Firefox 19 launches with native PDF viewer on board

Firefox 19 launches with native PDF viewer on board

Summary: Mozilla's latest browser release delivers plugin-free PDF viewing, after recent efforts to restrict Firefox plugins

TOPICS: Browser, Open Source

After Mozilla's recent efforts to restrict Firefox plugins, including Adobe's PDF Reader, the newly released Firefox 19 has launched with a native answer to PDF viewing in the browser.

The PDF viewer is the only major new feature in Firefox 19 and means users on Windows, Mac and Linux will no longer need to rely on plugins to view PDFs.

The PDF viewer is based on the Mozilla-supported HTML5 project PDF.js, which delivered a JavaScript platform to render PDFs in the browser. The feature was integrated in to the Firefox 19 beta release in January. 

The viewer itself is capable of running on PCs, tablets and mobiles, but was not included in the accompanying Android Firefox update, which brings additional themes, support for traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese, and performance enhancements.

Mozilla is promoting easier PDF viewing without the need to install plugins for products like Adobe Reader. It highlighted last month "closed source code" plugins that could potentially expose users to security vulnerabilities.

Mozilla has tackled plugin security issues with its recently broadened Click-to-Play feature, which by default will restrict all browser plugins, except the latest version of Flash, from loading until a user gives it permission. 

Topics: Browser, Open Source

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Firefox 19 launches with native PDF viewer on board

    Thanks, I just upgraded to Firefox 19. I can understand Firefox wanting to restrict opening PDF files but it was a bit annoying trying to let it open in a new tab and click the link to allow it to load. I prefer it to load automatically. There was probably a setting for that somewhere. Just tried out the PDF feature its fast and light unlike Adobe's plug-in.

    Kudos to Mozilla.
    • PDFs open automatically in the existing tab for me

      PDFs open automatically in the existing tab for me, using the new Firefox 19 PDF support.
      • They do for me as well

        But in FF18 that wasn't the case.
    • Loverock-Davidson

      you're fired from the position of a respected M$ troll, by audaciously admitting to use Firefox!
      On a side note, "automatic" launch is what MSFT is been feeding people for 20 some years, hence loveletter, conficker, stuxnet etc. Thanks, we'd rather not.
      • If you'd been following him closely

        you'd know that in addition to being a fan of all things Microsoft, he is also high on the fan list of Firefox and FreeBSD.
        Michael Kelly
  • good job, Mozilla

    Yes, if I'd use a browser on Windows, I would trust Mozilla much more than Adobe. However, on GNU/Linux we get better pdf viewers, such as kpdf/okular, evince/atril, xpdf and ghostscript. Some of hem can handle other document formats as well, such as djvu, postscript
  • Seems Interesting

    Well I guess its an amazing thing. One of the interesting posts like the one I read ... Thanks for sharing the info
    Flavia Johnson
  • FireFox rocks the Browser world

    I have Installed the latest version of FireFox i.e version 19.
    Also tried to view the pdf. Its awesome. Looking forward for newer version
    I have posted some useful information about FireFox 19 on my Blog
    Khalid SHARIEF
  • The new built-in PDF viewer really SUCKS!

    Sorry, but this upgrade to Firefox 19 has been nothing but a huge headache. I've never had this many things go wrong in Firefox since I started using it -- that was Firefox 0.7!!!

    Many web pages do not display properly or do not display at all. At work, I had to go back to Firefox v18. I use it on a lot of web-based industrial devices and suddenly none of them are accessible anymore. It isn't our network (nothing has changed), it isn't my computer - it is EVERY computer with Firefox 19 or later. With 18, everything works great, as it always had.

    Also, NOT a single PDF has displayed properly with this viewer. On some sites, Firefox and this view show that no PDF is available. So now, I have to use Safari or Chrome when I want to view or download a PDF and I use Firefox for most of my browsing... except for those sites that suddenly quit working with 19. I'll have to start making a list because I can't name more than a couple at the moment.

    What did Mozilla do to mess up regular browsing? Why did they force this broken, junk PDF viewer upon us?