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Firefox hits version 50

World's number two browser now boasts retro-emoji, better media handling and more

By Simon Sharwood, 16 Nov 2016

The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox web browser has hit version 50.0 on Windows, MacOS, Linux and Android.

Firefox debuted in November 2004 and has sometimes pushed its market share above 30 per cent. These days it's the world's second-most popular browser, with its 13.29 per cent market share according to StatCounter.

Version 50 is a nicety, rather than an auspicious landmark, because the project's initial release schedule saw it progress from version 1.0 to 5.0 over more than six years. At that point, in March 2011, the project swapped to a six-weekly release cycle. We've had 45 versions since.

This time around there's a handful of security fixes, one a critical heap buffer overflow (CVE-2016-5296). There's also “a built-in Emoji set for operating systems without native Emoji fonts (Windows 8.0 and lower and Linux)” and WebM EME Support for Widevine on Windows and Mac. That last addition should mean more video plays without plugins.

There's also a new “Find in page” option that allows users to limit search to whole words only. Which your correspondent reckons will be very handy indeed!

StatCounter's browser market share data from 2008 to October 2016

StatCounter's browser market share data from 2008 to October 2016. To embiggen click here

Developers may care to take note of SPDY 3.1's deprecation: it is now disabled by default. Also deprecated is the navigator.battery property, an old battery management API since replaced by a newer alternative that will soon itself be deprecated due to privacy concerns.

The full developer advisory is here. ®

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