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09 July 2011, 15:06

Firefox 6 arrives in Beta Channel

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Firefox Logo Version 6.0 of Firefox has been released into the Beta Channel after being developed in the "alpha" Aurora channel. If beta testing doesn't bring up any major problems then, according to the Mozilla Releases Wiki, the first production version of Firefox 6.0 will be available on 16 August.

A major privacy enhancement to Firefox 6.0 is the new Data Management Window which gives users more control over the access that individual web sites have to their browsing data, including cookies, passwords and location information – it can be accessed by typing "about:permissions" in the URL bar. The URL bar has been enhanced and now highlights the domain of the site you are currently visiting.

The new Plugin Check functionality in the Add-ons manager automatically verifies the compatibility of installed plugins (including the Flash Player plugin). Other changes include improved startup time and the ability to move the Web Console to other parts of the window or even into its own separate window.

Support for the WebSocket protocol has also been updated to version 7 of the protocol and re-introduced into the browser; Mozilla removed it last year due to security concerns. Version 6.0 has a new Scratchpad window, located under the Web Developer menu, which allows developers to quickly write and test JavaScript snippets within the browser. Further support for HTML5, DOM level 3, server-sent events and networking technologies has been added. A page detailing changes in Firefox 6 for developers is available.

Further information about the Beta Channel version can be found in a post on Mozilla's Future Releases blog and in the Firefox 6.0 Beta release notes. Users can download the beta of Firefox 6.0 from the project's Firefox Future Releases web page. Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they find.

The latest stable release is Firefox 5 from 21 June, a major update that added support for CSS animations and addressed a total of 8 security vulnerabilities, 5 of which were rated as "Critical" by Mozilla. 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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