Firefox 102 has just been released by the Mozilla Foundation. A major Linux-specific change is the addition of GeoClue geolocation support, as well as a new PDF viewer.
Improvements in Firefox 102 Linux
The main improvement in Firefox 102 for Linux is its support for the GeoClue service. GeoClue is a Linux-specific service for the D-bus messaging service that allows programs running on the same machine to communicate with each other. GeoClue is a service that approximates a user’s location and allows applications that use geolocation to work, such as mapping applications.
The decision was made to bring Firefox’s behavior in line with how other Linux apps handle location data, a Mozilla bug report.
In the context of Firefox, GeoClue allows the Linux version of Firefox to work with websites like Google Maps and streaming services like Netflix or HBO Max to deliver content for a user’s location.
How can Linux users get Firefox 102?
Since Firefox is the default browser on many Linux desktops, including Ubuntu, most users will choose to receive it as an automatic update through their package manager. Since distribution managers generally consider Internet-accessible software, such as web browsers, to be security-critical, they will likely release Firefox 102 quickly to their users. Impatient users can simply download Firefox 102 directly from the download page.
Can Firefox 102 keep Firefox relevant?
While Mozilla emphasizes Firefox’s better privacy protections than Google Chrome, including the ability to hide users’ location data to avoid government or commercial surveillance, the reality is that Mozilla Firefox is fell to a distant fourth place behind Chrome, Safari and even Microsoft Edge from June 2022, according to Statistics counter.
It will likely take more than simple geolocation and PDF viewer changes to win back users who have long since switched to Chrome. It’s unclear whether emphasizing privacy can attract more users unless they see how what they do online can affect them in the real world.
Firefox still burns with version 102
Although much less popular than in its glory days in the 2000s, the browser is sticking with those with privacy concerns and adding features to improve the browsing experience for power users. A useful new feature is collections, which allow users to organize open tabs.