New Firefox promises fewer crashes


A new version of Firefox released yesterday aims to minimise crashes by isolating third-party plugins like Adobe's flash when they crash.

In a blog posting announcing the new release, Director of Fiirefox Development Mike Belzner said beta testing showed the new browser's crash protection would significantly reduce the number of crashes experienced.

"Our data on Firefox crashes shows that as many as one in three browser crashes are currently caused by problems with various third-party plugins," a guide to the crash prevention function says.

"We have been beta testing crash protection in Firefox 3.6.4 for a month, and feedback indicates that users are now being protected from these crashes."

At this stage, Firefox will offer crash protection for Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight plugins.

Support for other plugins is expected to be added in a future release.

In an associated move, Firefox users will automatically be alerted when their plugins are out-of-date.

Users of other browsers can check their plugins by visiting the Mozilla plugin check page.

At this stage, the crash protection is available for Windows and Linux users, but not for those using Macs.

The technology used for crash protection will require major changes to Firefox on the Mac, so its introduction for that platform will be delayed until Firefox 4, which is expected to be released in November.

This release also fixes several bugs and addresses stability issues.

Crash protection is slowly becoming more common in browsers. Google's Chrome browser and Apple's Safari both offer it.

To upgrade to the new version of Firefox, use the check for upgrades function in the browser's help menu, or visit www.firefox.com.

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