As expected, Microsoft used this week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, Cnet's Ina Fried reports. To make it easy to get your hands on IE8, links to the previous IE8 beta version website now automatically point to the official IE8 page. So, what's new in IE8? We've discussed a lot of the new features in previous articles, but if you need to get up to speed, here are some of the high points:
Compatibility mode, designed to enable IE8 (built, at long last, to comply with official standards) to properly render pages on sites designed to match previous IE versions' Microsoft-only features
Web accelerators, which provide one-click blog, define, email, find, map, and search for content in any web page
SmartScreen filter and other built-in features to help provide a more secure search environment
InPrivate browsing that automatically blocks history and other traces of where you've been online
It was a year ago that security researcher Charlie Miller walked away with $10,000 for hacking into a MacBook Air with Safari in just two minutes during the annual Pwn2Own competition, and earlier this month Miller predicted Safari would be the first to fall at this year's event. Miller made good on that promise this week by using a prepared exploit to gain full control of the device in about 10 seconds.
"It's not easy, but this worked with one click [from the Safari browser]", Miller said.
Miller had discovered the exploit last year, which allows a remote attacker to take over a machine if a user clicks on a malicious URL. Details of the exploit, which Miller isn't allowed to divulge, will be shared with Apple from contest sponsor TippingPoint so that Apple can develop a patch.
On the same day, a 25-year-old computer science student at the University of Oldenburg in Germany demonstrated exploits in IE8, Safari, and Firefox, earning him a cool $15,000 ($5,000 per exploit), along with getting to keep the Sony Vaio P series notebook he used (Miller pocketed $5,000 and a MacBook Air).
While three major browsers succumbed to hacking attempts on day one, no mobile exploits have yet been successful. Mobile exploits carry the biggest reward for contest participants, with TippingPoint offering $10,000 for each successful exploit in the major smartphones.
For those that are looking to help the folks at Mozilla test out the latest version of their popular Firefox browser, you’re in luck! At long last, Beta 3 of Firefox 3.1 is up for download, and you can get it here.
The new version is, as usual, a free download and is available for Windows and Linux. So, be sure to give this a test and let us (and Mozilla) know what you think!
After several delays, we were beginning to wonder if Firefox 3.1 would ever see the light of day beyond a beta release, and as it turns it out, it's not going to. Instead, Mozilla has renamed the once 'fast-track' update to 3.5 with a fourth beta scheduled for April 14, 2009.
"The increase in scope represented by TraceMonkey and Private Browsing, plus the sheer volume of work that's gone into everything from video and layout to places and the plugin service make it a larger increment than we believe is reasonable to label ".1". 3.5 will help set expectations better about the amount of awesome that's packed into Shiretoko," said Mike Shaver, Mozilla's engineering VP.
Shaver went on to say that the version change to 3.5 is indicative of the current scope and not intended to represent a significant increase 3.5's current make-up.
Still no word on when the next version of Firefox will go Gold, though if we had to guess, we'd say either May or June of this year.
By now you should have received a pop-up alerting you a new version of Firefox, 3.0.7. If not, select 'Check for updates' from the 'Help' menu, as 3.0.7 introduces fixes for several stability and security issues, some of which are considered critical. Among the more notable fixes include:
URL spoofing with invisible control characters - LOW
Upgrade PNG library to fix memory safety hazards - CRITICAL
XML data theft via RDFXMLDataSource and cross-domain redirect - HIGH
Mozilla Firefox XUL Linked Clones Double Free Vulnerability - CRITICAL
Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:188.8.131.52) - CRITICAL
A full list of bug fixes can be found here, including those which are specific to Windows, Mac, and Linux, and those which affect all three operating systems.
Anyone who may have thought the death of Netscape would signal the end of the browser wars, boy were they mistaken. In fact, it could be argued that it was at that point it all began. It didn't take long for Mozilla's Firefox to emerge from Netscape Navigator's ashes, and over time, Firefox would win over enthusiasts with a potent combination of speed, security, and an unprecedented level of customization.
But what started as a two-man battle is quickly growing into all-out warfare. Prepare to be overwhelmed by an onslaught of new browser releases in the coming months as Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera Software, and Google all vie to provide your vehicle for navigating the web. Each one brings something new to the table, whether it be blazing fast performance or a unique feature-set. Don't worry if you haven't been paying attention - we jump in the trenches with whole lot of them and get to know each one on a personal basis.
Hit the jump to find out everything there is to know about the browsers of today and tomorrow!
First things first - if you haven't already, read through our comprehensive mega-roundup of nine browsers, which includes both stable and beta releases, and even a browser still in the alpha stage. Up to speed? Good, let's move on.
As noted, we didn't see too much terribly different with Firefox 3.1 beta 2 over the currently shipping version, 3.0.6. A third beta was originally scheduled for an early January release, but lingering bugs prompted Mozilla to hold off on taking Firefox 3.1 beta 3 live. Left to bake a little while longer, Mozilla now appears ready to serve up the third beta, which it plans to do on March 10th at 2PM PST, according to the company's updated release schdule.
In other words, beta 3 might not be as fully cooked as Mozilla hoped, but at least some developers were feeling frustrated with the development process taking too long. Combined with 3.1's expanded scope, the question has been raised whether it might make more sense to rename the final version 3.5 instead of 3.1, just as Firefox 1.1 was renamed to 1.5.
Stay tuned, as we'll continue to follow the development of Mozilla's browser, no matter what version number the company settles on.
The once two-man bout between IE and Firefox has turned into a five-way blood fest in the battle for browser market share. With each contender jockeying for position, Apple's Safari 4 beta, which was recently released to the public, has been particularly well received, breaking 10 percent market share on February 28 for the first time.
Interestingly, despite Safari 4 having a strong debut, Safari's overall market share for the month of February dropped slightly from 7.70 to 7.42 percent. Meanwhile, Firefox continued to gain ground, increasing from 21.75 to 21.96 percent. Internet Explorer remained virtually the same, going from 68.18 to 68.17 percent.
The browser wars are set to heat up in the coming months as nearly everyone has an upgrade on tap. These include Safari 4 (beta), Internet Explorer 8 (beta), Firefox 3.1 (beta), and Opera 10 (alpha), as well as continued development on Google's Chrome browser (beta).
Multiverse might be on the verge of revolutionizing web-based gaming, or so it claims. Using its technology platform, Multiverse says it's possible for developers to create 2D, browser-based versions of a full-scale downloadable 3D game, and then allow players to interact between them.
"Now, you can have proven genres of videogames, really popular games, like shooters, real-time strategy, sports, and things that exist on consoles or specially installed games, and those types of games can live in your web browser without a download," said Corey Bridges, Mulitverse co-founder.
To showcase the technology, Multiverse released a simple Flash game called Battle that runs on Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and Kongregate. According to Bridges, Battle is one of the first-ever multiplayer, real-time, action or combat-based Flash games. And unlike most multiplayer Flash games, Battle isn't turn-based.
But the real value to developers in having a 2D to 3D cross-over capability might come from being able to offer free online trials where potential game buyers can jump in and play with other people without requiring a download.
Whether or not Multiverse's platform catches on, only time will tell. But according to Bridges, we may not have to wait long. He says a small handful of developers have begun taking their in-development 3D worlds and "are making a window into those worlds that can be done in Flash."
Although Microsoft is concerned about the likelihood of EU requiring it to bundle other browsers with Windows, Firefox architect Mike Connor isn’t exulting. He, personally, despises the idea of other browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, being packaged with Windows. Connor told PC Pro in an interview,” The choice [when installing Windows] would be weird. There's no good UI [user interface] for that.” Connor’s views on this particular issue are his alone and should not be construed as Mozilla’s official line.
He then proceeded to take Opera to task for having complained to the EU about Microsoft’s bundling of IE with Windows. Connor thinks that the quality of the product is paramount and bundling doesn’t necessarily lead to market share. He labeled Opera – based on other people’s feedback – a “geeky browser” that is difficult to use.