Mozilla launched Firefox 43, which includes a 64-bit version for Windows and a stricter option for blocking trackers in the recently launched Tracking Protection feature.
Back in 2012, Mozilla decided to quietly kill the 64-bit build of Firefox (at the time still in the testing stage). The reason Mozilla gave at the time was that many Firefox plugins didn’t have a 64-bit version, and if they did, it usually didn’t work well and crashed too often.
Mozilla didn’t think it had the necessary resources to focus on fixing all of those problems at the time, so it killed the project. However, this led to major backlash from vocal Firefox users, which eventually convinced Mozilla to resume work on a 64-bit version for Windows.
This was never a problem for Linux or Mac OS X, where most of those third-party plugins wouldn’t work anyway. Because Mozilla decided to drop support for most NPAPI plugins by the end of 2016, it now seems like the right time to bring back the 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows.
The 64-bit version brings some benefits for users, too, including increased security through a more effective address space layout randomization (ASLR), making it harder for malicious websites to exploit browser vulnerabilities. It should also bring better performance, and users will be able to run web apps that are bigger than 4 GB of RAM (such as cloud-based development tools or more advanced 3D web games).
Strict Tracking Protection
Firefox 43 also allows users to block even more trackers when using the Private Browsing mode with Tracking Protection enabled. The additional option for blocking trackers, called “strict protection,” blocks all known trackers as opposed to only some of them, as the “basic protection” does. However, users should be warned that some sites may break when this feature is enabled.
The new version of Firefox also received API support for .m4v video playback, an on-screen keyboard that appears when users select input fields on Windows 8 or greater, and it gives users the option to choose search suggestions from the Awesome Bar. Firefox 43 was also supposed to receive the first implementation of the Electrolysis sandboxing architecture, but it looks like that was delayed.
Lucian Armasu joined Tom’s Hardware in early 2014. He writes news stories on mobile, chipsets, security, privacy, and anything else that might be of interest to him from the technology world. Outside of Tom’s Hardware, he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.