I guess all that talk about Firefox moving to a quicker release schedule wasn't just talk. Over the weekend, a number of folks noticed that the final version of Firefox 5.0 appears to have quietly made its way onto Mozilla's FTP server. The new browser release is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in a variety of languages.
According to the Mozilla Wiki, Firefox 5.0's official public release is planned for June 21. Mozilla may simply have snuck the software onto its FTP site a few days ahead of time. Since release notes for the beta version are up, tentative early adopters can get an idea of what's on the menu. Changes include:
- Added support for CSS animations
- The Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase discoverability
- Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas
- Improved spell checking for some locales
- Improved desktop environment integration for Linux users
- WebGL content can no longer load cross-domain textures
- Background tabs have setTimeout and setInterval clamped to 1000ms to improve performance
- The Firefox development channel switcher introduced in previous Firefox Beta updates has been removed
Translation: Firefox 5.0 doesn't harbor anything too major, although I'm sure most users will welcome the performance improvements.
By redefining what a major release entails, Mozilla has managed to churn out Firefox 5 in just three months—and work has already begun on Firefox 6. The aforementioned wiki page says the first Firefox 6 beta release is due on July 5, so perhaps the final Firefox 6.0 release will be out before the summer is over. (Thanks to TR reader SH SOTN for the tip.)