Firefox 5 Review

Mozilla-Firefox-5After Firefox 4 was plagued by innumerable delays, Mozilla did some course-correction and decided to switch from a traditional release cycle to the quick release cycle used by Google Chrome. As a result, Firefox 5 arrived in record time. However, how good is Firefox 5? Let’s have a look.

At first glance, Firefox 5 looks and feels identical to Firefox 4. In fact, even after using it for a couple of days, I couldn’t tell the difference between Firefox 4 and 5. A quick look at the changelog confirmed that Firefox 5 has barely any new features of note. Yeah, it fixes close to a thousand bugs, and takes care of some serious security issues; however, it has very few new goodies to offer.

The biggest feature in Firefox 5 is that the “Do Not Track” feature, which we have discussed in a fair amount of detail in the past, is now more accessible. It is now available under the Privacytab, instead of being buried under Advancedoptions. Yep, the biggest user-perceivable change in Firefox 5 is a minor interface tweak.


Other than this, Firefox 5 adds supports for CSS animations, improves canvas, JavaScript, memory, and networking performance, and improves standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas. As mentioned earlier, it also fixes some extremely critical security issues. Five of the vulnerabilities patched were rated as critical, and a couple were rated as high risk by Mozilla. Two of these issues dealt with WebGL, which has making headlines of late due to Microsoft’s allegation that it will become an on-going source of hard to fix vulnerabilities.

To be honest, Firefox 5 doesn’t merit being called anything other than Firefox 4.02. However, Google has been doing the same thing for quite some time, and has been getting away with it. Mozilla has announced that it doesn’t plan on maintaining the Firefox 4.x trunk, so users have no choice but to jump aboard Firefox 5 in order to stay secure. Firefox 5 is a great browser, because Firefox was already a great browser. However, Firefox 5 brings very little to the table other than improved security, and the additional headache of incompatible extensions.

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Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

  • Crappy article. Firefox 5 isn’t bringing “incompatible extensions” to the table considering even the current Firefox 7 Alpha works fine with all major extensions when you disable the compatibility check.


    • Mozila itself says that 78% of extensions are compatible with Fx 5, that means that 22% aren’t.

      78% compatible with Firefox 5 for the add-ons on AMO
      Large portion of the remaining percentage is the .NET Framework Assistant
      Talked with the developer at Microsoft, said he would update his add-on. We don’t have a timeframe for the update though
      Risk: LOW for AMO add-ons. HIGH for non-AMO add-ons
      Most have updated, and the ones that aren’t are waiting for release
      78% of addons compatible
      .net framework assitant: ETA?
      AVG, Synamtec, McAfee, Kaspersy should be ready
      Haven’t heard back from google for the toolbar, not currently compatible

      Here’s the add-on compatibility spreadsheet.

    • Here’s a more recent stat that says that now 16% of add-ons are not compatible with Fx 5.

  • Phillip

    I think this article is right on. I don’t entirely see why this couldn’t be Firefox 4.2. Just goofy on their end.

    The new version was pushed so quickly I thought it was a spyware popup at first when it asked to update.

  • Tom

    If you have the choice DO NOT upgrade to FireFox 5…it is the worst browser I’ve ever used and I once insisted that every use Firefox. However, on this last upgrade they lost my loyalty. It would take me to much space to list all the bugs, failed code, and incomplete programming present in version 5.0. But for starters, none of my URL’s show up when I’m on a new site. The ONLY URL is the one from my home page that loaded when I started FF. It crashes often. I’m not able to use the back arrow as FF seems to lose track of my history. This is so annoying and an example of such unprofessional programming and poor development management. Go read on the FF support site. I know from someone inside the company that they stopped posting all the bad reports as it was running 80% to 20% against the new version. Soooo many plugins no longer work. The list just goes on. What an embarrassment to Mozilla. I’m positive that someone has been fired over this piece of trash software…or should be. Do NOT USE IT IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE. It is 100% pure trash…and NO, I’m not writing this to support any other browser, as FireFox used to be the best. It took me time to find a way to get my old version back but I finally found a way. I writing this on the 5.0…but only with regret. If my post does not make it to you…I’ll let you know and post it myself through my own company.


  • Henry

    I am trying desperately to remove Firefox 5, I still can’t figure out how to! This new version is bullcrap! I can’t stand it!

    You can no longer get rid of the “Google Sidebar”, no new tab button,