Firefox 3.5 debuts at last

Just over a year after the arrival of Firefox 3, Mozilla has finally unleashed the next major release of its popular web browser: Firefox 3.5. The final version has become available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in "over 65 languages."

In case you didn't pay attention during the protracted development cycle, here's what Firefox 3.5 brings to the table, in the words of the official release notes:

  • Support for the HTML5 <video> and <audio> elements including native support for Ogg Theora encoded video and Vorbis encoded audio.
  • Improved tools for controlling your private data, including a Private Browsing Mode.
  • Better web application performance using the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.
  • The ability to share your location with websites using Location Aware Browsing.
  • Support for native JSON, and web worker threads.
  • Improvements to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for faster content rendering.
  • Support for new web technologies such as: downloadable fonts, CSS media queries, new transformations and properties, JavaScript query selectors, HTML5 local storage and offline application storage, <canvas> text, ICC profiles, and SVG transforms.

TraceMonkey and the updated Gecko engine are probably the most noticeable changes for day-to-day browsing, since they bring about serious speedups compared to Firefox 3. The Mozilla folks are definitely catching up to their rivals at Google and Apple in the performance department.

Otherwise, HTML 5 support lets you play some embedded videos without using the Adobe Flash plug-in or clumsy Java-based players. DailyMotion already has a pre-beta site up with nothing but HTML 5 videos. (Thanks for TR reader SH SOTN for the links.)

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