The Mozilla Foundation has released version 100 of its flagship web browser Firefox.
There’s no link in the above paragraph because, strangely, at the time of writing, the new browser is not officially mentioned anywhere on Mozilla’s website. However, you can download it from Mozilla: it’s already on the foundation’s FTP site. You can choose between versions for macOS, and both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows and Linux.
If you’re not into the flat look of recent versions of Windows, it will run on Windows 7 too, but you will need to install the official Microsoft update KB4474419 first. (Yes, Mozilla’s support site does concede that the new version exists.)
The biggest change is an extra digit in the version number. Version 100 is not an extended support release – the next one of those is currently planned to be version 102 next June.
New features include support for subtitles in picture-in-picture video playback, if you’re watching videos on YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime – or other sites that support WebVTT.
Firefox 100 also detects if your OS is set to a different language than the browser’s default, and will offer to switch. The browser can also automatically fill in credit card details for you, but at present this is only only enabled in some countries.
On mobile devices, it improves tab handling, enables HTTPS-only mode by default, and offers some new wallpapers.
Linux users get to enjoy GTK overlay scrollbars by default, meaning a very thin scrollbar until you put the mouse pointer over it. If you’re not a fan, it can be disabled by going to the address
about:config and setting
Although Firefox is a mature product these days, it has undergone major changes, some of which reset the notional maturity clock by years. The Firefox Quantum rewrite was a big one, for instance. Today the selection of the new-style WebExtensions add-ons is much broader than it was back when Quantum debuted, and once again Firefox is the most customizable mainstream browser. There are a choice of add-ons to give it a vertical tab bar, including in a hierarchical tree, for example, something Chrome still can’t do.
(If you do this, you probably also should hide the default horizontal tab bar and sidebar header.)
Most other browsers out there depend in some way on Google and its Blink engine, from the occasionally troubled Brave via Microsoft’s Edge to the now Chinese-owned Opera and its founders’ Vivaldi. Mozilla is the only independent browser vendor left, and while we would like to see it focus more on power users, it’s a key part of the web. Long may it continue. ®