Mozilla will release Firefox 21.0 on May 14, 2013 and shortly thereafter update the Beta, Aurora and Nightly channels of the browser to Firefox 22.0, 23.0 and 24.0 respectively.
The updates will be transferred to Mozilla's ftp server first before they will be announced on the official website. If you have configured automatic updates, you should not have to worry about that though as your browser will get updated automatically when you start it after the update becomes available.
We rely on the beta release notes - as always - as our main source to find out what is new in this version of the Firefox web browser. Note that Mozilla may have made pulled or modified individual items, and if that is the case, we will let you know once the final version comes out.
It is also important to note that the log only highlights some changes and not all of them.
Do Not Track improvements
The Do Not Track feature has been part of Firefox for some time now. You can enable it to add information to each connection request to tell sites about your tracking preference. Up until now, Do Not Track supported the two states "Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked" and "Do not tell sites anything about my tracking preference".
No option was provided so far to tell websites that you want to be tracked. That's why Mozilla added a third option to the browser's Do Not Track feature. You can now enable "Tell sites that I want to be tracked" as well in Firefox.
So, if you want to see targeted ads on the Internet check the new option to enable that.
Firefox Health Report
A preliminary implementation of the Firefox Health Report has been integrated into Firefox 21.0. FHR will collect technical information about the Firefox browser and the system it is running on. This includes the operating system and number of processors, the version of Firefox and the number and type of add-ons installed in the browser, as well as information about browser sessions and the age of the user profile.
According to the Firefox Health Report FAQ, it will help Mozilla make Firefox better in a number of ways, for instance by using the data sets to find add-ons or Firefox versions that contribute to performance or stability issues.
Mozilla notes that IP addresses are not logged by the feature, and that collected data will remain on their server for 180 days before it gets deleted.
You may wonder how that is different from Telemetry, another feature that sends data to Mozilla. While Telemetry runs tests based on part of the code base, Health Report collects general information about the browser instead and makes the information available to the user.
Slow Startup Warnings
Mozilla has integrated a slow startup warning feature in Firefox 21.0. It analyzes the startup time of the browser to display a notification to the user if a threshold is reached. It uses the average load time of the last five sessions to display a notification to the user if it is slower than 60 seconds.
H.264 support for Windows 7 and newer versions
Mozilla made the decision some time ago to integrate support for the proprietary format H.264 indirectly to Firefox. If the host operating system supports the feature, Firefox will make use of it.
Support for the format is first introduced for Windows 7 and newer versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. If all goes according to plans, Vista users will receive support in the next version of the browser. Mozilla is also working on adding support to Windows XP, Linux and Mac systems and while there is no word yet on Linux and Mac availability, it seems that Windows XP users can start making use of H.264 from Firefox 24 on.
You find them all listed and linked on the Security Advisories page for Firefox.
MFSA 2013-48 Memory corruption found using Address Sanitizer
MFSA 2013-47 Uninitialized functions in DOMSVGZoomEvent
MFSA 2013-46 Use-after-free with video and onresize event
MFSA 2013-45 Mozilla Updater fails to update some Windows Registry entries
MFSA 2013-44 Local privilege escalation through Mozilla Maintenance Service
MFSA 2013-43 File input control has access to full path
MFSA 2013-42 Privileged access for content level constructor
MFSA 2013-41 Miscellaneous memory safety hazards (rv:21.0 / rv:17.0.6)
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.