It seems Mozilla has lived up to its promise of delivering quicker updates to its powerful browser and e-mail clients. Firefox and Thunderbird both have been upgraded to version 8.0.
While no monumental updates to the software engines of both programs occurred, the releases both fixed several issues relating to add-ons, state-up times and stability issues.
What’s new in Firefox 8?
Firefox version 8.0 fixed a number of hidden stability, security and WebSocket issues. Mozilla worked hard to improve the playback and memory issues relating to audio and video support. This means that Firefox should handle these types of multimedia better than previous versions.
Firefox now lets you load tabs on demand when restoring Firefox after a premature shutdown. Add-ons are also disabled by default after installation, so you will have to manually turn them on to begin using them. This will help increase the speed of starting Firefox up after installing, modifying and working with new add-on installations.
Some other upgrades to Firefox 8.0 include:
- CSS hyphen support for a variety of languages
- Added InsertAdjacentHTML support
- Added HTML5 context menu support
- Added CORS cross domain WebGL texture support
- Added Twitter to the list of search bars
The majority of changes to Firefox from version 7.0 to 8.0 are mainly in the background helping to improve the overall performance of the browser. You may notice increases in speed and loading times for pages but generally, the only “new” thing you will have to deal with is ensuring you enable new add-on installations.
What’s new in Thunderbird?
The biggest upgrade to Thunderbird in version 8.0 comes from it now being based on the Mozilla Gecko 8 layout engine. For those unfamiliar with Gecko, it is an open source software platform used most often in web browsers but it can also be found in a variety of online applications. Also, just like Firefox, add-ons will now be disabled by default upon installation to the browser.
Some other upgrades to Thunderbird 8.0 include:
- Added a new search
- Added new find shortcuts
- Improved the way you access the attachment listings
- Removed the folder switching pane widget
The changes to Thunderbird are subtle enough you will not notice them. You will notice the way add-on installation works which mean you will have to enable new add-ons before they begin working. Other than that, Thunderbird version 8.0 is pretty much the same as the one before it.
Is the expedited release of Mozilla upgrades necessary?
Mozilla and Google are going head to head to gain control of the browser population on the Internet. While Internet Explorer is a player, it seems more users are interested in what Chrome or Firefox have to offer over Microsoft’s own browser. Since Chrome releases many different hot fix updates, Mozilla followed suit with Firefox and now Thunderbird. While the changes and fixes are always welcome, so far neither browser has released an update that truly blows away those using either browser for their online experience.
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