Firefox 3.6 Stable: The Fastest Firefox So Far
Article by George Norman
On 26 Jan 2010
The development process of Firefox 3.6 did not go all that smooth. A total of five Betas and two Release Candidates had to be released, there were snags, and delays and all sorts of problems. Initially version 3.6 was supposed to be released at the end of 2009, but that deadline was overshot. Still, we are happy to report that the final, stable version of Firefox 3.6 has been released to the public this Friday, the 22nd of January.

Here’s Mike Beltzner’s announcement: “The Mozilla community is proud to announce that Firefox 3.6 has shipped and is now available for free download. Firefox 3.6 and the new Gecko 1.9.2 platform were built by a global community of passionate contributors, including thousands of experienced developers, security experts, localization and support communities, and hundreds of thousands of active testers. Firefox 3.6 is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in more than 70 languages – more platforms and languages than any other browser!”

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We were expecting Firefox 3.6 to be fast, but until now we had no idea just how fast the new version would be. Now that v 3.6 has been released as a final version, tests ran by Computerworld have revealed Firefox 3.6 is 4 times faster than IE8 and 10 times faster than Opera 10. Firefox 3.6 is 14.5% faster than the previous version, Firefox 3.5. ZDNet has tested Firefox 3.6 and came up with the same number (about 15%). Compared to Firefox 3.0, the browser is 3 times faster.

On the downside, Firefox 3.6 is slower than Safari and Chrome. Safari is 2 times faster while Google’s web browser, Chrome 4.0 , is almost 2 times faster.

The other highlights have not changed. Just like the Betas and the RCs, you can expect to get the following from Firefox 3.6:
- Built-in support for Personas.
- The user will be alerted when a plugin needs to be updated.
- The manner in which 3rd party software integrates with the Firefox has been changed to provide enhanced browser stability.
- Improved automatic form fill with better options from your form history.
- Full screen and poster frames support for open, native video.
- HTML5 File API support. This means the user would be able to load images to a web application without having to upload them to the server, for example. The images can be edited and saved locally, and they could optionally be uploaded when ready
- The ability run scripts asynchronously and thus speed up page load times.
- New API to give add-ons access to Firefox’s geolocation features
- The Firefox components directory is locked down.
- A mechanism that prevents Firefox from crashing when dealing with incompatible software.
- WOFF font format support.
- The performance of the JavaScript engine has been enhanced.
- New CSS, DOM and HTML5 web technologies support.

If you would like to get Firefox 3.6, grab it straight from Mozilla
here.



Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Firefox 3.6
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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