Mozilla Firefox 3.6 Released

mozilla-firefox-logo-1Mozilla’s Firefox 3.6 has seen a couple of minor delays, but Mozilla has finally finished the browser and released a finalized version into the wild.  Mozilla aired the new browser this morning.

The browser can be found for Windows here, for Mac here, and for Linux users here.  Mozilla still hasn’t officially linked these downloads on their Firefox front page, which still has a link to the latest version of 3.5 — Firefox 3.5.7.  Mozilla’s download tracker, also, appears stuck on another older version — Firefox 3.5.3, though perhaps it’s really tracking all Firefox global downloads.

The new browser build improves the security of Mozilla’s popular extensions interface.  It also offers a faster and more robust version of Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine, Gecko 1.9.2 (Firefox 3.5 used Gecko 1.9.1).  The update also offers toolbar skins, out-of-date plugin notifications, and support for the WOFF open webfont format, among other things.

In our internal testing, we’ve found the latest builds of Firefox 3.6 to be quite polished, eliminating the crashes we experienced in the first beta.  The new version feels slightly faster that Firefox 3.5, when using graphics heavy websites like Facebook or YouTube.

With the release of Firefox 3.6, Mozilla looks to gain more ground on rival Microsoft.  Over the last couple of years Mozilla has been steadily nibbling on Microsoft market share, as Internet Explorer’s browsing share has slipped.  Firefox now sits as the browser primarily used by over 30 percent of users worldwide, according to some recent estimates.

Next up for Mozilla is an update to 3.6 called Lorentz.  With this update Mozilla will finally implement out-of-process plug-ins (OOPP), to isolate Adobe’s Flash, Apple’s Quicktime, and other commonly used plug-ins.  This should help eliminate many of the Flash-related crashes and freezes, and also improve the browser’s overall security.

And Mozilla has already begun work on new themes for Firefox 3.7 that implement the snazzy Windows Vista and Windows 7 Aero Glass look for the first time.  The next version may also feature another rendering engine upgrade — Gecko 1.9.3 — which currently is being brewed.  Mozilla is rumored to be targeting May-June 2010 release.  That will be followed by Firefox 4.0 in October-November 2010 (according to Mozilla’s roadmap, though some say it may be delayed until 2011).

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