Firefox 8 Aurora Released, What's New?

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 19, 2011
Updated • Feb 25, 2014

Mozilla has just officially released the first version of Firefox 8 Aurora. Firefox 8 will reach beta stage in about six weeks and a stable release in twelve weeks.

We already mentioned earlier this month that Firefox 8 will ship with a new add-on compatibility assistant that is giving users more add-on control the first time they update to a new version of the browser. The core change here is that users can enable or disable add-ons individually on first start.

Another change that we have already mentioned are improvements in third party add-on handling. Firefox previously allowed all third party add-on installations.

This changes with the release of Firefox 8. The browser displays a screen that asks the user explicitly to allow or disallow the installation of third party add-ons before they are executed for the first time. It seems that this change is only affecting add-ons and not browser plugins.

A new option was added to the general tab of the Firefox options which could speed up the start of the browser for users who restore their previous browsing session. Instead of loading all tabs on startup, it is now possible to load the tabs when they are selected by the user. This is the same functionality that the previously reviewed Bar Tab add-on for the browser. The setting has been available before in the Firefox about:config configuration as browser.sessionstore.max_concurrent_tabs.

A downloads history has been added to the History window of the browser. It is now possible to find all previous downloads listed there next to web pages, tags and bookmarks. Firefox has previously saved the download history, the new addition only makes it more accessible in the browser.

Sören Hentzschel lists several under the hood changes on his blog. Firefox 8 now supports multi-process hardware acceleration which is a per-requisite for the upcoming Electrolysis project, which will move core browser elements like the UI, plugins or web contents.

Developers can check out the relevant changes on the Firefox 8 for developers web page.

Firefox 8 Aurora is already available on the official Mozilla "Future of Firefox" web page. Existing Aurora channel users should receive update notifications to update their version to version 8.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. - said on August 26, 2011 at 9:46 am

    ff3, or ff3.6. but 3.6 needs more addons to fix broken features. tear detach annoyance. context menu “properties” command.

    mozilla suite had some preloader. isn’t this similar? also kmeleon (1.5) has loader.exe which I’ve assumed does the same. but kmeleon loads very quickly already.

  2. ColdFusion Developer said on August 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Anyone else miss Firefox version 3? It was by far the best browser I have ever used.

    It seems like all these new versions get slower and slower to load up and I don’t understand why every month they have a new version coming out. Do they really feel inferior to Microsoft because it’s browser is version 9? Bigger numbers don’t always mean better. Finally, it’s also really annoying that my plugins don’t always work with the new FF releases until the developers update them.

    Personally, I wish they would have waited to release version 4 until it was exactly what they were looking for (and ideally better than ver. 3). All these other versions (5, 6, 7, and 8) should have been updates/patches to the 4.0 browser.

  3. paul(us) said on August 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Hoi Martin, Any thoughts about when there is a 64 bit version coming?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Rumors are that Mozilla could release the 64-bit with the Firefox 8 Stable release, but that’s not official yet.

      1. Swapnil said on August 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

        Hello, Martin

        What about this?

        Though Firefox 64-bit may be delayed from Firefox8.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on August 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm

        It is a nightly 64-bit version. If you are up for that, you can install it right away. I for one would wait until Aurora at least though.

      3. Nico said on August 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm

        Just to be clear:
        This may be true for the Windows version.
        On Linux my useragent now states:
        Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:8.0a2) Gecko/20110818 Firefox/8.0a2 :)

  4. Threshold said on August 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    To speed up starup of Firefox you can install the Start Faster addon.
    It will install a Window service which will remain even if you remove the addon but it speeds up startup considerably:

    1. Ahmad said on August 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      Its added it FF7 now. No need for it separately.

  5. AC said on August 20, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I am using the first build of the beta version of 7.0 and it is much quicker than the stable release of version 6.0 and the memory usage is much better.

    I know that you don’t use the beta version Martin, only the stable and Aurora version, so how does Aurora 8 compare to Aurora 7? Is it faster?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 20, 2011 at 7:57 am

      To be honest, I do not see much of a difference. What I like is the new on-demand loading of tabs which speeds up browser start, you know, that initial phase right after start when Firefox tries to load the hundred tabs at the same time that you had open in the last session. But that feature was there before.

      1. AC said on August 20, 2011 at 11:33 am

        Yeah the quick start with the tabs from the previous session was something that was brought in with the release of Firefox 6. At least that’s what I thought. From what have read on the net Firefox 8 is just generally quicker. Being quicker to load initially especially when restoring tabs would be incredibly useful though.

    2. Ahmad said on August 20, 2011 at 4:15 am

      Not only its faster but it is more memory efficient. It uses even less memory. Tweaked a lot in Javascript engine. It also has Tab animation for drag and detach tabs.

  6. Robert Palmar said on August 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Martin, have you written installing Aurora along with the standard Firefox release?
    I have searched the site and could not find it but I may have missed it.
    I believe Aurora shares the standard profile or at least it used too.

    1. Threshold said on August 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      Robert I have both Aurora and Nightly installed alongside regular release and don’t have much issues.

      1. Robert Palmar said on August 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm

        Thanks Threshold. I will give that a go.
        And thanks too Martin for the clarification.
        I could not find the Aurora portable anywhere.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on August 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      You can install a portable version instead.

      1. Robert Palmar said on August 20, 2011 at 1:58 am

        Great, thanks. I did not know Aurora had a portable.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on August 20, 2011 at 7:56 am

        I’m using Aurora installed and Firefox stable portable ;) Sorry for not clarifying it correctly.

  7. ódio said on August 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    i see it a couple of times but neither google knows what is this… so, what is CaffeinatedFox 1.2?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Probably a test add-on.

  8. Roman ShaRP said on August 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Also, Firefox 8 nightly was long time available in Mozilla Firefox Collection :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Roman I know, about six weeks I presume. I only report on Aurora and Final releases here on Ghacks.

      1. Threshold said on August 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

        All righty thanks!

      2. Threshold said on August 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

        Martin do you than report about other releases somewhere else?
        Otherwise I would like Nightlies to be covered too if possible.
        Of course not with every day updates but like every fortnight could be interesting.

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on August 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm

        I cover new features as well when they are announced by Mozilla or spotted by another tech enthusiast. Let me think about expanding it, ok.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.