Mozilla Firefox 5 Preparations Begin

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 30, 2011
Updated • Mar 15, 2012

With Firefox downloads in the millions on launch day, it is now time for Mozilla to look at user feedback and make preparations for the next big iteration of the web browser: Firefox 5. With rapid release in mind, Firefox 5 may be just around the corner. In Life After Firefox 4, What’s Next we looked at Mozilla's development plans and noticed that the developers had plans to speed up the development of the browser by releasing a new major version every three months.

The new rapid release plan would in theory allow Mozilla to release a new major version of Firefox every six weeks, but three months would give them more time to implement changes into new versions. Mozilla currently plans to release three new major Firefox versions in this year, which would bring the browser to version 7 at the end of 2011.

First builds of Firefox 4.2a1pre have appeared on the Mozilla release ftp server, and while the version might indicate a 4.x release, it is in fact the first step towards Firefox 5. It is however still likely that the developers will ship at least one update for Firefox 4 before Firefox 5.

Firefox 4.2a1pre will eventually turn into Firefox 5.0 further down in development.

If the current release diagram holds true, we could see first Firefox 5 experimental builds in five to six weeks time, followed by beta releases and a final release around week 16. If we count from the release of Firefox 4 on March 22 we could see a beta release around ten weeks later, most likely in June and a final release in July.

We do not know much yet about the feature additions other than what has already been posted in the Firefox 2011 roadmap.

According to that roadmap Firefox 5 will contain the following new features:

Account Manager
Simple Sharing UI
UI Animation
64 Bit on Windows

A preview of proposed user interface changes is available at Are We Pretty Yet.


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  1. Gopal Aggarwal said on April 29, 2011 at 4:39 am

    Best browser reccommended

  2. Will said on March 31, 2011 at 1:03 am

    “According to that roadmap Firefox 4 will contain the following new features”

    You meant Firefox 5 I take it? ;)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 31, 2011 at 9:33 am

      You are right Will, I will correct it asap.

  3. Jim said on March 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I’m not terribly impressed with FF4. It was forced on my in my Linux update last week and I’ve been struggling to find my way back to square 1 ever since.
    It seems FF is now a copycat rather than an innovator, at least as far as the interface goes. I didn’t like the tabs on top in Chrome so I’m surely not going to like them on top in FF. Luckily they gave us an easy way to turn that off.
    Not so with the status bar. What problem did getting rid of it solve? They sort of replaced it with the Add-on bar, but again, why? This has screwed up several of my favorite add-ons and there is no way to turn this one off.
    Then there is the menu button at the top, which is straight from MS. Honestly I can take it or leave it. Not sure what the objective was, but if it was to increase screen real estate it is a fail. If it is to make the browser easier to use, well, that’s a fail too. It’s just different, not easier or harder. Again, it can be turned off, so it just seems like a lot of wasted effort.
    All in all it seems like FF4 was a lot of effort with very little gain (IMO a net loss). Maybe there is some stuff under the hood but for me it is crippled by a mangled surface. I’m so frustrated with it I would switch to another browser if not for the plug-ins. That’s sad to say since I’ve been a faithful FF user since Mozilla 0.9.

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