Firefox 41: Find out what is new
Mozilla plans to release Firefox 41 Stable to the public on September 22, 2015. This article walks you through all important changes, features and everything else that is new.
Since the release process is streamlined, all other editions of Firefox will be updated as well on that day.
This means that the following versions will be released tomorrow: Firefox 41 Stable, Firefox 42 Beta, Firefox 43 Developer Edition, Firefox 44 Nightly and Firefox ESR 38.3.
The information below covers only Firefox Stable and no other edition of the web browser.
Firefox 41 download and update
All versions of Firefox are configured by default to check for updates regularly. If you have not modified that setting you should be notified about that new version soon.
If you don’t want to wait, these checks don’t happen in real-time, then you can run a manual check for updates as well.
The easiest way to do so is to tap on the Alt-key on the keyboard, and select Help > About Firefox from the menu that opens when you do.
If you prefer, you can download the newest versions of Firefox from their official download locations as well. Note that some may not have been updated yet at the time of writing. Mozilla usually does that around the time the official announcement of the release goes live.
- Firefox Stable download
- Firefox Beta download
- Firefox Developer download
- Nightly download
- Firefox ESR download
Firefox 41 Changes
Mozilla wanted to introduce add-on signing enforcement in Firefox 41 initially but pushed this back so that it is now scheduled to arrive in Firefox 43 instead.
The browser.newtab.url preference has been removed
Mozilla removed the browser.newtab.url preference in Firefox 41 which allowed Firefox users to set a custom new tab page using it.
Firefox users who still want to modify the New Tab page url can do so by installing the New Tab Override for the browser which enables them to do that.
Instant Messaging support added to Firefox Hello
Firefox Hello, a built-in communications module that allows you to make free video and voice calls to others, supports direct messaging in an instant messenger like environment in Firefox 41.
Simply start or join a conversation as usual. You can then start typing messages and hit enter to send them to everyone else participating in the conversation.
Binary XPCOM components are not supported anymore except as part of the application
If you are using a Firefox add-on that relies on binary XPCOPM components, you will notice that it won’t work anymore once you update the web browser to version 41.
According to Mozilla’s Benjamin Smedberg, the move was necessary as these represented “signigicant compatibility and stability risks to Firefox users”.
Memory overhead of AdBlock Plus has been greatly reduced
If you have AdBlock Plus installed in Firefox you may have noticed that it may cause spikes in memory usage under certain conditions.
The main issue was that AdBlock Plus injected its stylesheet (of blocked resources) into every iFrame loaded on a page. While that did not matter on sites that used none or only a few, it resulted in huge memory spikes on sites that used many.
Firefox memory usage jumped more than a Gigabyte in extreme cases on sites that make excessive use of iFrames.
We have talked about this before and suggest you check out the initial post on the matter for details.
The fix, which we have reviewed here, improves memory usage by enabling the sharing of CSS data. AdBlock Plus users should notice memory improvements across the board thanks to the changes that Mozilla made.
WebRTC now requires perfect forward secrecy
Perfect Forward Secrecy limits the damage that can be done with compromised keys.
This means that the compromise of one [session] cannot lead to the compromise of others, and also that there is not a single secret value which can lead to the compromise of multiple [sessions]
Head over to Mozilla Hacks for additional information on the implementation.
Improved image decoding with performance up to twice as fast on some devices especially while scrolling
The release notes don’t link to a bug listing on Bugzilla or mention details. It is unclear if this is related to support for Async Pan Zoom in Firefox or something else.
We have reviewed the APZ integration previously and found it to improve scrolling and zooming in Firefox significantly.
- Ability to set a profile picture for your Firefox Account
- SVG images can be used as favicons. [Bug 366324]
- WARP was disabled on Windows 7 after memory bug on YouTube, Deezer and probably other sites was reported on Bugzilla. [Bug 1188831]
- Smoother and more reliable CSS animations via asynchronous animations [Bug 706179]
- The media.autoplay.enabled preference now also apply to untrusted HTMLMediaElement.play() invocations too, that is calls from non-users activated scripts. [Bug 659285]
- You can now take screenshots of selected nodes using Firefox’s built-in Web Developer Tools. This is done by right-clicking on the node in the developer area (which you open with F12).
- The Web Developer Tools rules view has additional copy operations added to it.
- A right-click on image declarations in the developer tools allows you to copy the image as a data url.
- Implemented Cache API for querying named caches that are accessible Window, Worker, and ServiceWorker
- The command “security csp” has been added to the Developer Toolbar. It displays information related to Content Security Policy of the current domain (Open with Shift-F2). The Firefox Developer Toolbar is might useful for non-Developer related actions as well.
- CSS Font Loading API enabled by default, see W3.org for additional details.
- MessageChannel and MessagePort API enabled by default
Firefox for Android
- Swipe-to-close tabs on tablets
- Quickly search with different search providers from the search panel
- Overlay to manually search and copy/paste login credentials from login manager when they’re not auto-filled
- Improved bookmark management with duplicate bookmark detection
- Open Android applications from a web page via Intent URIs
- User Agent now includes Android version
- Experimental new “speed dial” home panel add-on API
Security updates / fixes
Mozilla reveals security patches after the official release. We will update the review as soon as they become available.
Additional information / sources
Firefox 41: Find out what is new
Find out what is new, changed and removed in Firefox 41, the latest stable version of the popular web browser.
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