Mozilla has released Firefox 53 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The desktop browser comes with two new themes designed to give more screen real estate to web pages: Compact Light and Compact Dark. The Android version of Firefox has a new Compact Tabs option that lets you see more browser tabs at once by putting them in two rows instead of one.

But the biggest change may be the inclusion of the new Quantum Compositor, which should lead to improved graphics rendering and fewer browser crashes.

The Quantum Compositor is the first major part of Mozilla’s Project Quantum effort to update the core technologies to take advantage of modern computer hardware.

The new graphics compositor leverages your computer’s GPU to run quickly without using up CPU resources. And since it’s running in a separate process from the rest of the browser, a graphics compositor crash will no longer cause the whole browser to crash. In fact, it won’t even crash a single browser tab.

Mozilla says the Quantum Compositor works on computers with Intel, AMD, or NVIDIA graphics that are running Windows 7 or later. It’s not used on MacOS, which Mozilla says already has offers stable graphics compositing.

While Mozilla is embracing modern hardware, the company is dropping support for older software: Firefox 53 is the first version of the web browser that won’t support Windows XP, Windows Vista, or 32-bit Mac OS X. Firefox 53 also no longer supports Linux computers with Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Opteron or older chips.

Another new feature in Firefox 53 is a redesigned user interface for granting permissions to a website when it asks to access your camera or other hardware. A message will pop up and let you know what hardware a site wants to access and give you the option of remembering your choice or granting it just once. You can always change your settings later by clicking the “i” icon in the location bar.

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3 replies on “Firefox 53 brings new graphics engine, new themes, new site permission UI”

  1. New mandatory Dark/Light themes are NO GOOD. I use a persona switcher, and have many themes. The switcher re-enables the disabled themes in rotation. Since mozilla has made the totalitarian decision to force themes on users without any way to remove the new mandatory themes, my switcher keeps hitting them randomly. This is a major pain since the Dark them especially is horrible and makes my whole top navigation unreadable. Its shameful that firefox is going in the direction of being Mozilla Edge.

  2. firefox 53 has screwed up my VOIP using appear.in. How do I go back to 52?

  3. I’m on 52.0.2 (32-bit) for Linux/Ubuntu-based now. Older hardware but it runs quickly. Do not have a dedicated graphics card. Wonder if this will even be available to me and if so… how my older laptop will respond. Will definitely wait for other similar users to test the waters before attempting an upgrade.

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