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Mozilla has officially announced Firefox for Windows 10 on the foundation’s official blog. The official release of Windows 10 is set on July 29, 2015. With the new operating system Microsoft is shipping its brand new Microsoft Edge web browser. The upcoming Edge web browser is already getting a lot of publicity thanks to the Windows Insider program. The browser wars may start again with the arrival of Microsoft Edge, an attempt by the Redmond software giant to keep up with the modern web. The announcement of Mozilla Firefox for Windows 10 is a proof that the battle will soon get more fierce.

Mozilla Firefox web browser now comes with built-in Digital Rights Management (DRM) so that users can play DRM-protected HTML5 video/audio without the need of any additional plug-ins.

Before the release of Firefox 38, users were unable to play any DRM-protected HTML5 video and audio directly. Thus if a user for instance wanted to use a streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, they had to install the Adobe Flash or Silverlight extension. Now with built-in DRM support the installation of the additional plugins is unnecessary. To offer built-in DRM support Mozilla will use Adobe Primetime, a content decryption module (CDM). Earlier, Adobe Primetime was available through Adobe Flash plug-in.

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Adobe Primetime CDM will be automatically installed with the latest version of Firefox. Adobe Primetime CDM will be enabled by default. Although users will have the option to either disable CDM or completely remove it from their computers. Alternatively, users who would rather not have the CDM downloaded to their browser on install can download Firefox without the CDM enabled by default.

firefox with cdm
Image Source: Mozilla

See what’s more new in the latest version of Firefox along with direct download links to the latest version of Firefox from here.

Technical Mumbo-Jumbo: DRM, CDM, EME, what are they?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) lets online video and audio services to enforce how the content they provide is used by the end user. DRM technology may restrict some of the things that you can normally do in the browser. DRM-controlled content is usually viewable using Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash browser plugins.

With the introduction of HTML5, many online video and audio services now stream content using HTML5 video and audio functions. In order to let browsers take advantage of HTML5 and play DRM-protected content without any third party plugins, both Google and Microsoft partnered with a number of content providers including Netflix to propose a “built-in” DRM extension for the Web: the W3C Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).

The W3C EME specification defines how to play back DRM-protected content using the HTML5 <video>/<audio> element. EME is a JavaScript API that is part of a larger system for playing DRM-protected content in HTML <video>/<audio>. EME utilizes Content Decryption Module (CDM), the client component that provides functionalities like decryption of the protected content.

More technical insights about the above mentioned technologies can be found on W3C page about EME, Adobe Primetime CDM page and Mozilla Blog.

Mozilla Engineering Manager Benjamin Smedberg, last month, quietly announced the death of 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows. He posted a thread over on the Google Groups, mozilla.dev.apps.firefox discussion board titled “Turning off win64 builds” making the announcement. At the thread, he listed some main reasons behind taking such a decision. Some of the reasons given are, missing or less plugin support for 64-bit versions of Firefox, slower 64-bit builds than 32-bit versions. Another reason given was that the stability team had problems distinguishing crash statistics between 32-bit and 64-bit builds of Firefox. After the announcement was made, a huge uproar from 64-bit for Windows users was seen on a Hacker News thread pointing to another discussion board.

Now, after what Smedberg primarily referred to as “significant negative feedback,” he has made a compromise on the decision of stopping Firefox 64-bit builds, he had reviewed that feedback, consulted with his release engineering team. According to a Google Groups post on the mozilla.dev.apps.firefox discussion board titled “Update on turning off 64-bit Windows builds,” the main reason for the change of plans appears to be that certain users regularly run into the 4GB memory limits of 32-bit builds due to hundreds or even thousands of tabs. So, Firefox 64-bit users can rejoice now as the development of Firefox 64-bit for Windows nightly builds will not be switched off, even though final build may never be released.

Mozilla has added Java 7 Update 7 to its add-on block list after it found the plugin vulnerable. This means, if you have Java 7 Update 7 installed on your computer (be it Windows, Linux or Mac), Firefox will automatically block the Oracle Java plugin.

Oracle Java 7 Update 7 is admittedly not the latest version of Java, as of now, that is, November 24, 2012, Java 7 Update 9 is the latest version available for download and install. So, if you want to re-enable Java on Firefox, you need to download the latest version of Java and install it.

According to Mozilla, Java 7 Update 7 plugin poses a serious risk to the users and thus it had to add the plugin to its blocklist. Mozilla further states that the discovery of the critical security hole in the plugin potentially allows attackers to compromise user’s system, and the bug is currently being exploited in the wild.

On November 19, 2012, Mozilla has released the latest Firefox 17.0 web browser (stable channel) for all supported platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Android. The most exciting feature is with Firefox 17, Mozilla finally brings social integration, to the stable channel of the web browser.

Other notable features and improvements are overall security of the web browser has been improved, by implementing click-to-play blocklisting and support for the “sandbox” attribute (HTML5) for IFrames. Additional Firefox 17 come with lots of performance improvements, fixes touch on the “new tab” page, fixes problem with the pointer lock not working in web apps or page down scrolling too far on websites with fixed headers.

Mozilla announced few days back about Firefox beta’s preliminary support for Social APIs. Mozilla has finally come up with the very first app based on this Social API’s, Facebook Messenger for Firefox. This app is really slick in design and functionality. If you are one of those Facebook users who are always online, you will like this app. But to make the app work on Firefox, you need to run the latest Firefox beta version (version 17 or newer releases).

Mozilla during the announcement stated that, “Much like the OpenSearch standard, the Social API enables developers to integrate social services into the browser in a way that is meaningful and helpful to users. As services integrate with Firefox via the Social API sidebar, it will be easy for you to keep up with friends and family anywhere you go on the Web without having to open a new Web page or switch between tabs. You can stay connected to your favorite social network even while you are surfing the Web, watching a video or playing a game.”

Adobe has released Flash Player 11.3.300.262, which officially fixes the issues faced by Mozilla Firefox users.

Adobe Flash Player update that shipped earlier this month caused problems for Firefox users. Most users complained that the update caused Firefox to crash or freeze. Mozilla released an update last week to temporarily fix some issues related to Flash. Mozilla, along with Adobe also offered some troubleshooting tips for affected Firefox users.

When the first time I heard about “In-Content Preferences” over at Mozilla Links, I didn’t understand anything about it. But after digging further, I found out that its a great new feature which is very common for Google Chrome users. Basically, Google Chrome displays its preferences as a regular Tab instead of opening a modal window, which Firefox and most other browsers including Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera does.

At present, in Firefox 13 stable channel, when you access Firefox Options (by clicking on Firefox Button > Options > Options), you get a new modal window for customizing your Firefox preferences. Now, the problem is you will not be able to interact with any open tabs in Firefox until and unless you close the Options window. But soon, starting with Firefox 15, Mozilla is changing the way Firefox Options is displayed with “in-content preferences.”