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15 August 2011, 09:22

Firefox 6 available, version 8 to offer add-on control - Update

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Firefox logo The latest version of Firefox is available to download from the FTP server. The versions seem complete with translations available in a range of languages and with versions for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Firefox 6 will be officially released to the world on Tuesday when it will appear in the automatic update system integrated into the Mozilla browser.

Update - Mozilla contacted The H to say that the Firefox 6 builds on their FTP servers "are currently not final and are still going through QA testing".

Most of the changes in Firefox 6 are internal, changes that should result in the browser loading faster, supporting WebSockets, with improved HTML5 handling and a plugin-checker which verifies the compatibility of installed add-ons. Visible new features will include a "Data Management Window" for controlling access to personal information and a scratchpad window for web developers to try out JavaScript snippets. The first beta version was released a month ago.

In Firefox version 8, which will soon enter the alpha level "Aurora" phase of development, Mozilla is planning to block the ability to install add-ons automatically and silently. Add-ons installed by third party applications, for example, will now need to be activated in the browser by the user who will be prompted when an unapproved add-on is detected. Users will no longer be left wondering where mystery toolbars (installed by other programs) have come from. When installed, Firefox 8 will also display a list of add-ons from previous versions and require users to select which add-ons are to be retained; to help them decide, the list will tell users which add-ons they have installed and which have been installed automatically by other programs.

The problem of unapproved add-ons goes back to when Microsoft was found to be installing various add-ons without telling the user. In 2009, Mozilla took the step of blocking (and later unblocking) one Microsoft add-on through Mozilla's blocklist and security experts warned of the dangers of add-ons.


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