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Firefox 3.5 Speed Freak: Faster Development, Faster Performance

Users Get More Than They Clamored For

  • June 9, 2009
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner

Firefox 3.0 is not quite a year old, but users are already clamoring for Firefox 3.5. So where is it, and what is it all about?

In an interview at the Mozilla Toronto office, Mike Belzner, director of Firefox and the person responsible for Firefox releases, explained what is going on with the Firefox 3.5 release process and how Mozilla has improved since the 3.0 release last year. In a nutshell, Mozilla developers are now building better software faster than ever.

"We managed to develop Firefox 3.5 in 12 months; compare that to the development cycle on Firefox 3, which was two and a half years," Beltzner told InternetNews.com. "The amount of improvement that we've been able to put into the platform and the speed we've been able to execute as a distributed open source engineering organization is something we consider to be one of the better accomplishments of Firefox 3.5."

There are good reasons why users are already eager for the next version of Firefox. For one, in 2008, Mozilla had planned for a 3.1 release to be issued within six months of the Firefox 3 release. The 3.1 release had its first Alpha release last summer, went through three betas, then was renamed Firefox 3.5 for the beta 4 release.

A final release of Firefox 3.5 could be out by the end of the month.

According to Mozilla's own test data, the 3.5 release is approximately three times faster than the Firefox 3.0 release, and ten times faster than the Firefox 2.0 release. Firefox 3.5 also includes new HTML 5 support for video, offline storage and CSS (define) Web fonts. There is also a new private browsing mode and improvements to tabs too.

"We've managed to prove that you can build open source software that continually gets faster, better and it doesn't need to take a long time to ship improvements to users," Beltzner said.

While the Firefox 3.5 browser is still not in its final release format yet, technically speaking, Beltzner noted that there are some 800,000 daily users of Firefox 3.5 already. In total, Mozilla counts its Firefox browser usage to be over 270 million users.

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