Open SourceSoftware

New Mozilla 3.6 Beta Fixes 190 Bugs

A second beta of Mozilla Firefox 3.6 fixes plenty of bugs, while a survey shows the five-year old browser now has a 25 percent market share

The second beta of Firefox 3.6, the next version of Mozilla’s popular Web browser, has arrived less than two weeks after Beta 1, and includes over 190 fixes.

Firefox 3.6 adds a number of new features, including improved video viewing, integrated “personas” — browser themes that can be applied with a single click via Firefox Add-ons Manager’s Themes tab — and a streamlined way to update plug-ins through a Plugin Check Web page. Mozilla also claimed an increase in JavaScript performance, browser responsiveness and startup time. The new beta is available here.

Firefox 3.6 Beta 2’s updates include a mechanism “to prevent incompatible software from crashing Firefox,” a bug called out by the online community, as well as tweaks to the other new features. The beta continues to support CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), DOM (Document Object Model) and HTML5 technologies.

In testing, eWEEK found that Firefox 3.6 was a bit faster than the previous version, and “performed well on a wide variety of Websites and applications.”

Firefox, which is now five years old, occupies just over 25 percent of the browser market, according to a report by statistics company Net Applications. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer holds about 63.26 percent of the market, according to the report, while Apple Safari has 4.39 percent and Google Chrome has 3.89 percent.

Despite occasional analyst concerns about Firefox security, Mozilla’s user community generally moves quickly to patch vulnerabilities in the browser. In October, Mozilla even blocked a pair of Microsoft add-ons because they had vulnerabilities that could have potentially affected Firefox users; Microsoft then patched the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant and Windows Presentation Foundation flaws in a Patch Tuesday update.

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In addition to the Firefox beta update, in November Mozilla plans to roll out Thunderbird 3, the newest variant on its open-source e-mail application. Compatible with Windows, Mac OS X and open-source platforms, new features of Thunderbird 3 include filtered search, tabbed e-mail, a one-click address book and a streamlined mail account setup wizard.