Firefox 104 Enters Beta Testing with Two-Finger Swipe Back/Forward Gesture on Linux

Firefox 104 Beta

With Firefox 103 out the door, Mozilla’s engineers are now focusing their efforts on the next major Firefox release, Firefox 104, which was promoted to the beta channel a couple of days ago.

Firefox 104 doesn’t look like a big release, but it may be an important release for Linux laptop users as it enables a long-anticipated feature, namely a two-finger horizontal swipe gesture to navigate forward and backward using a touchpad, which now works out-of-the-box without holding down the Alt key.

The two-finger swipe back/forward gesture was available in the Firefox web browser since version 4.0, which was released back in 2011 as the first 64-bit build for Linux, but you needed to hold down the Alt key to use it.

The two-finger swipe back/forward gesture feature was supposed to land in Firefox 103, but due to a blocker bug it was delayed, hopefully for Firefox 104. If the feature is working out-of-the-box in Firefox 104, users will be able to tweak its sensitivity via the widget.swipe.whole-page-pixel-size preference.

The feature currently only works on Wayland, but it can be easily tweaked to work on X11 by using the MOZ_USE_XINPUT2=1 environment variable. Below you can see it in action, but I encourage you to test drive it on your Linux machine and send feedback to Mozilla.

Among other noteworthy changes, Firefox 104 also updates the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) feature to add support for subtitles on the Disney+ video streaming service and improves the built-in PDF viewer to allow for text writing, drawing, and signature.

For web developers, Firefox 104 promises support for the Array.prototype.findLast(), Array.prototype.findLastIndex(), TypedArray.prototype.findLast(), and TypedArray.prototype.findLastIndex() methods, which are used to find the value of the last element in an Array or TypedArray that matches a supplied test function and index it.

The final release of Firefox 104 is expected to hit the streets on August 23rd, 2022, when Mozilla will also release the last update to the Firefox 91 ESR series, as well as the second point release to the new Firefox 102 ESR series.

Until then, you can test drive Firefox 104 by downloading the latest beta release from the official website. However, be aware that this is a pre-release version that may crash unexpectedly, so make sure that you don’t use it for any production work.

Last updated 2 years ago

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