Monday, May 20, 2024

Mozilla Stabilizes Firefox 3.6.10, Pushes Ahead on Firefox 4

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Mozilla developers are pushing out Firefox 3.6.10 as a stability update to last week’s 3.6.9 browser release.

The Firefox 3.6.10 update comes during a busy week for browser vendors, with Google’s Chrome issuing an update and Microsoft debuting a public beta of Internet Explorer 9.

According to Mozilla’s release notes for Firefox 3.6.10, the new update fixes a single stability issue — a startup crash — that affected a limited number of users.

“Just to note, most of the comments indicated people were running the browser previously, got the update prompt, updated, and then were unable to start after that point,” Mozilla developer Christian Legnitto said in a comment in the bugzilla entry.

Updating Firefox for a single stability glitch — tracked in the Mozilla Bugzilla system as Bug 594699 — quickly after a new release is not a new occurrence for Mozilla. In June, Mozilla released Firefox 3.6.5, which was an update for an issue introduced in the 3.6.4 release’s new plug-in crash protection feature.

Meanwhile, Mozilla’s in-development Firefox 4 effort hit its beta 6 milestone this week, also providing stability updates as an incremental update to the beta 5 milestone.

“We’ve decided to issue a small beta update in order to fix a stability issue on Windows and some rendering and keyboard/mouse focus issues on OSX related to plugins,” Mozilla’s director of Firefox, Mike Beltzner, wrote in a Mozilla developer center posting.

Beltzner added that the upcoming beta 7 milestone will be the “feature freeze” point for Firefox 4, at which point no new major features will be added into the release.

Firefox 4 has been in active development since at least July when Mozilla released the first beta milestone. Firefox 4 includes new user interface, tab management, add-on and performance features.

As a way to help better measure the performance gains that Firefox 4 will provide compared to its predecessor and its rivals, Mozilla developers have also released a new JavaScript benchmarking tool called Kraken — making it the latest in a series of such benchmarking tools to rise to prominence.

“More than Sunspider, V8, and Dromaeo, Kraken focuses on realistic workloads and forward-looking applications,” Mozilla developer Rob Sayre blogged. “We believe that the benchmarks used in Kraken are better in terms of reflecting realistic workloads for pushing the edge of browser performance forward.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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