Mozilla has issued a couple of major updates in quick succession; the first one, an incremental update, came in the last week of October, and it was called version 3.5.4. This one was only a bug fix update, aimed at smoothing the user experience, and not a feature update. Some of those bug fixes would only be of interest to anyone who was technically inclined; bugs that deal with arcane things like download filename spoofing, memory safety flaws in media libraries, cross-origin data theft with document.getSelection(), and heap buffer overflow, have been addressed. And there are a few serious security problems sorted out as well, like the ability of outside agents to run arbitrary code and install viruses on your computer, or the hanging pointer vulnerability issue.

But perhaps of real interest to mainstream users is the most recent update, still in Beta, the update release 3.6. This is quite a major update with lots of interesting new features for the power user. With Google’s Chrome snapping at Firefox’s heels, it is clear that Firefox is trying to address some of Chrome’s main competitive advantages: its overall speed, especially at startup. Version 3.6 does away with a few other recognized problems, such as JavaScript performance. For new users, Firefox introduces built-in support for the browsers seem system, Personas, the ability to view fullscreen movies with no add-ons, a scanning feature that will look through all the plug-ins installed on Firefox and check for updates for them to automatically, support for CSS, HTML 5 and other under the hood features. To bloggers, the new drag-and-drop feature can be particularly useful too. Firefox’s main advantage today is its vast installed base against Google’s Chrome’s. That browser may have a tiny installed base today but is expected to grow soon, especially with the release of Google’s Chrome operating system for netbooks. Competition always works in the consumer’s favour.