Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Mozilla Firefox Version 55 Released With Significant Changes and Security Updates

FirefoxMozilla sent Firefox Version 55.0 to the release channel today.  Firefox ESR was updated to version 52.3.  There is no mention in the Release Notes of security updates.*  However, there are major changes that will affect users:
  1. Warningvia ghacks.net, "Firefox 55.0 breaks compatibility with older versions of the browser and Firefox ESR. Users who want to downgrade are advised to back up their profiles prior to installing the update." See "Changed" below.
  2. Important Note:  Although installations of 32x will upgrade with this version, the 64x version is now default on 64x systems with 2GB RAM.  Starting with version 56, Firefox will "silently and forcibly auto-upgrade" users running the 32-bit version of Firefox on 64-bit computers with more than 2GB of RAM to the 64-bit version. The next scheduled release is September 26, 2017 (5 week cycle with release for critical fixes as needed).  
  3. Adobe Flash Player is now click-to-activate. 
  4. Also, see the following regarding add-ons starting in Firefox 57:  Firefox add-on technology is modernizing 
*UPDATE:  At the time of publishing the Release Notes, there was no indication of security fixes included.  In the interim, however, the Release Notes have been updated and Version 55 includes five (5) critical, ten (10 high, seven (7) moderate and six (6) low security updates.
  • Launched Windows support for WebVR, bringing immersive experiences to the web. See examples and try working demos at Mozilla VR.
  • Added options that let users optimize recent performance improvements
    • Setting to enable Hardware VP9 acceleration on Windows 10 Anniversary Edition for better battery life and lower CPU usage while watching videos
    • Setting to modify the number of concurrent content processes for faster page loading and more responsive tab switching
  • Simplified installation process with a streamlined Windows stub installer
    • Firefox for Windows 64-bit is now installed by default on 64-bit systems with at least 2GB of RAM
    • Full installers with advanced installation options are still available
  • Improved address bar functionality
    • Search with any installed one-click search engine directly from the address bar
    • Search suggestions appear by default
    • When entering a hostname (like pinterest.com) in the URL bar, Firefox resolves to the secure version of the site (https://www.pinterest.com) instead of the insecure version (http://www.pinterest.com) when possible
  • Updated Sidebar for bookmarks, history, and synced tabs so it can appear at the right edge of the window as well as the left
  • Added support for stereo microphones with WebRTC
  • Simplified printing from Reader Mode
  • Updated Firefox for OSX and macOS to allow users to assign custom keyboard shortcuts to Firefox menu items via System Preferences
  • Browsing sessions with a high number of tabs are now restored in an instant
  • Make screenshots of webpages, and save them locally or upload them to the cloud. This feature will undergo A/B testing and will not be visible for some users.
  • Added Belarusian (be) locale


  • Modernized application update UI to be less intrusive and more aligned with the rest of the browser. Only users who have not restarted their browser 8 days after downloading an update or users who opted out of automatic updates will see this change.
  • Firefox does not support downgrades, even though this may have worked in past versions. Users who install Firefox 55+ and later downgrade to an earlier version may experience issues with Firefox.
  • Made the Adobe Flash plugin click-to-activate by default and allowed only on http:// and https:// URL schemes. (This change will not be visible to all users immediately. For more information see the Firefox plugin roadmap)

To get the update now, select "Help" from the Firefox menu, then pick "About Firefox."  Mac users need to select "About Firefox" from the Firefox menu. If you do not use the English language version, Fully Localized Versions are available for download.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

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