Mozilla Firefox 44 adds support for Brotli compression
Mozilla Firefox 44 has been released, marking the first update for the browser in 2016.
As you may know, the browser maker patches its program once every month, in a pre-planned calender schedule.
The latest update to Firefox does add a couple of new features, but one of them is likely the most important, support for Brotli Compression. Don’t know what that means? Not to worry, here is a brief explanation.
Brotli Compression is a new content-encoding (web data)standard, developed by Google. It is only available for HTTPS content, and load web pages much faster than before. Google’s own browser Chrome, was obviously the first to get the feature, but it is currently only available in the Canary Build channel. The Mountain View company had hinted that Mozilla and Opera will be adopting the Brotli tech soon, and Mozilla had confirmed this as well.
Apple Safari also uses Brotli for HTTPS, and the tech is also under consideration by the Microsoft Edge Dev Team. Hopefully, it will end up helping browsers consume less resources, while loading websites really quickly.
Other additions that Firefox 44 adds is support for H.264 system decoder, and WebM/VP9 video support on systems where the former isn’t supported. The browser has new warning pages for certificate errors and untrusted connections.
Firefox 44 also brings an important fix for computers running on Microsoft Windows XP and Vista. These operating systems had a problem with Firefox 43, as a result of which the computer’s screensaver would be enabled, when the user was watching videos in the browser.
Speaking of which, Firefox 43 marked an important change in how the browser handles add-ons. Any extension which hasn’t been signed (verified by Mozilla) would be automatically disabled, and thus would not be available for use, regardless of the source it came from. But you can bypass this by toggling a preference from Firefox’s about:config page, and setting the value of ” xpinstall.signatures.required” to false.
This preference was scheduled to be removed from Firefox 44, but Mozilla announced a few days ago, that it is pushing back this controversial move, until Firefox 46 is launched. And this will only happen on April 19th, because that is when Mozilla Firefox 46 will be released, according to the company’s RapidRelease Calendar.
Do note that Firefox 44 does not support the on-screen keyboard on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, at least temporarily, for reasons unknown.
Download Mozilla Firefox 44 for Windows, Mac and Linux from the official website. The installer now uses a SHA-256 signing certificate for Windows, to comply with Microsoft’s new standard.