We could all do with a bit of empathy in our systems, says Mozilla as it ships Firefox 75 in the thick of global pandemic

Also: Interim CEO Mitchell Baker drops the 'interim' part

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Mozilla has squeezed out version 75 of the Firefox browser, crediting "empathy" in its systems for an ability to continue emissions even as Microsoft and Google hit the pause button on their Chromium-based apps.

The release came hot on the heels of fixes aimed at plugging holes in both version 74 and the Extended Support Release (ESR) of Firefox.

Version 75 of the newly third-placed browser (depending how you take your market-share statistics) includes some significant search improvements, with results arising from searches in the address bar featuring popular keywords in a bold font. The address bar itself also enlarges when the user opts to do a search, replete with a larger font.

As well as the cosmetics (some of which bring Firefox more into line with the competition and also aligns the Linux version with other desktop incarnations), Direct Composition is being integrated for Firefox on Windows to speed things along and some Penguinistas will be delighted to find the thing available in Flatpak.

Mozilla's interim CEO Mitchell Baker is now officially chief exec, the Mozilla board announced today. She took the temporary role after previous CEO Chris Beard quit last summer.

"It’s a time of challenge on many levels, there’s no question about that," Baker commented on Wednesday. "Mozilla’s flagship product remains excellent, but the competition is stiff."

However, Moz did throw a bit of shade on the competition as it recognised the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and insisted it would be maintaining its 2020 schedule "where some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work."

Mozilla's offices in San Francisco, USA

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Microsoft and Google have both slowed the public release cadence of their respective Chromium-based browsers, opting instead to prioritise security fixes as engineers adapt to a new way of life (and some occasionally become temporarily unavailable.)

Not so for Mozilla, which recently laid off a bunch of staffers. "We've built empathy into our systems for handling difficult or unexpected circumstances." Moz's remaining staff are also "used to working remotely."

It isn't, however, entirely business as normal. While the release cadence won't change, the content will. Mozilla will "avoid" shipping changes that might break the government and health websites on which users depend as well as prioritising video-conferencing issues.

"Going forward," Mozilla went on, "we will continue to examine all new features and planned changes with closer attention paid to backwards compatibility, and their potential for any user-facing issues." Weren't they doing that already? ®

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