Does anyone here remember my previous article about Firefox 57? It was entitiled Firefox 57: Does It Deserve The Hype? and as I recall, I said yes, it does. Well, I am pleased to tell you that Firefox 57 is now here!!!
And I should care because?
Because it’s much better. Mozilla have replaced their (rather outdated) Gecko engine with a new one, known as Electrolysis. Electrolysis’s main trump card is that it makes Firefox a true multiprocess browser. Instead of giving each tab its own process, however, Mozilla have abandoned Chrome’s method and have limited the amount of processes to four, which they see as the “Goldilocks” number of processes. The general gist of the idea is that if more than four tabs open, they have to share a process. If you have five tabs open, two of the tabs have to share a process.
And it seems to work. Mozilla tested Quantum (which is full-on Electrolysis) against Firefox 52, the last ESR (Extended Support Release), which has no Electrolysis components whatsoever. Their tests proved that Electrolysis is twice as fast as Gecko, and uses 30% less RAM than Google’s Chromium engine, which powers such browsers as Opera, Google Chrome and Brave.
Electrolysis also handles tabs better. When it’s new tab-processing code was rolled out in Firefox 55, Mozilla dev performed a test where he loaded 1691 different tabs in Firefox versions 50 through 55. He found that while the others loaded them in around five minutes, Firefox 55 performed the task in 15 seconds. Amazing!
There’s also the new Photon UI. Put shortly, this:
As part of Photon, there’s also a new Settings page:
A new Addons page:
And even a new 404 page!
Yes, they were taken at different times.
Faster and even more minimalist, Firefox Quantum makes Chrome look old.
You see? You see? Quantum even has a new tab loading animation. It also looks better than Chrome’s.
My favourite feature is the new homepage. Not only is it far better than the old one, it’s also used as the new New Tab page (no word wizardry intended). This means I can now ditch the New Tab Override Extension, because I always used to make it redirect the tab to the homepage. And let’s face it, the old New Tab page was a bit rubbish.
Another thing Firefox 57 ditches is Legacy extensions. This means some of your extensions will no longer work. Though most devs have updated their extensions, there are two main ones that I’d like to emphasize: LastPass and User-Agent switcher.
LastPass, being massively popular, have not been sitting on their butts all this time. The LastPass Beta extension now is a WebExtension. You can pick it up here. Don’t worry, not only is the Beta actually rather stable, you will be transitioned back to the normal release channel once the stable WebExtension has been released.
With regards to User-Agent Switchter, development on that seems to be halted, so no updates any time soon. Fortunately, the extension was an open source project, and a fork was created. You can get it here.
Excited? You should be. To upgrade, click the hamburger menu in the top right corner, click the question mark and click About Firefox. Firefox will then proceed to install your updates. The update has also been released to Ubuntu fans, so you guys should just close all Firefox windows, then run the Software Updater app.
Are you excited for this new Firefox? Do you think you’ll switch from Chrome or Opera or Edge? Please let us know in the comments!