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Firefox 3, released today, supports colour managed web browsing  
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 | by Rob Galbraith
The long-awaited Mozilla Firefox 3 for Mac and Windows, which emerged from beta at 10AM Pacific today, is the latest web browser to support the colour managed display of photos with embedded ICC profiles. That's the good news. The bad news is it's turned off by default. Here's how to turn it on.

Firefox's Preferences dialog doesn't include a switch you can flip to enable or disable colour management, so you'll have to work a bit harder than ought to be necessary to bring this capability to life. The two methods we know of, however, are relatively straightforward.
  • Method 1: Install the Color Management add-on Once installed, enabling and disabling colour management is as simple as checking a checkbox and relaunching Firefox 3. The add-on, currently at v0.4, can be downloaded here (free registration required).

  • Method 2: Manually edit the colour management setting This is easy even for the non-geeks in the crowd. The steps are:
    1. Type about:config in Firefox 3's address bar and press Return. The configuration settings will appear.
    2. In the Filter field, type gfx. The list of settings will shorten to show just those related to graphics, ie gfx.
    3. If the Value for gfx.color_management.enabled is False, double-click anywhere on that line to toggle the setting to True.
    4. Quit and relaunch Firefox 3 and you're in business. You can confirm that colour management is working by viewing the photos on this page. If all four quadrants of the first photo are a seamless match, then colour management in your copy of Firefox is up and running.
firefox_config.jpg
Colour Switch: Enabling colour management in Firefox 3 for Mac

On Macs running OS X 10.5.2 and 10.5.3 here, that's all that's required to switch on colour managed photo display. Firefox 3 also gives the option of selecting a display profile, but the program should - and does here on the Mac - automatically honour the display profile selected in the system, so it isn't necessary in this case to set or change gfx.color_management.display_profile.

If you regularly show your work to photo buyers that use Firefox, you might consider encouraging them to both upgrade to v3 and enable its colour management, so that they're in a better position to see what the colour in your photos actually looks like (within the limits of their monitor and its calibration, or lack thereof). Alternatively, you can recommend to them Apple's Safari for Mac and Windows, which also supports colour management and doesn't require that it be enabled first.

Mozilla Firefox 3 for Mac and Windows (and Linux) is a free download.

Update, June 21, 2008 : We've received a small but steady stream of reports, primarily from Mac users, that enabling colour management in Firefox 3 causes certain hues in pictures with embedded profiles to display differently than either Photoshop or Safari, and in some cases the difference has been described as dramatic and that Firefox seems to be the one rendering the affected colours incorrectly. We've not seen this problem, either in the release version of Firefox 3 nor in daily use of betas over the past several months, but it's becoming clear that some users' machines are affected and that it's negating the benefit of turning on colour management in the new Firefox.
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