Firefox 98 Is Now Available for Download with a New Optimized Download Flow

Firefox 98

The Firefox 98 is now available for download ahead of tomorrow’s (March 8th) official launch for fans of this open-source and cross-platform web browser for GNU/Linux, Android, macOS, iOS, and Windows platforms.

While Mozilla sticks to its monthly release cycle for new Firefox releases, it would appear that Firefox 98 is a minor update that only brings a few changes. One of the biggest changes is a new optimized download flow where files are downloaded automatically without prompting the user to choose between opening the file with a certain application or saving it.

In previous Firefox releases, the user was prompted by a dialog when attempting to download a file. That dialog contained an option that let you do just that, setting one of the available actions (open or save), but only for certain types of files. Now, this is done automatically in Firefox 98 for all downloadable files.

Mozilla says that users can still open downloaded files from the downloads panel with just one click. In addition, Firefox 98 adds the ability to delete downloaded files directly from the downloads panel via a new “Delete” right-click context menu option.

Among other changes, this release promises to improve the loading of add-ons during startup by only using webRequest blocking calls. According to Mozilla, webRequest non-blocking calls caused an early startup for add-ons, which can be translated to a performance issue for Firefox, so the web browser should start faster now.

For web developers, Firefox 98 enables the <dialog> HTML element by default to add support for HTML-based modal dialog boxes, improves the hyphenate-character property to set a string that’s used instead of a hyphen character (-) at the end of a hyphenation line break, adds support for the HTMLElement.outerText DOM element, and improves the navigator.registerProtocolHandler() API to register protocol handlers for the ftp, sftp, and ftps schemes.

As mentioned before, Mozilla will officially announce Firefox 98 on March 8th, 2022, but if you want to take it for a test drive on your GNU/Linux distribution, you can download the binaries for 64-bit or 32-bit systems, as well as source tarball, right now from Mozilla’s FTP server.

And, if you’re wondering, Wayland is still not enabled by default in this release since Mozilla said that it’s only a feature for its Nightly (alpha) Firefox releases, which was also updated today to Firefox 99, a release that promises to bring GTK overlay scrollbars, support for searching with or without diacritics in the PDF viewer, as well as the ability to toggle Narrate in ReaderMode with the “n” key.

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