Firefox Quantum now available under Debian Linux

There has been an ongoing subject, concerning Debian distributions of Linux, and Firefox upgrades. The Debian users, at least if they were restricting themselves to standard repositories, were being held back to a version of Firefox, which was referred to as Firefox-ESR, which stands for ‘Extended Support Release’. This release was receiving regular security patches, but no major upgrade in the version number, which meant that it was always at some sub-version of Firefox 52…

Well only yesterday, my two Debian / Stretch computers, which I name ‘Plato’ and ‘Klexel’, finally received a much-anticipated upgrade to Firefox Quantum, which is also known as Firefox-ESR, v60…

screenshot_20180909_114409

I am happy with Firefox Quantum, but perhaps only, because certain earlier, unstable versions of it, never made it into the Debian repositories? There is one observation about this updated browser-version which I need to make. As was announced, Mozilla dropped support for the old, ‘Netscape Plugin API’, which I had still been using to custom-compile plug-ins. Instead of using this API, up-to-date developers are being asked to use the ‘firefox-esr-dev’ package. but alas, the last time I checked, this package was not up to version 60… This package was still at version 52…

At the same time, only certain, signed plug-ins, such as Shockwave Flash, will actually load, in Firefox 60… Firefox-ESR, v52, was to be the last version, under which we could simply custom-compile plug-ins. And so it truly is. At the same time, if I uninstalled the development package for ‘NPAPI’, and if I did install the ‘firefox-esr-dev’ package in the past, many source-projects which I was able to download, could not recognize that the required header-files were present, and would not compile. Well now, even if they do compile, the binaries they produce, won’t load. :-P

I should mention, that with Firefox, Plug-Ins are not the same thing as Extensions. Plug-Ins are meant to decode embedded media streams of various sorts, while Extensions are meant to extend the actual functionality of the browser itself. Many of the old extensions, have newer versions, designed for Firefox Quantum.

But then, I’m not so attached to the custom-compiled plug-ins, that this would be a deal-breaker for Firefox Quantum.

Dirk

 

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