Firefox 18 has been released.
Twelve of the security fixes were deemed critical.
This can improve runtime performance greatly, albeit with potential security costs. (There’s obviously a lot more to go wrong when you generate machine code and feed it directly into the CPU.)
IonMonkey is supposed to improve the code optimisation habits of the JaegerMonkey JIT compiler, allowing it to generate code that’s 25% faster, at least in carefully-chosen benchmarks showcased by Mozilla.
This new feature comes at a cost: complexity.
TURKTRUST certificates distrusted
The security fix that will probably ring the most bells with Naked Security readers is the one that officially deals with the TURKTRUST SSL certificate blunder.
You will notice that it removes TURKTRUST‘s most recently issued root certificate (issued in 2007 and valid until 2017) altogether.
Presuambly, when the dust has settled on this incident, TURKTRUST will mint a new root certificate and persuade the Mozilla team to re-adopt it as a bestower of trust.
Additionally, the two known wrongly-issued intermediate certificates that were generated by TURKTRUST back in 2011 are now recognised by Firefox and treated as explicitly distrusted. That means that any SSL certificates signed by those intermediate certificates simply won’t work.
MacBook Pro Retina support
The really groovy thing, at least for readers who are as fortunate as I am, and who own a MacBook Pro with Retina display, is that Firefox 18 now directly supports the enhanced-resolution Retina modes.
The text in your Firefox browser window now really does look like a printed page.
(I told Chester. His response? “Meh.” Ignore him. If you are a Retina-owning Firefox user, upgrade to Firefox 18 now for the HiDPI text rendering alone. It really is groovy.)
Built-in PDF viewer still turned off
Sadly, by default, you’ll still officially need a plugin (or an external program) to read PDF files. Firefox’s long-awaited built-in PDF viewer, known as pdf.js, hasn’t yet gone live.
Of course, you can turn it on if you like, simply by visiting the URI about:config and changing the setting pdfjs.disabled from true to false.
I only had one disappointment in doing so, namely that when you’re in the PDF viewer, the Retina display isn’t properly supported.
In a HiDPI Retina mode, PDF text is blurrier than in the corresponding non-Retina mode, presumably because the display is trying to improve things with anti-aliasing but merely exaggerating the lower resolution of the content.
Still, you can’t have everything.