Firefox 5.0 slips out ahead of official release

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:

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.)

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Perhaps TR or other reputable review sites may want to publish regular comparisons of the 5 major browsers? They do it once in a while but the way the browser makers pump out new versions like there’s no tomorrow, any comparo gets obsolete quickly.

    Oh, and how about throwing in some other obscure browsers like Maxthon, etc? Those small players deserve a chance to be given some publicity.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      TR is mainly a hardware review site, most of the software actually reviewed is drivers, or done in one of the blogs.

      But yes, every now and then someone does a up to date comparison. Usually they find that IE and Safari are a disappointment, FF extensions are awesome but a bit slow at times and Chrome is very quick out the box but lacks some useful things or hides them. Opera is usually not mentioned because the 8 people who use it will not be persuaded that any other browser even compares.

    • rephlex
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://pv-mirror01.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/5.0/win32/en-GB/Firefox%20Setup%205.0.exe[/url<] worked for me.

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 8 years ago

    I’m hoping “Improved memory performance” means something substantial.

    • judoMan
    • 8 years ago

    It didn’t slip out because it’s not actually downloadable. At least the Windows version isn’t. Check out the “550, Permission Denied” error (at least today, 20.Jun.11):
    [url<]ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/5.0/win32/en-US/Firefox%20Setup%205.0.exe[/url<] BTW, it's kinda fun to see that Firefox 5.0 is coming out the day before Eclipse Indigo. I'm looking forward to the next two days!

    • sonofsanta
    • 8 years ago

    Versioning like this is just stupid. It’s not the number that counts, it’s what you do with it. Otherwise the Internet would be flooded with adverts for penis extension pills and whatever, as if the number of inches is more important than how you use it.

    That of course not being the case, I can’t understand why Mozilla insist on pumping their numbers up like this.

      • demani
      • 8 years ago

      Exactly. In fact I think the latest round of developer planning is to change it again: to v.Monday, v.Tuesday, etc. So it more accurately reflects the progression.

      As for Chrome, most people don’t even realize the change when a new version gets released. On the one hand it’s unfortunate since people don’t realize new versions=new features, but I’ll take an up-to-date browser any day over release fanfare. Firefox’s auto-update isn’t quite there yet, and it isn’t fully automatic. In fact, that is why I put Chrome on anyone’s machine- I know Flash and the browser will be updated automatically, so when I come back in two months it won’t have gotten jacked up from that vector.

      When will sanity prevail though? I may need to stick to IE and Safari on principle (whatever skewed principle that would be).

      • bhassel
      • 8 years ago

      On the other hand, would you dispute that some people *will* make that initial browser choice based on superficial things like which version number looks “better”? In that case, if the numbering scheme really doesn’t matter otherwise, why not go with this scheme?

      • axeman
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, I’m not surprised, since Chrome is releasing major versions every month. It’s quite silly, really, but Firefox is the other extreme – they went from 3.0 to 3.5 because it was “major”, but not major enough? DERP.

      • Stranger
      • 8 years ago

      “Otherwise the Internet would be flooded with adverts for penis extension pills and whatever…”

      uhhhhhh are you trying to suggest that the internet isn’t flooded with ads for penis pills?

        • sonofsanta
        • 8 years ago

        [url=http://lmgtfy.com/?q=sarcasm<]...[/url<]

    • morphine
    • 8 years ago

    And apparently they haven’t moved away from using the damned DirectWrite text antialiasing.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      By default, FireFox uses your system settings, but you can override those settings via addons.

        • morphine
        • 8 years ago

        It’s been some time since I last checked, but AFAIK the only way to disable DirectWrite text is to disable hardware acceleration altogether 🙁

    • porov
    • 8 years ago

    The biggest flaw in firefox is it’s slow performance. I have installed firefox and chrome on numerous computers, and chrome is faster every time, especially on older machines.

    That’s the most important thing for me and many other ppl.

      • Goty
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t personally know a single person who owns a machine slow enough or has a connection slow enough to notice a difference between the two browsers. The difference is just not significant.

        • Kurotetsu
        • 8 years ago

        +1

        I would say the performance difference becomes noticeable only if you have a ton of add-ons installed, which most people don’t. My work machine, a Dell all-in-one, uses a laptop dual-core and 2GB of RAM. Firefox runs great (its still a memory hog though).

          • demani
          • 8 years ago

          I notice it not in performance as a speed measure for opening pages, but as a speed over time. Chrome doesn’t bog down the way Firefox does.

        • travbrad
        • 8 years ago

        I notice a difference on my E8400 @ 4ghz (with 4GB of memory) machine. It’s certainly not a huge difference, but it is noticeable. I think you’d be surprised just how small of a difference people can notice. Just take online gaming for example. There is quite a big difference between a 50ms ping and 100ms ping. In theory you wouldn’t think 1/20th of a second would make much difference, but it does.

        I have a very old laptop (2.4ghz single-core P4) that I use for web-browsing/email/ebooks, and the difference on that machine is very noticeable. Obviously that’s a very slow machine by today’s standards though (although not much different than a modern netbook actually).

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        Try a netbook.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      Makes up for it with superior add-ons to Chrome, although that is also changing rapidly.

      Firefox using ~530,784K here with ~30 tabs open. This system has 4 GiB and runs fine.

      I do think that Chrome will start to chip away at Firefox, there’s a lot more incentive for Google to succeed here.

        • entropy13
        • 8 years ago

        I had Firefox use ~1,000,000K with 95 tabs open. I tried to compare it with Google Chrome…but considering each tab is designated as one process, I don’t have time to add their usage LOL

          • swaaye
          • 8 years ago

          Even my EeePC has 2GB of RAM so big deal. 😉

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          An effective way to browse the web, you need one. Tabs don’t scale the way you apparently want/need them to.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      I gave FF 4 a try, it was dramatically faster than 3.X. I still use Chrome, but I would “no longer” say that FF is slow. I haven’t used it over long periods of time, so I’m not sure if it slows down, but I won’t speculate on that.

        • axeman
        • 8 years ago

        Yes, Chrome was noticeably faster than 3.x, especially on slower hardware. Now with 4.0, not so much.

      • relmerator
      • 8 years ago

      In general, I find FF quite fast. What drives me *nuts* though is that it often decides to delete a million files from its cache.trash directory at startup, rendering FF completely unresponsive for 15+ minutes.

      • porov
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe it might not be noticable to you, but it is there.

      I have developed several big websites with alot of javascript and css.

      Using firebug and the network monitor on firefox and chrome respectively the difference measured was quite great.

      That’s a fact, I have had alot of experience with both browsers, i have performance-tested and optimized numerous websites and every single time chrome was the winner.

      I have used both firefox 3 and 4.

      Some people might get confused thinking that their network connection is slow, while in reality its the rendering speed of the page that is causing the delay. People just don’t know.

      Another example I could give is a web-based file browser that I developed. I was testing it with a very big windows directory of 10 000 files. Firefox was producing a slideshow while scrolling and consumed more than 500mb for a single page, while chrome was just fine.

      If I was bothered enough I would write a blog about it, I have enough proof to do it.

    • Saribro
    • 8 years ago

    The nightlies are already up to 7.0 even…
    I’m just waiting for an official Win64 release, that would make 2 out of 3 on my system.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    From those updates, sounds like this should be called Firefox 4.1

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      Nah, they need to catch up to IE’s, Opera’s, and Chrome’s version numbering.

      • oMa
      • 8 years ago

      4.0.2

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      I vote for daily releases. We’ll be at 1000 in no time. Dumb. I’ll still use FF though for now.

        • BenBasson
        • 8 years ago

        I realise that you’re joking, but it is possible to get their daily builds automatically. I used to do it on the build up to most major releases.

      • Corrado
      • 8 years ago

      I semi-agree. Fact is the perception is that Chrome is more actively developed because they fix a bug and increment an entire version number. But besides that, its just a number. Doesn’t really matter either way as its essentially arbitrary and only used to know exactly what you’re running. Doesn’t make it any different if they jumped to 23 or 4.0.2 The program itself is still the same.

        • yuriylsh
        • 8 years ago

        Agree. But only when they make 100% sure that the version number changes do not break extensions.

        • LaChupacabra
        • 8 years ago

        Agreed, it’s all about perception. Every time Chrome increments versions there are loads of new reviews and benchmarks from many different review sites. And the reviewers are much more likely to make sure they are using the latest and greatest version. I wonder how many reviews are out there that have unknowingly compared the latest versions of Firefox/Chrome, whatever to outdated and unpatched versions of their competitors.

      • Xenolith
      • 8 years ago

      They changed their versioning approach. They are copying Chrome and their rapid version numbering.

      Like how I verbed ‘version’?

        • nanoflower
        • 8 years ago

        That was cool. 😉

        I have no problem with Mozilla deciding to increase the rate at which they release new versions by limiting what goes into each version. That makes more sense given how quickly things move today, but there really wasn’t any need to duplicate Chrome and IE on their versioning style. They could have just released multiple versions under the 4.x moniker until something major changed and then increment to 5.0.

        • cygnus1
        • 8 years ago

        No you didn’t.

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