Firefox 3.6 Beta 3 Gains Security Features, Loses Windows 7 Integration
Mozilla has released a third beta for Firefox 3.6 with more than 90 bugfixes since beta 2, which was released just last week. If you’d like to take beta 3 for a spin, head over to the Mozilla downloads page.
Although beta 3 doesn’t contain any significant new features, it does have some welcome bug fixes and is considerably more stable than the previous betas. There is one feature not found in previous releases — add-ons can now access Firefox’s built-in geo-location features.
Unfortunately for Windows 7 users, much of the Windows 7 integration — like Aero tab previews and jump lists — has been removed. It remains to be seen whether or not those features will make it in the final release or will be postponed for Firefox 3.7.
The good news is that more than half of all add-ons now work with Firefox 3.6, including the recently released Weave update and other popular add-ons like Ad Block Plus and Firebug.
One big change on Firefox’s backend being introduced in beta 3 is a new restriction on how third-party add-ons integrate with Firefox. The Firefox components directory is now off limits to third-party tools. According to the Mozilla Developer Blog, “there are no special abilities that come from [accessing the components directory].”
The move is mainly designed to make Firefox more stable by preventing add-ons from accessing lower level tools that could cause crashes.
As the Mozilla Links blog points out, current Firefox 3.6 nightly builds are labeled as “preb4,” which might mean we’ll see a fourth beta before Firefox 3.6 arrives in final form. If Mozilla continues to crank out new betas every week, look for beta 4 around Thanksgiving with the final release arriving during December.