Firefox 5.0 Released, Mozilla Working on Built-in PDF Viewer

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Mozilla is working on a new build of Firefox that will add PDF rendering using HTML5 and Javascript. Mozilla hopes to eliminate the need for users to run Adobe’s own plug-in to view PDF files.

According to a Mozilla researcher, Mozilla plans on including the PDF reader in Firefox within the next three months. Mozilla has been quietly working on this new feature for a month now. This will make Firefox the second major browser, after Google’s Chome browser, to offer users built in PDF support.

Mozilla argues that while Chrome may rely on an API to allow for the PDF viewing support, Firefox will exclusively use HTML5 and Javascript to make it happen.

“The traditional approach to rendering PDFs in a browser is to use a native-code plug-in, either Adobe’s own PDF Reader or other commercial renderers, or some open-source alternative. From a security perspective, this enlarges the trusted code base, and because of that, Google’s Chrome browser goes through quite some pain to sandbox the PDF renderer to avoid code injection attacks. An HTML5-based implementation is completely immune to this class of problems,” Mozilla stated.

Adobe’s Reader is a free PDF viewer plugin that has faced many flaws in its lifetime. This year alone, the viewer has been updated five times to fix flaws.

You can check out the project, called “pdf.js,” and read up on Mozilla’s plans. Mozilla also expressed interest in having their pdf.js embedded in other browsers or Web applications in the future.

Mozilla also announced the release of Firefox 5.0, which is way ahead of Mozilla’s targeted June 21st release date. Mozilla is working on an accelerated release date for its Firefox browser.

So whats new in 5.0?

1) Support for CSS transitions has been added
2) The preference for “Do Not Track” has been moved to aid easier discoverability by users
3) Improvements for canvas, JavaScript, and networking performance, and memory usage
4) Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas
5) Improvements to spell checking for various languages
6) Improvements to Linux desktop environment integration
7) Performance improvements for background tabs
8) WebGL fixes: a fix for cross-domain textures and a fix to address the memory stealing issue

Download Firefox 5.0 for Windows (32bit)
Download Firefox 5.0 for Linux (32bit)
Download Firefox 5.0 for Mac OSX
Download mirror @ MajorGeeks