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11 July 2011, 09:40

Firefox 5 for Mac to get a minor update

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Firefox logo A minor update for Firefox 5 for Mac to resolve problems with Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" and Java on Mac OS X 10.5 is being released by the Mozilla developers. "This will be our first out-of-band update since the minor updates we did in between the release of Firefox 4 and Firefox 5" wrote Mozilla's Chris Blizzard. The update will only affect Mac OS X users; no specific date for the update has been given beyond "before the scheduled release of Firefox 6" – 15 August.

Although the new Firefox "train" model for rapid releases will typically see bug and security fixes incorporated into the next major version, the Mozilla developers have given themselves the option to make minor updates if the situation requires it. In this case, a problem with downloadable fonts causing Firefox "severe crash problems" on Mac OS X 10.7 – believed to be due for release in the next week – has prompted the Mozilla developers to push the minor update out to avoid Firefox 5 crashing on numerous systems. The developers reported the problem to Apple but it wasn't fixed before Lion went final and so they have switched to newer APIs which resolves the problem.

A problem affecting fewer people – a recent Java update breaking Firefox's ability to use Java on Mac OS X 10.5 – is also being resolved in the update. Firefox 3.6 users are getting an update as well, but Mozilla plans to simply disable downloadable fonts when running on Mac OS X 10.7; they may see some scroll bar rendering issues on Lion too, but the recommended fix for this is to upgrade to Firefox 5.

As the first out-of-band update being produced within the new release model, how well this non-critical release goes will give an indication of how well Mozilla will be able to release security updates if, for example, a zero-day vulnerability was being widely exploited.


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