Firefox 6 quietly rolled by Mozilla

Firefox 6 and a beta version of Firefox 7 are being made available by Mozilla this week.

Firefox 6 is a go.

Back in March, Mozilla announced it was amping up its Firefox release schedule, partly to keep pace with more-regularly updated browsers such as Google Chrome.

Which is why today, just a couple of months after the June release of Firefox 5, Mozilla is rolling out Firefox 6, the latest edition of its popular open-source browser. In terms of user interface, regular Firefox users won't notice much of a difference in version 6; most of the real changes are under the hood.

Among them: improved start-up time, bolstered pop-up advert prevention, and a Scratchpad tool for JavaScript developers. You can get your hands on Firefox 6 now through the Mozilla FTP servers, or you can wait until Tuesday for the official roll-out. Or you can just skip Firefox 6 altogether, and wait for Firefox 7. As Katherine Noyes writes over at PC World, even as Mozilla introduces Firefox 6, it is taking the wraps of the beta edition of 7.

Plan accordingly.

"We’re moving faster," Firefox engineer Jonathan Nightingale noted recently. "A new feature implemented today and landed on mozilla-central can be delivered to our users in 12 to 18 weeks, not months or years. Incredibly, the same process that gives us that agility is giving us greater robustness, too. Testing and stabilization of each release across progressively larger audiences helps us find and fix bugs early, and build confidence in the quality of each release."

In related news, Mozilla has announced plans to expand operations into the tablet and smartphone market, with an open-source operating system called Back to Gecko. "This project is in its infancy," Mozilla reps cautioned at the time. "We’re talking about it now because we want expertise from all over Mozilla – and from people who aren’t yet part of Mozilla – to inform and build the project we’re outlining here."

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