Firefox 48 will ensure one demanding web page doesn’t freeze others, while Android gets better media support – even if support for 2.3 Gingerbread ends
Mozilla says the introduction of multiprocessing, also known as electrolysis or e10s, in Firefox 48 will make the browser more stable by ensuring a problem in one tab won’t cause others to freeze.
Previously, when one page consumed a large amount of processing power, the rest of the browser became unusable. By isolating the incident, users will simply have to close the offending tab.
This was one of the unique selling points of Google Chrome, along with speed, when it hit the market in 2009, so Mozilla will hope that improved reliability will encourage some users to revert back to Firefox.
The feature has been in beta but will now be rolled out gradually to the user base. One percent will have access to e10s at first to see how it performs in a live setting and if the feedback is positive, more users will get it.
“e10s promises to offer a major improvement to your browsing experience by separating Web content and Firefox UI processes,” explained Mozilla. “This means when a web page is consuming a large part of your computer’s processing power, your tabs, buttons and menus won’t lock up. Wondering if your Firefox instance has enabled e10s? Type “about:support” into the URL bar. If e10s is active, you’ll see “1/1 (Enabled by default)” under the Multiprocess Windows line item.”
Firefox for Android and Desktop has a different feature set and release cycle to iOS (Firefox for iOS has just reached version 5.0), and adds a “more awesome” Awesome Bar with more suggestions, a clearer way to identify, install and activate add-ons, as well as merged reading lists and bookmark tabs.
“This change means your reading list items will now be available across devices alongside your bookmarks, giving you easier access to your content no matter what device you’re using, which is a major upgrade for those of you using Firefox across devices,” added Mozilla.
Unique improvements for Android include enhanced audio and video support, a new action bar for version 6.0 Marshmallow that hovers over the text and an easier way to ensure Firefox is a default browser.
However support for the aging 2.3 Gingerbread has now ended. A host of security patches are also included, details of which are here.
Firefox 47 debuted in June and now has a 5.33 percent share of the worldwide browser market, while all versions command an 8.12 percent share, according to figures from NetMarketShare. Mozilla recently announced the desktop version would start blocking some Flash content by default in a bid to boost security and battery power.
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