Mozilla sidesteps delay to deliver Firefox 11

Mozilla has released Firefox 11 on time, despite concerns that the launch could be delayed due to potential security vulnerabilities. It brings with it powerful new developer tools and an add-on sync option
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Mozilla has released Firefox 11 on schedule, after previously warning the desktop browser update might be delayed while the project looked into a potential security flaw.

Rather than meet its usual six-weekly Tuesday schedule, Firefox 11 looked likely to miss its release target due to the security vulnerability, Mozilla warned in a blog post on Monday. Another reason for the wait was to ensure there would be no conflict issues from Microsoft's 'Patch Tuesday' security bulletin, the release of which coincided with the browser update, it added.

However, after looking into the security issue, Mozilla decided to go ahead with the release on Tuesday as planned.

"The security bug reported by ZDI (Zero Day Initiative) is one we had already identified and fixed through our internal processes. This eliminates the need for us to delay this week's releases, and we will be shipping them later today," Johnathan Nightingale, senior director of Firefox engineering, said in an update to the blog post on Tuesday.

Mozilla confirmed via one of its official Twitter accounts that the vulnerability, entered into the Pwn2Own security contest in March, had been identified by the organisation one month earlier.

As potential conflicts with Microsoft security fixes still remain, Mozilla is not pushing Firefox 11 out as an automatic update.

"In order to understand the impacts of Microsoft's 'Patch Tuesday' fixes, we will initially release Firefox for manual updates only," Nightingale added.

Developers' tools

New features in Firefox 11 include tools to help developers visualise "the structures of websites in a new way" and also allow for live editing of CSS code, Mozilla said.

One of the key new tools, nicknamed 'Tilt' but actually called Page Inspector 3D View, gives developers a better overview of how each piece of code relates to what is displayed on screen, and the relationship between them. After selecting 3D View in the inspector, hovering the mouse over any specific element brings up information about it.

Page Inspector 3D in Firefox 11

Firefox 11 includes developer tools such as Page Inspector 3D (above). Image credit: Mozilla

The update also adds Style Editor, which lets developers edit CSS documents and immediately see the effect it has on the design of the page without leaving the browser.

Style Editor in Firefox 11

Style Editor in Firefox 11 lets people edit CSS documents. Image credit: Mozilla

Rounding off the list of notable changes in the browser is a new sync option that, when enabled, provides automatic syncing of add-ons between computers; this removes the need to re-install favourites individually on each machine.

Firefox 11 is available to download now from the Mozilla website and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux-based machines.

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