Should You Install Firefox 5?
Firefox 5 was released on June 21, 2011, just a few months after the debut of its predecessor, Firefox 4. Eventually, Firefox 5 will be pushed out to all users. But if you're tempted to upgrade right away, you may want to read what's new in Firefox 5 and what you may lose by upgrading...
What's New in Firefox Version 5?
If you want to download Firefox 5 right now, visit the Firefox 5 website, or click on "About Firefox" under the "Help" tab in your Firefox browser.
Ten bugs in Firefox 4 were fixed, including one in the WebGL 3D rendering standard that Microsoft has called a security hole.
Among the significant new features are improved support for HTML5 and the addition of the CSS Animations standard.
The Android version of Firefox 5 now includes the "Do Not Track" feature, which enables users to tell Web sites not to track their browsing habits. The Android Firefox 5 also sports performance enhancements, particularly on 3G networks, and support for IPv6.
What About Incompatible Add-ons?
On the downside, some add-ons are flagged as incompatible with Firefox 5, including AVG Antivirus, the Google toolbar, the RoboForm password manager, and the popular TinyURL Generator. That's not unusual with major new versions of Firefox. It takes add-on developers some time to update their code for new versions.
In some cases, the old version of an add-on may actually still work with Firefox 5. When I first installed Firefox 5, it told me that RoboForm would not work, and in fact disabled it. Unacceptable for me, as I use this tool all day long. But a quick visit to the Roboform website revealed that Roboform v7.3.2 would work with the new Firefox, and after a quick download, I can confirm that all is well.
If your favorite add-ons are listed as incompatible with Firefox 5, look for an updated version on the add-on's Web site. The developer may not have submitted the proper compatibility info to Mozilla.
The Add-on Compatibility Reporter add-on lets you override Firefox's compatibility ratings, allowing older add-ons to be tested with new versions of Firefox. You can also use the Reporter to notify the add-on developer that he/she needs to update the add-on.
Should you install Firefox 5? If you develop software for the Web the answer is unquestionably, "yes." Firefox 5 contains tools that you need to stay abreast of your craft. If you're satisfied with the performance of Firefox 4 and don't want to lose some favorite add-ons, don't install Firefox 5 right away; wait for add-on developers to catch up with the new Firefox.
Some pundits are criticizing Mozilla for calling this a "major" release with a ".0" numbering convention, whining that it should rather have been called "4.1" or "4.5" at best. Yawn. Get used to new "major" releases of Firefox every six weeks, compared to the one or two annual major releases we've seen in the past. Web technology is advancing rapidly, and Mozilla is committed to this "rapid release cycle" to maintain its competitive edge against Google Chrome.
If you've installed Firefox 5, what is your reaction? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Jun 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Should You Install Firefox 5? (Posted: 22 Jun 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved