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Firefox 88 Beta Adds Smooth Pinch-Zooming Support for Linux on Wayland, Enables AVIF by Default

Firefox 88 beta

Mozilla released today the Firefox 87 web browser for all supported platforms and also pushed the next major release, Firefox 88, into the Beta Channel for public beta testing.

While you’re waiting for Firefox 87 to land in the stable software repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distribution, let me tell you that Firefox 88 has hit the Beta Channel today with some interesting features for Linux users.

One of these new features is support for smooth pinch-zooming using a touchpad on Linux systems using Wayland. For those not in the known, pinch to zoom in Firefox works on Linux systems by holding down the Ctrl key on your laptop’s keyboard.

The second new feature for Linux users is the enablement of AVIF (AV1 Image File Format) support by default, which was supposed to arrive a few releases ago, but Mozilla keeps delaying it because they want to implement more features like 10-bit and 12-bit channel support, transforms, etc.

In the first beta release of Firefox 88, AVIF support is enabled by default, so let’s hope that it stays like that until the final release on April 20th, 2021. Anyway, as I said before, you can always enable it by default even on Firefox 87 or earlier versions by setting the image.avif.enabled option in about:config to true.

Last but not least, Firefox 88 appears to enable the WebRender feature by default on KDE Plasma and Xfce systems running under X11 and using Intel/AMD hardware. WebRender was already enabled by default for GNOME/X11 users with the Firefox 84 release.

Several users on Reddit have reported this to be working on KDE Plasma with the AMDGPU driver, but I wasn’t able to make it work on my AMD/Nvidia machine even if using the AMD GPU by default.

For Android users, Firefox 88 promises to address an issue where full-screen or picture-in-picture video playback won’t display correctly on websites using a desktop viewport.

If you want to take the Firefox 88 beta release for a test drive to experiment with the new features, you can download the 64-bit or 32-bit binaries, the snap package, or the source tarball right now from Mozilla’s FTP servers. However, please keep in mind not to use it for any production work!

Last updated 3 weeks ago