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The latest release of the Firefox open source web browser contains several new features and improvements, plus a generous helping of security fixes.

New features in Firefox 22 include the OdinMonkey optimisation module to improve JavaScript performance, additional WebRTC support (and WebRTC is now enabled by default), provision for changing the playback rate of HTML5 audio and video playback, and the Add-ons Manager now handles Firefox Services support for social sites such as Facebook.

Two platform-specific features have been added: the Windows version follows display scaling settings to render text larger on high-resolution displays, and the Mac version shows download progress in the Dock icon.

Other changes include improved WebGL rendering performance and word-wrapping of plain-text files (hurrah!).

Firefox 22 also delivers fixes for 14 security issues - the most since Firefox 18 - with four of them rated critical.

Of the remainder, six are described as high impact, three as moderate and one low.

Eight of those fixes are also relevant to Firefox 17 ESR - the extended support version of the browser that gets security patches but no new features. Firefox ESR is intended for environments that don't want the trouble of having to perform compatibility testing on each mainstream Firefox release.

The current version of Firefox ESR is 17.0.7.

Those eight fixes have also been applied in Thunderbird 17.0.7.

Firefox usage has slipped to just under 20%, according to StatCounter, behind Chrome (41%) and Internet Explorer (almost 28%).

On StatCounter's figures, Firefox use peaked in late 2009 and has since lost share to Chrome and (to a lesser extent) Safari.

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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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