It’s been a mere three months since we all welcomed Firefox 4 with open arms, but the time has come to put that out-dated browser out to pasture and move onto the bigger, better and badder 5! Alright, so this might be a ‘major’ release given that Mozilla has upped its release schedule to see four new version increments each year, but with these regular releases, we’ll never have to wait too long for some of the latest Web technologies to be implemented.
One complaint Firefox has never been able to escape is the fact that it can be a memory hog, so it’s of no surprise to once again see memory improvements made here, along with networking performance this time around. As I had Firefox 4.x crash on me the other night due to extreme memory usage, I’m glad to see it’s an issue still being worked on.
Standards support has also been improved, targeting HTML5 of course, canvas, XHR, MathML, and SMIL. In addition, though it seems like a simple change, the option to enable the “Do-Not-Track” feature, which prevents certain websites from being able to gather identifiable information about you, has been moved to a new location to be found easier (it’s now located under the Privacy tab under the options, not Advanced).
As usual, these are just the more significant changes made to the browser, though hundreds of other tweaks and additions have also been made under the hood. If none of your extensions are at risk, it’s recommended that you upgrade as soon as you’re able. You can do this either by hitting up the official site for the download, or by using the built-in updater inside of the “About Firefox” screen. Thunderbird user? Expect its respective 5.0 version next week.