Yesterday, Microsoft expressed its pleasure at dwindling Internet Explorer 6 usage, which has now fallen below the 1 percent mark in the United States. Though not quite as old, Firefox 3.6 is, in a lot of ways, Mozilla’s Internet Explorer 6 -- a sanctuary for users trying to evade advancement. Firefox 3.6’s market share has been a source of some concern for the open-source outfit over the past few months, especially given that fact that it was released around a couple of years ago and ceased to be the latest version over nine months back.
Mozilla may have moved to a rapid release cycle, but there are a lot of Firefox users who are still using version 3.6 from the pre-rapid-release-cycle era. The browser vendor on Monday announced that it planned to offer an “advertised update” to Firefox 3.6 users on Thursday, requesting them to update to the latest version of the popular browser. However, there was no sign of such an advertised update on the designated day.
Mozilla's latest browser ushers in a bunch of new features and security enhancements, but not everyone is impressed with Firefox 3.6. Among the browser's critics is the German federal computer security agency.
"Buerger-CERT recommends the use of [an] alternative browser until Mozilla has released Firefox version 3.6.2," Buerger-CERT, a project of the Federal Office for Security in IT, posted last Friday.
The recommendation is in reaction to a vulnerability disclosed by Russian researcher Evgeny Legerov, which as since been confirmed by Mozilla.
Mozilla plans to patch Firefox 3.6 by March 30 at the latest. In the meantime, there's now a beta version of 3.6.2 available, which reportedly does include the patch in question.
Grown tired of your current browser? You may want to consider giving Firefox 3.6 a try now that the open-source browser has been made available in Release Candidate form. And if you're worried about being left behind with an unfinished product, don't be.
"[Firefox 3.6 RC1] may update itself periodically and will eventually be identical to the final release," Mozilla stated in the RC's release notes.
The latest release is built on Mozilla's Gecko 1.9.2 engine, which the company says has been under development for several months and includes a bunch of improvements, primarily for Web developers. It includes over 70 fixes from the last beta to improve performance, stability, and security features, and has the ability to run scripts asynchronously to speed up page load times.
Those of you eager to give Firefox's next browser a release a spin can now do so, however bear in mind that this isn't the official beta launch. Instead, Mozilla today has made available for download an experimental test build of Firefox 3.6.
"A beta is indeed available, but I would like to clarify that the Beta program for Firefox 3.6 has not yet launched, this is a test build, not necessarily Firefox 3.6 Beta 1," Patrick Finch from Mozilla wrote.
What you won't find in this early release is the orientation detection feature Mozilla recently announced. Nevertheless, you can snag a copy of the build right here.
Mozilla is prepping for an October 13 release of the FireFox 3.6 beta. This beta for the popular open source browser, built with Gecko 1.9.2, is the first in a series of incremental improvements that will culminate in the planned roll-out of a Google Chrome-like Firefox 4.0 in October 2010.
Any Firefox fan will be quick to point out the open-source browser's numerous advantages over Microsoft's Internet Explorer, including 780 trillion add-ons (slightly exaggerated), better Web standards support, and arguably better performance and security. But one thing IE has that Firefox doesn't is a 64-bit browser, at least for the time being.
While no official 64-bit version of Firefox yet exists, one Firefox contributor who goes by the online alias Makoto has already ported both Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 to 64-bit editions, and has announced plans to do the same for versions 3.6 and up. If he holds true to his promise, it could mean official 64-bit builds might become a reality with Mozilla's next release, especially since Mozilla has talked about adding 64-bit support in the near future.
It might seem like a minor update, but a 64-bit build translates into faster speeds when logging onto sites using encryption (think of online banking), better memory management, and an overall snappier feel.