Firefox 53 Released for PCs and Android; Introduces 'Quantum Compositor' for Fewer Crashes

 
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Firefox 53 Released for PCs and Android; Introduces 'Quantum Compositor' for Fewer Crashes

Highlights

  • Firefox 53 for Android will roll out slowly
  • Firefox 53 for desktop can be downloaded now
  • It introduces quantum compositor for reducing crashes

Alongside the Chrome 58 stable release, Mozilla has released Firefox 53 in the stable channel for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. While desktop users can download it right away from Firefox.com, Android users will see a slow roll out, and can check Google Play for an update.

The new version brings two new themes for desktop, and one feature that looks to further its Project Quantum goals - the company’s concept future browser. Calling it the Quantum Compositor, the feature is essentially meant to reduce browser crashes. ”The compositor determines what you see on your screen by flattening into one image all the layers of graphics that the browser computes, kind of like how Photoshop combines layers. Because the Quantum Compositor runs on the GPU instead of the CPU, it’s super-fast. And, because of occasional bugs in underlying device drivers, the graphics compositor can sometimes crash. By running the Quantum Compositor in a separate process, if it crashes, it won’t bring down all of Firefox, or even your current tab,” the company notes in its blog.

Firefox claims that the compositor reduces browser crashes by 10 percent. For now, the Quantum compositor will be enabled only for Windows 10, 8, and 7 with the Platform Update, and on computers with graphics cards from Intel, Nvidia, or AMD. Mozilla notes that "graphics compositing is already so stable on macOS that a separate process for the compositor is not necessary."

Firefox 53 also introduces a redesigned interface for managing website permissions, and HTML5 audio and video content also receives a new look. The two new themes mentioned earlier are called - Compact Light and Compact Dark.

The full changelog for Firefox 53 can be found below:

  • Improved graphics stability for Windows users with the addition of compositor process separation (Quantum Compositor)
  • Two new ‘compact’ themes available in Firefox, dark and light, based on the Firefox Developer Edition theme
  • Lightweight themes are now applied in private browsing windows
  • Reader Mode now displays estimated reading time for the page
  • Windows 7+ users on 64-bit OS can select 32-bit or 64-bit versions in the stub installer
  • Various security fixes
  • Updated the design of site permission requests to make them harder to miss and easier to understand
  • Windows XP and Vista are no longer supported. XP and Vista users running Firefox 52 will continue to receive security updates on Firefox ESR 52.
  • 32-bit Mac OS X is no longer supported. 32-bit Mac OS X users can switch to Firefox ESR 52 to continue receiving security updates.
  • Updates for Mac OS X are smaller in size compared to updates for Firefox 52
  • New visual design for audio and video controls
  • Ended Firefox Linux support for processors older than Pentium 4 and AMD Opteron
  • The last few characters of shortened tab titles fade out instead of being replaced by ellipses to keep more of the title visible
  • Changes for web developers
  • Support for WebM video with alpha, which allows playing videos with transparent backgrounds

Firefox 53 for Android brings one big new feature called Compact tabs. This new tab essentially displays all your open tabs in two columns making it easy for you to switch. This new feature can be enabled from Settings -> General on your Android app.

The entire changelog for Firefox 53 on Android is below:

  • Right to Left Language Support — Arabic (ar), Urdu (ur), Hebrew (he) and Persian (fa)
  • Users can enable two columns tabs setting in portrait mode
  • Long press on a search suggestion removes it from browser history
  • Reader Mode now displays estimated reading time for the page

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Tasneem Akolawala

When not expelling tech wisdom, Tasneem feeds on good stories that strike on all those emotional chords. She loves road trips, a good laugh, and interesting people. ... More

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