Firefox 3.5 Lands

Firefox logo
Firefox logo

Just a quick post to let you all know that Firefox 3.5 was launched today. In case you somehow missed the discussions about it all over the web, it’s supposed to be a lot faster than Firefox 3. I’m running Fedora 11 at the moment, so I’ve been using a beta of Firefox 3.5 for a few days now. It seems fast enough to me, but then I didn’t have a speed problem with the older versions. I hear a lot of people complaining that Firefox is bloated and slow, but it’s always been fine for me. Maybe I’m just more patient, or perhaps I have a faster computer, who knows.

Private Browsing:

Enabling Private Browsing
Enabling Private Browsing

There are a few new features in 3.5, private browsing is now built in. I’ve been experimenting with this and I must say it works really well. Dubiously dubbed the “porn mode” by some – not Mozilla of course – because it doesn’t leave any footprints of the sites you visit, it’s actually a really handy security feature. I used to use a plug-in called Distrust for this kind of thing, Internet banking and so on, but I found it could be a little slow and it bogged the browser down sometimes, especially when trying to clean up your session. The inbuilt private browsing is lightning quick and it will even remember when you have multiple windows open, not just tabs. Selecting private browsing closes all open tabs and instances of Firefox, it then presents you with a blank browser ready to go. Once you’re finished you simply switch off private browsing, and all the previous windows and tabs are restored seamlessly. Very quickly too, as I said.

Speed Bump:

Speed claims
Speed claims

I referred to the speed improvements earlier but it seems this is what Mozilla wants everyone to focus on from the release notes. Many people have said the only reason Mozilla are even concerned with performance now, is because they had their asses handed to them by Google’s Chrome browser. The Javascript engine in Chrome is supposed to be the fastest around. This may be true and many Windows users tell me how much they like Chrome, but as there isn’t a Linux version, it doesn’t really concern me yet. I find it mildly ironic that an open source web browser wouldn’t bother with a Linux version. You can get Chromium (the open source sister project) to run under Linux but I haven’t tried that yet. I’ll endeavour to do that soon for comparison.

So there we go, my browser of choice Firefox has a new version. There aren’t a lot of ground breaking changes from the last release, but it’s definitely been tweaked and improved. No matter what you think of Firefox, it did change the browser game a few years ago in taking on MS Internet Explorer and eating into their market share. We now have many choices in the browser world, no matter what platform you run on. It’s a positive step and hopefully competition will improve them all over time… well maybe not IE, but that’s just waiting to be put out of it’s misery, in my opinion.

You can track the global downloads of Firefox 3.5 here


  1. Ubuntu still hasn’t packaged FF 3.5 and released it yet. And since they are a major distro, i think that’s CRAP!!

    (Don’t know about other distros..)

    • @Bill – I agree that’s not very good, they’ve had a few days now. It’s just come into Arch yesterday but I’m running Fedora 11 right now and I had FF 3.5 a day after the official release. I was impressed how quick they were.

  2. Off topic – can you review the new Elisa media center player, now renamed to Moovida, in the next few weeks?

    I’ve just given it a spin and its really polished, on par with XBMC and Boxee.

    Over and out.

  3. @bill – I don’t have a media centre PC or Mythbox as such but I can give it a spin on the laptop. I’ve heard good things from quite a few people. Maybe I should do a comparison between the 3. I’ll put it on the list, thanks 🙂

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