Sites like Hulu and Netflix used to require 3rd-party plugins so you can watch the videos they host, but over the past year Mozilla and other web browser developers have been working to implement support for the new HTML5 DRM spec and remove the need for plugins.
Mozilla’s first new version of Firefox with the new DRM launched today, almost a year to the day from the announcement, and it is not alone. Mozilla has also announced the release of a second version of Firefox that won’t come bundled with Adobe’s tasty DRM goodness (the Adobe Content Decryption Module).
The default version of Firefox will be able to work correctly when the HTML5 video tag is tied to DRM, but Mozilla is also offering a version of Firefox which won’t. As they told us last year, they see it as staying as close to their open web principles as possible while still meeting users’ needs.
The idea behind the baked-in DRM is that it will enable users to watch content from Hulu and like services without having to deal with plugins like Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight (both of which are on the way out). Among the other benefits, the new DRM will remove the implicit security risks that comes with the 3rd-party plugins.
The new DRM-infested version of Firefox should be installed as an automatic update, and you can download the DRM-less version here.
And should you want to disable the new DRM, Mozilla has also posted instructions on its website. You can’t actually remove the code but you can turn it off and prevent it from ever running.
For a company stuck between a rock and a hard place, Mozilla sure is trying to satisfy all parties. Mozilla caught a lot of grief from open web advocates when it made that announcement last year, but if they hadn’t added the new DRM they would have eventually lost most of their remaining user base.
Mozilla isn’t in a place where they have to adopt or die so much as they are faced with adopting the new DRM or being replaced by another web browser which will (possibly even a Firefox derivative like Pale Moon).
From that perspective, it’s obvious why Mozilla is following the herd.
image bby Tambako the Jaguar