Firefox 6.0 launches early

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Design


The latest version of the Firefox web browser became available for download on Saturday, three days before its official launch on 16 August 2011.

The most visible changes in Firefox 6.0 are that the domain name is highlighted within the URL in the address bar, and the neighbouring site identity block is much smaller. Furthermore, typing 'about:permissions' in the address bar opens a set of advanced options for security settings for each individual site in the user's history.

However, of the 1,300 bugs fixed in the browser update, very few are cosmetic or noticeable. The release notes describe added support for several add-ons, reduced browser startup time when using the Panorama tab feature, and the addition of a Javascript Scratchpad for developers.

The Firefox 6.0 download comes just six weeks after the last update on 21 June. The not-for-profit Mozilla Project recently announced they are working to a "rapid release development cycle", and in April launched the Aurora channel for users willing to test new features before the Beta release.

Security measures

The popularity of Firefox is somewhat surprising considering it is not the default web browser for any major OS. However, according to, in July 2011 it commands 34.2 per cent of browser market share. This has fallen slightly in recent months, as has the market share of Internet Explorer, while the Google Chrome browser has seen steady growth to 20.9 per cent.

Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, commented: "The Firefox browser is so popular