Mozilla Launches Firefox 5 Browser: 10 Things You Should Know About It

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-06-22

Mozilla Launches Firefox 5 Browser: 10 Things You Should Know About It

Mozilla has launched Firefox 5, the first release in its new plan to launch new versions of its browser several weeks apart.

Firefox 5 comes off the major success of Firefox 4 that delivered a host of important updates to the Firefox ecosystem and helped cement Mozilla's browser as a go-to platform for many people around the globe. However, the browser is facing stiff competition from Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari and Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Furthermore, Firefox 5 is arriving at a time when its chances of great success are slimmer than ever before.

But that doesn't mean it will fail. At this point, there's no telling what kind of future Firefox 5 has. The only thing that is known is if users see value in the browser, they'll download it; if they don't, they won't.

The following items will help make that decision more easily.

Read on to find out what everyone should know about Firefox 5:

1. It'll be updated quickly

With the launch of Firefox 5, Mozilla has implemented its new rapid-release development cycle. The idea behind it is for the organization to release new versions of Firefox several weeks apart to get updates into users' hands faster than ever. Though some are keen on the idea, others are concerned that Mozilla won't support previous versions long enough. Realizing that, it's incumbent upon Web users to keep in mind that Firefox 5 will be overshadowed in several weeks.

2. It has no major improvements

One of the biggest surprises about Firefox 5 is that it doesn't come with major improvements. Instead, the browser brings a host of small updates that should make it run a bit smoother than Firefox 4. Whether or not it's a bad thing that Firefox 5 doesn't come with major updates is up for debate. But it might make some folks who skipped Firefox 4 question whether or not a jump to Firefox 5 is worth it.

3. It addresses many bugs

According to Mozilla, Firefox 5 has more than 1,000 improvements. However, the vast majority of those are bug fixes. With Firefox 5, users will find bug fixes related to crashes, fonts and other small issues people were experiencing with Firefox 4. But keep in mind that all those updates should make Firefox 5 more stable than its predecessor.

4. It's slower than counterparts

According to reviews across the Web, Firefox 5 is slower than Google Chrome. Though I didn't use benchmarking software and only compared load times for different Websites, I witnessed the same speed issues with Firefox 5. Of course, just because it's slower than Chrome doesn't mean Firefox 5 isn't fast-it is. But those looking for the fastest browsing experience today will find that from Google, not Mozilla.

New Version Includes Important Security Improvements


5. It's easier to find Do Not Track

Though Firefox's Do Not Track privacy feature was available in Firefox 4, many users complained that it was hard to find. With Firefox 5, Do Not Track is now available in the software's Privacy tab, making it much easier for users to find. In addition, the Do Not Track feature is available in the mobile version of the software for Android-based devices, as well.

6. Firefox 4 users will want it

Though there is some speculation that Google Chrome and even Internet Explorer users won't jump to download Firefox 5, it seems like an obvious choice for current Firefox 4 users. After all, Firefox 5 delivers the same basic functionality, but delivers better stability and security. Plus, it's free. So, users who are currently running Firefox 4 will find a lot to like in Firefox 5.

7. Support for CSS animations

One of the more important additions to Firefox 5 is support for CSS animations. That technology is often used by Websites and app developers to move elements within a page around the screen. As Mozilla points out, support for CSS animations in Firefox 5 should pave the way for developers to "build more amazing Web applications and Web sites." So, while the addition is a boon for developers at first, Firefox 5 users might also benefit from it over the long term.

8. It has come under fire

As of late, Firefox 5 has come under fire from critics who say that calling it a new version of Mozilla's venerable browser is nonsense. Those folks say that the browser delivers no major improvements that would justify its "5" moniker and Mozilla must do more in the future to ensure its updates are meaningful to users. That criticism could drastically affect the way Mozilla handles Firefox updates in the future, and users should keep that in mind.

9. The competition is stiff

Mozilla is launching Firefox 5 in an increasingly competitive browser market. Windows owners have several fine options to choose from, including Chrome and Internet Explorer, and both of those browsers deliver their own benefits over Firefox 5. On the Mac side, Safari is a worthwhile alternative to Firefox 5, as well. Simply put, Firefox 5 isn't competing in a vacuum, and users might do well to consider alternatives before opting for Mozilla's latest launch.

10. Mozilla has made it more secure

As the number of Web-based threats continues to rise, Internet users want to know that the browser they're employing will help keep them safe. Luckily, Mozilla delivered several security improvements to Firefox 5 to help folks achieve that goal. Of course, no browser can keep someone entirely secure, but the addition of security updates in Firefox 5, including critical issues in the WebGLES library, among others, is nice to see.

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