Mozilla and Freedom Scientific working together on Firefox compatibility

Last October, we recommended that our customers who use Mozilla’s Firefox web browser migrate temporarily to its Extended Support Release (ESR). Beginning with version 57, Firefox adopted a multiprocess methodology, which drastically impacted screen reader performance.

This post updates you on the steps Mozilla and Freedom Scientific have been taking to make newer versions of Firefox accessible to JAWS users, while retaining functionality critical for power users who take advantage of advanced features only found in JAWS, such as Flexible Web.

Engineers from Mozilla and Freedom Scientific have been exchanging ideas, resulting in modifications to both Firefox and JAWS. That exchange of ideas has led to the exchange of a lot of code. Our teams are sharing private builds of JAWS and Firefox multiple times per week, to verify and refine one another’s changes.

To further expedite this dialog and bring it to a conclusion, engineers from Freedom Scientific and Mozilla are meeting via conference call weekly. We are making excellent progress.

We are confident that changes to both products will restore the browsing experience Firefox users have come to expect.

Understandably, you want to know when you can get your hands on these changes.

Our best estimate is that you’ll see the changes we need to make in JAWS when we release the March JAWS update. By that time, our quality assurance team and private beta testing group will have put the changes through rigorous testing.

Mozilla estimates that the version of Firefox containing all the changes necessary on the Firefox side will be available in May.

In the meantime, rest assured that the Firefox ESR release continues to receive security updates, and is still a safe, modern browser.

For further information on JAWS and Firefox, be sure to catch the next episode of our official podcast when it is published, FSCast episode 149, where we hear from Jamie Teh of Mozilla.

We thank Mozilla for working with us so constructively and look forward to delivering these changes to you.