improvements.
And, on December 6th after a fast cycle of releases and release candidates, Thunderbird
1.0 saw the light and joined the wild success that Firefox started about a month
earlier. By December 17th it achieved its first million downloads. Now Firefox proudly
counts around 19 million downloads.
So, what's next? For Firefox, some days ago Ben Goodger, Firefox lead engineer,
announced ( some
modifications coming to the Options window and also Kevin Gerich, member of the Mozilla
Visual Design Team announced ( some work in
progress on the same Options window. Firefox 1.1 is targeted for March 2005 and should
bring mainly internal enhancements. The roadmap was also updated recently
For Thunderbird, mozillaZine reported
( that the Thunderbird crew is
testing inline spell checking. With this feature, Thunderbird will check your spelling
in your preferred language while you are composing an e-mail. A screenshot is available
Thanks for reading. Please send any comments via .
Percy Cabello
Mozilla Links
In this issue:
      - Review: fireFTP
      - PowerTip: Customize Find As You Type Sound
      - PowerTip: Hide the Favicons
      - Mozilla 1.7.5 Released
      - Nvu 0.70 Released
      - Adobe Reader Updated
      - Mozilla Update Updated
      - E-mail Based Support For Mozilla Products Now Available
      - Netscape New Proposal: Hybrid
Review: fireFTP 0.86.1
Developed by Mime Cuvalo
fireFTP ( is a useful and powerful extension that brings full
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) support to Firefox. FTP is an efficient and widely
supported protocol for moving files across the Internet. By default, Firefox support for
FTP is limited to downloading files from FTP servers (addresses that start with ftp://
in the location bar). fireFTP allows you to log on to an FTP server and browse local and
remote folders. Then you can select a file in either location and drag it to the target
to upload or download. You can also set permissions for files on the remote server
(Unix-like Read, Write, Execute for owner, group and world users).
You can start fireFTP on a new window or tab and among its advanced features are support
for proxy servers, custom FTP ports, auto reconnect and auto refresh of remote folders.
Future versions are expected to automatically handle FTP links in web pages, add a
toolbar button, allow drag and drop from desktop, show upload progress and other
enhancements. fireFTP works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, and is available for free as a
small 55 KB download in about 10 languages.
PowerTip: Customize Find As You Type Sound
Contributed by Percy Cabello
When you are looking for text in a web page using Firefox's Find as You Type feature, it
will play a sound when the text entered can't be found. To deactivate this, enter
about:config in the location bar. A list of all preferences will be shown. Look for
preference "accessibility.typeaheadfind.enablesound". You can find it faster by typing a
few characters in the Filter text box, for example "sound". Double click on the
preference and its value will change to "false".
To customize the sound, again in the about:config preferences tab, look for the
preference "accessibility.typeaheadfind.soundURL", double click on the preference and
enter the path for the sound file you want to play. For example, if "the file is located
at "c:mybeep.wav", you would enter "file:///c:/mybeep.wav".
For either change you will need to restart Firefox to make it effective.
PowerTip: Hide the Favicons
Contributed by Percy Cabello
Favicons are those small icons that identify websites in tabs and bookmarks. If you want
to avoid using them for cleaner, less colorful look, enter "about:config" in the
Location Bar. A list of all preferences will be shown. Look for the preference
"". Double click on the preference and its value will change to
"false". From now on tabs and bookmarks will not display the favicon of the site.
Mozilla 1.7.5 Released
The Mozilla Application Suite was updated on December 18th to the most recent version of
the Gecko rendering engine, which means it now supports more web pages written for IE
and the new Netscape Plugin API Extensions, developed by a group of browser and plugin
developers and vendors such as Opera, Adobe, Apple, Macromedia, Sun Microsystems and the
Mozilla Foundation.
Get the most recent version here:
Nvu 0.70 Released
Based on Firefox 1.0 code, on January 6th, Disruptive Innovations and Linspire, Inc.
released Nvu 0.70, a Mozilla-based web page editor, featuring improved horizontal and
vertical rules, Site Manager now supporting more than one site at a time, better drag
and drop support of external files in Linux, better support for PHP applications and
some several other enhancements.
Download Nvu 0.70:
Adobe Reader Updated
Adobe has released Adobe Reader 7.0, an update of its ultra popular electronic document
reader application. Mozilla Foundation's Asa Dotzler has a nice brief on this version
improvements and tips for speeding it up here:
Adobe Reader download:
Mozilla Update Updated
Mozilla Update has been updated with a better look and a clearer organization of
content, making it easier to find the desired extension, theme or, just added, plugin
you may need.
Mozilla Update:
E-mail Based Support For Mozilla Products Now Available
MozSource, the operator of the Mozilla Store announced the immediate availability of
e-mail support for Firefox 1.0, Thunderbird 0.9, Mozilla Application Suite 1.7.x and
Camino 0.8 on their respective minimum system requirements. Extensions, themes and
plugins are beyond MozSource scope. As stated in their Terms of Service, a resolution is
not guaranteed and limited to the specific application capabilities and function. During
the initial beta period, there will be a low US$ 4.99 per incident, with a 48 hour reply
MozSource Support:
Netscape New Proposal: Hybrid
On November 30th, Netscape unveiled a prototype of what should become the next iteration
of Netscape Navigator. Days before the announcement, rumors about it being based on
Firefox ran around the Internet. The major surprise was that it not only is based on
Firefox but also on Microsoft Internet Explorer. So users who need to access some sites
written for IE will now have a chance to switch within the same interface to IE's
rendering engine.  On January 17th, an updated prototype was released featuring a new
interface and based on the same Firefox 1.0 code.
Netscape prototype screenshots:
Contributed by Brian King
The independent status reports include news and updates from Mozilla application and
extension projects hosted on and elsewhere in the Mozilla community.
The end of year is upon us again and as always it is a time for reflection - a time to
assess the hits and the misses in the Mozilla community. It was a year when the
standalone browser and email clients, Firefox and Thunderbird, matured and released top
quality 1.0 versions. It was a year when other Mozilla projects, such as Sunbird[1],
Camino[2] and Nvu[3] really came into their own. It was a year when Mozilla was becoming
more recognised as a commercial application platform[4]. Yet we must not rest on our
laurels. The Mozilla Foundation and wider community must adapt to meet the challenges
ahead. One exciting new project to herald this new era is Minimo[5], Mozilla browser for
mobiles. Happy Holidays from the team!
HTTP serverpost - 0.6, Merging the capabilities of HTML forms and XUL interfaces.
For: Mozilla, Firefox, custom XUL applications
Platform: All
Version 0.6 has just been launched.  The widget itself is fairly stable, but largely
unreviewed by the community at large. Any suggestions visitors have at this point will
be considered.
Add N Edit Cookie - v0.2, Add and edit session only and saved cookies.
For: Firefox 0.9.x-1.0, Mozilla 1.7.x/1.8a4
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Version 0.2 has every promised feature and a very easy to use date/time picker for
expiration date editing.
Notable Highlights:
- Adds cookies
- Edits cookies values, expiration dates
- Easy to use date/time picker for expiration dates
- Filter feature for locating right cookies
HONcode Status v1.5 - HONlookup v1.4, Collection of Mozilla / Netscape plugins for HON.
For: Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Extensions have been updated to be compatible with Firefox 1.0.
Launchy - v3.6.0, Increase your link powers with external applications.
For: Mozilla, Firefox, Thunderbird, Camino
Platform: All
Notable Highlights:
- Fixed viewing source of URL with # or ?. More info
- Fixed bug when right-clicking on image that is a link.
More info at
- Updated JSLib to latest
- Added IrfanView
- Added options item to toolbar
- Fixed locale with app type
- Added Polish locale
- Added launchy.xml generator (
Calendar Help - 0.1, Help documentation for Calendar and Sunbird.
For: Mozilla Suite, Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
New version released December 6 documents most of Calendar/Sunbird's user interface, and
works in Sunbird, Firefox, Thunderbird and Mozilla Suite. This is a complete first draft
of the English help, with twelve chapters and three appendixes.
Notable Highlights:
- Active links from Calendar/Sunbird's user interface to the appropriate help topics
- Table of contents, index and glossary
- Keyboard, menu and toolbar reference information
Habari Xenu - v0.9.3, A Cool XUL News Aggregator
For: Mozilla, Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux
Several improvements to the aggregator including better parsing, OPML support, Firefox
Notable Highlights:
- OPML Import/Export
- Easy Subscription to feeds
- Impoved feed parsing
- Custom Stylesheets through userContent.css
- Update All and Catchup Support
- Improved stability
MAF - 0.4.3, Mozilla Archive Format.
For: Mozilla, Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux
Fixed a few bugs and added additional locales.
Notable Highlights:
- Now has vbs scripts for windows filetype associations
- Added Russian and Polish locale
- Added ability to save selected tabs
jsLib - v0.1.235, Mozilla JavaScript Library.
For: Mozilla, Firefox, Thunderbird
Platform: All
Tweaked install code for solid installation both w/ EM and XPInstall. Lot's of library
updates, additions to the jslib protocol (type jslib:help for more details), updates to
documentation, addition of jsliblive chrome folder for easier testing and execution of
XUL files, added jsLib top level DOM object, I am also working on an article to help new
moz app developers get up and running quickly w/ jsLib.
Notable Highlights:
- Library Cleanup
- Protocol enhancements
- DOM top level jslib object for easier initialization
- Worked on potential global namespace collision declarations
- fixed lot's of bugs</li>
purgecontrol - 0.2c, Protect important emails from being accidentally deleted.
For: Thunderbird
Platform: independent
Updated to work with Thunderbird 1.0.
cuneAform - 0.3.1, The Community Built Editor that Anyone Can Use.
For: Mozilla 1.4 and up, Firefox 0.4 and up
Platform: Any platform
cuneAform 0.3.1 now works with Firefox 1.0!  Some internal issues were also resolved. If
you have used or are using 0.3 please upgrade to this new version. cuneAform 0.3 had a
serious error with the installer.
New Features in 0.3.1:
- Fixed bug in xpi archive that prevented the installation (silent update)</li>
- Improved About Box
- Added Nightly Support
- Updated .rdf's
- Should be ready for 1.0
View Background Plus - v0.9, Opens all kinds of background images, not only those in
For: Mozilla, Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
Main features work as they should, but CSS definitions are only recognized if embedded
inline in HTML element.
Notable Highlights:
- Go to <a href="">IMDB</a> and try to save any of the gallery
images. If that annoys you, you need View Background Plus ;)
- Quicksaving of background <strong>and</strong> normal images (slightly experimental)
ThunderFilter - v0.1, Utility to insert OO, RTF and Word files into mail.
For: Thunderbird
Platform: Linu
An extension to insert OpenOffice/StarOffice/RTF/Microsoft Word files into mail composer
(Thunderbird). ThunderFilter do not attach files. This is the first release.
Mnenhy - v0.7, Mozilla enhancements with special focus upon Mail & News.
For: Mozilla, Thunderbird and even Firefox
Platform: all
Mnenhy now displays X-Faces! The folder-dependent storage now stores preferences! What's
Mnenhy? Mnenhy provides several tools and enhancements for use with Mozilla, Thunderbird
and even Firefox:
- Custom header display for mail and news
- Folderstorage for storing threadpane layouts and preferences folder-dependently
- Text codecs, e.g. ROT-13, Kenny, Base64 and many more
- Mozilla sidebar in MailNews
- Chrome Manager, a tool for manipulating the application's chrome registry
- Registry Viewer, a viewer for Mozilla's registry.dat file format
- Junk Tools with junk filter statistics and display of the 'undecided' junk state
QuoteCollapse - v0.4, Collapse Quotes.
For: Mozilla, Thunderbird
Platform: All
QuoteCollapse collapses quotes (you guessed it!). This makes newsgroups with complete
top quoting readable again, as well as those replies from people who don't know you do
Version 0.4 adds support for Thunderbird 1.0 and Mozilla 1.8a5.
Notable Highlights:
- Works with TB 1.0 and Mozilla 1.8a5
- Completely customizable
- Collapse/expand individual quotes, all subquotes, or by quote level
AboutConfig - v0.4, about:config for TB.
For: Mozilla Thunderbird
Platform: All
The AboutConfig extension implements for Mozilla Thunderbird what about:config is for
Mozilla Firefox and Suite. You can use it to change all preferences. Make sure you know
what you are doing! If you don't know about:config you probably don't want to use
AboutConfig. Updated for Thunderbird 1.0.
Notable Highlights:
Same interface as Firefox's about config.
Lean and mean preferences parsing.
Picks up localization from Thunderbird.
Read more about each of these projects in the full report at
In our last issue, we asked if you would like to receive new releases, security alerts
and new marketing campaigns announcements. Here are the results:
   Sure thing, make they come	   47%
   Yes, but limit them to no     44%
   more than once a week
   No way                         9%
This issue poll: Now that Firefox 1.0 is out what should be the next step?
   Focus on spreading the word and grab more market share
   Improve Live Bookmarks/RSS support
   Improve tab browsing
   Improve current theme
   Get under the hood and make it as slim and fast as possible
   Improve it. Period.
   I'm in net nirvana. Don't touch it.
Make your vote count at
Get a copy of the Firefox ad in the New York Times. 21 x 26 inch posters now available
at the Mozilla Store for only $6.95.
Help the victims of the tsunami in Asia. Act now!
Try, an open source office suite available at
Then, check the newsletter available at Open source just gets better!
Your ad can be here! Visit for more details on
how to reach our 8000+ worldwide subscribers!
Mozilla Links(TM) is a monthly electronic newsletter published by the Mozilla Newsletter
Visit to subscribe, unsubscribe and set other subscription
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Addresses will not be used for any purpose other than operation and administration of
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Mozilla Links is currently translated into Traditional Chinese, Czech, German, Italian,
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Copyright 2005 by the Mozilla Links Contributors. The Mozilla Links Newsletter is
released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license,
available at

Mozilla Links Newsletter – 24 – November 3, 2004

mozilla links
Issue # 24 – November 3, 2004

In this issue:

* Better Mozilla
o Review: Mozilla Archive Format
o Review: Firefox Ultrabar
o Tip: Clean Your Fingerprints
o Power Tip: Extend Your Extensions
* Community: Pat McDonald On Ultrabar for Firefox
* Month in Review
o Calendar and Sunbird Help Project Launched
o Nvu 0.5 Released
o In The Field
o To Serve Localized Versions of Firefox
o Less Critical Vulnerabilities in Mozilla, Firefox,
Thunderbird and Camino
o Mozilla International Sites
o Last Minute: Toolbar Now For Firefox
* Projects
* Contact Info
Continue reading Mozilla Links Newsletter – 24 – November 3, 2004

Mozilla Links Newsletter – 23 – October 11, 2004

mozilla links

Issue # 23 – October 11, 2004


In this issue:



In our last issue, we asked if you have participated in any of the marketing initiatives, these are the results:

  • 71.43% None, I told you I am selfish and evil
  • 23.81% Yes, some of them
  • 4.76% Yes, all of them

This issue poll: Are you using Live Bookmarks?

Yes, they rock! Yes, but hope they get better No, I’ll wait for Firefox 1.0 No, I don’t like RSS No, I prefer Thunderbird No, I prefer some other RSS aggregator What are Live Bookmarks?

Note: If your vote is not recorded please go here.


@ Mozilla Store
Firefox stickers

Firefox 1.0 PR (pre-release version) is here. It sports some previously announced new features like Live Bookmarks, the information bar (borrowed from Internet Explorer SP2), the Find Bar, which provides a better non-intrusive interface for searching within a web page, whitelists to mark trusted sites you want to allow to install extensions and minor tweaks to the default Winstripe theme. Among other enhancements, it includes four more default search engines: Amazon,, eBay, Yahoo! join to Google in the search bar. A new Open Location menu item in the File menu that just makes the Location bar accessible via the menu. Work Offline is back in Firefox through the File menu. A new Updates toolbar button for checking the availability of new versions of Firefox. Pressing Esc now stops image animations and link modifiers now work in many places in the browser UI. For example, Ctrl + clicking the Home button opens your home page in a new tab.

Another addition is the Master Password that will protect all your saved passwords for web forms. Firefox will ask for it the first time in a session (when you startup Firefox) you access a saved web form. Enter your master password and it will auto-fill log-in pages and dialogs as usual. To set a master password, in the Tools menu, select Options. Open the Privacy page, expand Saved Passwords and press the Change Master Password… button. You will have to type a password twice for confirmation and you are done.

Also, the location bar is now present in any window regardless of what a web page asks for to prevent site spoofing (websites mimicking popular ones like eBay, Amazon or PayPal to obtain personal information of the victim).

At our web site we now have the last 10 Mozilla vulnerabilities so you can keep up to date in an easy way. Thanks to Secunia, and specially Jakob Balle for setting up the feed.

Thanks for reading and please let us know your comments and suggestions.

Percy Cabello – Mozilla Links

Better Mozilla

Review: deskCut 0.4.1
Developed by Evan Eveland

If you miss Internet Explorer’s feature that let you right click in a web page and add a shortcut to it to your desktop, miss no more.

deskCut is a small extensions that adds a Create Shortcut item to the context menu that that will just do that in Mozilla Firefox.

In Linux, deskCut may fail to identify your desktop location, so the author added an option for manually setting the special folder your system identifies as your desktop. Just go to the Extension Manager ( Options menu, Extensions), select deskCut and click on the Options button. You can also ask not to be notified on the shortcut creation with a checkbox in the same window.

Review: Menu Editor 1.0
Developed by Devon Jensen and Nickolay Ponomarev

Tired of seeing too many options in the context menu that you never use? Edit it!

Menu Editor allows you to hide any menu item you may not want to see in the context menu. Once installed, go to the Menu Editor options window (Option menu, Extensions, select Menu Editor and click on Options). To include/exclude a menu item click, select it from the list, and press the Hide/Show accordingly. You can also rearrange the items with the Move Up/Move Down buttons. If you have installed other extensions since installing Menu Editor, that may have added items to the context menu, press Find New to have these new items added to the list. To restore your context menu to its original configuration, press the Reset button.

Coming versions will add drag-and-drop capabilities and the ability to edit additional menus.

Tip: How to Create a Live Bookmark
Contributed by Percy Cabello
Firefox 1.0 PR brings Live Bookmarks, a new feature for discovering, bookmarking and displaying web feeds in either RSS or Atom formats. But for this, the web page offering the feed must have declared it properly in order to Firefox recognize it and present the RSS icon in the status bar.

So, what about the other feeds available all over the web but not properly declared? If you get to a web page and you notice an RSS icon or XML icon, it’s most likely pointing to an RSS or Atom feed. To add it as a Live Bookmark:

  • Right click on it and select Copy Link Location.
  • Select Manage Bookmarks… from the Bookmarks menu.
  • From the File menu, select New Live Bookmark….
  • Enter a name for the feed, and in Feed locaction paste the link location you copy in the first step. Add a comment if you want and you are done.

You have manually created a live bookmark, and like any other, it will expand in the Bookmarks menu and sidebar with the contents of the feed.

Another way is downloading and installing LiveBookmarkThis, a new extension that greatly eases the creation of live bookmarks. Once installed, forget the steps above and just right click on the RSS or XML icons and select Add Live Bookmark to create it.

PowerTip: Tweak Mozilla Accessibility
Contributed by Preferential Project

Firefox and Mozilla Application Suite offer several preferences that may be helpful specially for people with disabilities. To edit any of these, type “about:config” in the Location Bar and doubleclick on the desired preference to edit it. Thanks to the Preferential Project Home for the documentation on these preferences.

Preference Description and values
accessibility.accesskeycausesactivation Pressing access key follows link, instead of just highlighting it?
accessibility.browsewithcaret Browse web pages using caret (cursor)?
accessibility.tabfocus Determines which web page elements can gain focus when TAB key is pressed:

  • 1 : Text field form controls only
  • 2 : All form controls except text fields
  • 3 : All form controls
  • 4 : Hyperlinks and hyperlinked images
  • 7 : All form controls and hyperlinks
accessibility.typeaheadfind Enables type-ahead find
accessibility.typeaheadfind.autostart Start type-ahead find without having to press / (find text) or ‘ (find links) first?
accessibility.typeaheadfind.enablesound Enable error sound for type-ahead find? (Currently off by default for Linux/Unix, on by default for other platforms)
accessibility.typeaheadfind.enabletimeout Enable error sound for type-ahead find? (Currently off by default for Linux/Unix, on by default for other platforms)
accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly Only allow type-ahead find for links?
accessibility.typeaheadfind.soundURL Specify filename (.wav) for the error sound, or use “default” for default sound or “beep” for system beep
accessibility.typeaheadfind.startlinksonly Only match on the start of links?
accessibility.typeaheadfind.timeout Time (in ms) before type-ahead find automatically deactivates
accessibility.usebrailledisplay Enter command-line for the braille display program to use with Mozilla (blank for none)
accessibility.usetexttospeech Enter command-line for the text-to-speech program to use with Mozilla (blank for none)
accessibility.warn_on_browsewithcaret Warn user before turning on caret browsing?

Community: Aaron Leventhal on Mozilla Accessibility

How does a visually impaired person or an amputee efficiently browse the web? How does someone with a cognitive disability handle a complex task such as email? For most users of great products like Firefox, Thunderbird or the Mozilla Suite, these are questions they’ll never need to ask. But these are precisely the kind of questions asked within the Mozilla Accessibility project every day.

As defined by United Nations’ enable Project: “Accessibility means providing flexibility to accommodate each user�s needs and preferences. In an Internet context, accessibility is making computer technology and Internet resources useful to more people than would otherwise be the case.” In short, let’s just everybody access and use the Internet.

Aaron Leventhal, leader of Mozilla Accessibility provides us an insight of what Mozilla has to offer to people with disabilities and where Mozilla as a project is heading. Following is an excerpt of the interview. You can get the full article at Mozilla Links’ website.

ML: What’s your background? How did you get involved in accessibility?

AL: Back in 1989, while I was an undergrad at the University of Madison – Wisconsin, I became dissatisfied with the Computer Science approach. I was more interested in finding interesting new problems to solve with computers -especially ideas that help society. I was idealistic, and I wasn’t interested in a career as a code jockey for products that I didn’t care about. That’s when I saw this sign on an old house on campus which read Computers To Help People . I wandered in and found a deaf-blind man named John, sitting at his computer, ready to converse with me. How did he do that? Well, he had two computers side by side. As I typed on one, the text showed up on his Braille display. He read quickly, occasionally pressing a button to get the next 40 characters of text. As I listened carefully he answered my questions about the fascinating world of accessibility. I was amazed that technology had changed this one person’s life so dramatically, and wondered how many more lives it could change so powerfully. Without technology, John would be completely dependent on other people to translate everything for him. With it, he could have privacy, make money as a software engineer, run a nonprofit and retain employees. Later I found that John was a very good C++ engineer -he wrote an engine that I later needed for turning advanced mathematics into Braille and vice-versa, which is a difficult challenge.

As fate would have it, I was soon offered a job on the other side of Madison at an unconventional business called Raised Dot Computing. Everyone was extremely excited about providing Braille software that could change the world. Although we were not paid well by software engineering standards, it didn’t matter. For us it was an issue that blind people have an equal right to the same information as everyone else. It was a great opportunity for me. Because the company was so small, I got involved in almost everything… sales, marketing, documentation, support, planning, public appearances, negotiation and more. It was also great to learn from the company founders about the technology and culture of the accessibility field. The customer base was really enthusiastic about our product, MegaDots, for which I wrote most of the code. If you think Braille is just about 6 dots, think again. There are a lot of difficult computational problems to solve in the area of Braille publishing.

Basically, I think I got into accessibility for the same reason a lot of people are attracted to open source — I was young, idealistic and full of energy.

ML: What projects are you involved with and what’s your role?

AL: First of all, I evangelize accessibility and help educate anyone interested. For example, I maintain the website which I get positive feedback about. I provide a lot guidelines and information to other engineers (like the Accessible XUL Authoring Guidelines which all XUL authors should read). My job is a challenge is that accessibility is not taught in school and people don’t see users with disabilities active in Mozilla (chicken and egg problem), so most developers don’t bother to know about accessibility and write accessible UI’s. Also, there is a slight stigma to accessibility because people think of it as a limitation to what they can do, and that it’s typical government over-regulation. In reality, accessible web pages are not less attractive. You can still use color and images, but you can’t rely on color or forget to add ALT text. Accessible technology tends to be more usable for everyone. For example, Find As You Type wouldn’t have been implemented without the accessibility project. Remote controls designed with intuitively shaped buttons are easier for everyone to use, especially in the dark. Numerous important inventions have happened because of accessibility work such as, the typewriter (invented so that a blind countess could write private love letters), condenser microphone, tape recorder, email, OCR, speech synthesis, speech recognition, closed captioning, pager … and the list goes on and on.

>From the technical side, I’m involved in almost everything related to Mozilla accessibility, and am the module owner for accessibility API support, keyboard navigation and Find As You Type. I architect and code most things related to accessibility in Mozilla. However, since there is too much to do for one person, I’ve had to set priorities. In the past this meant making Mozilla’s core widgets keyboard accessible and accessible to assistive technologies. The other key piece was the Seamonkey browser designed by Netscape. So far I’ve had to ignore a lot of interesting things such as MathML, SVG, mail and plug-ins.

After 3 years of work, now that we’ve finally done most of the accessibility work on the Mozilla browser’s front end, it has become clear that we need to redo a lot of the same work for Firefox, which has new sets of problems. The good news is that not everything needs to be redone — mostly just stuff in Mozilla Browser.

ML: What’s the role of IBM in Mozilla accessibility?

AL: First, I should mention that IBM has a rich history of innovation in the field of accessibility. They hired their first employee with a disability in 1920, and have been doing so ever since. Technology-wise they have always been on the leading edge. They developed a talking typewriter as far back as 1960. Today IBM has a consistent commitment to maintain high accessibility standards across the company.

IBM is keen to see Mozilla be accessible on both Linux and Windows. In the short term we’re still concentrating on Windows and Seamonkey (code name for the Mozilla suite), but over the next year we’ll be busy working on Mozilla Firefox on both platforms. This means we need to work on front-end bugs, as well as accessibility API bugs that prevent Mozilla from properly working with assistive technologies like Window-Eyes, ZoomText and GOK (Gnome Onscreen Keyboard).

On Windows, we have to focus on the Mozilla codebase and hope that assistive technology vendors will do their part. However, it’s difficult for them to justify unless they can sell a lot more product because of Mozilla support. It’s not an extremely large market, and all of the vendors already support a browser — Internet Explorer. So, if someone is impatient for Mozilla to work better with their favorite screen reader or other assistive technology, please do contact the vendor. It’s fine to contact us as well. I keep the Access Mozilla pages updated with the latest compatibility information.

Linux is a different story. Assistive technology vendors do not want to go there because they can’t see supporting a business model in open source. Sun Microsystems has done a lot of important work on both the apps end and seeding various assistive technology projects, but there is still plenty to be done, especially with respect to Mozilla accessibility. Volunteers are definitely appreciated in all areas of open source accessibility. Perhaps some entrepreneur will even find a way to sell hardware with pre-configured accessible Linux desktops.

There are also a lot of interesting things happening at Apple. However, no one is likely to work on OS X accessibility in Mozilla. For one thing, Mozilla uses Cocoa when it would ideally use Carbon. Apple is currently working to make Safari the accessible browser of choice on OS X, yet there isn’t anyone really pushing for Mozilla accessibility on OS X. It would be fairly expensive to implement.

From reading the accessibility project website, it seems current focus is on the suite rather than the stand alone apps. Is this because of an IBM agenda?

AL: In the past everyone was using the Seamonkey suite. The popularity of Firefox is a relatively new phenomenon. IBM has seen that this is the industry trend and is planning to move its engineering efforts in that direction as well.

ML: What’s the outlook for accessibility in other projects/products like Thunderbird, Firefox, Camino, Sunbird and Chatzilla?

AL: Firefox is on the agenda, as I mentioned. Nothing else has any engineers working on it. File bugs on individual problems. Patches also welcome 🙂

ML: Has accessibility of the stand alone applications (Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird) been assessed? Could you provide some measure on how accessible they are now?

AL: There’s little doubt, when compared with IE 5+, that Firefox 0.9.3 and Mozilla 1.7 just don’t compare for almost any user with a major disability. However, this should change for some groups of users as testing and polishing get underway this year. We do have some major advantages that should eventually make a big difference: tabbed browsing, popup blocking, fine tuned JavaScript control, Find As You Type, caret browsing and better security all have big accessibility benefits. Some extensions could potentially have a large benefit too. For example, AdBlock could benefit users with cognitive, visual and physical impairments by removing unnecessary and confusing page content.

For now, we just need to fix our biggest flaws and get real support from assistive technologies before we can brag about our solutions. For example, the lack of keyboard accessibility to plug-ins is a major issue that needs to be addressed both in our code, as well as by vendors. This should be cleared up as the new plug-in architecture is implemented. Flash has another problem. The Mozilla Flash plug-in doesn’t support MSAA, even though the ActiveX version does.

ML: Any additional comments?

AL: First I just want to say thanks for the interview and the interest.

Sometimes people ask me how they can help. There are a lot of interesting areas to work on, and it only takes a little poking around. >From my view, one of the best ways is to get involved in open source accessibility projects outside of Mozilla, especially for Linux desktops. For example, there’s an experimental screen reader project being written for the Linux desktop in Python, called Orca. It’s still a small project so it would still be fairly easy to get involved. KDE accessibility is also an interesting new area that needs a lot of support from volunteers.

Finally, if anyone wants to get specifically involved in Mozilla accessibility, you can check out and email me . There’s also an interesting project on called MozBraille, which could use some interested hackers.

Thanks to Aaron for his time for this interview and dedication to software accessibility matters. We also recommend this slideshow a brief but detailed overview of what accessibility is about.

Month In Review

Mitchell Baker Sessions

This month Mitchell Baker, president of the Mozilla Foundation, made several appearances on technology radio shows. First, on September 11, she participated in the Web Talk Radio Show with hosts Rob and Dana Greenlee. You can read a full transcript of the interview or listen it in MP3 or WMA audio formats.

Later, on September 24, she was interviewed by Jon Gordon, host of Future Tense, a technology show on Minnesota Public Radio. You can listen to interview in Real Audio format.

Steven Garrity Sessions, Too

Steven Garrity also had an active month and was required by several media outlets to speak about his contribution and the Firefox project in general. Here and watch him at:

Thunderbird 0.8 Released

On September 14, Thunderbird 0.8 was released. Last release includes some new features like Global Inbox, which allows to have all e-mail received to all your accounts merged in a single inbox, import from eudora, mozilla mail, outlook and outlook express; a built in RSS feed reader, blocks for remote images from unknown senders, a master password for all saved e-mail accounts passwords and several bug fixes. Donation Pledge, host provider for most of Mozilla related projects (including Mozilla Links) is calling for donations to support hosting fees and its current application for becoming a non-profit organization. has been a main actor since the inception of the Mozilla project as a supporter for Mozilla technologies and helping the community support the project through extensions, themes, documentation, localization and other sort of projects.You can send your donation via PayPal, Kagi or personal check to:

Mozdev Community Organization
35 South Portland Ave #3
Brooklyn, NY 11217

You Can Help to

Together with the launch of Firefox 1.0 PR, a new website devoted to community driven Firefox marketing was launched. Spread Firefox, is a website where all individuals supporting Firefox can register as affiliates and start directing potential switcher to Firefox website. Users also get a blog that can be voted by other users and visitors and may get featured in the front page. A “10 days, 1 million downloads” campaign was started on launch and was achieved after just four days. After 10 days, the set deadline, the mark was already doubled.

Another successful initiative is the GMail e-mail accounts giveaway. Led by Robin Monks, this project collects Google’s Beta GMail service invites from community member and give them away to other members who are collaborating to spread the word on Firefox in some way.

The initial pledge for 500 GMail account donations, again, was surpassed largely by more than 2000 donations. Join the party!

First Mozilla Bounty Hunters

On September 14, the Mozilla Foundation announced that the first Mozilla Security Bounties were awarded to Marcel Boesch, Gael Delalleau, Georgi Guninski, and Mats Palmgren who found and reported qualifying vulnerabilities. The fixes for all of these are already available in Firefox 1.0 PR.Check the Mozilla Foundation press release.

ChatZilla 0.9.65 Released

On September 16, the ChatZilla project announced the availability of ChatZilla 0.9.65 (Mozilla’s IRC client). It fixes 32 bugs and among other improvements it adds “away-status coloration in the user list, SSL support, new user commands, and a revitalized assortment of emoticons”, said Justin Turner. Also, DCC support has been improved, as well as Unicode characters (for international languages support) now work in nicknames, channel names, and IRC URLs. ChatZilla 0.9.65 will be included in Mozilla 1.8 application suite. It is also available as an extension (XPI)for both Firefox and Mozilla Application Suite. Yu can instal it from the official ChatZilla website.

Also, the ChatZilla Plugins Project was announced. It will maintain and distribute ChatZilla plugin scripts.

Firefox 0.10.1 Released

On October 1, an update for Firefox 1.0 PR was released. This fixes a security flaw that may cause the deletion of files in the download folder.

The reporter of this bug, Alex Vincent, provides an unusual insight on the process of discovering and fixing a security flaw in the Mozilla project.


Contributed by Brian King
The independent status reports include news and updates from Mozilla application and extension projects hosted on and elsewhere in the Mozilla community.

New extensions are popping up all the time, both on and in other places. The variety is enormous, with everything from developer tools to ftp clients to weather and time add-ons. There is almost something for everyone. However, if you have a great idea that has not been implemented yet, there are plenty of resources to get you on your way.

A good place to start is Jed Brown’s Converting Firefox 0.8 Extensions to the new 0.9/0.10 API. Here you will find a breakdown of all files needed to package up your extension, from the install.rdf packaged with the XPI, to the update.rdf file that lives on the server for the Extension Manager to check for a later version of your extension. It is also worth reading through the Application Extensions pages for Firefox at There is vital information there on extension versioning, update and compatibility. These documents take away the mystery from Mozilla extension writing. And don’t forget to head over to Mozilla Update to grab the latest and greatest for your daily needs!

cuneAform 0.3

The Community Built Editor that Anyone Can Use.
For: Mozilla, Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
cuneAform now has a Firefox 0.9+ compliant installer. We are also a community based project now and we are looking for developers and contributers.
Notable Highlights:

  • New Website Design
  • New Mailing List
  • New Community Forum
  • Now works with the Extension Manager

Gnusto 0.7

An interpreter for Z-machine games.
For: Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux, MacOS X
v0.7.0 is the first Gnusto point release in a while, so lots of new content has gone in.
Notable Highlights:

  • Versions 3 and 4 of the Z-machine spec are supported
  • Games can be saved and loaded
  • Allows games to be loaded in one click from websites in Firefox
  • Lots of little bugfixes

MozManual v1.00+

The Mozilla Manual – Introduction to Mozilla.
For: Mozilla
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
Web version in French is now available. This is a very well done version using CSS. The revised web version (English) under development.

PurgeControl v0.2b

Protect important emails from being accidentally deleted.
For: Thunderbird
Platform: Windows, Linux, MacOS X
PurgeControl is an extension for TB which allows to control Shift-Delete shortcut behaviour. A minor bug is fixed and version v0.2b can now be downloaded.


Localization for Camino: Gecko-based browser for Mac OS X
For: Camino
Platform: MacOSX

We delivered Camino 0.8.1 multilanguage, the first release made with a tentative QA routine. We are also trying to get more l10n teams in: we have Portuguese and Polish in the works. Also, Spanish/Castellano, which was missing from the 0.8.1 release, has recovered and is now distributed as standalone installer. Notable Highlights

  • Better QA for translations
  • New languages coming

Mozilla Archive Format 0.4.2

For: Mozilla, Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux
Now mostly component service based. MHT Handling 99.99% standards compatible and more locales are included by default.
Notable Highlights

  • Updated to work in FF PR1.
  • Added MAF protocol
  • Default save extension is now *.maff to avoid MS Access conflicts.
  • Added Save in Archive context menu entry.
  • Fixed UTF String conversion bug affecting non-english character sets.

OutSidebar v0.8

Expands all sidebars to the left of browser to avoid content area resize.
For: Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux
The initial release of OutSidebar is out!
Notable Highlights

  • OutSidebar lets you use your Firefox sidebars without having to resize your content area every time.
  • Supports Firefox 0.9 – 1.0RC
  • Works under Windows and Linux. (No MacOS X support yet.)

HONcode Status v1.4, HONlookup v1.3

A collection of Mozilla / Netscape plugins for HON
For: Mozilla Firefox
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
Updated the extensions to make them compatible with Firefox 1.0PR.

Mail Redirect 0.1.7

Allows to redirect [a.k.a. bounce] mail messages to others.
For: Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail
Platform: All
MailRedirect tries to squash bug 12916. Under Mozilla Mail, MailRedirect looks as nice as under Thunderbird now. There are added toolbar buttons (for classic and modern theme), and improved CSS.
Other Highlights:

  • Added uninstaller for Mozilla
  • Drafts and Local Folder mails can be redirected
  • Quoted-printable encoding for recipients addresses
  • Upcoming Features include redirecting in CC and BCC way, and add redirecting to mail filter actions.

Read more about each of these projects in the full report.
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Copyright �2004 by the Mozilla Links Contributors. Mozilla Links(TM) is a monthly electronic newsletter published by the Mozilla Newsletter project under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 license. It is translated into Traditional Chinese, Czech, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Mozilla Links Newsletter – 22 – September 6, 2004

Mozilla Links – English Edition
Issue # 22 – September 6, 2004

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