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Friday October 31st 2014

What You Need to Know As Firefox 5 Rolls Out





Mozilla wasn’t kidding when it announced earlier this year that it would pursue a rapid release cycle for future versions of the Firefox browser, and now Firefox 5 is available for download for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. There are many interesting benchmark tests and reports on the compatibility of extensions–a key issue for many Firefox users–appearing. Here’s what you need to know as you consider upgrading to Firefox 5.

Back in early February, we took note of Mozilla’s announcement that it would begin to release upgrades to Firefox at a much faster clip than ever before. However, tech journalists and some OStatic readers and other users of Firefox expressed some concernes about the new rapid releases. Here is what one of our readers said about upgrading to Firefox 4 from Firefox 3.6:

"Firefox 4.0 is a disaster. Many major sites, like mlb.com and weather.com, are not supported and look terrible. What went wrong? I reinstalled 3.6.16 and all is well."

We covered responses like the one above in this post. So far, the good news is that Firefox 5 is not yet being greeted with so many acrimonious responses. Digitizor benchmarked Firefox 5 against Google Chrome and Opera, and found that JavaScript tests and other tests ran faster on Firefox 5 than the other browsers. JavaScript performance is essential to efficient use of many web applications and sites.

PCMag.com also notes that users can expect far fewer problems with Firefox extensions using Firefox 5 than some people experienced when upgrading to Firefox 4. This is attributed to Add-On Compatibility Reporter, a tool Mozilla launched in April that allows Mozilla to identify potential extension problems during beta testing of new Firefox releases. PCMag.com says Firefox 5 "doesn’t seem to have drastically affected the compatibility of add-ons," although it does take note of some reported problems with isolated extensions. Typically, upon new Firefox releases, it doesn’t take long for nearly all extensions to work properly.

If you demand total extension compatibility it may be worth waiting a few days for incremental fixes to appear for Firefox 5. However, it appears to be much faster than other versions and other browsers, and mostly reliable upon release. That’s yet another reason to expect heated market share competition between Firefox and Google Chrome throughout this year.

 

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