Mozilla stages release of Firefox 11
Late Tuesday night, Mozilla released Firefox 11, which comes with several new features such as a new built-in CSS editor, a tool that lets developers inspect the structure of a web page via a 3D visualisation, and the ability to sync add-ons between computers.
The Firefox development team had initially decided against releasing the new version of the browser on Tuesday pending an investigation into a security report from the Zero Day Initiative, but Jonathan Nightingale updated the announcement to say that “The security bug reported by ZDI is one we had already identified and fixed through our internal processes. This eliminates the need for us to delay this week's releases, and we will be shipping them later today".
But the release is not going ahead as normal; only manual updates will initially be available. Nightingale added that "in order to understand the impacts of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday fixes, we will initially release Firefox for manual updates only. Once those impacts are understood, we'll push automatic updates out to all of our users". According to a post by Mozilla Security, the vulnerability used at Pwn2Own was found a month ago.
The new Style Editor in Firefox 11 lets developers edit CSS files within the browser with the changes being reflected on the page instantly; this allows developers to quickly test design changes directly on the page they are working on. Another new addition to the browser, nicknamed "Tilt", is a WebGL-based virtualisation tool that shows the structure underlying an HTML document as a 3D rendering of the web page that developers can inspect from different angles. According to Mozilla, this makes it easier to understand the inherent relationship of underlying code to page output. Tilt has been available as an add-on for previous Firefox versions since last summer. The third major feature is the introduction of add-on sync. This enables users to synchronise their installed add-ons between different computers.
Although it is not enabled by default, Google's SPDY protocol arrives in Firefox 11; SPDY is a high-speed alternative to the HTTP protocol that has already been implemented by Google sites and Chrome and that was recently put into use at Twitter. Firefox 11 is now also able to import bookmarks, cookies and history from Google Chrome. Other changes include HTML source syntax highlighting, redesigned media controls in HTML5 video, and support for the outerHTML property.
Further information about Firefox 11 can be found in the release notes. The new version is available for download from the Mozilla web site. 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.