Mozilla Patch Firefox to Fix Mac OS X Lion Bug

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-07-18

Mozilla will be updating its Firefox Web browser to address a bug in the new Mac OS X Lion operating system coming soon from Apple.

Apple's new Mac OS X 10.7 operating system contains a bug that causes Firefox 5 to crash when displaying Websites that use downloadable fonts, Mozilla said. Even though Mozilla notified Apple, the company did not fix the issue before the code was finalized for the operating system, Christopher Blizzard, Mozilla's Web platform directory, wrote on the company blog.

Codenamed Lion, the operating system is currently in "goldmaster" status and should be released any day now. Since Apple didn't fix the issue, Mozilla decided to develop a workaround to make sure Firefox 5 would work correctly. Otherwise, Firefox 5 users will have "severe crash problem," Blizzard said.

"We've changed the font APIs that we're using to newer versions which appear to fix the problem," Blizzard wrote.

The bug, if left unfixed, would Firefox 5.0.1 is "coming soon," Mozilla announced in a blog post, but did not set a release date. This update will be only for Mac OS X Lion users.

Mozilla will also update Firefox 3.6 to disable downloadable Web fonts for Lion users. However, users still on 3.6 may see scrollbar rendering issues and should upgrade to Firefox 5. This makes sense, considering Firefox 3.6 will probably be retired sometime this summer.

The new font APIs are already in use in the Mac versions of both Firefox 6 and Firefox 7, the next two versions of the browser, according to Mozilla. Firefox 6, currently in beta, is scheduled to ship Aug. 16 and Firefox 7 is set to ship Sept. 27.

Mozilla moved earlier this year to a rapid-release schedule to skip security or crash-fix updates as all fixes are just rolled into the next version of the browser. However, the release of Lion made it necessary to release an emergency fix, Blizzard said.

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