By Craig Buckler

Mozilla Release Firefox 5 Beta 2 and Aurora Updates

By Craig Buckler

Are you still using Firefox 3? Have you only just upgraded to Firefox 4? Do you think it’s too long to wait between versions? True to their word, Mozilla has embarked on a rapid release development cycle like Google uses for Chrome. Firefox 5 is due on June 21 and you can download beta 2 from:

The usual disclaimers apply. This is beta software. It may overwrite your existing installation. Plug-ins are unlikely to be compatible. Your PC may implode. You may catch a nasty disease.

The new release promises performance, security and stability improvements as well as:

  • silent updates
  • CSS animations
  • improved support for HTML5 and related technologies
  • better JavaScript and canvas performance
  • taskbar web app support
  • a few interface tweaks with better Mac OS and Linux integration
  • an easier to access “do not track” option — apparently, fewer than 2% of people use it in Firefox 4.

That said, you’re unlikely to notice significant differences between versions 4 and 5.

Perhaps Aurora will be of more interest to cutting-edge browser addicts. Mozilla’s new channel delivers future innovations at various levels of quality and polish. The Aurora version of Firefox is also available to download from the link above.

Can you spot any major new features? I couldn’t, but I have to admit that the logos are gorgeous!…

Firefox logos

Firefox 5 will be upon us in a little over 3 weeks. Opera also appear to be adopting a rapid release schedule. It seems we’re just waiting for Apple and Microsoft to join the party.

  • StR

    IMHO “rapid release schedule” != $mayorVersion++; It sounds stupid (IMHO) to name it v5 with no major changes. I think it could be 4.1, 4.2, 4.3. I even think 4.0 is really 3.8.. and after 3.9 it comes 3.10, not 4.0
    It looks like they want to get to v10 before IE. I remember constant battle with Redhat, Mandrake, Mandriva, SuSe… just to say they are releasing a new version just because the competitors released a new “major version”.
    Linux distros had that race before. Windows antivirus had it to… I guess it’s time for the browsers.
    I like the way Linux kernel versions are named.. 2.6.0 was released in 2004 and current is 2.6.36. There is no rush to get to 2.7, 2.8… not saying 3.0.. there is no rush, no competition…. no mayor changes.
    I would expect to see similar jump in 3-4 and 4-5 as I saw it from 1-2 and 2-3… If I don’t see a similar jump.. I’ll get disappointed, and probably try another browser

    • With the exception of IE, browser version numbers have become almost irrelevant. How many Chrome users know which version they’re running? What really matters is that vendors are rapidly updating their browsers. That’s good, even though the version numbering is silly.

  • Eric

    Hasn’t 5.0 Beta 2 been out for a week and 1/2 now? :)

  • dr john

    But these are really minor revisions. I only moved to Firefox 4 last week when my web sites’ stats finally showed more FF4 users than FF3, and now Firefox 5 will be with us in a little over three weeks?!

    Which browser will be the first to reach version 100? Chrome most likely, probably within two years at the rate they are going, when on a more normal versioning count they are probably about V 4 just now, not 13 or 14 (can’t keep track, it changes to regularly). As you say, IE has true landmark version upgrades.

    • The Schaef

      I don’t know if I’ll call them landmark upgrades until they start actually including features and standards support that we’ve been lacking for far too long

  • eClare

    I think they should just drop the version number from now on, its illogical to call minor bug fixes and updates as major version, they should just stick to the product name from now on

  • Mike

    Hey everyone, I just launched version 5.0 of my website. I updated the copyright notice to say 2011, changed my doctype for HTML5 and deleted the whitespace at the end of my CSS. It’s a pretty major release ;)

    • Lol

      Clearly you have no idea.

  • nikesaleonline

    would expect to see similar jump in 3-4 and 4-5 as I saw it from 1-2 and 2-3… If I don’t see a similar jump.. I’ll get disappointed, and probably try another browser

    • You won’t necessarily know your browser’s been updated; Google has silent updates and Mozilla will have soon. Features will appear incrementally when they’re ready.

  • Anand

    Isn’t that called ‘Agile Development’ -> Release early, release often.

  • Seedplanta

    I updated to FF4 when it was released and quickly returned to 3.6.x due to it actually being slower. Hopefully FF5 fixes this issue, if not than I’ll have to stick w/ 3.6 from now on. they say it is faster but apparently this must only be if you have a PC with great specs i.e more than 1GB RAM, which I know is not much but should be significant enough. GONE apparently are the days of true efficiency. that tried 4 on multiple PC’s and same issue, and I found to my surprise I am not alone with nearly 300 people having the same problem or FF forum. I Lon FF and have since 0.x when it was still “Beta” but now they seem to be trying to keep up with “the Joneses”instead of continuing to deliver a quality Product consistently lie since v4. hopefully v5 does not continue this issue. I am hopeful.

Get the latest in Front-end, once a week, for free.