updated 12:07 pm EST, Tue December 10, 2013
Firefox 26 brings click-to-play, MemShrink
Mozilla has announced the release of version 26.0 of its popular Firefox browser. The update adds a number of new features, and it is one of the more significant updates to the browser in some time. Chief among these updates is the ability to exert greater control over plug-ins and memory usage, including the ability to have plug-ins only begin playing when a user chooses directly to have them do so.
Firefox will continue to enable all plug-ins - except Java - by default. The Click to Play feature will likely make its way into a future version of the browser, but it is still undergoing additional beta testing for now.
Chad Weiner, Director of Product Management for Firefox, explained Mozilla's decisions with regard to Click to Play:
"To provide a better and safer experience on the Web, we have been working on ways to provide users with more control over their plugins. In the latest Firefox Beta, we asked users to test a feature we called Click to Play plugins. The latest release of Firefox will continue to enable all plugins-except Java-by default while the Click to Play feature goes through additional testing in Beta. In the coming weeks, we will announce details of a plugin whitelist policy that will provide a path to exempting certain plugins and websites from our Click to Play policy. We want to give developers time to react to the whitelist policy and provide feedback."
Mozilla left flash unblocked by default because "Flash content is so common on the Web, and many websites use 'hidden' Flash instances that the user does not see and cannot click on."
Firefox 26 also adds support for script-generated password fields, and updates can now be performed by Windows users without having to write permissions to the Firefox install directory. The update also adds support for H.264 on Linux if the appropriate gstreamer plug-ins are installed.
Also seeing changes were support for MP3 decoding on Windows XP, which completed MP3 support across Windows OS versions. Firefox also tweaked the CSP implementation so that it supports multiple policies, including the case of both an enforced and Report-Only policy.
[Correction: An earlier version of this article claimed that Mozilla was blocking all plug-ins by default except for Flash. Having consulted with Mozilla, Electronista has corrected this error.]