Firefox 3.6.4 Isolates Flash for a More Stable Browser
Mozilla has announced the first, and hopefully only, release candidate of Firefox 3.6.4, an incremental update which adds one significant new feature to Firefox 3.6 — plug-ins now run in separate processes. That means if Flash crashes, it won’t cause the entire browser to crash with it.
To give the new beta a try, head on over to the Firefox beta downloads page. If you’ve subscribed the beta channel in the past you’ll automatically get the update, or you can force Firefox to update using the “Check for Updates” menu item.
The new feature is known as “out-of-process” handling, and promises to make Firefox considerably more stable. Eventually, Mozilla plans to have each tab isolated in its own process as well, which will also increase stability. Once that feature is there, each web app would be cordoned off inside its own tab, so if one crashes, that single tab simply closes and the rest of the browser keeps cooking along as usual. Isolated tabs won’t arrive until Firefox 4, which is slated for later this year.
Isolated plug-ins and tabs are among the best things about Google Chrome. It’s had isolated tabs since its debut, and isolated plug-in handling arrived at the same time as Chrome Extensions.
With the release candidate available, look for the final version of Firefox 3.6.4 to ship in the next couple of weeks. If you just can’t wait, or would like to help test the latest build, head over to the Firefox beta download site. (Note that the build is still labeled “build 6,” but according to the post on the Mozilla Developer Network, this is the release candidate.)