Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
December 6th, 2005
Mozilla Firefox


Firefox 1.5

Last November, when I was still a senior at St. X, Firefox 1.0 came out. It was a big deal, because at the time hardly anyone used it, although people were only starting to hear about it from their friends. Since the Tuesday it came out was an X Day, I was down in the Math Tutoring Center for 8th period. I was bored as usual, since no one except Ryan Finan ever needed help with their math during 8th.

So I drew a rather large ad for Firefox on the whiteboard there – I covered the entire thing, actually, with an enormongous logo of Firefox coming out of the box.

Last Tuesday, the Mozilla Corporation – the Mozilla Foundation subsidiary that’s responsible for releasing and marketing Firefox – released version 1.5. You can download it for free. Don’t let the fractional version number increase fool you: this release is every bit as important as the one just over a year ago. I won’t bore you with all the changes under the hood that’ve made my night-job as a web developer so much easier, but here are some features that I know you’ll appreciate:

But most importantly, this release features a dead-simple update system: when a new version of Firefox is available (perhaps one that fixes some security-related issues), Firefox will automatically download the patch and give you the option to install it. Note that it’s a patch that the browser downloads: from now on, you won’t have to download a bulky installer every time Mozilla fixes another security bug; just a little patch on the order of kilobytes.

The whole process of downloading, installing, and restarting involves just one click from the user (where Firefox asks you to confirm that you actually want to update) and takes less than a minute. If you have the SessionSaver extension, you can then just pick up where you left off, without losing all your windows and tabs.

That’s why, when I went to cover one of the many whiteboards along my dorm’s first-floor hallway with a tastelessly large ad for Firefox 1.5, I dubbed the new release “the mother of all upgrades.”