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Firefox 6 now in alpha, sports privacy features, more HTML5

updated 07:30 pm EDT, Fri May 27, 2011

Developer tools and enhanced add-on manager too

Mozilla's development cycle dictates that three generations of its popular web browser Firefox must be in an active cycle. Thus, Firefox 4 is the current mainstream release (currently at 4.0.1), Firefox 5 has recently entered beta, and that means that Firefox 6, known as Aurora, has just begun its development cycle, now offering a rough alpha release for testing and feedback.

Apart from being in a very unfinished state, the new alpha does show off some new features, including a much-enhanced add-ons manager, new features for Panorama, further support of HTML5, a few new developer tools (including a Javascript code "scratchpad" that allows live testing) and a Permission Manager window (accessible by typing about:permissions in the URL bar) that gives users the ability to set different permissions for every site (if desired), including cookie, pop-up, offline storage and location access settings.

Web developers will find that Aurora offers a number of improvements and new features, starting the Scratchpad but extending to improved networking (using a more recent Websockets), support for HTML5 properties such as "progress" and "track," fixes for tags like "canvas" and CSS text attributes, along with other changes detailed here.

A quick run-through of a few sites with Aurora showed plenty of speed, along with plenty of rendering errors, and of course most add-ons, themes and other extras do not work with it.

by MacNN Staff



  1. EmmEff

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who cares?

    After the abomination that is Firefox 4 on OS X, why should I or anybody else care?

    FF4 starts like gangbusters, works great for a few minutes and then slows down to a crawl. Can somebody tell me how 6 non-graphics, non-Flash intensive tabs can consume 1.5GB of RAM?

    This is completely repeatable on both of my Macs. I've seen many complaints about it from others as well.

    I have removed FF4 from my OS X machines and will never reinstall it.

  1. cashxx

    Joined: Dec 1969


    PDF Reader

    I thought version 6 was supposed to have an imbedded PDF reader in it? I hope that is still in the plans!

  1. UmarOMC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Using 7.0a1, works well...

    WHY people are freaking CRYING about what happens behind the scenes that eats up some X amount of RAM is beyond me- are you using a freaking '040 Mac Quadra with 36MB of RAM in it? You know all modern OSs use virtual memory, right? Are you running three, concurrent copies of Photoshop while web browsing? Did your Mac only come with 2GB RAM?

    Firefox has been SMOOTH AS SILK and super-fast since 4.0 beta and a second extra for a web page to load doesn't make me run to post crybaby garbage! Firefox is still considered the SAFEST browser available and if you've ANY Mac made in the last few years you're not crying about the performance unless you're a crybaby.

    Oh and you can get ALL of Firefox 4.x Add-Ons to work with even the 7.0a1 Nightly build I use (yes, worked with 6.0 Nightlies, too!):

    Add-On Compatibility Reporter allows Add-Ons to load that aren't explicitly updated to work with the latest builds- no rebuilding/reverse engineering needed, it's like the developer literally has to edit some text listing the Firefox version compatibility- like updating a string in a plist file!

    MacPro2009 10.6.7/4GB RAM/Radeon HD 5870

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