Why ads in Firefox are no big deal

Today in Open Source: It's fine for Mozilla to include ads in Firefox. Plus: Linux dominates the cloud, and fake Debian developers try for free games

Ads in Firefox

ExtremeTech is reporting that Mozilla plans to include ads in its Firefox browser.

As it stands, new browser tabs display nine tiles populated solely by frequently visited webpages. If you’re a new Firefox user, you’re presented with little more than a pile of blank tiles — useless. To offer a better user experience, Mozilla announced the new Directory Tiles program. It automatically populates these tiles with content from across the web, and dynamically changes the content based on how you browse.

However, some of these tiles will indeed be sponsored, and that’s making some people very uncomfortable.

More at ExtremeTech
Advertising in Firefox Browser
Image credit: ExtremeTech

This story has been all over the web and has generated a lot of negative feedback from readers in comments. I think it's mostly much ado about nothing though, and I doubt it will have much effect on Firefox's usage numbers.

The folks who hate advertising will simply use Adblock Plus or some other browser extension to block or remove these ads. And the folks who don't mind advertising will simply see them in Firefox when opening the browser.

I can understand Mozilla's position here. They need revenue, and this seems like a good way to get it. Otherwise they are dependent mostly on Google, and that is not a good thing over the long haul for a project like Firefox.

I think this tempest in a teapot will die down soon enough once users get used to the idea of advertising in Firefox. Some folks might even be happy that their favorite browser is beginning to diversify its revenue stream so it can exist without Google's largesse.

Linux owns the cloud

LinuxInsider takes a look at the dominance of Linux in the cloud.

Linux on the desktop may have missed its adoption time line, but Linux in the cloud is a win-win proposition for the post-PC movement.

Three factors are pushing Linux to prominence in the cloud: no licensing issues on a per unit or per core basis; easy hardening of Linux to make very secure systems; the fact that Linux is a platform of choice for virtual appliances, he told LinuxInsider. "Linux allows you to cloud-scale your public cloud just the way you want."

More at LinuxInsider
Linux Dominates Cloud Computing
Image credit: LinuxInsider

It's great to see Linux dominating the cloud so handily. I don't see Microsoft as a threat to that dominance any time soon. Microsoft is too busy trying to figure out where they went wrong with Windows 8, and trying to figure out how to become relevant in mobile devices.

I do take issue with the statement about the Linux desktop. Sure, it's not as prevalent as Linux is in the cloud but it's there for anyone who wants to use it. And we've seen more and more people checking out Linux as a desktop alternative in the wake of the Windows 8 disaster from Microsoft.

Sneaky gamers pose as Debian developers

Softpedia is reporting that Valve has had to deal with people posing as Debian developers to get free games.

I’m also not listing a story which I’ve only heard second ha… actually no, this one is too good not to share. Someone went onto db.debian.org, did a search for every DD in France, and emailed every Jabber JID (since they look like email addresses) asking them to forward unwanted keys.

All in all, the number of evildoers is quite low, relative to the number of legitimate claims – 12 baddies to 279 legitimate keys issued. But still, this is why the whole key issuing thing has been taking me so long – and why I have the convoluted signature-based validation system in place.

More at ApeboxHat Tip: Softpedia
Fake Debian Developers Try To Get Free Steam Games

I'd like to say I'm surprised that this is happening, but I'm not. What's a little naughtiness when it comes to getting free games from Valve? The possible benefits no doubt vastly outweigh any pangs of conscience on the part of these fake Debian developers.

I sure wouldn't want the job of keeping track of all of it though, it sounds like a real pain in the you-know-what. Still, it's great that Valve is going out of its way to support Debian developers with free games. It's just a shame that a few bad apples have to cause headaches for the people trying to implement it.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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