Firefox 53 drops support for Windows XP and Vista, reduces crashes and adds new themes

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Mozilla on Wednesday released Firefox 53 for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. Chief among the changes in Mozilla’s latest is the inclusion of a new Quantum Compositor, a couple of new themes for desktop users and the drop of support for older versions of Windows.

Originally announced in October, Project Quantum is Mozilla’s effort to develop a next-gen browser engine to take full advantage of modern hardware. The Quantum Compositor is one of the first important pieces of the puzzle. As Mozilla’s Nick Nguyen explains:

We’ve now extracted a core part of our browser engine (the graphics compositor) to run in a process separate from the main Firefox process. The compositor determines what you see on your screen by flattening into one image all the layers of graphics that the browser computes, kind of like how Photoshop combines layers.

Because the Quantum Compositor runs on the GPU instead of the CPU, it’s super-fast. And, because of occasional bugs in underlying device drivers, the graphics compositor can sometimes crash. By running the Quantum Compositor in a separate process, if it crashes, it won’t bring down all of Firefox, or even your current tab.

In testing, Mozilla claims the Quantum Compositor reduces browser crashes by about 10 percent.

Firefox 53 for desktop also ships with two new themes – Compact Light and Compact Dark – that shrink the size of the browser’s user interface in order to provide more real estate for web pages. Compact Light retains Firefox's default light color scheme while Compact Dark inverts colors to reduce eye strain (especially in low-light environments). To toggle the new themes, simply click the menu button then select Add-ons -> Appearance.

Mozilla’s latest officially drops support for Windows XP and Vista (32-bit Mac OS X is no longer supported, either). Microsoft, if you recall, ended mainstream support for Windows XP in 2009 while Vista reached end-of-life status earlier this month.

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jobeard

TS Ambassador
OUCH - - "Because the Quantum Compositor runs on the GPU instead of the CPU, it’s super-fast."
There is also no known AV today that can protect the GPU and thus GPU acceleration is an infection vector.

Long time FF user is headed to Google Chrome....
 

ikesmasher

TS Evangelist
OUCH - - "Because the Quantum Compositor runs on the GPU instead of the CPU, it’s super-fast."
There is also no known AV today that can protect the GPU and thus GPU acceleration is an infection vector.

Long time FF user is headed to Google Chrome....
I quite imagine the content is run through some sort of channel for that reason before getting thrown at the gpu.
Then again, knowing firefox....starting to think the devs care more about themes than they do memory leaks or the MANY cookie issues ive had through the years.

Wont switch to chrome though, google gets plenty of my personal information as it is.
 

jack_alexander

TS Enthusiast
53 crashes on a regular basis. I noticed that when I tried one of the later betas and now the release version. It also has some display problems. I've gone back to 52.02. I hope that when the get to 53.01 or .02 it gets fixed, but it is not, as it stands now a finished product. Win 8.1