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Firefox 18 Launches With Faster IonMonkey-Enabled JavaScript, Built-In PDF Viewe 220

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 18 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The improvements include a new JavaScript compiler, a built-in PDF viewer, as well as Retina and touch support. The release notes are available, as is a list of changes for devs."
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Firefox 18 Launches With Faster IonMonkey-Enabled JavaScript, Built-In PDF Viewer

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  • Lawlz (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:11PM (#42522375)

    Psh, I just upgraded to Firefox 22 just 5 minutes ago. Firfox 18 is so 30 minutes ago.

    • Are we really going to have this kind of joke every time a firefox version is released? I'm mean, it's getting a bit repetitive. I've seen about about 10 times in the last 10 minutes!

  • I set it up to use Chrome as my PDF viewer. (Which wasn't easy, since the nonstandard way Chrome installs itself under Windows meant that it didn't show up on the list of programs.)

    I wonder if it's going to override that setting when it updates itself. I don't really care, as long as it works. I just liked keeping my system clean and didn't want to download Adobe if I didn't have to.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      I wonder if it's going to override that setting when it updates itself.

      Doesn't seem that way. I had the Foxit Reader plugin installed, and after upgrading, PDFs still opened in Foxit. Quite frankly I can't figure out where the built-in PDF reader even is; I uninstalled Foxit and if I try to load a PDF, Firefox now just prompts me to save the file.

      • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
        You need to set pdfjs.disabled to 'false' in about:config. PDF reader seems to be disabled by default for old installations.
  • I recall reading that the updates would start happening silently in the background. I still appreciate the announcement, but my guess is that next week I'll go to the About Firefox section and find that it waited until just then to download the update to version 18. I much prefer the way Chrome handles it where I go to check and find out it happened while I wasn't paying attention. Where's the hold up on making that happen? Did it happen and I just haven't flipped a setting?
    • by ChronoReverse ( 858838 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:22PM (#42522543)
      It already happened. Check your settings to see if it's turned on.
      • It already happened. Check your settings to see if it's turned on.

        As suspected, my settings are correct. When I went to About Firefox I got the dialog.. downloading update 0 of 24.2MB downloaded. Seems like they still have work to do.

        • by gQuigs ( 913879 )

          Something isn't quite right there. For whatever reason you are getting a full update, when it should have tried a binary diff first (~3 to 6MB).

          It's gotten much better for me over the last couple releases. I used to have to do what you do in checking manually but haven't for a while. (That's when I maintain Windows, Ubuntu's Firefox obviously updates with the system)

        • Might just be staggered release then.

          The update was just released and it's entirely reasonable it could stagger you a couple days even before auto-downloading.
  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:21PM (#42522533)

    Seriously, were y'all drunk when you came up with that name? It conjures up images of some kind of celestial primate flinging high energy particles about. Firefox at least sounds like something that could be found frolicing about in heavily wooded areas.

  • From another article []:

    One feature that didn't make it into this release, by the way, is Mozilla's new built-in PDF reader. While the organization has been working on this for a while, it will only make it into the beta release that's expected to arrive on Thursday.

  • PDF.js (Score:5, Informative)

    by oever ( 233119 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:36PM (#42522759) Homepage

    The PDF viewer in Firefox, PDF.js [] is an amazing piece of software. It is written entirely in JavaScript and runs in the same sandbox in which a webpage runs. So it is very safe. The layout accuracy and speed of PDF.js are simply amazing. Text selection happens just like it does in the browser. Some PDF viewers only allow you to draw a rectangle on which to do OCR. PDF.js simply lets you select the glyphs.

    This viewer has been available as an add-on [] for a while already.

    • I can not comprehend of anything worse than a PDF viewer written in javascript. The worst of both worlds, together in one package!
      • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

        I can not comprehend of anything worse

        That's not much of an imagination. You can embed Javascript in PDF []...

        It's turtles all the way down.

        • by Dwedit ( 232252 )

          PDF viewer written in Javascript, and it's a file format that can contain embedded Javascript...
          Yo dawg.

      • Re:PDF.js (Score:5, Informative)

        by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:13PM (#42523265)
        They did that because an awful lot of PCs hacked by a website were hacked through security flaws in the PDF viewer. Writing the PDF viewer in Javascript means that the Mozilla developers only need to make Javascript in Firefox secure to protect the machine from intentionally badly formed PDFs, and of course they already needed to secure Javascript so that's no extra security work.

        As a scripting language, Javascript is still slow compared to something like well-written C++. But Firefox 18 is pretty close to the latest version of Chrome for Javascript performance (e.g. ), so I bet the PDF viewer in Javascript works quickly enough.
      • I can: Unpatched acrobat installations infecting all my family / friends' computers with malware because PDF plugins are the bane of all security.

        Auto-updating flash and pdf handlers is one of the reasons ive been suggesting Chrome to everyone, and why it has reduced the number of viruses I deal with enormously. This is wonderful that firefox is jumping on the wagon. Now that both Chrome and Firefox also block vulnerable java, we just need a long-term fix to the flash question in firefox.

    • This is a major security risk if you ask me. Chrome and IE are and Mozilla is still behind. Flash luckily is now sandboxed which is a huge improvement but PDFs can contain nasty javascript exploits and without a sandbox could be a SECURITY NIGHTMARE.

      I am sticking with Firefox ESR 17.01. It will be supported for a year and and want to see if my suspicions are right.

      If my information is outdated feel free to correct as I am in the process of not recommending Firefox anymore unless the corporate system is stil

      • Unless Im mistaken, as pdf.js is written in JS, it IS sandboxed, and in a way that Acrobat is not / cannot be. Remember that Firefox's JS implementation has to be secure enough to interpret code from all over the internet, and has had a LOT more "battle-hardening" as well as a better security record than Acrobat.

        I imagine the only downside is rendering speed, but it seems pretty quick.

      • by snadrus ( 930168 )
        Exploits need impl. holes or local trust, while Firefox provides neither.
        Firefox patches exploits fast. IE sandboxing mitigates damage post-exploit when they have a slow security response: browser data is still at risk.
        Fast-patching is the better bet for me, but I'd like both.
      • Actually, PDFs can have exploits that have nothing to do with Javascript. If the problem is Javascript, they can deliver it directly to Firefox and don't need to embed them in the PDF. But the real risks are buffer overflows and similar exploits that attack the PDF rendering program directly, which is typically Adobe PDF Reader.

        The Firefox developers are aware that they're behind Chrome and IE on this, and they're definitely working on it. Starting at some point last year, Firefox automatically warns
    • It looks great, even if not 100% ready (I guess this is why it is still an add-on and not a part of the standard installation).

      What I like most about it : no more PDFs cluttering my "Downloads" folder. And if I really want to save the PDF, it is only one click away.

      Great job, guys.
    • speed of PDF.js are simply amazing.

      With the handicap of being an interpreter for a layout-oriented scripting language written in an interpreted scripting language, I suppose one might choose to call the performance amazing.

  • They've landed the solution to this [] issue, first submitted in 2000. Clinton was still president.

  • bring about the demise of the dud that is called Evince;
    they finally broke its last functionality under Linux Mint.

  • Now it runs but will not show any web pages. I just get spinning circular arrows. All pages are blank. :( I want v17 back!
    • Sounds like a corrupt profile or installation. See if moving your firefox profile elsewhere for testing fixes the issue-- ive run into that a few times over the years.

  • I use Chrome on my Windows machines and Chromium on Linux.
  • I just switched to Firefox 17 ESR [].
    CacheViewer got broken by the upgrade from 17 to 18, and I don't want any more automatic updates that will break extensions, so I'll just stop automatic updates, and keep a browser that works, and will get updates only for security fixes.

    • 08 January 2013: This addon is not compatible with Firefox 18 (yet). Mozilla removed a key method in their API that this addon was using to retrieve entries from the cache. Implementing the new method for getting cache entries will not be a trivial matter. I will release an update as soon as I can, but it could be a while.

  • Element & Style Editing, PDF rendering, scripting, embeddable animation, sound, video, client side storage, 3rd party plugins...

    Am I talking about Flash? Java? A web browser? MS Word? A bloated do-everything "Kitchen Sink" Business Solution? WHO CAN TELL?

    Fuck that. I already know the best way to engineer things: Each thing does one thing and does it well, and provides an interface so it can be used in conjunction with other things to perform a task. Some call this "The Unix Way", but really


      Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first web browser. Mozilla Firefox will be that web browser. We can make it better than it was before. Better...stronger...faster.

      We will, simply because we can ...

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972