Firefox 1.5 released

A new version of the open-source browser Firefox is now available for download, just over a year since the first release arrived. Based on the new Gecko 1.8 rendering engine, version 1.5 is said to be faster, more stable and offer a host of new features.

Firefox 1.5 now includes the ability to reorder tabs by drag and drop, faster back and forward buttons, additional privacy and accessibility and improved popup blocking.

Open-source programmers make a point of being more-standard-than-thou, as it has helped gain acceptance in government organisations throughout the world. Firefox is no exception and now supports SVG, CSS 2 and CSS 3, and JavaScript 1.6.

Over the past year there have been a number of niggles with Firefox as it does not render quite the same as Internet Explorer. Although these problems are just as likely to be IE bugs rather than Firefox ones, the new version offers a ‘report a broken site’ facility. Whether this means that webmasters will be woken up at the dead of night by bearded hackers wanting to fix their HTML is unclear at this moment.

The Mozilla group behind Firefox has been stung several times this year by reports of vulnerabilities. Many security holes have been fixed and the various patches issued over the past few months have been incorporated. Along with Microsoft, Mozilla now offers an automatic update service to deliver patches as soon as they become available. There is also an option to ‘clear private data’ with a single key combination.

Mac users who want an alternative browser will find that Firefox has improved migration facilities for both Mac IE and Safari.

Version 1.5 of Firefox is available at the Mozilla web site.

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