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21 January 2010, 16:48

Mozilla officially releases Firefox 3.6

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Following five betas, two release candidates and a number of delays, the Mozilla developers have officially announced the availability of version 3.6 of their open source Firefox web browser, code-named Namoroka. The latest major release is based on version 1.9.2 of Mozilla's Gecko web rendering platform and includes several improvements and a number of new features.

Firefox 3.6 features built-in support for Personas – lightweight "skins" that change the look of Firefox by changing the header and footer areas, and a new alert system that will warn users when their plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash, are out of date. Scripts can now be run asynchronously to speed up page load times and the browser can detect the orientation of devices, such as MacBooks, using the device's built-in sensor. Other notable changes include support for new CSS, DOM and HTML5 web technologies like the HTML5 File API, improved JavaScript performance – a 20% improvement over Firefox 3.5 – and the ability to display native video in full screen.

The release also adds support for the Web Open Font Format (WOFF) specification. The WOFF specification is a new web font format developed by Mozilla, Type Supply, LettError and several other organisations. Mozilla says that the format uses a compressed version of the table-based sfnt structure that's used by TrueType, OpenType and the Open Font Format. Additionally, it adds metadata and private-use data structures, including predefined fields that can be used by foundries or vendors to provide optional license information.

More details about the release, including a list of known issues, can be found in the release notes. A "What's New in Firefox 3.6" video is also available on The Mozilla Blog. Firefox 3.6 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Existing Firefox 3.5.x, 3.6 Beta and Release Candidate users should receive an automatic update. 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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