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  1. The next stable Firefox version, Firefox 67, will display a profile icon in the main toolbar to make Firefox Account features more accessible and discoverable in the web browser. Firefox can be used without an account and that won't change; Firefox Accounts are needed to enable sync functionality in the browser and that is without doubt the main functionality right now. Mozilla started to use Firefox Accounts for other web services such as Firefox Monitor, Firefox Send, or Lockbox recently, and there is an option to use a "send tabs" feature to send open tabs to another device. Mozilla ran a Shield Study recently to find out how it could improve the discoverability of the Firefox Account feature. The Shield study ran for 28 days; Firefox displayed an account icon in the main toolbar during the study and this resulted in an 8% increase in sign-ins to Firefox Accounts. Users who participated in the study were asked to fill out a survey. 45% of users liked the profile icon (avatar), another 45% were indifferent to it, and 10% disliked it. Mozilla decided to go ahead and implement a profile icon natively in Firefox to improve Firefox Account discoverability and use. Firefox 67: Profile Icon The profile icon is already visible in Firefox and Nightly versions at the time of writing. It will launch with Firefox 67 in the coming month in the Stable channel. Firefox 67 is scheduled for a May 14, 2019 release. The icon is displayed by default, even to users who are not signed in to a Firefox Account at the time. A click on the icon displays several options that depend on your sign-in status. If you are signed in, you get the following options: Send Tab to another device. Show Synced Tabs. View Synced Tabs Sidebar. Connect Another device. Manage Account. Sync Settings. Sync Now. Note that Firefox does not display options to sign-out of the account using the menu. You need to click on "Sync Settings" to get an option to sign-out of the account. The options are self-explanatory for the most part. Selecting "connect another device" displays an option to send "Firefox" to a mobile device to add it to the main Firefox Account. Managing the Profile Icon in Firefox The profile icon is delivered in a non-fixed status. Means: Firefox users may move it or remove it from the browser's toolbar just like many of the other icons; this is a fundamental difference to Chrome's profile icon which users cannot remove or move. Just right-click on the icon and select "Remove from Toolbar" to remove the icon and hide it. Select "customize" instead if you want to move it to another location. Use drag and drop operations to move it to another place in the user interface after the customize selection. Closing Words Signing in to a Firefox Account is useful if you use multiple versions of Firefox on the same device or multiple devices, and want to sync data between them. It can also be useful as a backup of data that is stored in encrypted form in the cloud. Mozilla does the right thing by allowing users to remove it or move it; those who don't use Firefox Account functionality can remove it once and be done with it. Source: Firefox 67 will display a profile icon in the main toolbar by default (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  2. Former Mozilla exec: Google has sabotaged Firefox for years Former and current Mozilla engineers are reaching their boiling points. A former high-ranking Mozilla executive has accused Google of intentionally and systematically sabotaging Firefox over the past decade in order to boost Chrome's adoption. He is not the first Firefox team member to come forward and make such accusations in the past eight months; however, his allegations span far beyond current events and accuse Google of carrying out a coordinated plan that involved introducing small bugs on its sites that would only manifest for Firefox users. OOPS AFTER OOPS Johnathan Nightingale, a former General Manager and Vice President of the Firefox group at Mozilla, described these issues as "oopses." "When I started at Mozilla in 2007 there was no Google Chrome, and most folks we spoke with inside [Google] were Firefox fans," Nightingale recollected in a Twitter thread on Saturday. "When Chrome launched things got complicated, but not in the way you might expect. They had a competing product now, but they didn't cut ties, break our search deal - nothing like that. In fact, the story we kept hearing was, 'We're on the same side. We want the same things'," the former Mozilla exec said. "I think our friends inside Google genuinely believed that. At the individual level, their engineers cared about most of the same things we did. Their product and design folks made many decisions very similarly, and we learned from watching each other. "But Google as a whole is very different than individual googlers," Nightingale said. "Google Chrome ads started appearing next to Firefox search terms. Gmail & [Google] Docs started to experience selective performance issues and bugs on Firefox. Demo sites would falsely block Firefox as 'incompatible'," he said. "All of this is stuff you're allowed to do to compete, of course. But we were still a search partner, so we'd say 'hey what gives?' And every time, they'd say, 'oops. That was accidental. We'll fix it in the next push in 2 weeks.' "Over and over. Oops. Another accident. We'll fix it soon. We want the same things. We're on the same team. There were dozens of oopses. Hundreds maybe?" "I'm all for 'don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence' but I don't believe Google is that incompetent. I think they were running out the clock. We lost users during every oops. And we spent effort and frustration every clock tick on that instead of improving our product. We got outfoxed for a while and by the time we started calling it what it was, a lot of damage had been done," Nightingale said. NOT THE FIRST ACCUSATIONS And Nightingale is not the first Firefox team member to come forward and make such accusations. In July 2018, Mozilla Program Manager Chris Peterson accused Google of intentionally slowing down YouTube performance on Firefox. He revealed that both Firefox and Edge were superior when loading YouTube content when compared to Chrome, and in order to counteract this performance issue, Google switched to using a JavaScript library for YouTube that they knew wasn't supported by Firefox. Source
  3. How to Enable the Dark Mode in Mozilla Firefox Settings UI Dark modes are the new big thing in terms of software user interface, and pretty much every developer out there considers adding one to their apps. Large companies like Google and Microsoft made a huge progress in this regard, so Windows 10, for example, comes with its very own dark mode to make the OS overall easier on the eye during the night. Mozilla is one of the companies that are still working on refining the dark theme in their software, and Firefoxis set to improve even more in the upcoming updates. The most recent changes that the company made to the Nightly build shows that Mozilla is currently in the process of implementing a dark visual style for the about: pages, which, in essence, means that Firefox is set to get a dark mode in settings as well. As with everything that’s being developed by Mozilla, the feature is currently part of Firefox Nightly, as all improvements are being tested here before they are released to everyone as part of the stable browser. Firefox Nightly isn’t recommended as a daily driver, but instead can help you figure out where Firefox is going and to help you try out certain new features in advance. If you want to try out the dark settings screen in Firefox, here’s what you need to know. First and foremost, it looks like this feature currently works on Windows 10 exclusively, albeit there’s no doubt that Mozilla would bring it to all supported desktop platforms sooner or later. But on Windows 10, the dark mode comes with a neat implementation. The browser can adapt to your OS visual settings, so when switching to a dark theme in Windows 10, Firefox can enable the same look in settings as well. However, this behavior requires the dark settings interface to be enabled. As mentioned, this option only exists in the Nightly build, so it you need to activate it manually, but in the stable version of Firefox more straightforward options could be offered too. To try out this new interface, you first have to update to the latest Firefox version. The version that I’m running for this tutorial is 68.0a1 (2019-04-14), so anything newer than this should be alright. Launch the browser and head over to the flags screen to configure additional advanced options. To do this, type: about:config Advance to the next step when asked if you understand the risks of changing the settings here and then search for a flag that is called: browser.in-content.dark-mode By default, this flag is set to false, you need to change it to true by clicking the Toggle button. A browser reboot is then required. If the dark mode is enabled on Windows 10, Firefox should then use a dark theme for the settings screen when reloading the browser. On the other hand, if you want to use the Firefox Settings screen without a dark mode in Windows 10, you can do so by adding a new flag called: ui.systemUsesDarkTheme To do this, copy the flag name, paste in the search box in Firefox about:config screen > Add > True. If everything works correctly, after a browser reboot, the dark theme in the settings UI should be enabled regardless of the visual mode that is running on Windows 10. At this point, there are no specifics as to when Mozilla plans to bring this improvement to all users in a stable version of Firefox. The update, however, first needs to make it from the Nightly build of Firefox to all the other channels before hitting the stable ring. Source
  4. Mozilla published a list of requirements that companies need to meet if they want to be included as Trusted Recursive Resolvers for Firefox's upcoming DNS-over-HTTPS feature. DNS-over-HTTPS aims to improve user privacy, security and the reliability of connections by sending and receiving DNS information using HTTPS. Mozilla ran a Shield study in 2018 to test the DNS-over-HTTPS implementation in Firefox Nightly versions. The organization selected Cloudflare as its partner for the study after Cloudflare agreed to Mozilla's requirements to not keep records or sell or transfer data to third-parties. Firefox users may configure DNS-over-HTTPS in the browser. Mozilla plans to make it the default in Firefox going forward; while that is beneficial overall, doing so comes with its own set of issues and concerns. Firefox will use the feature for DNS related activities and not the DNS configured on the computer. Means: local hosts files, resolvers, or custom DNS providers will be ignored. The selection of Cloudflare as the first partner was controversial. Mozilla plans to make DNS-over-HTTPS the default in the Firefox web browser. Firefox users may still disable the feature once Mozilla makes the switch from off to on though. The organization wants to select a number of companies for use as Trusted Recursive Resolvers in the Firefox web browser. To address concerns in regards to privacy, Mozilla created a list of policies that these organizations need to conform to. User data may only be retained for up to 24 hours and that needs to be done "for the purpose of operating the service". Aggregate data may be kept for longer. Personal information, IP addresses, user query patterns, or other data that may identify users may not be retained, sold, or transferred. Data gathered from acting as a resolver may not be combined with other data that "can be used to identify individual users". Rights to user data may not be sold, licensed, sublicensed or granted. Resolver must support DNS Query Name Minimisation (to improve privacy, the resolver does not send the full original QNAME to the upstream name server). The resolver must not "propagate unnecessary information about queries to authoritative name servers". Organizations need a "public privacy notice specifically for the resolver service". Organizations need to publish a transparency report "at least yearly". The company that operates the resolver should not block or filter domains unless required by law. Organizations need to maintain public documentation that lists all domains that are blocked and maintain a log that highlights when domains get added or removed. The resolver needs to provide an "accurate NXDOMAIN response" when a domain cannot be resolved and not alter the response, e.g. redirect a user to alternative content. Mozilla's system will be opt-out means that it is enabled by default for all Firefox users if Mozilla does not change that prior to integration in Firefox Stable. Source: Mozilla still on track to enable DNS-over-HTTPS by default in Firefox (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  5. However much you love your chosen web browser, you have probably enhanced its capabilities through the use of add-ons. Finding decent, reliable add-ons can be tricky, and this is why Mozilla is launching the Recommended Extensions program. This editor-curated program will surface the very best vetted extensions for Firefox, and it is due to roll out in stages later this summer. Mozilla says that any extensions it recommends through the program will be highlighted across its portfolio of websites and products, including addons.mozilla.org (AMO) and on Firefox's Get Add-Ons page. The company is already identifying extensions it likes the look of, and will soon be reaching out to developers. Changes should be seen on AMO around June. When an extension is chosen, it will be badged to make it easier to identify as a recommendation. Mozilla also says that AMO search results and filtering will be weighted higher toward Recommended extensions In a blog post, Mozilla's Scott DeVaney explains how extensions will be selected for inclusion in the program: Editorial staff will select the initial batch of extensions for the Recommended list. In time, we’ll provide ways for people to nominate extensions for inclusion. When evaluating extensions, curators are primarily concerned with the following: Is the extension really good at what it does? All Recommended extensions should not only do what they promise, but be very good at it. For instance, there are many ad blockers out there, but not all ad blockers are equally effective. Does the extension offer an exceptional user experience? Recommended extensions should be delightful to use. Curators look for content that’s intuitive to manage and well-designed. Common areas of concern include the post-install experience (i.e. once the user installs the extension, is it clear how to use it?), settings management, user interface copy, etc. Is the extension relevant to a general audience? The tightly curated nature of Recommended extensions means we will be selective, and will only recommend extensions that are appealing to a general Firefox audience. Is the extension safe? We’re committed to helping protect users against third-party software that may—intentionally or otherwise—compromise user security. Before an extension receives Recommended status, it undergoes a security review by staff reviewers. (Once on the list, each new version of a Recommended extension must also pass a full review.) Participation in the program will require commitment from developers in the form of active development and a willingness to make improvements. More details will emerge in the coming months. Source
  6. After Chrome, Firefox will also support off-screen image lazy loading Built-in support for image lazy loading coming to Firefox. Google already testing feature in Chrome Image: Mozilla Mozilla engineers plan to add support for "lazy loading," a mechanism to defer the loading of images if they are not visible on the user's screen when a website is first loaded. Work on adding this feature in Firefox started last month. Google has already been testing a lazy loading mechanism in Chrome for over a year, since January 2018. HOW LAZY LOADING WORKS Lazy loading has been a part of the web development scene for more than a decade. It was initially created as a concept for JavaScript libraries. Developers figured out that by delaying the loading of non-visible images, they could significantly improve a website's page load time, a crucial search engine optimization (SEO) criteria, and, hence, obtain a better position in Google search results. The concept spread quickly, and by the early 2010s, there were hundreds of libraries and plugins that provided easy ways to implement a lazy loading mechanism on websites, regardless of underlying programming language or content management system (CMS). GOOGLE WANTED TO SUPPORT LAZY LOADING AT THE BROWSER LEVEL The first step to moving lazy loading from the website level to the browser level was taken in January 2018, when Google published a design document outlining how Chrome would support the lazy-loading of images and iframes that are outside a page's visible section. Chrome flags were later implemented, which are currently available in the Chrome stable version, and which users can enable and have websites load faster. With Google's backing, the feature also became attractive to other browsers, whose developers realized the benefits it could bring to improving page load times, if enabled. Over the past year, Safari engineers have, too, expressed interest in supporting lazy loading. With Firefox putting its backing behind the feature as well, this means that all major browser rendering engines will soon support lazy loading -- WebKit (Safari), Blink (all Chromium browsers), and Gecko (Firefox). We excluded EdgeHTML, as Microsoft Edge will soon move to a Chromium codebase. Source
  7. Firefox Now Blocks “Authentication Required” Prompts By Scam Websites After more than a decade, Firefox finally brings peace to the users annoyed with fake “authentication required” prompts. With Firefox 68, Mozilla decides to put an end on the troublesome login prompts by scam websites. Blocking Scam “Authentication Required” Prompts Reportedly Mozilla’s upcoming Firefox 68 will end up the annoying “authentication required” prompts barraged upon users by scam websites. Mozilla allegedly addressed this problem 12 years after its first report. As stated by Johann Hofmann, a Firefox engineer, in the bug report, Firefox 68 will block spammy login prompts by websites. “For compat reasons, we made the patch in bug 377496 to be a “safe” version of the auth dialog abuse protections, which is still somewhat annoying to users that encounter evil websites.” To fix the problem, Mozilla tightened the restrictions in two ways. First, it blocks the login attempts from the top-level frame, including the site’s main domain. Secondly, it limits the permitted number of cancellations to 2 only. Login Prompt Annoyed Users For Quite Long According to a previous bug report, scam websites tend to trouble users by repeated login prompts. This makes the users lose control of the browser, making them unable to switch tabs or close the window. “A page with many embedded images that require authentication causes the ‘Authentication Required’ dialogue to be shown over and over again.” Consequently, this seemed to cause a denial of service state on the target device. “This gives the possibility of it being used as a DOS style attack, where a page loads random ‘authentication required’ in a JavaScript loop, or simply presenting a page with thousands of embedded images.” This problem not only targeted Firefox users but also affected Chrome users. However, Firefox users faced more of such incidents, particularly from the tech support scam websites. Mozilla attempted to fix the bug earlier. But it didn’t successfully fix the problem as it applied block at the sub-resource level. However, Firefox 68 will eventually end up this problem for good as Mozilla has released the patch with the current Nightly release, whereas it will arrive in the stable version coming in July 2019. Recently, Google also patched the old evil cursor bug in Chrome browser – many tech support scammers actively exploited this bug to target Chrome users. Source
  8. Mozilla revealed in mid-2018 that it had plans to improve the handling of different interface languages in the Firefox web browser. Firefox supported two options back then to change the language of the browser's interface: download and install language packs, or re-install Firefox using the installer of the desired language. Both options were inferior to how Google Chrome handled language changes. Chrome users can change the interface language directly in the browser without the need to install a language pack or re-install the entire browser. The release of Firefox 65 improves how Firefox users may change the browser's interface language. Mozilla integrated language switching options directly to the Firefox settings. Firefox and interface languages Firefox users may still download a different language version of the web browser and install it over the current installation to change the language, but they don't have to if they run Firefox Beta or Stable. Firefox Nightly is excluded because strings change frequently in the browser. Load about:preferences in the browser's address bar. Scroll down to the Language and Appearance section. The current interface language is displayed under language. Click on "Set Alternatives" to add additional languages to Firefox. Select "Select a language to add" and then "Search for more languages". Firefox retrieves the list of supported languages from Mozilla. Click on "select a language to add" and pick one of the available interface languages to add it as a language in Firefox. Tip: tap on the first letter of the language's name to jump to the letter in the listing. Select Add to add the language. Firefox downloads the language pack from Mozilla and adds it to the browser. If a dictionary is available, it is also downloaded. Repeat the process for other languages that you may want to add. The order of languages determines the priority in which they will be used. You may use the move up or down buttons to change the order. Click on the ok button once you are done. Firefox displays a restart notification afterward if you changed the main display language. The restart notification is displayed in the old and new interface language. Select "apply and restart" to restart Firefox so that the new interface language is used. The preference intl.locale.requested determines the priority of languages in Firefox. The preference is only available if two more more languages are installed in the browser. Mozilla hopes to improve the process further in future versions of the Firefox web browser. One possibility that is discussed currently is to complete the migration to Fluent; this would enable restartless language switching and support for non-English fallback locales. Firefox falls back to English automatically if a string is missing from a language file. Closing Words The new language changing options in Firefox 65 improve the process significantly. Everything that is needed is included in Firefox or downloaded automatically from that version of the browser on. While the total number of Firefox installations that have their interface language changed is unclear, it does not appear that uncommon of an operation. Source: How to change the Firefox interface language (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  9. Twelve years later: Firefox to add full protection against 'login prompt' spam Firefox to limit the number of "Authentication Required" popups to two per page. Image: jakebe2 Twelve years after it was first notified of the issue, Mozilla has finally shipped a fix this week that will prevent abusive websites --usually tech support scam sites-- from flooding users with non-stop "authentication required" login popups and prevent users from leaving or closing their browsers. The fix has been shipped in Firefox v68, the current Nightly release, and will hit the browser's stable branch sometimes in early July. According to Firefox engineer Johann Hofmann, starting with Firefox 68, web pages won't be allowed to show more than two login prompts. Starting with the third request, Firefox will intervene to suppress the authentication popup. Mozilla previously shipped a fix for this issue, but it was incomplete, as it blocked authentication prompts that originated from subresources, such as iframes. This latest patch completes the fix by blocking all types of authentication required prompts --including those generated by the site's main domain. FIREFOX USERS TARGETED MANY TIMES WITH LOGIN PROMPT SPAM Authentication prompt spam, also called login prompt spam, has been a problem for internet users for the last two decades. Tech support scam sites have used this trick to trigger infinite loops of "Authentication Required" prompts that block users on sites and prevents them from closing tabs or the browser. The issue has been a problem for Chrome users, but even more so for Firefox, with numerous reports being recorded of tech support scam campaigns using this trick to target Firefox users over the past few years [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Browser makers are in a constant fight to fix bugs and loopholes exploited by tech support scammer groups. Mozilla's upcoming Firefox fix helps, but it won't stop tech support scammers, who will just find another trick to exploit. For example, in the past, scammers used tricks like triggering thousands of downloads to freeze users' browsers, they'd create JavaScript infinite loops to keep the CPU at 100 percent and block the browser, or they'd use custom cursors to offset the mouse click area and prevent users from closing tabs. Source
  10. Google's most secure login system now works on Firefox and Edge, too Better hardware security key support means our post-password future is one step closer to reality. Yubico's hardware security keys let you log on without a password on sites, apps and devices that support the FIDO2 authentication technology. Stephen Shankland/CNET Google has updated its support for hardware security keys so you no longer need to rely on its Chrome browser to log into websites like Gmail, YouTube and G Suite. Hardware security keys, small devices that connect to devices wirelessly or with USB, offer better logon security than passwords alone or passwords combined with short-lived numeric codes sent to your phone. But until now, Google's support was limited to an earlier standard called U2F that came with a lot of confines. But now Google updated its login with the newer, broader standard of FIDO2 and its incarnation for websites, WebAuthn. The change means people using Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's Edge will be able to log into Google websites with hardware security keys -- though for now they'll still need Chrome to enroll in the system. And later, embracing FIDO2 opens the door for Google to move beyond passwords entirely, since FIDO2 enables authentication with a combination of security key and biometric data like faces or fingerprints. That would be a victory for those who want to move beyond today's plague of problems with passwords. U2F, short for Universal Second Factor, is limited to uses that combine the hardware key with a password. Browsers like Firefox, Edge and Apple Safari don't support it. FIDO2, which like U2F was developed by a consortium called the Fast Identity Online Alliance, encompasses U2F and other options, including just the hardware security key alone. Christiaan Brand, product manager for identity and security, announced Google's move to WebAuthn in a tweet Thursday. On Friday, Mark Risher, director of identity platform and account security, added: "FIDO2 rolling now!" Google didn't immediately comment on when people would be able to use other browsers to enable hardware security key login or whether Google plans to move to passwordless authentication. Google in February embraced FIDO2 for its Androidsoftware, a move that lets people use fingerprints to log into apps. Microsoft has embraced passwordless logon with Windows and online services like Outlook, Skype and Xbox Live. Source
  11. Sleep Mode is a new browser extension for the Firefox web browser that hibernates all but the active tab on activation. Doing so frees up memory, saves battery, and may speed up operations. Web browser users who open multiple tabs during browsing sessions may notice that memory use increases when doing so. Depending on the available resources, especially memory and battery, thresholds may be reached that may slow down operations. Third-party tools and browser extensions may help tame memory usage of browsers automatically, semi-automatically or manually. Firefox lost a good chunk of extensions designed to improve memory usage as they relied on the old extensions system. Firefox 67 may unload tabs automatically in low memory situations similarly to how Google Chrome does it since 2015. Sleep Mode Sleep Mode is a simple extension that is highly beneficial in some cases. The extension adds an icon to the main Firefox toolbar during installation that you may interact with. The icon acts as a toggle. A click starts sleep mode functionality. Any tab, with the exception of the active tab and tabs that have not loaded fully or not at all, are put into Sleep Mode to free up memory and improve power usage and performance of the system. Sleep Mode unloads the site and adds Sleep Mode to the beginning of the page title; the latter may hide the entire page title which makes identification of the unloaded site difficult. A quick test with just a few open tabs reduced memory usage by over 200 Megabytes (from 600 to 400). Sleep Mode remains active and will put tabs with loaded content into an unloaded state automatically. Means: there is only one loaded site in Firefox when Sleep Mode is enabled. Note that the extension impacts pinned tabs and tabs with audio or video playback just like any other tab. You may use an extension like Tab Suspender instead if you don't want pinned tabs or tabs with audio playback impacted by the suspension. Another click on the Sleep Mode icon returns to normal mode. All unloaded sites are loaded again. You may need to switch to some tabs to complete the loading process. An option to limit the loading or prevent it from happening would be useful. Closing Words Sleep Mode is a useful browser extension for the Firefox web browser to reduce the browser's memory usage and power usage by limiting the number of active tabs in the browser to one. The unloading frees up memory, and if RAM usage is your main concern, it is certainly worth a try. I'd like to see options added to the extension to improve usability. Options to ignore pinned tabs or tabs with audio playback, and more control when the mode is disabled would make a good start. Source: Hibernate tabs in Firefox with Sleep Mode (gHacks - MArtin Brinkmann)
  12. Karlston

    Firefox gets a User Scripts API

    Mozilla is working on implementing a UserScripts WebExtensions API in the organization's Firefox web browser. Firefox, just like Google Chrome and many other web browsers, supports so-called user scripts. These scripts are executed on page load to add, remove, or change functionality on the page that gets loaded. User scripts exist for numerous purposes: from adding download options on video sites to changing how web page looks. Mozilla addresses several issues related to user scripts with the upcoming User Scripts API: Performance issues -- better isolation of scripts thanks to efficient methods. Reliability issues -- issues during page load and race conditions between the page loading and script injection. Security issues -- the use of sandboxes for individual user scripts reduces the impact that scripts have may have on each other. The new API runs each user script in its own sandbox to isolate them from one another; this is a different approach to how content scripts are handled from extensions like Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey, as they are executed in the same process. Support for providing user scripts with a set of functions, e.g. Greasemonkey GM_ functions, is supported as well Mozilla's initial plan was to introduce support in Firefox 63 but the introduction has been postponed. The new target is Firefox 68 Stable. The User Scripts WebExtensions API Mozilla's User Scripts API is already available in Firefox. It is enabled by default in Firefox Nightly (version 68), and disabled by default in Firefox Stable (version 66) and Firefox Beta (version 67), Firefox users may do the following to change the status of the API: Load about:config in the Firefox address bar. Confirm that you will be careful if the warning message is displayed. Search for extensions.webextensions.userScripts.enabled. Change the status of the preference to True to enable support or to False to disable it. Restart Firefox. Extensions such as Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey need to implement the new API before it can be used. Closing Words The User Scripts API is finally coming and it should address issues identified when using user scripts in Firefox. It remains to be seen if there are any downsides to the implementation; you can follow the Meta Bug on Mozilla's bug tracking website to stay in the loop. Source: Firefox gets a User Scripts API (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  13. Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge Hacked at Pwn2Own Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge were both hacked in the second day of the Pwn2Own hacking contest, and in the case of the Windows 10 browser, researchers came up with a super-complex and clever approach to escape a virtual machine and get inside the host. Amat Cama and Richard Zhu of Fluoroacetate were the first to attempt to break into Mozilla Firefoxusing a JIT Bug and an out-of-bounds write in the Windows kernel. This technique allowed to run code at system level, technically taking over the machine completely after pointing Firefox to a crafted website. The two were received a price of $50,000. Mozilla’s browser was also hacked by Niklas Baumstark, who escaped the sandbox with a mix of a JIT bug and a logic bug. The researcher eventually obtained the same rights as the logged-in user, which could obviously provide full control of the host in the case of an administrator account. Baumstark received $40,000 for his exploit.Microsoft Edge exploitsFluoroacetate also hacked Microsoft Edge with a more complex attack that earned them $130,000. “Starting from within a VMWareWorkstation client, they opened Microsoft Edge and browsed to their specially crafted web page,” Zero Day Initiative explains. “That’s all it took to go from a browser in a virtual machine client to executing code on the underlying hypervisor. They started with a type confusion bug in the Microsoft Edge browser, then used a race condition in the Windows kernel followed by an out-of-bounds write in VMware workstation.” Arthur Gerkis of Exodus Intelligence also managed to exploit Microsoft Edge with a double free bug in the renderer mixed with a logic bug to escape the sandbox. His successful attack against the Windows 10 browser brought him $50,000. The vulnerabilities that the researchers used to break into the two browsers have been reported to Mozilla and Microsoft and they should be patched in the coming updates. Source
  14. Mozilla is working on a new mobile web browser for Android called Firefox Fenix currently; that is the main reason why development for Firefox for Android slowed down in recent months. Fenix is based on Android Components and GeckoView, and in active development at the time of writing. While it is likely that Firefox Fenix will replace Firefox for Android eventually, nothing appears to have been set in stone yet. Note: The following information is based on mockups and development versions of Firefox Fenix. Functionality may change during development. Firefox Fenix's tabbed browsing functionality A core difference between Firefox Fenix and other mobile browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox for Android, is that Fenix changes tabbed-browsing significantly. All major mobile browsers supported tabbed-browsing. The functionality is more or less identical to how desktop browsers handle tabs. Users may open multiple tabs and open tabs are retained across browsing sessions. Sessions Fenix supports browser tabs just like any other browser but changes tab management across sessions significantly. Firefox Fenix stores open tabs in individual sessions; this happens automatically when the user exits the browser and does not reopen it shortly after exiting the application. Means: the browser starts without open tabs from the last browsing session when the user opens the mobile browser at a later point in time. Firefox Fenix users may save sessions manually at any time next to that. Sessions work differently from browsing sessions of desktop browsers. Fenix handles these sessions individually and gives users access to these tab sessions so that they may reopen sites they visited in the past. The browser's homepage lists the current session and recent sessions opened in the browser. Fenix users may access these at any time from there to reopen sites that were open previously. Fenix users may delete sessions, e.g. when they don't require access to them anymore. Sessions may also be archived for safekeeping. Mozilla plans to integrate session share functionality in Fenix next to that; this open may be used to send information about the current session using Android's Share functionality or linked devices or Firefox Sync. Closing Words Mozilla's idea to change tab management in Firefox Fenix is certainly an interesting one. One benefit that comes out of it is that the browser won't use as much RAM as other browsers on mobile devices since tabs are only kept open during sessions but not across sessions. Will there be an option to restore the classic behavior? We don't know the answer to that. It is certainly possible that some users will dislike the new method. Those who prefer to keep tabs open in the browser may find the new approach less useful as they'd have to reopen tabs frequently. One way around this would be to allow users to lock tabs so that they remain open across sessions. Source: Mozilla's upcoming mobile browser Firefox Fenix changes tabbed-browsing fundamentally (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  15. WebGL is not supported on Chrome or Firefox? Enable it! WebGL or Web Graphics Library is nothing but a JavaScript API which helps it in rendering interactive 2D and 3D graphics on any supporting web browser without any third party plugins being used. It works well along with web standards which allows it to use the GPU acceleration to render graphics and physics as a part of a web page. It greatly impacts in improving the overall performance of a web page. It is supported on a variety of web browsers like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and more. But at times, it does not work properly or is not enabled; we will learn today how to get it fixed. Enable WebGL on Chrome & Firefox This issue can be caused due to a number of factors. It includes both browsers as well as the operating system. The Graphics Driver also plays a crucial role in helping out WebGL to function on a computer. Today, we will be checking out how to fix this issue on your updated browsers- Manually enable WebGL on Chrome or Firefox Update your Graphics Card Driver. 1] Manually enable WebGL on Chrome or Firefox First of all open Google Chrome and click on the Menu button (by clicking on three dots button on the top right corner). Next click on Settings. Scroll down to find the button that is labeled as Advanced and click on it. Under the section that goes by the name System, turn on the toggle of Use hardware acceleration when available. Restart Google Chrome. When it starts up again, type in chrome://gpu/ in the address bar and hit the Enter key. This will now display if WebGL is properly enabled or not. Alternatively, you can open the Google Chrome browser and visit this URL: chrome://flags. Look up Disable WebGL in the search box on the top portion of the page. Toggle the appropriate entry to Disabled. Restart Google Chrome for the changes to take effect. This will enable the touch-friendly User Experience on Google Chrome. Firefox users can do the following. To disable Hardware Acceleration in Firefox, open the browser > Options. Now under the General section, scroll down a bit to see Performance. Here check the Use hardware acceleration when available option. Restart Firefox. 2] Update your Graphics Card Driver From the WinX Menu, open Device Manager. Expand the list that says Display Adapters. Right-click on the listing of your NVIDIA Graphics Card and select Enable. Now, right click on it again and click on Update Driver Software… A new window will open up. On that, click on Search automatically for updated driver software. If Windows now detects your Graphics Card and the latest driver for it, great! Else, proceed as follows: Right click on it again and click on Update Driver Software… Click on Browse my computer for driver software. Click on Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. Select a compatible driver for your computer named as NVIDIA Graphic Card and proceed further. Let the whole process finish. And then restart your PC for the changes to take effect. This will help you update your Graphics Driver. Source
  16. Mozilla Firefox 67 will feature a new anti-fingerprinting technique that protects against certain window-size related fingerprinting methods. Mozilla plans to integrate the new feature in Firefox 67 but delays may postpone the release. Firefox 67 will be released on May 14, 2019 according to the official release schedule. The technique comes from experiments that the developers of the Tor browser conducted and is part of the Tor Uplift project that introduces improvements in the Tor browser to Firefox (Tor browser is based on Firefox code). Window dimensions, especially in maximized state and when windows are resized, may be used for fingerprinting. Fingerprinting refers to using data provided by the browser, e.g. automatically or by running certain scripts, to profile users. One of the appeals that fingerprinting has is that it does not require access to local storage and that some techniques work across browsers. Tip: A study analyzed the effectiveness of fingerprinting countermeasures recently. Maximized or fullscreen windows provide screen width and height information. Fullscreen reveals the actual screen with and height, a maximized window the width and height minus toolbars. Resized windows on the other hand reveal exact dimensions of the browser window, e.g. 1003x744. Letterboxing protects better against window size related fingerprinting techniques. It is a method that rounds the content view dynamically using 128x100 pixel steps. Letterboxing adds margins around the content view of the window and calculates the margin dynamically to ensure that it is applied to resize scenarios as well (and not only when a new window is created). Setting this up in Firefox The Firefox preference privacy.resistFingerprinting determines whether anti-fingerprinting is enabled in Firefox. Note that it may render some sites and services unusable or less functional. Make sure you run at least Firefox 67 (check about:support for the version. Note that this does not appear to have landed in Firefox Nightly atm) Load about:config in the Firefox address bar. Confirm that you will be careful. Search for privacy.resistFingerprinting. True: Fingerprinting protection is enabled including Letterboxing (as of Firefox 67). False: Fingerprinting protection is disabled. You can verify that the protection is in place by visiting Browserleaks or any other site that returns the screen resolution and viewport. Just change the window size a couple of times and reload the page to find out if it rounds the resolution and viewport (it should return a multiple of 128x100 pixels). You may also notice the margins that Firefox uses when the feature is enabled. Source: Firefox 67 with anti-fingerprinting technique letterboxing (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  17. If you use Chromecast, a Google's device to stream content to displays, e.g. to stream a video from your PC to your television, you may have noticed that Firefox is not officially supported. Google added native Chromecast support to the company's Google Chrome browser to cast content, e.g. a browser tab to a connected display. It was necessary to install a Chromecast extension in Chrome previously to do so, but that is no longer the case. Firefox users who own Chromecast devices could not integrate the device in the browser up until now; this changes with the initial release of fx_cast, an open source browser extension for Firefox that implements the Chrome Sender API in Firefox. The author of the extension released an initial version of fx_cast on GitHub. Note that it requires installation of the extension and installation of a bridge app on the operating system. The initial release brings support for Mac OS X and Linux only, a Windows binary is not provided. Firefox Chromecast support Installation is straightforward. The very first thing you may want to do is install the Firefox extension. You find it under releases on the official project website. Note: the release is listed as beta and the developer states explicitly that you should expect bugs and that site compatibility is limited at this point in time. Just click on the "xpi" file and follow the installation dialog to install the extension in Firefox. Mac OS X and Linux users find the Bridge app listed under releases as well. Windows users have the option to compile the binary from source or wait until the developer releases a Windows binary to the public. Use the new cast button in Firefox's interface once everything is set up, and the Chromecast installed properly as well. Another option that you have is to use the cast option in the context menu or the cast button that some services display natively. The interface displays the connected Chromecast devices and the cast menu to select what to cast to a device that is connected. The Firefox extension may spoof the user agent as most sites check for Chrome to determine whether to enable cast support for the connecting user. It does so for Netflix only currently, but you may add sites to the whitelist to have the user agent spoofed as well for connections to these sites. The variable <all_urls> adds all sites to the whitelist. The settings displays a good range of options already. You may change the HTTP server port, enable screen mirroring, or change receiver options in regards to media casting. Closing Words The extension is in its early stages of development but it works surprisingly well on some sites. Most users may want to wait until the developer releases a stable build (and Windows binary) before they give it a try though. Source: fx_cast brings Chromecast streaming to Firefox (early look) (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  18. Textarea Cache is a browser extension for the Firefox web browser that caches text input automatically so that you may recover it if the browser crashes or something else that is unforeseen happens. Text that you type on the Internet may get lost under certain circumstances. Say you write a long comment on a blog and before you can hit submit, the browser crashes, the page reloads, or the submitting gets stuck somehow. When you open the page again, you notice that your comment did not get posted and that your text is not available anymore. Your only recourse is to type the text again, or leave the site if you are too annoyed by the loss. Textarea Cache Textarea Cache is a caching extension for Firefox that caches text input automatically so that you may recover it at any time. Ideal in situations in which text that you type becomes unavailable before it is posted on the site. You may also use it to save text that it is not ready for publication yet. The extension requires access to all sites and browser tabs, and access to adding data to the clipboard. It adds an icon to the main toolbar of the browser that you interact with. A click on the icon displays an URL selector at the top and the cached content below that. Just select one of the available URLs to display the cached text. Buttons to copy the text, delete it, or delete all are provided at the bottom. If you experience a loss of text, you simply click on the extension icon, select the right URL, and then Copy to copy it to the clipboard. You may then paste the copied text to the site again to complete the publication. Options Textarea Cache includes several options to customize the functionality. The following options are provided at the time of the review: Add sites to the ignore list. Three sites, Google Docs Spreadsheets, Slack, and Messenger are listed there by default. Enable the automatic clearing of cache content (days, hours, minutes). Change the interval in which text is cached. The default is set to 2000 ms which is 2 seconds. Various interface display options. Skip confirm when pasting from context menu. Closing Words Textarea Cache is quite the handy extension for Firefox users who type medium to long texts regularly in the browser. Source: Never lose text input in Firefox again with Textarea Cache (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  19. Mozilla plans to introduce a new feature in Firefox 67 Stable that aims to improve the browser's memory usage in low memory conditions. Browsers use a lot more memory than they did a decade ago, partly because websites grew significantly in size and partly because browsers changed as well. It is not uncommon anymore that single tabs may use hundreds of Megabyte of memory, and there are cases where memory usage crosses the 1 Gigabyte mark for individual tabs. Memory usage, especially on low memory devices, is a priority for browser makers. If you run Firefox or another browser on a 4 Gigabyte or 2 Gigabyte RAM system, you may experience a lot of caching if you open enough or the right kind of sites. The concept of unloading tabs in the browser to free up memory is not a new one. Extensions like Dormancy, Suspend Background Tabs, BarTab, or Unload Tab for Firefox (all no longer compatible with Firefox 57 or newer), or Lazy Load Tabs, TabMemFree, or Tabs Limiter for Google Chrome, supported the functionality for years Mozilla improved tab unloading significantly in recent years. If things go as planned, Firefox 67 will introduce a new feature to unload unused tabs to improve memory. The initial bug report dates back eight years but work on the feature began in earnest just a short while ago. Mozilla plans to unload tabs in Firefox in low-memory situations to reduce the number of crashes that users experience caused by low-memory. The bug lists another scenario, to free up resources, but it is not clear yet if and how this will be implemented. Mozilla uses a simple priority list to determine which tabs to unload when the event fires (from lowest to highest) Regular Tabs Pinned Tabs Regular Tabs that Play Audio Pinned Tabs that Play Audio The feature is already available in Firefox Nightly. It was turned on by default on my system but you can control it with the preference browser.tabs.unloadOnLowMemory. True means the feature is enabled, False that it is disabled. It appears that it is available on Windows only at this point because its the only platform that Mozilla can detect low-memory conditions on according to the bug assignee Garbriele Svelto. Firefox 67 will be released on May 14, 2019 to the Stable channel of the browser according to the release schedule. Google implemented a similar feature in the company's Chrome browser. Introduced in 2015, Tab Discarding in Chrome discarded tabs from memory if system memory reached a certain threshold. Closing Words Mozilla expects a drop in out-of-memory related crashes in Firefox and plans to monitor these crashes in the coming weeks to test the hypothesis. Source: Firefox 67: automatically unload unused tabs to improve memory (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  20. Mozilla released a new version of the stable version of its web browser Firefox to the public yesterday. Firefox 65.0.2 is already available as an update for existing Firefox installations. The new version of Firefox fixes a geolocation issue on Windows. Most Firefox installations are updated automatically to the new version thanks to the browser's built-in updating functionality. Users may select Menu > Help > About Firefox to run a manual check for updates. The same page lists the current version of the web browser. Note that Firefox will download and install the update if you open the About Mozilla Firefox page in the browser. The new version is also available as a direct download on Mozilla's website. Note that Mozilla offers a net installer by default which downloads data from Mozilla's server during the installation. You may also download offline Firefox installers instead. Firefox 65.0.2 The release notes of Firefox 65.0.2 list only one entry: Fixed an issue with geolocation services affecting Windows users. Geo a core API of modern browsers used to determine the location of a device in the world. It is often used by mapping and weather services that rely on the user's location for functionality, e.g. by displaying the local weather report right away or computing directions. Firefox gives its users control over the feature. The browser displays a notification to the user when sites try to use the Geolocation functionality. Users may allow or block it, and configure certain sites to permanently make use of it without prompts each time. Mozilla does not reveal the actual issue that users would experience, only that it did affect geolocation on Windows. Source: Firefox 65.0.2 fixes a geolocation issue (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  21. Add custom search engine is a free extension for the Firefox web browser to add any search engine to the Firefox web browser. Firefox users have quite a few options when it comes to adding search providers to the web browser: add them on Mozilla AMO, run searches on sites to have them added, use the search bar to add Open Search search engines, or use the Mycroft Project website to do so. Mozilla changed recently how search providers are added to Firefox. The initial version broke important functionality, e.g. the option to add search engines from AMO or MyCroft. These issues have been fixed for the most part. Add custom search engine Add Custom Search Engine is a browser extension that adds an option to Firefox to add any Internet search engine to the browser using it. Just click on the icon that the extension adds to the Firefox toolbar to open the "add custom search engine" dialog. The basic version requires just two parameters: a name for the search engine and the search URL. You need to replace the search term with the placeholder %s. The best way to go about it is to run a search for TEST on the search engine, copy the URL, and replace TEST with %s, e.g. https://www.ghacks.net/?s=TEST with https://www.ghacks.net/?s=%s. The extension may pick up the favicon automatically but you may specify it if it does not or if you would like to use a different icon. Browse options to pick a local icon are provided as well. Note: The search engine data is uploaded to file.io temporarily due to a limitation with Firefox WebExtensions before the search engine is added to Firefox. The search engine is added to the list of supported search engines by Firefox. You can make it the default search engine, add a keyword to it, or run searches using Firefox's one-off search functionality, or by using the search field if you make use of it. Add Custom Search Engine supports advanced operators that you may enable on the configuration screen. These add the following options: Use Post query parameters. Add a suggest Url so that Firefox may use it to display suggestions using that functionality. Change the input encoding. Add a description. Search engines that you add to Firefox remain available even after you remove the extension. You control all search engines by loading the about:preferences#search in the browser. There you may change the default search engine, enable or disable suggestions, add keywords to search engines, or remove search engines again. Closing Words Add Custom Search Engine is a handy extension for Firefox users who have issues adding certain search engines to the browser and users who want more control over the process. Source: Add custom search engines to Firefox (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  22. The add-ons manager of the Firefox web browser is an essential component; Firefox users may use it to manage installed extensions, themes, and language packs. Mozilla is in the process of removing anything that is XUL from Firefox. It plans to launch the new about:config in Firefox 67 that uses web standards, and is working on a new version of about:addons as well. While it is unclear when that new version will be released in Firefox Stable, it is certain that this is going to happen rather sooner than later. The organization launched an initial redesign of the add-ons manager in October 2018; this initial wave of changes introduced the cards-based design and made some other changes to the interface without removing any functionality from it. Launched in Firefox 64 Stable, it is currently the default view of about:addons. Mozilla revealed back then that the change was part of a larger process. Part of the redesign landed in recent Firefox Nightly versions already. You need to change the configuration to unlock the new add-ons manager. Note that it is only partially integrated in Firefox Nightly currently and that some functionality is not available; it is okay to get a first impression but not functional enough to use it to manage add-ons. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar. Confirm that you will be careful. Search for fextensions.htmlaboutaddons.enable. Click on the toggle button to set the preference to True. A value of True means that Firefox displays about:addons using the upcoming design of the page, a value of False that the old design is used. The current implementation looks like this. Mozilla plans several major changes to the page and highlighted those in a mockup. Please note that it is possible that some elements may change during development. The planned design looks like this: Mozilla plans to replace the dedicated buttons of the interface, e.g. disable or remove, with a single menu for each installed extension; this leaves more room for extension titles and descriptions. A click on the menu displays options to toggle the status (enable/disable), to remove, and to open the advanced options. Active and disabled extensions are separated from each other more clearly in the new manager. The selection of advanced options displays the following interface: You will notice right away that the information is divided into tabs on the page. The tabs details, preferences, and permissions are displayed when you select advanced options. Firefox opens the details tab by default in the mockup; whether that is the best option is up for debate considering that users may be more interested in the preferences. Details lists the description of the extension and links to the developer website, reviews, and an option to leave a review. The preferences tab lists general options and information only. You may disable the toolbar button here, allow the extension to run in private browsing mode, and control automatic updates. The actual extension preferences are not found here. A click on "visit website" opens the extension options. The permissions tab lists all requested permissions. It is unclear at this point in time whether it will be possible to disallow certain permissions. The checkmark buttons next to each permission could indicate that but they could also be just visual indicators. Closing Words The redesigned about:addons page is a work in progress. Certain elements may change during development. I appreciate Mozilla's attempt to add more information to the management page and the clearer structure of it. I dislike the requirement to select Menu > Advanced options to display additional information, and that the new tabbed details page adds clicks to the process of opening an extension's options. Source: A first look at Firefox's updated Add-ons Manager (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  23. Mozilla plans to extend the functionality of Firefox Monitor by displaying breach alerts to users of the browser. The organization ran a Shield Study back in 2018 to test Firefox Monitor in the desktop version of the browser. The feature was passive at that time; users could check whether an account -- email address -- was found on hacked passwords lists, and they could sign up to receive alerts when a particular account was discovered on new leaked lists. Firefox Monitor uses the Have I Been Pwned service but implemented the feature in a way that the full email address is never shared with third-parties. Mozilla started to work on a breach warning system in Firefox in 2017. If things go as planned, Firefox 67 may be the first stable version of the Firefox web browser to warn users when they visit recently hacked websites. Note: The feature is in development currently. It is possible that the release gets delayed or that functionality changes during development. Firefox displays the alert on the first connect to a site that was hacked in the past. The notification displays information about the breach and displays an option to check an account with Firefox Monitor. Mozilla landed the feature in Firefox Nightly recently. Firefox Nightly, currently at version 67, is the cutting edge development channel of Firefox. New features land in Nightly first before they find they way into Beta and Release channel versions. It is necessary to enable the feature before it becomes available. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar. Confirm that you will be careful. Search for extensions.fxmonitor.enabled. If the preference is not available, click on the Add button after making sure the name is correct and the type is set to Boolean. The new Firefox about:config interface makes it super easy to create new preferences. Set the value of the preference to True using the toggle button. Firefox Monitor supports additional preferences of interest: extensions.fxmonitor.firstAlertShown -- This determines whether the first alert notification was shown already. You may set it to False to reset it and get notifications for sites breached in the past 12 months. extensions.fxmonitor.warnedHosts -- Keeps track of the list of hosts for which warnings were displayed. Change the value of the String to blank to reset it. Firefox displays a breach alert when you visit a site that suffered from a breach in the past 12 months. Firefox displays the notification and it is up to you to use Firefox Monitor to check your accounts or dismiss it. If you select dismiss, you get an option to turn the feature off entirely. Firefox remembers that it displayed a breach notification and won't show it again unless you visit a site that was hacked in the past two months. Mozilla does not want to cause notification fatigue by displaying lots of breach warnings to users. Another reason for that decision is that the action that users may take is always the same. A click on the Check Firefox Monitor button opens the Firefox Monitor website. It lists information about that particular breach but the checking options are identical: type an email address to check it for hits in breaches. Source: Firefox 67 to display breach alerts (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  24. Firefox For iOS Now Offers Persistent Private Browsing With Firefox 15 Private browsing on smartphones has always been trouble. It is difficult to go back to the previous session in case you have to close the browser window for some reason. However, Mozilla seemingly addresses this problem with the latest version of Firefox for iOS. With Firefox 15, iOS users can enjoy private browsing persistently until they manually close their sessions. New Firefox For iOS Allows Continuous Private Browsing Mozilla has planned to facilitate iOS users with secure browsing. As announced, the latest version of Firefox for iOS offers iPhone and iPad users to continue browsing in private mode. As described by Mozilla, Firefox 15 for iOS will let the users remain in private browsing mode. “Firefox for iOS now remembers when you toggle Private Browsing mode so that any new tabs you open via the Share extension or clipboard bar will open in the browsing mode you were last in.” Earlier, it was difficult for the users to get back to their private browsing sessions in case they had to close the browser window. However, with Firefox 15, users can continue to browse privately unless they actively exit the Firefox browser. Is It All Useful? Although, the new feature of persistent private browsing seems an attempt to facilitate users. This will save the inconvenience of repeated sign-ins and establishing new browsing sessions if a user has to exit Firefox for any reason. However, this may also pose a threat to user’s privacy in case of accidental physical access to the device. Earlier, exiting the browser would close down all private browsing sessions. But now, the users may have to remember exiting browser actively to close private browsing. Otherwise, anyone else having physical access to the device may witness the browsing sessions. Likewise, the users may require some time to get used to with the new feature. In addition to the launch of persistent private browsing, Firefox 15 for iOS also comes with improved menu and tab settings. The users can now also reorder tabs as required. Source
  25. Firefox 66 is the upcoming stable version of the web browser by Mozilla. The version is currently in the Beta channel and will be moved to Stable on March 19, 2019 according to the release schedule. Firefox 66 incorporates several extensions related changes. One of them changes how extensions use local storage. Extensions in Firefox use JSON files for that currently: starting with Firefox 66, extensions will use IndexedDB instead. Good news is that the migration happens automatically; developers don't need to change extension code and storage used by extensions already installed in pre-Firefox 66 versions will be migrated to the new storage format when the update happens as well. Note: It is recommended that you back up Firefox before you make the change as it is not clear right now whether it will be possible to downgrade the browser after the upgrade. If there is any chance for a downgrade, back up Firefox. Mozilla does not delete the old storage files but adds .migrated to the filenames. You find them in the browser-extension-date folder of the Firefox profile. The change to IndexedDB is beneficial to performance and memory usage according to Mozilla. This results in a significant performance improvement for many extensions, while simultaneously reducing the amount of memory that Firefox uses. Extensions that store "small changes to large structures" benefit highly from the change; many ad-blockers do so according to Mozilla. Mozilla's Luca Greco created a short video that demonstrates how beneficial the change is in regards to performance. The video is silent, unfortunately, and it is a bit difficult to understand what is going on. Focus on the startup performance of the Firefox web browser. You will notice that the browser loads the test site a lot faster in Firefox 66 (with an ad-blocker installed) than previously. Whether you will see an improvement depends largely on the installed extensions. If they do use local storage and make lots of smaller changes, you may see noticeable improvements. Firefox 66 comes with another memory improvement related to extensions. Extensions that load objects from storage to memory use less memory than before thanks to an improvement implementation. Firefox users who run Beta or Nightly versions of the web browser should see the benefits of the new implementation already. Source: Firefox Extensions to use different storage type in Firefox 66 (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
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