Mozilla unveiled the release candidate for Firefox 3.6 on Jan. 10, offering
the browser both as a free download from its site and as an automatic update
for all Firefox 3.6 Beta users.
According to the open-source organization's Jan. 10 statement, "Over 75
percent of ... Firefox add-ons have now been upgraded by their authors to be
compatible with Firefox 3.6," which is built on the Gecko 1.9.2 platform.
The release candidate can be downloaded from this
released Firefox 3.6 Beta 2 on Nov. 11, a little under two weeks after it
released the first Firefox 3.6 beta. That second beta contained "over 190
fixes based on feedback Mozilla obtained from the previous data," claimed
an organization spokesperson.
Firefox 3.6 contains a variety of new features, including the ability to display
native video in full-screen mode, integrated Personas-browser themes that can
be applied with one click through the Firefox Add-ons Manager's Themes tab-and
a streamlined way to update plug-ins through a Plugin Check Web page. Mozilla
all been improved.
Firefox 3.6 Beta 2 included a mechanism to "prevent incompatible
software from crashing Firefox," in response to discovery of a bug that
caused such a problem, as well as tweaks to other new features. Firefox 3.6 also
apparently alerts users about any out-of-date plug-ins and changes how
third-party software integrates with Firefox in order to boost the browser's
Now just over five years old, Firefox occupies about 25 percent of the
browser market, according to statistics company Net Applications. By
comparison, Microsoft's Internet Explorer holds around 63 percent of the
market, while Apple Safari and Google Chrome occupy roughly 4 percent each.
Mozilla's user community generally moves quickly to patch the browser's
vulnerabilities. In October, the organization moved to block a pair of
Microsoft add-ons because they had vulnerabilities that could have potentially
affected Firefox users; in response, Microsoft patched flaws affecting the
Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant and
Windows Presentation Foundation in a Patch Tuesday update.
recently updated its Thunderbird open-source e-mail application, as well. Compatible
with Windows, Mac OS X and open-source platforms, Thunderbird 3 includes new
features such as filtered search, tabbed e-mail, a one-click address book and a
streamlined mail account setup wizard.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.