Time and browser updates wait for no one. Even though Firefox 7’s reign as the latest stable release of the browser is just two days old, the countdown to version 8 has already begun. Firefox 8 is now available in the beta channel for testing on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.
While still news, the release of a new browser version of Firefox - or even Chrome for that matter - is not the kind of earth-shattering event it used to be before Mozilla adopted a rapid release schedule. But the latest stable release of the Firefox is noteworthy as it is said to address an issue that has rankled users for many years now. Yes, we are talking about the notorious memory leak problem.
It took mankind well over six years to go from Firefox 1.0 to Firefox 4.0, but less than five months to proceed to version 6.0 from there. Not to mention that the next version is due out in late September. But some Mozilla developers aren’t satisfied with the current rapid release schedule the open-source outfit adopted earlier this year. Mozilla engineering manager Josh Aas recently put forth a proposal to further expedite the release process.
Firefox’s new rapid release schedule has stolen some of the limelight away from Chrome and dumped it back in Mozilla’s lap, but the attention hasn’t all been good. The quick-fire pace of new launches caused enterprise sysadmins to metaphorically grab their torches and storm the castle, while a rumor that Firefox would ditch version numbers entirely led to even more consumer angst. Two key Mozilla employees tried pouring water on the flames of discontent this week.
"Leaner and meaner" are two terms you may use to describe a malnourished lion suffering through a drought, but the same phrase also applies to a cornered Firefox. Google's Chrome took a bit of the luster away from Mozilla's star browser. Rather than simply shrug their shoulders, Firefox's developers rolled up their sleeves and got hard at work on the MemShrink program, an initiative to reduce the browser's horrible memory leaks. Members of the team have reported great successes; now, with the release of Firefox 7 Beta, you can check out the memory improvements for yourself.
We all know that Chrome has become famous for its light-speed update cycle. The Mozilla foundation has been hard at work to emulate that model, and is now in the process of taking a big step that even Google has yet to make. Firefox will be losing its version number. This comes in addition to the Chrome-esque Nightly, Aurora, and beta channels.
Mozilla fans who are happy marching to the rhythm of Firefox’s new franticly beating drums will be pleased to know that not only is Firefox 6 still on track for release this Tuesday, but here at Maximum PC we have the links to hook you up a whole two days early.
While you're busy grilling cow parts and getting ahead on back-to-school shopping this weekend, Mozilla will spend the next few days spit shining Firefox 6, the next major browser release slated to ship on Tuesday. And though Mozilla is known for pushing back release dates, there doesn't seem to be any cause for concern that Firefox 6 isn't ready for prime time.
Spending time with Firefox is a lot like spending time with your lovable young nieces; usually, everything goes swell and you walk away feeling good, a content smile plastered across your face. But sometimes, they do something so overwhelmingly stupid that you can't help but shake your head and wonder about their future. You may not be able to convince your niece that shoving crap inside electrical sockets is a dumb idea, but Mozilla's tackling its horrifyingly bad memory issues head-on with the MemShrink initiative – and one developer's already reporting outstanding results.
Telling you that Mozilla's latest Firefox mockup is Chrome's "Single White Female" requires a little context. "Single White Female" is a suspense thriller from the early 1990s in which Bridget Fonda plays a newly single software engineer in need of a roommate. Enter Jennifer Jason Leigh who fulfills that role but turns out to be a psychotic nutcase obsessed with Fonda. In one scene, Leigh alters her wardrobe and hair style to look just like Fonda and, well, see where we're going with this?