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Is Mozilla Firefox 21 A 'Healthy' Browser?
Datamation ^ | 14 May 2013 | Sean Michael Kerner

Posted on 05/15/2013 6:49:55 AM PDT by ShadowAce

Mozilla is out with the Firefox 21 open source browser release today, fixing at least 8 security vulnerabilities, three of which are rated as being critical. The new release also provides new features that – depending on your viewpoint – could either improve or reduce user privacy.

One of the new features in Firefox 21 is the Health Report. Mozilla first began talking about the health report in September of 2012 as a non-invasive reporting mechanism. The report is intended to deliver information to users about the 'health' of the browser and its components. The report also shares that data with Mozilla.

Johnathan Nightingale, VP of Firefox Engineering at Mozilla, explained to Datamation that Firefox Health Report is enabled by default in Firefox 21.

"Firefox users who don't want to send health data to Mozilla can disable the data sending either from the health report itself, or from the 'Data Choices' section in the Firefox options window," Nightingale said. "Users who turn off the data will still be able to see their own browser health information."

Firefox 21 also includes an update to Mozilla's Do Not Track cookie mechanism. In the Firefox 21 release, users will now have three choices: “Do Track,” “Do Not Track,” and “No Preference."

"From its inception, we have built Do Not Track as an expression of intent," Nightingale said. "By default, we don't send a header at all, 'No Preference', because we don't know the user's intent."

He added that the user can choose to express a preference either for, or against, tracking and from that point forward Firefox will express that decision to every site they visit. Mozilla's most recent data shows 17 percent of US users enabling DNT.

Performance

Performance is an area that Mozilla is constantly pushing with each new Firefox release, and Firefox 21 is no exception. Nightingale said that new graphics subsystem changes in Firefox 21 should give the browser performance wins on mobile and desktop.

Mozilla developers are now also currently working on the new OdinMonkey JavaScript engine for a future release of Firefox. "We're currently testing OdinMonkey on pre-release, but the optimizations it makes for asm.js code are going to change the world of gaming," Nightingale said.

The asm.js JavaScript library enables code to run at native speeds. It's is already being used to enable the Epic gaming engine for in-browser games.

Security Updates

On the security front, Mozilla has issued three critical security advisories with the Firefox 21 release. All three deal with memory related vulnerabilities and exploitations.

Some of the flaws were reported by Google security researchers using the open source Address Sanitizer tool.

"Security researcher Abhishek Arya (Inferno) of the Google Chrome Security Team used the Address Sanitizer tool to discover a series of use-after-free, out of bounds read, and invalid write problems rated as moderate to critical as security issues in shipped software," Mozilla states in its advisory. "Some of these issues are potentially exploitable, allowing for remote code execution."


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: computers; firefox; internet; mozilla; tech

1 posted on 05/15/2013 6:49:56 AM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; stylin_geek; ...

2 posted on 05/15/2013 6:50:11 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

Interesting; but until they fix the browser from leaking so much memory it’s a broken browser.


3 posted on 05/15/2013 6:54:03 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: ShadowAce

Every version since 20 screws up the right-click context menu on FR pages.


4 posted on 05/15/2013 6:56:04 AM PDT by Spirochete (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: OneWingedShark

Leaking memory? I never notice, and I have FF up all day.


5 posted on 05/15/2013 7:06:34 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: ShadowAce
Waterfox seems to work good for the 64 bit system. I use AVG Free antivirus and Lorias anti Trojan. I can run both of them at the same time. Microsoft security essentials is also part of my defense. Mrt is also used. Windows Defender is shut off by AVG so I don't use it. I do get a not responding opening some pages form Microsoft security but it is not as bad with Waterfox.
6 posted on 05/15/2013 7:11:17 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: mountainlion

Wow. That’s a lot of cycles used to protect you from a badly designed OS.


7 posted on 05/15/2013 7:32:18 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Spirochete

How so? What makes the context menu different on FR?


8 posted on 05/15/2013 7:34:16 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce
How so? What makes the context menu different on FR?

I often right-click and pick "back" or "reload" from the context menu.

The problem with recent FF versions is that only the top and right outlines of the context menu appear. It will finally work after several consecutive attempts. It appears to correlate with the mouse position over a table or image.

This bug manifests sporadically on various websites, but its pretty consistent here on Free Republic.

9 posted on 05/15/2013 7:42:51 AM PDT by Spirochete (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: Spirochete

Interesting. I’ve never noticed it. I’ll try to pay closer attention.


10 posted on 05/15/2013 7:47:50 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: rarestia
Leaking memory? I never notice, and I have FF up all day.

Sure does; I think it has to do w/ deallocating memory on closing of tabs [or navigating away]... flash-player and other such plugins might also be culpable.

I leave it up until about 80% of my memory is used up, then have to restart it.

11 posted on 05/15/2013 7:48:30 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: ShadowAce

I gave up on Firefox’s rapid release insanity at version 15.

My bank tunnel security no longer works with my old version, but if I upgrade, several of my extensions/add-ons no longer work.

Similarly, I quit upgrading Adobe Flash, because it and Firefox had too many conflicts around FF version 12.

==

Firefox upgrades break more things than they fix.


12 posted on 05/15/2013 7:55:21 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: OneWingedShark

I haven’t been on any machines with less than 6 GB of RAM in several years, so I guess I never noticed.


13 posted on 05/15/2013 7:57:51 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: ShadowAce
I already lost one battle with the “Windows Backup’ virus so I decided to be safe. Is there any safe OS, not for long. I got a trojan every day and now I don't. I got lousy vista and windows 8 and am learning to work around them.
14 posted on 05/15/2013 7:58:16 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: ShadowAce

Damn it! Seems just as I get my Firefox working and looking like I want, they come out with a new version that will screw everything up: Puts the tabs on top, disables a bunch of addons, scrambles/hides my menus, etc. The only “good” thing is that because I’ve had to change it back so often, I’m familiar with all the steps needed.


15 posted on 05/15/2013 8:03:12 AM PDT by CedarDave
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To: rarestia
I haven’t been on any machines with less than 6 GB of RAM in several years, so I guess I never noticed.

I have 6 GB in this machine, but I leave it on.... so it becomes apparent over a few days.

16 posted on 05/15/2013 8:03:26 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: mountainlion
Is there any safe OS, not for long.

No, but there are safer OSes than windows. I don't use any anti-virus, anti-trojan, anti-anything. I haven't since 2003. I've never got a virus/torjan/malware since then.

I don't have to "learn to work around" my OS. It works the way I do. YMMV, of course.

17 posted on 05/15/2013 8:05:07 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: mountainlion
I already lost one battle with the “Windows Backup’ virus so I decided to be safe. Is there any safe OS, not for long. I got a trojan every day and now I don't. I got lousy vista and windows 8 and am learning to work around them.

OpenVMS is a solid & secure OS; though you'd need a VAX, Alpha, or Itanium to use it.

18 posted on 05/15/2013 8:05:40 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: OneWingedShark

I should clarify that I’m using Linux.


19 posted on 05/15/2013 8:07:31 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: rarestia
Leaking memory? I never notice, and I have FF up all day.

I notice, but I leave FF up over several days.

20 posted on 05/15/2013 8:09:34 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: rarestia
I should clarify that I’m using Linux.

Ah; I see. I'm not a fan of Linux (I disagree with the underlying design philosophies & always feel like that OS is working against me)... but I'd actually be surprised if the Linux version (of FireFox) were free of memory leaks itself.

21 posted on 05/15/2013 8:15:17 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: ShadowAce

Anybody know why when I’ve put Firefox on two different laptops I started having trouble with both my touch pad and sound? Uninstalling makes the problems go away. Dell laptops.


22 posted on 05/15/2013 11:01:16 AM PDT by Stentor
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To: OneWingedShark

I have no idea what you are talking about.


23 posted on 05/15/2013 11:09:01 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: mountainlion
I have no idea what you are talking about.

OpenVMS is an operating system; VAX, Alpha, and Itanium are all different CPUs (more accurately architectures).
Wikipedia has good info for each of these, but I'll just leave the OpenVMS link because links to the VAX, Alpha, and Itianium are all there in the first paragraph.

24 posted on 05/15/2013 11:48:07 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Spirochete; ShadowAce
It's YOUR computer but some websites prevent you from using YOUR computer the way it was designed to work, to their benefit, to your detriment.

Many sites disable copy and paste, and a multitude of other right click capabilities such as the way Flickr disables "save this image" parameter from the 'right click' menu.

TIP:If the specific website disables the copy parameter simply take a screenshot, use an OCR tool that renders the text editable. The same process applies to saving an image that sites like Flickr render inoperable by simply taking a screenshot, paste it into MSPaint and crop it to your liking.

This Firefox add-on might help over ride any specific website's "right click" menu from working the way it should. Be forewarned that it sometimes takes several attempts to get Right to Click enabled and with some websites won't work at all so be persistent by repeating the process until successful.

From the Firefox Add-On Site
Right to Click Firefox Add-On
Firefox Add-On Right to Click

About this Add-on Enables right-click, text selection, context-menu, drag&drop and much more where it is disabled by Javascript.

RightToClick protects from annoying alert pop-ups, can remove many timer actions and is able to suppress (unusual) click behavior. The highly sophisticated engine also offers options for fine tuning. Finally it's helpful with image downloads (also disabling CSS might be useful here).

Visit the demonstration page and try to select and to copy some text on http://netticat.ath.cx/RightToClick/RightToClick.htm

How to use: This add-on adds an icon to your add-on-bar which can restore Javascript-disabled features if clicked - or it does other actions according to your configuration. The RightToClick add-on-bar icon offers an enhanced mode on icon right-click (options). There is also a tool-bar button available.

IMPORTANT Before using RightToClick you need to check the RightToClick options: Choose what specific page Javascript features should be disabled if RightToClick is started. If you find that RightToClick removed some useful page functionality, un-tick more check-boxes in the options pane.

I found more and more sites using those dirty tricks and decided to code this small add-on. There are a lot of possible tricks - if RightToClick fails, please help improving the add-on and visiting my support-forum to post the complete page URL Thank you ! p> **************** - If you have problems or suggestions please do not post it here but visit my support site (homepage).
- Looking for a development version? If available, you would find it on the addons homepage at the very bottom, See support URL. ****************

25 posted on 05/15/2013 12:31:19 PM PDT by lbryce (BHO:"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds by way Oppenheiner at Trinity NM)
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To: Spirochete; ShadowAce

I forgot to mention that “Right to Click” is rated as being excellent with a maximum of five stars.


26 posted on 05/15/2013 12:35:37 PM PDT by lbryce (BHO:"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds by way Oppenheiner at Trinity NM)
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To: ShadowAce
Interesting. I’ve never noticed it. I’ll try to pay closer attention.

The context menu works fine in version 18.0.2. In subsequent versions, the bug symptoms are: only the bottom and right edges appear when the mouse is right clicked.

In version 19 and up, I can make it happen consistently here on FR by right-clicking between the lines of post. It may be interaction with addons (noscript, ghostery refcontrol).

27 posted on 05/15/2013 1:27:24 PM PDT by Spirochete (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: Spirochete
OK--I run NoScript, but not Ghostery or RefControl.

It works fine for me here on FR.

Try disabling all your addons, test the functionality, and re-enable them one by one to see which one is causing the interference.

28 posted on 05/15/2013 1:53:16 PM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: OneWingedShark

It does depend on extensions, plugins, O/S and possibly other factors. My old laptops are 512 MB machines; I hibernate and wake them all the time with only rare reboots. Firefox memory goes up and down but does not trend up.


29 posted on 05/15/2013 2:03:38 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: ShadowAce

I’m to the point of going back to Safari. FF 20.0
Ever since the last FF update I’ve had a problem of starting up. It gives me a blurb about being embarrassed but it can’t start in the tabs I was in when I quit the last time.
Fooling w/ the tab/window options has no effect.
Annoying.
Oh, another problem. Select Private Browsing and then try to go back to normal browsing. It’s stuck. Lose any cookies you may want (FR, banks, etc)
This is the same on 2 different Macs.
Really annoying.


30 posted on 05/16/2013 8:34:25 AM PDT by Vinnie
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To: ShadowAce

I remember when Firefox was still relatively new. Lean, fast, and very customizable with numerous plugins.

It hasn’t been lean and fast in a while. Maybe these newer versions have restored Firefox to its old glory?


31 posted on 05/16/2013 8:35:49 AM PDT by Ted Grant
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To: ShadowAce; Vinnie

Just updated to FF21.0
The issues mentioned in my previous post, Tabs options stuck, restarting FF have been solved in FF21.

Yea !


32 posted on 05/17/2013 11:00:48 AM PDT by Vinnie
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