Firefox 93 Enters Public Beta Testing with AVIF Support Enabled by Default

Firefox 93 Beta

A few hours ahead of the launch of the Firefox 92 release, Mozilla promoted today the upcoming Firefox 93 web browser to the beta channel for public testing.

Here we go again. Firefox’s (probably) most delayed feature, the enablement of support for the AVIF image format by default, is now planned for the next major release of the popular, open-source, free, and cross-platform web browser used by millions of users worldwide on both desktop and mobile platforms.

Yes, I’m talking about Firefox 93, which just entered public beta testing today and the biggest new feature appears to be support for the new AV1 Image File Format (AVIF) next-generation image format based on the modern and royalty free AV1 video codec, which promises major bandwidth savings.

AVIF support in Firefox is in development for more than four (4) years, and while the feature was there since Firefox 86, it hasn’t been enabled by default until now due to various bugs and regressions. Of course, you could always enable it yourself, but the experience may be buggy on some sites.

According to Mozilla employee and Firefox developer Jon Bauman, the current plan for AVIF in Firefox is to enable it by default in Firefox 93 with the image.avif.compliance_strictness option changed from 1 (normal) to 0 (maximally permissive), and telemetry enabled for the next few Firefox releases to “determine what fraction of images would be rejected and why.”

“Though it can be tempting to make readers as permissive as possible (people just want to see the images!), this comes at the cost of normalizing invalid files, making the standards less useful and making future implementations more challenging,” said said Bauman. “Since the number of AVIFs in circulation is only going to increase, it’s generally not feasible to make implementations stricter in the future.”

Let’s hope that Firefox 93 will be the release to (finally!) enable AVIF support by default, and you can take the beta version for a test drive right now by download the binaries for 64-bit or 32-bit GNU/Linux systems from the beta release notes page. However, please keep in mind that this is a pre-release version, so don’t use it for any production work.

The final release of the Firefox 93 web browser is planned for October 5th, 2021.

Last updated 2 years ago

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