Six weeks after releasing Firefox 9, the Mozilla Corporation that makes the popular Web browser has launched a brand new version called Firefox 10 for Windows, Macs, Linux machines and Android. The release is a part of the rapid release cycle that Mozilla has adopted and is the reason why the browser has swiftly moved from version 4 to version 10 in a span of just nine months. A new version of Firefox now comes out every six weeks.
Along with a large number of bug fixes, Firefox 10 brings with it vastly improved extension support, a forward button that hides itself until it’s needed, APIs for full-screen web apps and multi-touch gesture support in the Android version among a host of other improvements.
While previous versions of Firefox were notorious for breaking extension compatibility till developers manually updated the extensions to support the new version, Firefox 10 will assume that extensions are compatible unless specifically marked otherwise. Most extensions that were compatible with Firefox 4 will work just fine. It will also allow add-ons to silently and automatically update themselves in the background.
Firefox for Android too has got a number of improvements in addition to full multi-touch gesture support. Firefox Sync, a feature of the browser that allows users to synchronise bookmarks, browsing history, password and open tabs across PCs and phones, has been enhanced. User can now enjoy an easier setup process to pair their Android phones, Tablets or any Firefox-enabled device without needing to be at a desktop computer.
This version of Firefox is notable for being the first Extended Support Release version, a program established to the growing concerns of enterprise users and IT professionals who have expressed concerns over the idea of rapid updates. This means that only bug-fixes and security fixes will be patched in this release as the year goes by – drastic changes to the browser and add-ons will happen only once every 42 weeks.
As of December 2011, Firefox and rival browser Chrome made by Google, had roughly equal marketshare with the momentum in Chrome’s favour, according to StatCounter, a leading website that provides internet statistics. Early last month, Chrome knocked Firefox to become the world’s second most popular browser after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, a position that Firefox had held for many years.
The new version brings along a few changes, along with a large number of bug fixes. One of the biggest features to come with Firefox 10 is improved extension support. Firefox version in the past are notorious for not letting users enable extensions that aren’t supported officially by the latest version.
Everytime a new Firefox release comes out, extension developers take a while to compile new versions, so that they’re compatible with the new Firefox build. According to ComputerWorld, Mozilla is working on a silent update feature that will update Firefox to the latest version without the user knowing. A similar feature is already in place where users no longer have to manually download updates. Currently, users can click on the About menu under Help to access. By June, Firefox 13 should be out and it should allow users to completely automate the Firefox update.