Another six weeks have gone by, which means that it's time for a new Firefox release: Firefox 8.0 was moved to the stable release channel today, and it features a few more visible improvements over Firefox 7.0, which brought mostly under-the-hood updates.

Most of the user-facing changes involve add-ons: a new add-on selection dialog box is shown at first launch, giving users to option to enable and disable add-ons. Most automatically installed third-party add-ons (such as those added by Skype, Acrobat Pro, and other less legitimate programs) are now disabled by default, though they can be re-enabled manually. Add-ons installed by users will usually be unaffected by this decision, which seems to be an IE9-like effort on Mozilla's part to keep the browser running smoothly by disabling unwanted or potentially buggy add-ons.

Additionally, users who like the tabs from previous browsing sessions to load automatically can now turn on a feature in the browser's preferences that doesn't load the contents of tabs until those tabs are selected, reducing the time it takes to re-open a busy browsing session.

Lastly, heavy Twitter users may appreciate the fact that the microblogging site has now been added as a search option by default, alongside long-standing search options like Google and Wikipedia.

Under the hood, Mozilla has made performance and memory improvements when using the <audio> and <video> tags, has added support for HTML5 context menus, and has fixed security and stability issues, among a few other things. For a complete list of changes, the release notes are linked below for your convenience.

Source: Mozilla

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  • Zoomer - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    Wonder if they will still release security/bug fixes for the last "major" version number. Will be an interesting fiasco in the making if they didn't, since most people probably won't update major version every few weeks. Reply
  • jramskov - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    You're wrong. See http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/11/the-... The graphs sadly doesn't load, but here's the relevant quote:

    "Firefox retains its clean split between people on the new, rapid release versions (4-9) and those on the old stable version (3.6). The rapid release users are upgrading fairly quickly, though the cut-overs are neither as rapid nor as automated as those of Chrome. However, almost a quarter of Firefox users are sticking with version 3.6. Until and unless Mozilla produces a stable edition with long-term support, this is unlikely to change."
    Reply
  • SquattingDog - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    This is a major issue. Most of my corporate and business clients cannot update past 4.0.1 because of this critical add-ons for their business that do not working on 7.x or 8.x.

    There was nothing wrong with the previous versioning scheme - when a new "major" version of Firefox was out, you knew that there were going to be some changes to the UI and a bunch of under-the-hood fixes/tweaks. Now it's just minor revisions respun with silly numbers that break add-ons.
    Reply
  • SquattingDog - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    Argh, where's the edit option. "do no working..." should read "do not work in..." Reply
  • jramskov - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Add-ons hosted on Mozilla is automatically checked for compatibility and the vast majority needs no changes and are approved automatically. Reply
  • hackztor - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    try out pale moon. its based on firefox and they have a 64bit build. It holds me over until official 64bit from mozilla. Reply
  • Omega215D - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    There was an update schedule by Mozilla in which they are releasing 9 before year's end and it should sport 64-bit. I could've been mistaken and it might be in 10 but they stated it was to be released quickly after 8. Reply
  • Glibous - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Apparently people feel Google is "doing more" because they have more frequent releases. I personally like the new release schedule Mozilla has set but I do agree that the changes presented in v8 do not warrant a full release. I'm betting we will appreciate what Mozilla has done in this version with the overall experience (under the hood improvements). If not i'll just trick myself and check HTML5test and hope there is a bigger overall score. Bigger number means better browser right? :/ Reply
  • AncientWisdom - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    I've been using BarTab Lite to disable the loading of a tab until I click it, and as a power user (that at any given time has tens of tabs open), it is a life saver. It is definitely awesome that they now include that functionality built in as well as the disable add ons by default. I hate it when those programs (sometime sneakily) install add ons on your browser (I usually remove them, but still), and it is good that they will be hidden away by default.

    In regards to the discussion about the version numbers, I couldn't care less, but no one can argue the fact that we are now getting little incremental updates in a speedy manner, way better than waiting months for new functionality IMO.
    I'm not 100% sure (could be an illusion, don't think so though) but I think we also end up getting more over the same period of time. Every release since 4 had features that I found useful.

    My 2c.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    it's pretty frustrating. Model numbers should be indicative of the changes that have been made. Firefox 4 to firefox 8 nothing is that different. we really are on like 4.3.5. Not a big deal for random users. But any group, corperation, club, school, whatever, it's a fucking problem. Reply

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