Mozilla has announced the release of Firefox 38, the latest version of the popular open-source web-browser.
Canonical will offer the update to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 14.10 and 15.04 users via the Software Updater tool. Roll out sometimes takes a day or two, so if you don’t get bugged about it right away just be patient.
So, it’s out. But what’s new? Let’s take a look.
Tab-based Preferences in Firefox 38
The most notable change rocking up in Firefox 38 for Linux users is a new way of handling Firefox preferences.
Falling in line with Google Chrome and Opera, Firefox 38 now displays it preferences/settings in-window, in a new tab. That means no more floating palette to lose under your other windows!
Responsive Image Support
Firefox 38 is the first stable version of the browser to ship with support for both the <picture> and <img srcset> elements for responsive media loading.
This change allows web developers and content makers to provide multiple versions of an image, each one designed to suit the size and type of device it is will appear on, be it retina laptop or qHD smartphone.
In the example image above the Xfce mascot will appear on widths of 1000px and the KDE cog logo will show on 500px.
(Resizing the Firefox 38 window doesn’t currently affect the image loaded. If you’re reading this Google Chrome, which introduced responsive image support in April last year, you can resize your browser to see the image swap.
CDM DRM For Windows Users
For Windows desktop users Firefox 38 now supports the Adobe Content Decryption Module (CDM) to play back HTML5 video encased in DRM.
Yes, DRM sucks. And no, Mozilla isn’t wildly enthusiastic about it. But for Firefox users wanting their Netflix fix the browser has little choice but to provide the features they need. On the plus, the CDM (which is downloaded from Adobe automatically on upgrade) is neatly wrapped in a sandbox for added protection.
Why are we writing about that? Well, it’s possible that, at some point, CDM might be added to Linux builds. Worth our making a footnote about it now.
Other changes in Firefox 38
A few other notable changes cropping up in this release:
- Improved HiDPI on Linux, with scale now set by DPI (previously defaulted to 1)
- Better page load times through speculative connection warmup
- BroadcastChannel API now working
- Better typography for Japanese and Chinese languages
- WebRTC gains multistream and renegotiation support
- WebSocket support for WebWorkers
- Security fixes
Be sure to check out the Firefox 38 release notes for details on more changes.
Download Firefox 38
Canonical will roll out Firefox 38 to users on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 14.10 and the shiny-new 15.04 in the next 24 hours or so.
If you’re super impatient the release can also be downloaded from Mozilla servers.