Mozilla’s Firefox is one of the most popular open-source browsers which is the reason it is used as the default browser in many Linux distributions such as Mint and Ubuntu.
Recently, Mozilla released Firefox version 99.0 which brings new security and UI features to Linux.
Whats new ?
- You can now toggle Narrate in ReaderMode with the keyboard shortcut “n.”
- You can find added support for search—with or without diacritics—in the PDF viewer.
- Added GTK overlay scrollbars
- The Linux sandbox has been strengthened: processes exposed to web content no longer have access to the X Window system (X11).
- Firefox now supports credit card autofill and capture in Germany and France.
In this article, we will be diving into what these are, and expand more on Linux specific changes.
Gtk overlay scrollbars
This version of Firefox comes with a new sleek thinner design for the scrollbar. The scrollbar also hides, if not in use which provides a more modern and elegant feel to the browser.
This feature however is not enabled by default in the Stable release. To enable this feature, go to
about:config and search for
widget.gtk.overlay-scrollbars.enabled . By default, this value should be set to
false but double-clicking it will set it to
true which will enable the new scrollbars.
Linux sandbox strengthened
This is a security update aimed to isolate the Firefox processes from the rest of the system. A sandboxed environment is one in which applications can run without affecting or interacting with any outside applications. This particular update disables any interaction of web processes with the X server. X server or X11 is the default GUI server used in most Linux distributions.
Snap, Flatpak and Appimage already provide sandboxed versions of their apps which run in isolated containers so if you are a Snap or Appimage user, this is good news. However, there have been reports of this breaking the hardware acceleration feature.
Hardware acceleration is a process where applications offload certain tasks to the hardware which results in improved performance and efficient hardware usage. Bad hardware acceleration is one of the reasons for bad battery performance on Linux.
All in all, this was Firefox’s last major two-digit update and it is good to see Firefox’s consistent determination for privacy and security. There are some issues that weren’t addressed in this release such as bugs related to hardware acceleration which will hopefully be resolved in the next update.
This brings us to Firefox 100. The nightly build for Firefox 100 is already out and the full stable version will be released on May 3, 2022. It promises features such as captions in Picture-in-Picture format and improved hardware acceleration. You can try these experimental builds of Firefox by enabling
Firefox 100 User-Agent String in
about:preferences#experimental in the nightly builds.
Want more? Check out some of the not-so-known Firefox features for a better browsing experience.
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