Firefox 52 will be the last mainstream release for Windows XP and Vista, adds WebAssembly support
Those of you (and we hope it’s just a few) using Windows XP and Vista will be migrated from the current version of Firefox to the Extended Support Release (ESR) of browser, with Mozilla warning support for the aging operating systems could end in September.
The decision was first announced in December, with Mozilla noting Firefox was one of the few browsers to support both platforms. Microsoft stopped support for Windows XP a few years ago and Vista’s time is up as well.
The non-profit organisation will assess user numbers in the summer to see whether XP and Vista will continue to be supported by the ESR but says customers should consider September 2017 the cut-off point.
“We strongly encourage our users to upgrade to a version of Windows that is supported by Microsoft,” said Mozilla. “Unsupported operating systems receive no security updates, have known exploits, and are dangerous for you to use. For planning purposes, enterprises using Firefox should consider September 2017 as the support end date for Windows XP and Vista.”
Mozilla released version 52 of its open source browser, which adds support for WebAssembly – a standard which allows ‘near native performance’ for 3D games, computer aided design, video and imaging editing in a browser, without a need for plugins.
Mozilla says that until know these applications had been considered too complex to run fast in a browser environment and that Firefox is the first browser to support the emerging standard.
Alongside security updates, Mozilla has made it easier to login to public Wi-Fi networks as Firefox will automatically detect login pages and will show an automatic contextual alert if users attempt to enter anything into an insecure login form.
Another security update has seen all plugins that use the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) disabled unless they are Flash. Later this year, Firefox will make it so Flash is only activated with user consent.
Firefox 52 improves synced tabs across devices and has improved the “download experience” with larger buttons and notifications, but the decision to end support for older Windows versions is the headline news.
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