Firefox 99 brings these two changes for Linux users
Mozilla’s Firefox is one of the most popular open-source browsers, which is why 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 user interface features to Linux.
What’s new ?
- You can now switch Narrate to ReaderMode with the “n” keyboard shortcut.
- You can find additional support for searching, with or without diacritics, in the PDF viewer.
- Added GTK overlay scrollbars
- The Linux sandbox has been hardened: processes exposed to web content no longer have access to the X Window System (X11).
- Firefox now supports autofill and credit card capture in Germany and France.
In this article, we’ll dive into what they are and further expand on the Linux-specific changes.
Gtk Overlay Scrollbars
This version of Firefox comes with a new slimmer and sleeker design for the scroll bar. The scrollbar also hides, if not in use, giving a more modern and sleek feel to the browser.
However, this feature is not enabled by default in the stable version. To enable this feature, go to
about:config and seek
widget.gtk.overlay-scrollbars.enabled . By default, this value should be set to
false but double clicking on it will set it to
true which will activate the new scrollbars.
Hardened Linux sandbox
This is a security update to isolate Firefox processes from the rest of the system. A sandboxed environment is an environment in which applications can run without affecting or interacting with outside applications. This particular update disables any interaction of web processes with the X server. The X or X11 server is the default GUI server used in most Linux distributions.
Snap, Flatpak, and Appimage already provide sandboxed versions of their apps that run in isolated containers, so if you’re a Snap or Appimage user, that’s good news. However, there has been reports from this break the hardware acceleration feature.
Hardware acceleration is a process by which applications offload certain tasks to hardware, resulting in improved performance and efficient use of hardware. Poor hardware acceleration is one of the reasons for poor battery performance in Linux.
Overall, this was Firefox’s last major double-digit update, and it’s good to see Firefox’s continued commitment to privacy and security. Some issues have not been fixed in this version, such as bugs related to hardware acceleration which hopefully will be fixed in the next update.
This brings us to Firefox 100. The nightly version of Firefox 100 has already been released, and the full stable version will be released on May 3, 2022. It promises features like Picture-in-Picture subtitles and improved hardware acceleration. . You can try these experimental versions of Firefox by enabling
Firefox 100 User-Agent String in
about:preferences#experimental in nocturnal constructions.
Want more? Check out some of the lesser known Firefox features for a better browsing experience.