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It's the real 6.0!

Firefox 6.0 shows off its domain-highlight kung-fu.
Mozilla is accelerating its update schedule

It's been a little while since we checked in with web browser Mozilla, but a lot has happened in a short time.  Faced with a surging Chrome browser from Google Inc. (GOOG), Mozilla has altered its strategy somewhat.  Perhaps taking note of Chrome's psychological advantage of a faster release schedule (Chrome 13 sounds very advanced), Mozilla has pushed Firefox towards a shorter release cycle as well adopting a new "Rapid Release" calendar.

Firefox 4 launched March 22, four months behind schedule.  Since then Mozilla has kicked things up a notch, releasing Firefox 5.0 on June 21.  Now after five betas the company is back at it, almost ready to release Firefox 6.0.

The installation executables for Windows, Mac, and Linux (links) popped up on Saturday, as noted by posters on the Neowin forums.  While the installed browser's landed page is still stuck on the beta testing page, a quick look at Help > About Firefox shows that this is indeed the release channel final 6.0 build.

That led some to speculate that Firefox 6.0 might be releasing early.  Yet the days slipped by and Mozilla appears to be content to release it on the previously announced date -- Tuesday, August 16. (today). 

Since late March, Firefox has been available for the world's most used smart phone operating system Android.  Firefox 6 marks another release of desktop and Android browsers side-by-side.

There's not much in the way of cosmetic tweaks on the desktop side.  The biggest change you'll notice (or maybe won't) is that the domain name is now bolded in the address bar.  Where as sub-domains in Chrome are also bolded, only the base domain is bolded in Firefox, which is nice in a way, for quicker visual recognition.

Aside from bug fixes and web developer-centric additions, the only other item of note an optimized "Panorama" tab organizer.  Mozilla says its now faster to loaded Panorama and surf through your tab collection.  A new permissions manager was rumored to be planned (see Wikipedia) -- but is noticeably absent from the change log (Update: it's there -- you can find it by typing "about:permissions" in the URL bar, thanks Gungel!).  The release notes for the desktop version are available here, while the bug fix log is available here.

On the Android side, the browser has been sped up, uses less memory (thank you!), scales images better, and offers a "fresh visual style in Chrome Gingerbread".

CNN is reporting that Mozilla is upset about people downloading Firefox 6 (release) early (which begs the question of why they put it up in the usual location).  Mozilla reportedly said that early download traffic overwhelms its servers and slows the standard release process.

Don't blink because you might miss Mozilla's next launch.  Along-side Firefox 6.0 will be Firefox 7 beta 1.  Firefox 7, which will reportedly offer "vastly" improved memory usage, will release on Sept. 27, after only a single beta.  Alongside Firefox 7 (release) will be Firefox 8 beta 1, another single-beta release.  The release version of Firefox 8 will drop November 8, just in time for Thanksgiving festivities.

At this rate, we should hit Firefox 20 in holiday season 2013.



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I like it.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/16/2011 8:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
I kind of like the way Mozilla has been handling Firefox. It's absurd that Chrome came out years and years later, and is already at "version" 15. Small updates or patching in a new feature does NOT make an entire new version, Google.

Firefox doesn't need erroneous version naming schemes to compete with Chrome or give people the impression they are working extra hard on the browser.




RE: I like it.
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/16/2011 8:56:56 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I kind of like the way Mozilla has been handling Firefox. It's absurd that Chrome came out years and years later, and is already at "version" 15. Small updates or patching in a new feature does NOT make an entire new version, Google.

Firefox doesn't need erroneous version naming schemes to compete with Chrome or give people the impression they are working extra hard on the browser.

Sadly logical consumers like yourself are in the minority.

I've actually had someone tell me (may be paraphrasing slightly), "Microsoft is falling behind Apple because they develop too slowly. They only release an operating system every few years, while Apple releases one every year."

To give another example, Borders books recently went out of business. The Borders near my house is typically 30 to 40 percent more expensive than Amazon. But now that they're offering "clearance" prices of around 20 percent off, people started buying books like crazy, even though they were STILL more expensive than Amazon.

People see things like "new", "clearance", or "sale" and abandon all logic. Thus a company releasing 10 "new" products a year with 5 features each has a psychological edge in the minds of the sheeple over a company that releases 2 "new" products a year with 30 features each.


RE: I like it.
By quiksilvr on 8/16/2011 9:02:33 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sure that is a factor, but the other factors were:
1. Its faster
2. Extensions can easily be removed, added, disabled and enabled without having to close the browser.
3. Seriously, its faster

Plus with the extensive extensions/app/theme support it has now, there is little reason to go back to Firefox anymore.


RE: I like it.
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/16/2011 9:07:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sure that is a factor, but the other factors were:
1. Its faster
2. Extensions can easily be removed, added, disabled and enabled without having to close the browser.
3. Seriously, its faster

Plus with the extensive extensions/app/theme support it has now, there is little reason to go back to Firefox anymore.

Oh, I'm not knocking Chrome. I actually use it as my day-to-day browser.

I'm just commenting that some people will be lured into it just because new releases come more frequently and/or it has a higher number than Firefox so sounds more impressive.

Psychological marketing and utility aren't necessarily mutually exclusive in products, my commentary was simply an observation on how the former often trumps the latter in the consumer mind.


RE: I like it.
By Flunk on 8/16/2011 9:38:07 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure that's really a factor, the vast majority of people when asked can't recall the version of their web browser. Chrome doesn't really advertise it well, it just updates itself occasionally without telling you in advance.


RE: I like it.
By bupkus on 8/16/2011 10:28:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. I know which version of Firefox I have but have no idea which Chrome I'm using.

I switch from Firefox to Chrome because I use more than one computer and OS and I really like syncing my browser without porting my huge collection of bookmarks.


RE: I like it.
By PitViper007 on 8/16/2011 2:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
I use Chrome as my default browser and had no idea what version I am on. I had to go and look it up to find out. Internet Explorer and Firefox on the other hand, they do tend to make it easier to know what version you are on.

Personally, I like Chrome for its speed and ease of use. IE, even on version 9 feels like it's dragging a battleship anchor behind it, and unless you strip down Firefox, it doesn't load things much quicker. But it all comes down to what you like. To each their own.


RE: I like it.
By alphadogg on 8/16/2011 9:36:20 AM , Rating: 1
Which website is noticeably faster in Chrome than in Firefox?

PS: It's hilarious to read geeks bemoan the fact that end-users look at version numbers, then watch them debate endlessly about how Chrome is microseconds faster than FF on benchmarks.


RE: I like it.
By Flunk on 8/16/2011 9:41:24 AM , Rating: 2
Chrome is faster with some web applications that have a lot of heavy JavaScript like Monster.com.

On your average site the different, while it might be noticeable side by side isn't enough to make you want to switch browsers like it was with Firefox 2.


RE: I like it.
By PitViper007 on 8/16/2011 2:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
Plus it's not that Chrome loads websites faster, which it does seem to do, but it loads itself much faster too.


RE: I like it.
By stm1185 on 8/16/2011 5:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
And Chromes UI seems designed to work faster as well. It takes me less time to do things and as such speeds up browsing. Does FF even have paste and go yet?


RE: I like it.
By ipay on 8/16/2011 6:14:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Does FF even have paste and go yet?

Yes, i think since FF4.


RE: I like it.
By TheRealArdrid on 8/16/2011 10:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
Live Bookmarks says hello. And, no, Google Reader is not an acceptable substitute.


RE: I like it.
By bjacobson on 8/16/2011 11:25:31 AM , Rating: 2
IMO it didn't even deserve to hit version 4 until this feature came out.


RE: I like it.
By Argon18 on 8/16/2011 11:38:07 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I won't use a Google browser. Google is in the information business. Gmail isn't free - the cost is that they harvest, package, and sell all your private information to anyone willing to pay. I simply don't trust them with a browser. Who is to say they aren't tracking all my browsing habits and selling those too? Firefox on the other hand is open source community driven - it doesn't have quarterly profits or corporate initiatives to answer to. IMO Firefox is genuinely the "people's browser" and is designed from the ground up to serve the people. Just my perspective on it.


RE: I like it.
By phatboye on 8/16/2011 12:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who is to say they aren't tracking all my browsing habits and selling those too?

They are no doubt tracking all of your browsing habits and selling that too, there is no question about that. As a matter of fact anytime you type anything into the url bar in Chrome that info is sent to Google that is why Chrome does not even have a separate search bar like other browsers have.


RE: I like it.
By Omega215D on 8/16/2011 12:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
Incognito Mode is supposed to stop that sort of thing. Or, at least I would hope.

I have Chrome in Incognito mode and FF in Private Browsing.

FF is used the most because the add-ons/ extensions work better than that of Chrome. Like ad-block and pop up blocker.


RE: I like it.
By jonmcc33 on 8/16/2011 2:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
The same people that made the Adblock Plus extension for Firefox made one for Chromium as well. It pulls from the same filter lists as well.

http://adblockplus.org/en/chrome


RE: I like it.
By NellyFromMA on 8/17/2011 8:03:08 AM , Rating: 3
Or, just use IE9, it has these features built-in and better. Oh wait, I hear a downrate storm coming, gotta go!


RE: I like it.
By jonmcc33 on 8/16/2011 2:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
Use any Chromium alternative then. That way you have the benefits without the negative of Google tracking you. For Windows, a great Chromium alternative is Comodo Dragon. I use that myself on all my Windows systems. For Linux I use Chromium which is the open source build.


RE: I like it.
By OAKside24 on 8/16/2011 9:14:47 AM , Rating: 2
These types of things drive me nuts. Why are people like this? It seems like an enormous amount of human beings are just not very intelligent, or very easily fooled (a nice way of putting it)... which is depressing.

I hate to see creators of awesome things start playing these types of games.


RE: I like it.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/16/2011 9:16:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've actually had someone tell me (may be paraphrasing slightly), "Microsoft is falling behind Apple because they develop too slowly. They only release an operating system every few years, while Apple releases one every year."


LOL typical of Mactards. But then again, Microsoft crushes Apple on OS sales, so these people are in the minority thankfully. Who want's to buy and install a "new OS" every year anyway?

I agree with your consumer examples, in theory. But I think people like that are just the ones who happily use Internet Explorer without a care in the world or knowledge that there are other options out there. Those who download and install Firefox and Chrome are probably a bit more tech-savvy and knowledgeable. I'm not sure just coming out with "new" versions every few months is going to cut it with this crowd.


RE: I like it.
By bupkus on 8/16/2011 10:33:09 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I'm not sure just coming out with "new" versions every few months is going to cut it with this crowd.
Consider also that each update may again break your favorite add-on.


RE: I like it.
By tamalero on 8/16/2011 5:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
It seems simple.. chrome changed the whole version 1.1 is for bugfixes of version 1.0
they seem to just trow the notch to v2.0 instead..


Lost everything
By Etern205 on 8/16/2011 9:47:14 AM , Rating: 2
Do now what happen with FF, but when I opened it today, FF acted as if I installed it for the very first and ask me to import. So I cancel it and now my profile has been deleted!
All my bookmarks and add-ons are gone! Weird this is I haven't update to 6.0 yet.
May have to just redo everything and import my bookmarks from the last time I've backed up...




RE: Lost everything
By KITH on 8/16/2011 2:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
By any chance did you open a different user account than you usually use. Or perhaps you opened firefox as ad administrator?

Firefox profile is tied to the user account that opens it.


Permission Manager
By Gungel on 8/16/2011 8:55:36 AM , Rating: 3
Quote: "A new permissions manager was rumored to be planned (see Wikipedia) -- but is noticeably absent from the change log."

Just type into the address bar 'about:permissions' and there you can set site specific permissions. Bookmark the page or drag it into the quick link bar for easy access.




Question.
By VitalyTheUnknown on 8/16/2011 8:57:23 AM , Rating: 2
Is it possible in Firefox 6.0 to make interface transparent like in opera browser?




........
By andre-bch on 8/16/2011 10:07:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Mozilla is accelerating its update schedule


... and reducing the size of the change log.

I wonder what kind of cake IE team would send this time. Maybe this:

http://cute-n-tiny.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/...




Time for new??
By Crazylocha on 8/16/2011 10:15:14 AM , Rating: 2
Jason,
Are we going to see an update to mobile browser tests?
Now we have Dolphin, Opera, FF6, Chrome, how do they perform on GB vs.Froyo?

You have your work cut out for you! I won't even get into 4g vs 3g vs LTE, lol.




FYI
By torpor on 8/16/2011 11:44:55 AM , Rating: 2
Just so you're aware, IE 8 has domain bolding just like that.

It's cute, but no biggie.




Page Load Issue
By FredEx on 8/16/2011 12:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
Has anybody else had an issue with slow page loads on Firefox 6? I had tried it when it went beta, had the problem, went back to 5. Last night I got 6 off their FTP and it was slow loading all pages, again I went back to 5.




Tabs in Firefox vs Chrome
By FredEx on 8/16/2011 12:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
If I could deal with Tabs in Chrome like I can in Firefox it might win me over. From what I have read, how the other browsers, especially Chrome, deal with tabs you can't handle tabs like Firefox using TMP.

The way I understood it, the way Chrome deals with tabs is tightly integrated with the functionality of the rest of the browser. You try to mess with the tabs too much, you screw up the browser.

Sounds like the day when trying to remove some things (IE) from Windows would screw up the whole OS.




Firefox update scheme
By dcollins on 8/16/2011 8:13:29 PM , Rating: 2
A six week release cycle works great for Chrome, but terrible for Firefox. Two reason: Firefox doesn't auto-update and Firefox versions regularly break extension compatibility. Users are lazy when it comes to updates, so you end with a fragmented user base which is exactly what we're seeing with FF. The (likely) possibility of extensions breaking discourages updating even more.

Unless they add (optional, but default) auto-updating and do something about extension support, this new release cycle will continue to be disastrous.




Lame
By NellyFromMA on 8/17/2011 8:00:22 AM , Rating: 2
These new versions every two months are kind of lame. Unneccessary and somewhat portrays an insecure company and product. You could release these arguable patches in the same way the rest of the industry does, but clearly they are feeling a little inferior to Chrome which is really a funny statement in itself.




Dangerous
By BugblatterIII on 8/16/2011 10:02:22 AM , Rating: 1
I'm a software development manager, and at the beginning of this year we moved from fortnightly releases to monthly ones.

This allowed us to tackle much larger pieces of work. It also gave us far more development time, because releases take a lot of time and effort, especially for testing.

Chances are that moving to more frequent releases will greatly reduce the amount they can get done over a particular period of time. In other words in a year they'll have got far less done than if they'd stayed with the infrequent releases.

Rather than keeping up with Chrome they'll fall further behind. Except in version numbers.

I still use Firefox because of the Tabs Mix Plus extension. However I've tried Chrome and it's way faster, so if Chrome gets a decent way of handling large numbers of tabs I'll be switching.




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