Mozilla Firefox 96 is out.

The first major update to the browser this year comes with a modest miscellany of improvements, plus a few Linux-specifics changes users may be interested to hear about.

But we’ll start with something everyone: better security.

Firefox 96 ships with the Cookie Policy: Same-Site=lax setting enabled by default. This, Mozilla say, “provides a solid first line of defense against Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks”. Nice.

Next, Mozilla says it made “significant improvements in noise-suppression and auto-gain-control as well as slight improvements in echo-cancellation to provide you with a better overall experience.” This relates to the browser’s built-in Media Capture and Streams API which is used in WebRTC.

Sticking with WebRTC, this version of the browser will no longer downgrade screen sharing resolution during connections, an issue that affected some users in earlier builds.

Firefox 96 ships with low-memory detection on Linux by default. This is hooked up to the browser’s automatic tabs discard feature. When the browser detects it’s running out of memory it will unload (discard/hibernate) unused tabs to free up resources.

Also on Linux, Firefox 96 swaps the “Select All” keyboard shortcut from alt + a to ctrl + a. This is said to improve access and web compatibility.

Last but not least, a pair of small changes related to themes.

a screenshot of round window corners in Firefox 96
No more sharp corners in Firefox themes

If you’ve tried to use the Firefox light theme (one of the browser’s bundled themes) in the past but got put off by the “invisible” window control buttons, that issue is now resolved. Both the minimize and maximize icons are now visible when using the Firefox Light theme (as well as others) on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and above.

Similarly, as pointed out to me in the comments (thanks troock!) Firefox themes like Alpenglow no longer have squared, pointy window corners but nicely rounded ones, in keeping with the default Firefox theme.

Download Firefox 96

Firefox is free, open source software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The best place to get the latest version of the browser is from the official Firefox website, though Windows 11 users can now install it from the Microsoft Store.

Ubuntu users can update to Firefox 96 through the usual routes in the day or so after release. Those using the Snap version will get this update silently, in the background.

Linux Mint maintains its own build of Firefox. Beginning with this release, as we’ve previously reported, the distro is switching to a “vanilla” version of the browser without Mint-specific modifications, that use Mozilla defaults (i.e. no Linux Mint start page), and feature Google as the default search engine.

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