Mozilla Firefox 80 Is Now Available for Download with VAAPI Acceleration on X11

Mozilla Firefox 80

Slated for release on August 25th, the Mozilla Firefox 80 web browser is now available for grabs from the official download server for all supported platforms, including Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Mozilla Firefox 80 sounds like a massive update to the popular, open-source web browser, but, in fact, it’s not. I’ve been keeping an eye on the changes and haven’t noticed many major features since Mozilla Firefox 79.

One of the coolest things in Firefox 80 that Linux users were probably expecting for some time now is support for FFmpeg/VAAPI acceleration for video playback on X11. The Wayland implementation was already in place since a previous release.

The new feature is implemented as two options accessible via the about:config page, but it’s disabled by default. To enable it, you have to open a new tab, type about:config, and search for vaapi.

You’ll see two options, media.ffmpeg.vaapi-drm-display.enabled and media.ffmpeg.vaapi.enabled, which must be set to “true” if you want to take advantage of the Video Acceleration API, so double click on them.

Mozilla Firefox 80

It’s a good idea to restart the web browser after enabling these options. After that, you can try to see if video playback is improved in YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

Firefox 80 also appears to introduce a new setup wizard that will appear on the current tab when you run the web browser for the first time.

It will ask you some basic things like if you want to import passwords, bookmarks, etc. from other browsers, as well as to choose between Light and Dark themes or an automatic mode that changes Firefox’s theme based on the system theme.

Among other changes, Firefox 80 lets users set the web browser as the default system PDF viewer, introduces a new add-ons blocklist to improve the overall performance and scalability, reduces the number of animations for users with migraines and epilepsy, and improves the JAWS screen reader.

If you can’t wait until tomorrow’s official launch, you can download Firefox 80 right now from Mozilla’s FTP server. I’ve pointed you to the binary archive, which only needs to be extracted somewhere on your computer if you just want to use the latest version of the web browser. It will not overwrite your current Firefox installation.

Update 25/08/20: Mozilla officially released the Firefox 80.0 web browser and published the full release notes for those interested in all the changes and fixes. I have also updated the article accordingly and you can now download Firefox 80 from the official website.

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