That’s right 10 years ago today, a Blog was Born! Honestly, I am surprised it has last this long (and I am not just talking about the blog). A lot has happened in the last 10 years in the browser ‘market’. While Internet Explorer is still around (and sadly not by choice for some users who are stuck using IE for certain essential websites), there is a lot more choice in web browsers now. Even Microsoft introduced a new (and crippled) browser with Windows 10. Microsoft Edge, a browser so useless it pushes users over the edge. Netscape is long gone, though it did hang on for a while longer than most people had expected. Ironic considering in the late 90’s while attending Arizona State University, Netscape was the default browsers on both the Mac’s AND PC’s (running Windows NT 4.0). You could still use Internet Explorer, you just had to find it in the Start Menu.
So what made Firefox so great 10-year ago. Three things come to mind that users now just take for granted as pretty much every browser nowadays comes standard with these:
- Tabs. Gone are the days of having multiple browser windows open. Honestly, I didn’t get tabs at first as was so used to having multiple browser windows. Tabs took a little getting use to, but now it is one of those things how did we ever live without it?
- Add-ons. This was the biggest ‘selling point’ of Firefox, being able to customize not only how the browser looked, but behaved. Extensions added functionality (such as Ad-Blocking) that were not native to the browser). Sadly, Microsoft didn’t think extensions were all that important when they released their successor to Internet Exploiter, Edge last year. This is something that is suppose to change this summer.
- Pop-Up blocking. While there were third-party pop-up blockers for Internet Explorer, they were standalone programs that needed to be installed and not part of the browser itself. Nothing more annoying than going to a site and getting bombarded with pop-up ads. Unfortunately, web developers have found a way to get around this lately as users are getting bombard with subscribe pop-ups when they visit certain sites.
Yes, I still use Firefox…mainly at work along with Chrome (Lenovo/IBM Corp warranty processing sites work best with Chrome) and Internet Exploiter (our web based inventory system can work in Firefox, but it doesn’t render nicely). I no longer use Firefox for Android as I could never get it to correctly sync (heck I couldn’t even get Firefox to correctly sync between two computers). Ironically, I have yet to try Pale Moon which is a stripped down (as in removing all the unwanted bloat and UI changes) independent build of Firefox.
Sadly, it is this bloat and drastic UI changes that has driven many former Firefox users away to other browsers. The current Mozilla (many of the original Mozilla developers left after Firefox 4 was released), still does not seem to understand this and keeps finding new ways to make the browser even more bloated. Plus, Mozilla had turned into Apple when it comes to what extensions it will allow users to install in Firefox. Time will tell, what will happen in the next 10-years with Firefox.
Mozilla has released the next scheduled update for Firefox with Firefox 46 on April 26th. Changes in this release include:
- GTK3 integration (GNU/Linux only)
- Correct rendering for scaled SVGs that use a clip and a mask
- Various security fixes
- Screen reader behavior with blank spaces in Google Docs corrected
- WebRTC fixes to improve performance and stability
There were some fixes and other items in this release which can be viewed via the Release Notes.
Depending on the user’s update settings, users should be prompted to install the new version or can do so sooner via the in-browser update (Help > About Firefox) or can manually download and install Firefox via getfirefox.com site.
The next planned update is Firefox 47 due for release on June 7, 2016.
Seems like every couple months people start crying ‘the sky is falling’ with Firefox and Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) plugins. Earlier this week there was a flurry of activity with Bug 1165981. Again people seem to think that Firefox is not going support NPAPI plugins anymore on Windows since the 64-Bit (Win64) versions does not (except for Flash). As a reminder the removal of NPAPI support only applies to the Win64 version of Firefox. The 32-bit Windows version still supports all the NPAPI plugins including Java and Silverlight. However, Mozilla does plan on discontinuing support in the future with the Firefox 32-bit Windows version.
It also important to understand that Chrome stopped supporting NPAPI plugins long ago (they have their own custom version of Flash integrated into the browser) and Microsoft’s Edge (Windows 10) browser has never supported NPAPI plugins. In reference to Java, Oracle has announced they will discontinue the Java plugin in the future (late 2016). I will post more about this in greater detail on my Tech Blog shortly.
During this week’s Mozilla Weekly Updates Meeting, the release date for Firefox 46 has been pushed back a week from April 19th to April 26th. The channel merges for Beta and Developer Edition (Aurora) will also be pushed back a week. No information is available at this time why the release date was pushed back.
I have this page bookmarked so I don't have to make them up even.
Quick and easy to use. [Norton Identity Safe Password Generator]
"Passwords are the Achilles heel of your online privacy and security. Presently, passwords are the essentially the only way to access online accounts and with the diversity of login information to keep track of, the average user has to manage an arsenal of safe passwords. However, coping with dozens of complicated character strings isn’t a task that needs to be done manually. There are many tools that can assist you in managing our passwords and the most convenient ones are embedded right where you need them: in your browser. ..."
Source: Make Use of Get Secure: 5 Firefox Addons For Serious Password Management
Yes, it has been a while since The Guru
has posted non-release news. Here's some Firefox news from the past month.
- Firefox for iOS adds Security Features (The Mozilla Blog)- Changes to the Firefox Password Manager now allow iPhone/iPad users to add a 4-Digit password to the password manager for extra security.
- Inviting Conversation (Mitchell's Blog) - Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Foundation Chair is looking to invite conversation about the Open Internet, Mozilla and Mozilla's mission in a series of upcoming less "official" blog posts.
- Shipping Some Firefox Features Outside of the Release Cycle (Mozilla Future Releases) - Now new
bloat features will be introduced more often and outside the regular release cycle. First up is Firefox Hello Beta.
- Add-on Signing Enforcement In Firefox 46 for Android (Mozilla Add-ons Blog) - Firefox for Android had not been partaking in Mozilla's add-on signing enforcement. Unfortunately, this is changing with Firefox 46 due out at the end of May 2016. The good news is this can be disabled, but Mozilla may remove that ability in a future release.
- WebExtensions in Firefox 47 (Mozilla Add-ons Blog) - While WebExtensions will still be in Beta come Firefox 47 (early June 2016), Mozilla is still on track to launch this feature with Firefox 48 (early August 2016) which is why there will be 8-weeks between the release of Firefox 47 and Firefox 48 instead of the typical 6-weeks.
Also there was a new Firefox release (45.0.0) and updated (45.0.1) in the past month:
- Firefox 45.0.1 - Released March 16, 2016 addressed and fixed several issues. See Firefox 45.0.1 Release Notes for more details.
- Firefox 45.0.0 - Released March 8, 2016 added tab sharing via hello as well as improvements to the tab syncing between devices. Tab Groups (Panorama) feature has been removed. There were serveral fixes and some minor additions. See Firefox 45.0.0 Release Notes for more details.
I won't leave home without it.
"This NoScript Beginner's Guide has been designed to provide new Firefox or NoScript users with information on how the browser add-on works. I have published a guide for regular users in 2014 which you may find useful as well.
"NoScript is a long standing security add-on for Firefox that is rated highly on Mozilla AMO and quite popular with more than 2.3 million users.
"It is often confused with ad-blockers, and while it does that to, it is much more than that and the ad-blocking is more of a side-effect of the extension's functionality than something it has been designed for. ..."
Source: gHacks Tech News NoScript Beginner's Guide
Mozilla released the next major update for Firefox on January 26th with Firefox 44. New features in this release included:
- Improved warning pages for certificate errors and untrusted connections
- Enable H.264 if system decoder is available
- Enable WebM/VP9 video support on systems that don't support MP4/H.264
- In the animation-inspector timeline, lightning bolt icon next to animations running on the compositor thread
- Support the brotli compression format via HTTPS content-encoding
- Screenshot commands allow user choice of pixel ratio in Developer Tools
- Firefox Can Now Get Push Notifications From Your Favorite Sites
There were some fixes and other items in this release which can be viewed via the Release Notes
Depending on the user's update settings, users should be prompted to install the new version or can do so sooner via the in-browser update (Help > About Firefox) or can manually download and install Firefox via getfirefox.com
The next planned
update is Firefox 45 due for release on March 8, 2016.