Firefox 19 launches with native PDF viewer on board

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

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.

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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.