Firefox 5 has been released ahead of the schedule and final version of this popular browser can be download right now. Firefox 5 includes a number of incremental enhancements as compared to the Firefox 4. Some of the new features include the CSS animations support, Do-Not-Track header preference that has been moved to the privacy section for increased visibility. Another notable thing is Firefox development channel switcher that has been introduced in previous Firefox beta has been now removed. Probably it wasn’t that much utilized by users anyway.
Most of the changes are actually lying under the hood, for example performance and page rendering speed enhancements. Performance enhancements are actually noticeable in my experience with the beta versions of the Firefox 5 that I was using for last couple of weeks. This is particularly true for the more complex multimedia intensive websites. Also, the GUI feels a little snappier, but these observations are subjective and not based on any scientific results you know.
Here is the list of new features/enhancements according to the Mozilla:
- 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
One of the issues that has bothered many people is related to the compatibility of the older Firefox 4 extensions with the Firefox 5. As many of them are still not compatible with the newer version. This bugs many people and is a big hurdle for them to migrate to Firefox 5. However, in my experience in fact most of the extensions are indeed COMPATIBLE with the Firefox 5, provided that there compatibility versions is bumped up. It is true for about 90% of the extensions that I used. So how to bump the compatibility version to Firefox 5 for the not compatible extensions and make them work? There are many ways to do it, but I would recommend to use the Add-on Compatibility Reporter from Mozilla. That will force Firefox 5 to enable otherwise in compatible add-ons to work. Note that, although this will work for the most add-ons there, but there are still some that requires more detailed fixes from their developers to make them work with Firefox 5.
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