Finally! Download Firefox 3.5 from Mozilla in 3... 2... 1...

After many delays, you can finally download Firefox 3.5 from Mozilla.org. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers debate its speed, stability, security, and, err, private browsing mode.

By Richi Jennings: your humble blogwatcher, who selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention life in plastic: it's fantastic...

Trust Gordon Kelly to kick us off:

Mozilla has released Firefox 3.5 and the 7.6MB download comes with new functionality, better security and far greater performance ... loading pages up to twice as quickly as Firefox 3.0.x and up to 5x faster than Internet Explorer 8. That said, it still hasn't caught Webkit based Google Chrome or Safari 4.

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In terms of security, there are extra layers of protection against phishing sites with full page warnings coming up before users access potentially dangerous pages. Taking a leaf out of Google Chrome, v3.5 also sees a porn 'Private Browsing' mode. ... Geolocation makes an appearance too. ... Despite all this however the key benefit to Firefox remains its third party add-ons.

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So with Firefox 3.0.x already snaffling 20 per cent market share and the introduction of Windows 7 E it will be interesting to see what Firefox 3.5 can achieve.
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Next up, MG Siegler counts the downloads:

Mozilla today released Firefox 3.5 into the wild. Not surprisingly, it’s flying off the virtual shelves. And unlike when Mozilla released Firefox 3.0 last year, its servers are staying up and reliable, so the rate of downloads is pretty incredible. This site, run by Mozilla, shows the download stats for the new browser. Overall downloads are now approaching 1.3 million worldwide, with over 350,000 of those in the U.S. But even more amazing is the number of downloads occurring each second, it’s ranging from 59 to 95 right now. Again, that’s every second.

Outside of the U.S., the browser is moving quickly in Germany, France and the UK. The claim is that it’s much faster than the previous iterations of Firefox, and based on just a quick run-through of my favorite sites, I’d say that is in fact the case. Though, to be fair, it’s hard to know if that has something to do with the fact that just about all my browser plugins are not yet working with this version.
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Our very own Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols knows what he's talking about:

Sorry Opera; too bad about what happened to you, Netscape; and Internet Explorer, please, don't make me laugh. The best Web browser on the planet is Firefox 3.5... for now.

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The new Firefox is fast, filled with new features, and solid as a rock ... [on] Windows or Linux, Firefox, and its extensions worked like a charm. Unfortunately, while Firefox is back to being a fast browser, it's not the fastest browser. First place continues to go to Google's Chrome ... [which] still leaves Firefox eating its dust ... when it comes to rendering JavaScript heavy pages.

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Web browsing isn't all about speed though.
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With a list of other features, here's Anthony Ha:

  • Available in 70 different languages.
  • Private browsing mode, where none of the websites you visit or cookies you collect will be saved.
  • In the same vein, you can also tell Firefox to forget that you visited a specific site.
  • Viewing video and audio in the browser without downloading additional software like Flash or Quicktime, also making it easier to interact with video in web applications.
  • Location-aware browsing, so that websites can give you information that’s specifically relevant to your geographic location.
  • Tear-off tags, allowing you to create a new window from a tab when one window is getting too crowded.
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Which browser do you use, Jane McEntegart?

I’m using all of them but IE8. I use Opera on my phone, Chrome on my PC and Safari 4 on my Mac. It’s one big, happy, multicultural browser family in the McEntegart house. If you pushed me to say which was better, I’d probably have to say Firefox. I just downloaded Chrome last week so I haven’t had enough time to play with it and as a mobile browser, Opera and I aren’t exactly the best of friends.

I'm ashamed to say I haven't used Internet Explorer since 2006 so I don't know what IE8 has to offer and I'm pretty sure I don't care. I'm happy with what I have.
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Cynically, Jared Newman wonders which new features IE9 will "crib":

As I'll predict here, for its next Internet Explorer launch Microsoft will crib innovative Firefox 3.5 features and skimp on giving credit. After all, haven't we seen Microsoft do this before? ... All parties are guilty of this to some degree. Here are five features I predict Microsoft will lift from Firefox 3.5.

Forget This Site ... you can have your browser history never record visits to a particular site (Playboy.com or Kittenwar.com). ... Audio and Video Integration ... HTML 5 lets Web developers embed audio and video into Web pages in open format Ogg Theora. ... Tear-Off Tabs ... allows users to break out tabs into separate windows. ... Faster JavaScript ... its new TraceMonkey engine makes JavaScript twice as fast. ... Text Recovery ... saves form text when the browser is closed.
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But IBM's Savio Rodrigues is tired of Mozilla's "bad decisions":

A few weeks back I wrote that the IE8 "Get the Facts" campaign gets it wrong by showing little respect for the target audience's intelligence. Today, I'm calling out Mozilla for needlessly playing the same game: "See How We Stack Up" in Mozilla-speak.

Someone at Mozilla wants me to believe that Firefox is so much better than IE that Firefox leads 6 to 1 in the "handy browser comparison chart". ... Does this comparison really help someone evaluating which browser to download and use? Absolutely not. Product comparisons are better left to a third party that will include criteria important to users, not simply criteria that the owning vendor's product is best at. This is a waste of time, both for employees of Mozilla or Microsoft and for anyone who has stumbles across these "comparisons."
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So what's your take? Firefox, IE, Chrome, Safari, or Opera?

Get involved: leave a comment.

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

And finally...

  • Garderoba: Jessica Rabbit!
    [safe for work, as long as "work" doesn't mind Polish lingerie models Photoshopped into Barbie-oblivion]


Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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