Today should see the release of Mozilla Firefox 50, the latest update of this hugely popular open-source web-browser.
But if you were hoping to see major new features roll out to mark this huge milestone… Alas!
Not that there’s nothing new in Firefox 50. It’s just that what is new is, well, modest.
But the headline change is support for emoji on Linux (and older Windows desktops) – something a lot of users are sure to consider superfluous.
Native Emoji Support on Linux
Whether you view these little icons as pointless pictorial fluff or as an egregious form of social expression, the use of emoji is now part of how people communicate, today.
People use emoji in tweets, blog posts and social media updates. A single emoji can dramatically alter the tone or context of something that’s written.
‘Firefox 50 comes bundled the Emoji One font, letting Linux users to see full colour emoji on the web.’
Therefore it’s important that people can see them. And in Firefox 50, you can, regardless of whether you installed special symbol fonts or not. Emoji support in Firefox means you no longer need to follow any of the well-documented workarounds.
Firefox ships with the open-source Emoji One font, which includes support for the very latest Unicode 9.0 spec – so there’s bacon, face palm and many others.
If you’ve followed one of our older ‘how-to enable emoji support in Firefox’ methods you should probably ‘undo’ it before upgrading. This will ensure that the new native Emoji One set take effect as intended.
One more subtle change of note: you’ll see a strike-through lock icon when loading pages that have insecure password fields. Mozilla detail the change, providing use cases and reasoning, in a blog post.
There’s a new Ctrl+Tab shortcut preference to cycle through tabs in recently used order, and you can view a page in Reader Mode by using Ctrl+Alt+R keyboard shortcut.
A new option added to the ‘Find in page’ setting that lets you limit search to whole words only.
Mozilla Firefox 50 will be available to download later today for Windows, macOS and Linux, direct from Mozilla themselves:
If you’re running a supported version of Ubuntu (i.e. an LTS or the latest stable release) you will get the Firefox 50 upgrade automatically through the Software Updater at some point in the coming days.