Mozilla to release Firefox version 5 today

By Dave Bailey
21 Jun 2011 View Comments
Mozilla Firefox 5 version screen shot

Mozilla will release version 5 of its web browser today, moving the web browser onto a three-month update cycle to match competing browser Google Chrome.

Mozilla's update cycle received hefty criticism before the launch of Firefox 4, after it took 14 months (January 2010 to March 2011) for Firefox 3.6 to become version 4.

Further reading

It moved the final beta of its browser (beta 7) into release candidate status last Friday in preparation for today's unveiling.

Like Firefox 4, version 5 supports Linux distributions, Mac OS X and all current Windows operating systems, from XP to Vista to Windows 7.

Given the much tighter release schedule for the latest version of Firefox, there are few radical improvements since version 4.

The main tweaks are better JavaScript, memory and network performance, and improved standards support for canvas, HTML5, XHR, and MathML markup languages.

Firefox 5 is still one of only two mainstream browsers that has WebGL-based 3D graphics rendering, the other being Google's Chrome browser which is now on version 12.

However, Mozilla has had to fix a security problem stopping WebGL content from loading cross-domain textures in this version.

We checked the browser performance of the release candidate, which shows it is fighting hard to keep up with other browsers.

JavaScript execution as measured by FutureMark's Peacekeeper JavaScript browser benchmark was up 15 per cent compared with Firefox version 4, and two per cent using Webkit.org's SunSpider benchmark (version 0.9.1).

Web standards compliance as measured by the Web Standards Project Acid3 benchmark is the same as Firefox 4, at 97 per cent.

A few browser market share statistics from StatCounter and NetMarketShare, respectively, show Firefox usage still slipping slightly compared to Google Chrome.

From December 2010 to May 2011, NetMarketShare's data shows Firefox's market share slipping about one percentage point, while StatCounter's data gives a drop of about 1.5 points.

The biggest climber is Google Chrome, which gained 2.6 percentage points market share since December according to NetMarketShare, and 4.5 according to StatCounter.

Mozilla's roadmap claims the community is committed to releasing Firefox versions 6 and 7 before the end of the year.

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