If you are on the Firefox stable channel, which most users certainly are, you are currently working with version 7 of the browser. The next update for the web browser is said to go life on the Mozilla website on November 8. As always, Firefox releases are available early on Mozilla ftp servers where they can be downloaded by enthusiasts and security conscious users early.
I covered the major changes of Firefox 8 back in August when it was released to the Aurora channel which is a new release channel between the nightly releases and beta releases of the browser.
Probably the biggest new feature of Firefox 8 from a security perspective is how the web browser handles third party add-on installations. You may have encountered those while installing a security suite on your computer or other security related products. Before Firefox 8 no checks were performed when a third party software installed an add-on for the browser. Third party add-ons were installed and enabled right away and without user notification, which, from a security standpoint, left the browser wide open for local attacks.
Firefox 8 introduces other features as well. The browser gives users more control over add-ons after upgrading to a new Firefox version. Users can now disable or enable individual add-ons on first start with Firefox suggesting add-ons that may not work due to incompatibilities.
Firefox users can furthermore configure the browser to only load the selected tab on browser start, and the remaining ones once they are activated by the user. This can speed up the start significantly. The feature can be enabled under Tools > Options > General.
The browser ships with other minor improvements and changes. Included in the browser is now a Twitter search engine to search for Twitter messages from the browser's address bar and search bar.
The browser is already available for all supported operating systems and languages on the official Mozilla FTP server. Only a handful of official mirror servers list the Firefox 8 Stable releases currently. This is certainly going to change in the next hours. Download portals like Softpedia or Major Geeks will surely have the Firefox 8 release available for download before it is distributed to all mirror servers and announced officially on the Mozilla website.
Firefox 7 users who are not in a hurry should wait until the release is officially announced by Mozilla. Their browser's auto-updating feature will recognize the new feature and prompt for an upgrade to Firefox 8 automatically.
The beta release notes are available here. They will be converted into the final release notes once Firefox 8 has been officially announced by Mozilla.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.