Home Business IT Open Source Firefox 6.0 lands - first on six-weekly release schedule

Firefox 6.0 is here, but for most users it's little more than a security and reliability patch. Get used to the new world of Firefox versions turning over every six weeks or so.


Previously, a full-version upgrade of Firefox meant substantial changes had been made to the widely used open source browser. But Mozilla's switch to a more rapid release cadence - apparently as much to be seen to be keeping up with Chrome as anything else - means the changes in 6.0 aren't as radical as some users might have expected.

That doesn't mean they're not useful or worthwhile, though most of the changes are aimed at developers.

Users may benefit from the way the domain name is highlighted in the address bar (making it a little harder to be fooled by bogus sites) plus the more prominent identity block. And there's faster browser startup when using the Panorama (tab groups) feature, and greater visibility of Firefox Sync (a service for synchronising history, bookmarks tabs and passwords across multiple devices running Firefox).

On the developer front, improvements and additions cover the latest WebSockets draft, EventSource (events triggered by messages streaming from a server), and window.matchMedia (to help optimise content to the characteristics of the particular output device, such as the width of the window).

Also new are Scratchpad (an interactive JavaScript prototyping environment), improvements to the Web Console, and the Web Developer menu that collects together developer-related items.

There are security fixes too - please read on.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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