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:126.96.36.199) - 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.
Upon the release of the Safari 4 Beta, Apple was boasting some mighty impressive speeds. Now, thanks to some extensive testing, it looks like the boys down in Cupertino deserve a pat on the back, with their browser clocking in at a staggering 42 times faster than Internet Explorer 7.
Most surprising, is that Apple’s latest addition was able to beat out Google’s Chrome (the proclaimed “Speed King”) in testing, along with Firefox 3, Opera 9.6 and Mozilla’s developmental Minefield. The tests were conducted on both a PC running XP SP2, and a Mac running OS X 10.6 with all of the latest updates applied.
If you’re looking to check out the full results of the speed testing, check them out here.
When we heard today that Apple was releasing a beta version of Safari 4, which they boast is up to 4 times faster than the previous version, it got us thinking about the new browser wars. More than ever, it seems like every new release from each of the contenders brings with it a bevy of new features and performance upgrades. Although we're excited to put Safari 4 through the paces, right now we're more excited about the next version of Firefox.
Here at Maximum PC, we like Firefox an awful lot. Its mix of stability, speed, expandability and open source warm-fuzzies easily earned it a spot on our recent list of the 32 essential Windows apps. And right now, because we like Firefox an awful lot, it should come as no suprise that we’re excited about Firefox 3.1, the upcoming update from Mozilla. Many of our readers have tried the 3.1 beta, but for those who haven’t, we’re going to take a minute to explain the changes that will impact your browsing experience when the update lands.
We'll cover both the new frontend features, like private browsing, as well as the under-the-hood stuff that'll make a difference to you. Read on to find out all about what you can expect!
Everyone of late has big plans for the cloud, including Mozilla, who on Thursday launched an open-soure project called Bespin. The basic idea behind Bespin is to offer a web-based programming framework that brings together the speed of desktop-based development with cloud computing. While in very early form, Mozilla has set some high-level goals for the project:
Ease of Use - the editor experience should not be intimidating and should facilitate quickly getting straight into the code.
Real-time Collaboration - sharing live coding sessions with colleagues should be easy and collaboratively coding with one or more partners should Just Work.
Integrated Command-Line - tools like vi and Emacs have demonstrated the power of integrating command-lines into editors. Bespin needs one, too.
Extensible and Self-Hosted - the interface and capabilities of Bespin should be highly extensible and easily accessible to users through Ubiquity-like commands or via the plug-in API.
Wicked Fast - the editor is just a toy unless it stays smooth and responsive editing files of very large sizes.
Accessible from Anywhere - the code editor should work from anywhere, and from any device, using any modern standards-compliant browser.
As it stands now, Bespin 0.1 is just an initial prototype framework with support for basic editing features like syntax highlighting, undo/redo, previewing files in the browser, and other low-level tasks. In the long-run, Mozilla hopes to "empower web developers to hack on the editor itself and make it their own."
Developers who want to give the early prototype a whirl can access the Bespin demo here.
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.
Outside of mobile Safari, and perhaps to a lesser extent Opera Mini, the mobile browser experience can be somewhat unsatisfying. Poor page rendering, or completely unusable interfaces seem to plague the mobile experience. That’s where Mozilla has seen an opportunity to expand its browser platform, and a market that is still relatively untapped. With the launch of Fennec Alpha 2, Mozilla is one step closer to its goal of a mobile Firefox. Alpha 2 seems to address many of the performance issues that hindered the previous version, and these complaints were clearly acknowledged in a blog posting by Mozilla’s Mark Finkle.
“While we focused much of the previous alpha on getting the user experience how we wanted, we’ve spent much of the time since focused on improving performance. We’ve made major strides improving startup performance, panning and zooming performance, and responsiveness while pages are loading.”
My somewhat unscientific testing seems to backup these claims and performance has defiantly improved. Currently support is limited to Nokia's Maemo based N800 and N810, but compatibility with Windows Mobile and Symbian is apparently well underway. These platforms could defiantly use a bit more choice when it comes to browsers, and many are hoping it will finally give the power enjoyed by mobile Safari users to those who prefer non Apple hardware.
If you haven't yet made the plunge to Firefox 3.0, you might want to put it near the top of your to-do list (don' forget to call your mother as well). Should it still slip your mind, Mozilla will actively be encouraging users to upgrade.
"With the holidays fast approaching, later today Mozilla will start offering a gift to Firefox 188.8.131.52 users - a free upgrade to Firefox 3.0.4," Mozilla wrote in a blog post, "the very latest and best browser from Mozilla offering more speed, requiring less memory, and providing the safest and easiest web browsing experience available."
Yes, Firefox is still free, despite what we assume is a tongue-in-cheek blog. But it's not all a laughing matter. According to TGDaily, Mozilla might be making plans to kill off support for Firefox 2.0. Should that happen, those using the older browser could find themselves at increased risk of attack, particularly as hackers have now started targeting Firefox with malware written solely for the open-source browser.
What was once a cult classic has finally hit the big-time – Mozilla’s Firefox web browser (the one that you’re possibly using right now!) has finally broken 20% market share amongst all web browsers. This move dropped Microsoft’s Internet Explorer down to roughly 70%.
Thanks to some data published by Net Applications, we’ve got some exact numbers regarding this matter. Official information for the month of November list Firefox with 20.78% of the market share, up from 19.97% in October. Internet Explorer is now holding only 69.77% of the share, with Apple’s Safari holding a respectable 6.57% and third place. Google’s fancy new flagship browser has been moving fast, hurdling over Opera’s 0.71%, with their own share of 0.83%.
If you’re one of the many that have downloaded, and use Firefox on a regular basis, good for you! I’m sure they’re grateful for the help. If you haven’t given it a whirl yet, there’s never been a better time. It’s a mighty solid platform that’s worthy of your download.