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Firefox 19 in Beta, Built-in PDF Reader, More ARMv6 Support

By - Source: PC World | B 28 comments

Firefox 19 comes with a built-in PDF reader.

With Firefox 18 officially released, Mozilla, ever sticking to its rapid release schedule, hasn't bothered to take a breather and has put out Firefox 19 beta.

Though it's only been a matter of days since Firefox 18's launch, Firefox 19 already resolves a known issue with private browsing from Firefox 18.

Two of the most notable features about Firefox 19 are a new, built-in PDF viewer to ward off the potential for security exploits due to PDF reader plugins.

"For a number of years there have been several plugins for viewing PDF’s within Firefox," wrote Bill Walker and Brendan Dahl, Mozilla Engineering Manager and Software Engineer, via the Mozilla Future Releases blog. "Many of these plugins come with proprietary closed source code that could potentially expose users to security vulnerabilities. PDF viewing plugins also come with extra code to do many things that Firefox already does well with no proprietary code, such as drawing images and text. These problems, and the desire to push the boundaries of the HTML5 platform, led Andreas Gal and Chris Jones to start a research project they named PDF.js. The project quickly picked up steam within Mozilla Labs, where it grew into a full-fledged PDF viewer."

Walker and Dahl then went on to explain how the PDF viewer, because it was built with HTML 5, is powerful enough to render PDF files without issues and flexible enough to work across different platforms.

Firefox Android Beta has also been made available to download. This update features additional ARMv6 support, meaning that, Mozilla claims, Firefox is now accessible to over 15 million more phones. Most Android phones, so long as they meet the hardware requirements of 600 MHz, 512 MB of memory, and HVGA, should be able to run the beta.

The Android beta also allows easy customization via addons.mozilla.org, where users will be free to download a theme of their choice. The Google Search Widget has also now been integrated into the browser, allowing phone users to make a search through Firefox by adding a widget to their home page.

Firefox Beta is available via the Mozilla website and Android Beta via Google Play now.

 

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    mitch074 , January 12, 2013 5:19 PM
    @susyque747: Safari on Mac displays PDFs by using OS X's PDF viewing infrastructure - it calls stuff (the PostScript engine) that runs outside the browser, and which is actually central to the system, thus critical and sensitive to exploits (as it was done time and time again on Mac). PDF.js runs internally to the browser and makes use of the browser's capability to render the PDF, without ever getting out of the browser's sandbox.

    Don't be an iTard.
  • 16 Hide
    vilenjan , January 12, 2013 5:18 PM
    Ohh you mean snail slow safari? right.
  • 12 Hide
    Supercrit , January 12, 2013 5:19 PM
    susyque747Built in PDF reader, Oh you mean Safari on my Mac has been doing for years, like that right.

    Do you need a pair of hipster glasses with that?
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    Vorador2 , January 12, 2013 3:56 PM
    PDF.js is available on Firefox 18 already. Disable your installed PDF reader plugin, go to about:config and search for pdfjs.disabled and set it to false. Done.
  • 1 Hide
    Shin-san , January 12, 2013 3:58 PM
    Very nice. I never liked viewing PDF files not just because of PDF vulnerabilities, but also the time it took to start loading them from a browser
  • 16 Hide
    vilenjan , January 12, 2013 5:18 PM
    Ohh you mean snail slow safari? right.
  • 12 Hide
    Supercrit , January 12, 2013 5:19 PM
    susyque747Built in PDF reader, Oh you mean Safari on my Mac has been doing for years, like that right.

    Do you need a pair of hipster glasses with that?
  • 17 Hide
    mitch074 , January 12, 2013 5:19 PM
    @susyque747: Safari on Mac displays PDFs by using OS X's PDF viewing infrastructure - it calls stuff (the PostScript engine) that runs outside the browser, and which is actually central to the system, thus critical and sensitive to exploits (as it was done time and time again on Mac). PDF.js runs internally to the browser and makes use of the browser's capability to render the PDF, without ever getting out of the browser's sandbox.

    Don't be an iTard.
  • -6 Hide
    NightLight , January 12, 2013 6:22 PM
    i've had it with firefox... as a dev i have to test in all browser, and there's always one with problems and that's ff.
  • -6 Hide
    dextermat , January 12, 2013 6:22 PM
    +1 With all the news about adobe and java vulnerabilities, I don't think I want them integrated in firefox.

  • 7 Hide
    Angry Bellic , January 12, 2013 6:25 PM
    I love Firefox.
  • 4 Hide
    Camikazi , January 12, 2013 7:36 PM
    dextermat+1 With all the news about adobe and java vulnerabilities, I don't think I want them integrated in firefox.

    PDF is an open standard and this plugin has nothing to do with Adobe (this isn't Flash) as for Java I'm not even sure where you got that since nothing Java is being integrated at all.
  • -4 Hide
    reprotected , January 12, 2013 9:48 PM
    aceraceGeneralise stupidly retarded hipsters with Mac user. Way to go kiddo.

    That's Tom's Hardware for you, and probably the rest of the Internet.
  • -5 Hide
    ibnmuhammad , January 12, 2013 10:31 PM
    vilenjanOhh you mean snail slow safari? right.


    One of the most ignorant comments... especially on a tech site.
    As a developer, well actually everyone should know, Safari has been the benchmark for speed for a long time... Firefox js processing has only recently caught up with Safari.

    Also... what do you Apple-haters think Google Chrome is built on?
    Any guesses?

    ... Apple's WebKit engine - i.e. Safari.

    That's right, besides stealing Android from Apple, they ripped-off the heart of Safari and re-skinned it and called it 'Chrome'... then spent billions to promote Google's spyware browser.
  • 4 Hide
    ibnmuhammad , January 12, 2013 10:39 PM
    NightLighti've had it with firefox... as a dev i have to test in all browser, and there's always one with problems and that's ff.


    That's one of the strangest things coming from a developer.

    If you've done any amount of standards-based development, you'll quickly come to realise Firefox is the first browser us devs use to build web apps and sites, particularly with the Firebug addon, which has made development immenseley easier for us!

    Since firebug, Safari, IE, and Opera have gone on to release their own integrated development tools, but still nothing compares to developing in Firefox.

    Unless... if you build for IE first, then of course, all other browsers (Gecko/WebKit/Opera) will appear broken, so devs tend to start with Firefox (which mostly ensures compatilibty with other standards-based engines (Safari/Opera) and write hacks for IE later.
  • 2 Hide
    srap , January 12, 2013 11:01 PM
    ibnmuhammadOne of the most ignorant comments... especially on a tech site.As a developer, well actually everyone should know, Safari has been the benchmark for speed for a long time... Firefox js processing has only recently caught up with Safari. Also... what do you Apple-haters think Google Chrome is built on?Any guesses?... Apple's WebKit engine - i.e. Safari. That's right, besides stealing Android from Apple, they ripped-off the heart of Safari and re-skinned it and called it 'Chrome'... then spent billions to promote Google's spyware browser.

    And that "Apple" Webkit has nothing to do with JS, (last time I checked, Webkit was still a layout engine, not JS): Chrome uses V8 as it's JS engine, Safari uses JavaScriptCore.
    Also, Webkit went open-source back in 2005-6, got used up in Chromium, and that became the base of Chrome. ATM, Google is an active developer of it, and saying that it was stolen is nothing but a lie.

    ibnmuhammadtext

    He may be one of those webkit-prefixers.
  • -1 Hide
    ibnmuhammad , January 12, 2013 11:11 PM
    It's not only JS processing which has been exceptionally fast in Safari, but the main rendering engine (AppleWebKit) has also been a benchmark.

    That's primarily where Chrome get's its speedup.

    Granted, Google built v8, but javascript processing isn't everything, as Opera has shown - i.e. Opera's JS engine used to be comparibly slower (as was IE), but the rendering engine is extremely fast, thus the impression of a much faster browser.
  • 1 Hide
    ibnmuhammad , January 12, 2013 11:18 PM
    Quote:
    Safari uses JavaScriptCore.


    Isn't JavascriptCore (Nitro) built into WebKit?
  • 1 Hide
    BWMerlin , January 12, 2013 11:22 PM
    So with Microsoft Office 2013 and now Firefox able to handle pdf's and flash on it's death bed Adobe must be getting a little worried that their products are getting more and more irrelevant. Lets hope the next browser plugin that is replaced is Java.
  • 2 Hide
    Cryio , January 12, 2013 11:30 PM
    ibnmuhammadIt's not only JS processing which has been exceptionally fast in Safari, but the main rendering engine (AppleWebKit) has also been a benchmark.That's primarily where Chrome get's its speedup.Granted, Google built v8, but javascript processing isn't everything, as Opera has shown - i.e. Opera's JS engine used to be comparibly slower (as was IE), but the rendering engine is extremely fast, thus the impression of a much faster browser.


    So....Chrome is like 75% of Opera's rendering performance and 75% of IE10 js performance.

    I don't know. Between all the browsers out now, Opera 12.12 and IE10 seem to be the fastest at rendering a site (or more). I'm talking about real-life usage.

    Honestly, to me, Opera has almost always led (losing at times to Chrome, and to IE9, when it was launched) in rendering speed.
  • -1 Hide
    ibnmuhammad , January 13, 2013 12:27 AM
    CryioSo....Chrome is like 75% of Opera's rendering performance and 75% of IE10 js performance.I don't know. Between all the browsers out now, Opera 12.12 and IE10 seem to be the fastest at rendering a site (or more). I'm talking about real-life usage.Honestly, to me, Opera has almost always led (losing at times to Chrome, and to IE9, when it was launched) in rendering speed.


    Agreed :) 

    In terms of real-use impression, Opera has always been extremely fast on Windows (despite not always having the fastest JS engine), and (I hate to say it) as was IE4/5/6 - compared to Netscape and early Mozilla and Firefox.

    But on Mac, it's been Safari.

    I guess it's a bit like AMD/Intel - Intel beats almost all benchmarks, but in real-world usage, AMD's CPU's are still amazing performers.
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