Firefox 8.0 Keeps Up Mozilla's Speedy Browser Pace
Mozilla is maintaining its rapid-fire cadence of browser releases with the new Firefox 8.0, issued roughly six weeks after Firefox 7.
This latest update for Windows, Mac and Linux offers precious few major tweaks on its recent predecessors, although it does include Twitter as a search option alongside Google, Bing and other sources. On top of that, Mozilla has disabled the ability for third-party developers to install browser add-ons without the user's explicit approval.
The new Firefox lets users load tabs on demand, which Mozilla claimed in a Nov. 8 corporate blog posting will make it "much faster to restore windows with many tabs" upon start up. The organization has added support for Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS), with an eye toward giving developers the ability to securely load WebGL textures from other domains.
Other additions include stability and security patches, according to Mozilla's Firefox 8 release notes.
Mozilla has also updated Firefox for Android with new features such as Firefox Master Password, which encrypts saved user names and passwords. This added layer of security will supposedly help should one's Android-based device end up lost or stolen. With the latest version, users can also add bookmarks to the Android home screen.
Firefox 7, Mozilla's previous release, managed memory more efficiently to deliver a faster Web-browsing experience, along with tools to help developers create speedier Websites and Web applications. Mozilla used the release as an opportunity to add support for the WC3 navigation timing spec API, along with updated WebSockets, and the ability to opt into the Telemetry tool.
Firefox 7 arrived six weeks after Mozilla launched Firefox 6 in mid-August, which itself landed barely two months after Firefox 5. None of these successive browser versions offered a radically different experience, with relatively minor user-interface tweaks and progressively more support for developers.
For consumers, installing these latest browser versions isn't an incredible hassle: You click "download" and, a few minutes later, launch away. For larger enterprises, though, Mozilla's rapid release cadence has been a source of consternation, with administrators claiming it snarls their ability to deploy a browser throughout an organization in a timely and consistent way.
In an olive branch of sorts to those enterprise customers, Mozilla earlier this year re-established the Mozilla Enterprise User Working group as a place for enterprise administrators and other IT pros to discuss issues and best practices. Even as it moved to do so, however, rivals such as Microsoft leapt at the chance to make very public cases that their own browsers were ideal for businesses.