Firefox 80 About Dialog on Linux

Mozilla Firefox 80 is now available to download for Windows, macOS and Linux.

But before we look at what’s new and improved in Firefox 80 let’s address the shy elephant in the room.

The past few months have been difficult for Mozilla and the wider Firefox community

It’s fair to say that the past few months have been pretty difficult for Mozilla and the wider Firefox community. There have been layoffs, hard decisions, and swerves in project direction. But Firefox remains at the heart of Mozilla and there are, for now, no signs that the browser could stop beating.

Which brings us to neatly on to Firefox 80.

For such a bold-sounding milestone in the midst of choppy waters you might expect some headline-grabbing change or innovative feature introduction. Alas; Firefox 80 is a relatively modest release. It includes a handful of quality improvements and makes no major upsets.

Firefox 80 GPU acceleration
New GPU acceleration options in Firefox 80

The biggest change is, as pointed out by Ghack’s Martin Brinkmann, the introduction of an add-ons block list. Unstable, unsavoury, and privacy-invading add-ons lodged on this Mozilla-maintained block-list will be unable to run in Firefox 80. This practice, though heavy-handed, will ensure that Firefox runs as well as it can for all users, whilst protecting them too.

Windows 10 users can make Firefox the default PDF viewer app (this doesn’t appear to be the case on Linux or macOS mind); the browser’s in-app “alt tab” switcher bumps the number of thumbnail previews by one, from 6 to 7; while those using the browser for the first time will find a streamlined ‘set up’ guide.

Finally, and more interestingly to those of on Linux, is the ability to enable GPU acceleration for Firefox on Linux for X11 (the feature is, I believe, already present on Wayland). Now, this is not enabled by default but you can turn it on manually via about:config – just search for ‘vaapi’ and change the relevant values for both results from false to true.

Just restart the browser and it should be good to go. If you do experience any issues with it turned on just reverse the steps above to disable it.

The full release notes can be read on the Firefox website which is where you can download the latest build for all compatible systems, including Linux:

Download Mozilla Firefox

Using a supported Ubuntu version? You will be able to upgrade to Firefox 80 (and future releases) in the coming days using the Software Updater tool.

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