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31 May 2011, 10:33

Firefox 6 arrives in Aurora Channel

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Firefox Aurora Logo The Mozilla Project development team has announced the release of Firefox Aurora 6, a pre-release version of what will become Firefox 6.0. According to the developers, the release in the Aurora channel (Mozilla's new Firefox 'Dev' channel) includes a number of new features intended to give users and web developers "more control over their browsing and development environments while improving overall performance".

Zoom Firefox 6.0a2 Aurora on Mac OS X
The new Scratchpad, located under the Web Developer menu, allows developers to quickly build and test JavaScript snippets within the browser. The Web Console can now be moved to other parts of the window or even into its own separate window. The latest Aurora version also features additional support for HTML5, DOM level 3, server-sent events and networking technologies, as well as other tools for developers; a full list can be found on the Firefox 6 for Developers page in the Mozilla Developer Center.

Support for the WebSocket protocol has been re-introduced into the browser; Mozilla removed it last year due to security concerns. WebSockets allow permanent connections between clients and servers and enable servers to independently send data to a client. In conventional connections, a client prompts a server to send data via GET or POST.

Zoom Users can access the Data Management Window by typing "about:permssiions" into the URL bar
The Data Management Window – accessed by typing "about:permissions" into the URL bar – is a new experimental feature that gives users control over the access that individual web sites have to their browsing data, including cookies, passwords and location information. The Add-ons Manager with Plugin Check automatically verifies the compatibility of installed plugins, including the Flash Player plugin. Startup time has been improved via Panorama Groups on Demand, which allows "power Panorama users" to load saved tab groups only when using Panorama – a new way to manage multiple tabs in Firefox that was previously known as Tab Candy.

As with all development releases, use in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised. Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they find.

More details about the latest pre-release version of Firefox 6 can be found in a post on the Future Releases blog. Users can download the Aurora channel release of Firefox 6, labelled 6.0a2, from the Firefox Future Releases web page. The latest stable release of Firefox is version 4.0.1 from late April, a maintenance and security update that addressed a total of three vulnerabilities in the browser.

Firefox binaries are released under the Mozilla Firefox End-User Software License Agreement and the source code is released under disjunctive tri-licensing that includes the Mozilla Public Licence, GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1.

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