Mozilla has finally released the final version of Thunderbird 3.1 to general public almost a month after the Thunderbird 3.1 RC was released.
Thunderbird 3.1 adds in several new features, some of which include:
- Faster Search Results: Message indexing is faster and provides users with faster search results.
- Quick Filter Toolbar: Makes it faster and easier to search and sort through what’s in a user’s inbox by letting users filter against search terms, tags, starred messages, address book contacts, new emails, and attachments.
- Migration Assistant: This release includes a completely new and easier way to migrate from Thunderbird 2. The new Migration Assistant gives Thunderbird 2 users a way to choose the new features in Thunderbird 3.1 or to keep their current features and settings.
- Saved Files Manager: Finding a downloaded item is a cinch with the new Saved Files Manager which displays all the files users downloaded from their email to their computer.
Thunderbird 3.1 is available for downloads in over 45 languages for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux based systems. You can download Thunderbird 3.1 right now by visiting this link.
The biggest bane I have had with Firefox over the past year is that it is too bloated, crashes at will and freezes the system, all this even if a single tab you have open has some problem. Google Chrome on the other hand has a feature which will not crash the browser if there is a problem with a single tab, thanks to it using a different processes for each tab.
However, it looks like Mozilla has set out to do something about the problems users have been having with the introduction of Firefox 3.6.4, which has a feature called "Crash Protection".
Crash Protection in Firefox 3.6.4 will reduce the number of crashes that users encounter while watching videos or playing games using Flash. With the new update, Firefox will run plugins as different instances through Out-of-process plugins or OOPP.
This is definitely a good move forward and hopefully Mozilla will also move towards making Firefox more memory efficient and lightweight in future builds.
Firefox 3.6.4 offers crash protection for Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight on Windows and Linux computers. Users can upgrade to Firefox 3.6.4 by choosing the "Check for Updates" option available under the Help menu.
Learn more about Firefox 3.6.4
Flock the popular social browser which earlier ran on the Firefox Gecko engine has dumped Mozilla for Chromium, the popular new browser which also powers Google Chrome.
The new Flock beta browser now runs on Webkit which is also part of Safari and Google Chrome. Flock which has about 8 million users has also landed a new feature where you can create a Flock account and sync your settings to the "cloud".
Users can use the cloud feature to take their accounts to any Flock browser without having to reset it again and again. Considering that most of the other browsers too have an option to sync profiles or at-least bookmarks, it made more sense to have it in the newest Flock beta too. Apart from that Flock almost remains the social browser people have known it to be.
The switch from Firefox code to Chromium will come as a big jolt for Mozilla whose internet browser Firefox’s popularity has been going down since the launch of Google Chrome. Also the team at Flock had initially worked with the Mozilla team on the Netscape project before moving towards creating Flock, so their decision to branch out Flock to Chromium will be even more bitter.
You can download the latest beta of Flock by visiting this page, more info and details are available at the official Flock blog here.
Earlier last month, Google, Mozilla and Opera announced a new competitor to the H.264 codec for HTML5, WebM. Opera had already released new builds with WebM support, and today Mozilla will be officially adding WebM support to their nightly builds.
The announcement was made by Chris Pearce a Mozilla developer working on Firefox. WebM is a welcome addition to the HTML5 family since there are only 2 codecs available right now one of which is open source and other one being proprietary.
WebM on the other hand is open source and superior than the Ogg Theora codec currently in use. WebM in itself has not been out of controversies and has also come under attack from Steve Jobs who himself support the proprietary H.264 codec.
If you haven’t yet heard about WebM or want to learn about it, read our earlier post: WebM: Why We Should Be Excited.
Excited about trying out WebM on Firefox? Head over and download the latest copy from the Firefox Nightly Build repository here. Once you have downloaded and installed the latest nightly you can experience WebM support by visiting a YouTube HTML5 experiment here.
For more information about the nightly build and instructions on doing your own build with WebM support visit Chris’s blog post here.
Firefox Sync, the flagship browser syncing extension is now officially a part of the Firefox roadmap. It will be available in Firefox by default from the next major release and is available for use as an extension until then.
Firefox Sync, earlier knows as the Weave Sync has come out of the Mozilla Labs and has reached the version 1.3 now. The new version also has several changes, the major ones of those being one click access to all previously synced tabs, availability in multiple languages and a simple signup process.
However, this inclusion of Firefox Sync into Firefox imminent as the latest iPhone Home application is totally based on the Firefox Sync add-on and syncs with data fetched from it.
This is a nice feature and no wonder, it is going to attract some more users though, Firefox has once again been a follower in this race. Opera browser has a links feature which does a similar task and it has been present in Opera even before the inception of this idea for Firefox. It is time Mozilla takes us a stronghold on the innovation front and develops a never before feature. That would give people a reason to use Firefox now that it is no match for speed with other browsers.
Mozilla is trying to incorporate the VP8 codec of WebM video into the HTML5 web video specification.
Mozilla Chief Executive John Lilly, replied on being asked about this saying,
We’d love for VP8 to be specified in the HTML5 standard. Once it’s in the spec, it can really get better traction from other players.
This is a bold move by Mozilla as most other browsers are in support of H.264 currently. If this change is made, adding videos into web pages will be as easy as adding jpeg images. The current implementation of HTML5 video has no standard for video encoding and requires the web page developer to incorporate all popular web formats for the video in the page to be available across all browsers.
Before Google released VP8, there was tough competition between H.264, preferred by Apple and Microsoft, and Ogg Theora, backed by Mozilla and Opera. Now, with its better quality and open source nature, VP8 has better winning prospects in this race.
The next move Mozilla needs to make is to get some allies to support VP8 alongside itself. VP8 already sees some favor from W3C which says,
WebM/VP8 has the potential of providing a solution for the baseline video format of HTML5.
Apart from Mozilla and a part of W3C, Microsoft also supports VP8 and we too expect to see VP8 as the default HTML5 video.
At Google I/O Google, Mozilla and Opera have announced a new alternative for video content in HTML5.
The video codec for HTML5 has been a major bone of contention with Apple siding with H.264 instead of Ogg. Microsoft has offered support for H.264 too. Today, Google, Mozilla and Opera have come up with another alternative to this debate. Known as WebM, the format is based on the VP8 technology Google acquired with On2 Technologies. CNET reports that the audio uses Ogg Vorbis.
Given that the video codec to be used with HTML5 hasn’t been finalised and browser makers are free to use their own, Opera, Firefox and Chrome will be using WebM. The format seems to have a massive momentum behind it with the three major cross-platform browsers behind it.
Google has also released documentation on WebM:
Opera has a blog post about their plans for WebM and have committed to the format for their mobile and desktop browsers.
You can download Opera builds of WebM for Windows, Ubuntu and Mac OS X as of now:
Linux (currently limited to Ubuntu support):
Update: VP8 is a royalty free and completely open source video codec.
Update #2: Adobe just announced support for VP8 in Flash. Looks like Flash might not be dying so soon after all.
Update #3: Download the Nightly Firefox build with WebM here.
Mitchell Baker, the Mozilla foundation chairwoman and the ex-CEO of Mozilla Foundation has announced recently that John Lilly will step down as CEO of Mozilla Foundation and will move to Greylock Partners as a venture capitalist.
This development will be seen later this year and that will mark the end of the two years term of John Lilly as the Mozilla Foundation CEO and his five years term as a Mozilla member.
John Lilly writes about this saying,
I just announced internally that after 5 years at Mozilla, and a couple as the CEO, I’ve decided to leave later this year to join Greylock Partners as a venture partner. I’ll be in my role here at Mozilla until we conclude a successful search for a new CEO, and intend to stay involved and on the Board of Directors. I’ll have more to say about Mozilla over the next few months as we go through transition â€” I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done over the last several years, and very optimistic about what the future holds.
John Lilly was the COO of Mozilla before becoming the CEO and throughout his term in Mozilla, he has worked towards bettering Mozilla Foundation with innovative projects and ideas.
Earlier today, Mozilla dropped the first public build of Fennec for the Android platform. Fennec is the codename of Firefox for mobile, which is also available for Nokia’s Maemo operating system.
It is still early days for Fennec on Android. The released build is merely a pre-alpha and in the words of Vladimir VukiÄ‡eviÄ‡ should be considered “a debug build”.
For the moment, Fennec requires Android 2.0 (or newer) operating system, with OpenGL ES 2.0 compatibility being recommended. Moreover, Fennec has only been tested on the Nexus One and Motorola Droid. Some of the other caveats described in Mozilla’s official announcement are:
- It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
- Memory usage of this build isn’t great — in many ways it’s a debug build, and we haven’t really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
- You’ll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we’re working to get rid of it.
- You can’t open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
- This build must be installed to internal memory, not to a SD card.
If you are feeling adventurous you can download the pre-alpha build from here.
Mozilla security saw a new bug-report filed at bugzilla reporting an unclaimed RSA root certificate. The certificate goes by the name of RSA Security 1024 V3. Both Verisign and RSA have declined ownership of this certificate.
Kathleen Wilson, an active Consultant at Mozilla Corporation has been actively digging through Mozilla security issues. He writes at this Mozilla security Google group saying,
I propose that the “RSA Security 1024 V3″ root certificate authority be
removed from NSS.
OU = RSA Security 1024 V3
O = RSA Security Inc
Valid From: 2/22/01
Valid To: 2/22/26
I have not been able to find the current owner of this root. Both RSA
and VeriSign have stated in email that they do not own this root.
This issue got everyone worried about this being a rouge certificate. However, later Wilson assured the certificate’s origin by saying,
I have received email from official representatives of RSA confirming
that RSA did indeed create the “RSA Security 1024 V3″ root certificate
that is currently included in NSS (Netscape/Mozilla) and also in Apple’s
root cert store.
He also added that that RSA has since, dropped the root certificate and so should Mozilla. In another mail from RSA, it was told that the private key for this root was safe with RSA. This assures that this flaw was not exploited and now the certificate will be removed from NSS (Network Security Services).
[ Via: LinuxToday ]
Mozilla has upped the ante to fix a severe security vulnerability in Firefox 3.6 which affects several users. The vulnerability in question, was reported by security researcher Evgeny Legerov last month.
Firefox did release a release candidate yesterday, but due to criticality of the bug they have released the final version today.
Mozilla has accelerated its timetable and released Firefox 3.6.2 ahead of schedule. This release contains a number of security fixes, including a fix to Secunia Advisory SA38608 which was previously discussed on this blog when we were first made aware of and were then able to confirm the issue.
If you are a Firefox 3.6 user, go to the help menu and click on "Check for Updates" to update to the current version, if you need any help check our earlier post on how to update Firefox.
Users can also update their Firefox to the latest version by visiting the Firefox Download site and downloading the latest version and installing it.
Mozilla has been building a version of Firefox for Windows Mobile devices for quite some time now with anticipation that Microsoft might increase it’s market share. The Windows Phone 7 announcement was watched quite keenly by the Mozilla team and that in turn is base on Window CE 6, which is a completely different platform from the earlier Windows Mobile OS.
However, developing for Windows Phone 7 was not easy considering the restrictions placed on developers. In addition to that, Mozilla also cited that Windows Phone 7 has a closed platform and does not support development of native applications through a NDK. For that reason, Mozilla today announced that they are stopping development of Firefox for all Windows Mobile based devices including the upcoming Windows Phone 7.
While we think Windows Phone 7 looks interesting and has the potential to do well in the market, Microsoft has unfortunately decided to close off development to native applications. Because of this, we won’t be able to provide Firefox for Windows Phone 7 at this time. Given that Microsoft is staking their future in mobile on Windows Mobile 7 (not 6.5) and because we don’t know if or when Microsoft will release a native development kit, we are putting our Windows Mobile development on hold.
This is definitely bad news for Firefox lovers who have been waiting in anticipation for the Firefox browser on Windows Mobile based devices. Quite recently, a Mozilla developer had written a open letter rant directed at Steve Ballmer with regards to this issue. However, it now looks like the entire Mozilla mobile team has taken it to heart, and have decided that they will not develop for Windows Phone 7 until a proper development platform is provided.
Clarification: The post linked in this article was written up by Stuart Parmenter who is the Mobile Team Technical Lead, Mozilla Corporation. Thanks for the letting us know about the missing info Iftikhar.
Late last week, Mozilla started pushing update alerts to Firefox 3.5 users to upgrade their browsers to Firefox 3.6, looks like those alerts have borne some fruits, because Firefox 3.6 is now the most used Mozilla browser according to the recent stats.
As of today, Firefox 3.6 is used by 43% of users as compared to 23% before the push. According to the Mozilla metrics team, around 75 million users made the switch to Firefox 3.6 since the past week.
As of today, almost 186 million people have downloaded Firefox 3.6 since it’s release on January 21st 2010, which is definitely a huge number, however, this is bound to grow in the next few weeks, when more users upgrade to FF 3.6.
Another interesting fact is that Firefox 3.6 has had the most early adoption trends as opposed to Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3, this is most likely because Firefox 3.5 has had a lot of problems and crashes, and FF 3.6 provides a much more stable version of the browser.
Mozilla Labs has released a new test result which was used to find the most popular Firefox menu buttons, according to the initial findings, Close Tab is the most popular button used in Firefox, followed by New Tab, Bookmark Item, Back and Reload.
However, according to further in-depth analysis it was found that most people used keyboard Shortcuts to close tabs and the mouse more often to bookmark items and copy paste content. You will also find a screenshot of menu usage, grouped by the menus in Firefox, in the screenshot below.
An interesting thing that I could see in the data presented is that the New Tab operation is pretty less as compared to the close tab action, which suggests that users are either clicking on links on website, or using their bookmarks to open almost 50% of the tabs they are browsing.
More details on the most popular Firefox menu buttons and their usage can be found at Mozilla Labs.
Mozilla has released the v1.0b1 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) for their calendar tool Sunbird. This Release candidate can be downloaded for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
Sunbird is a open source cross-platform Calendar management tool which you can use to manage your schedule easily and store it wherever you want. Sunbird though open source has never got much popularity as other Mozilla projects including Thunderbird and Firefox.
The Release Candidate 1 of Sunbird 1.0b1 is available for downloads through the Mozilla FTP repository. Click on the links below to download the version for your OS.
The final version of Sunbird 1.0 may be released some time late March, based on the two weeks testing period for the RC1, however, we could also see a RC2 preceding the final release. Users can file the bugs they find in Sunbird here.