The official release date for Firefox 5 has been set for June 21, which is three days from now. If you don’t want to wait until then to play around with the latest stable version of the popular web browser, you can go ahead and download the browser for your language and operating system from Mozilla’s official ftp site. As with all versions listed there, there is a small chance of last-minute bugs that could force Mozilla to pull the version and replace it with another. If you want to be sure, or want to update or install Firefox 5 in a production environment, it’s best to wait until the official release announcement.
So what’s new in Firefox 5? The Release Notes list the following new features and changes:
- Added support for CSS animations
- The Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase visibility.
- Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas
- Improved spell checking for some locales
- Improved desktop environment integration for Linux users
- WebGL content can no longer load cross-domain textures
- Background tabs have setTimeout and setInterval set to 1000ms to improve performance
- Removed Firefox dev channel switcher introduced in previous Firefox Beta updates
Those are almost exclusively under-the-hood changes, some of which can be noticed on a day-to-day basis, such as improved performance.
It should be noted that Firefox 5 introduces CWND classification of HTTP transactions, which can greatly improve page load times. See Firefox 5 Gets Faster Connections Next: Memory Improvements for an in-depth review and explanation of that feature.
The no head tracker preference has been moved to the Privacy tab for more exposure. Users can turn it on to send a “do not track” request to every website they open in Firefox.
Interested users can access the full list of bugs fixed in Firefox 5 here. Each entry links to Bugzilla, where additional information can be found.
The latest version of Firefox 5 can be downloaded from the official Mozilla ftp server. It is likely that most Firefox release mirrors will also offer the new version on their servers.
Next in line is Firefox 6, which will be released in about three months.