Software Programs, Technology Security

Firefox 16 More Responsive, But Faces Security Problems At Release


Earlier this week, Mozilla released Firefox 16 bringing another wave of changes and new features to the open source web browser. As listed in the release notes, the release brings support for Mozilla Web Apps. The company plans to provide apps in a marketplace a bit later this year.

The most noticeable change in the new version should be improved responsiveness, especially when a lot of tabs are opened. This is achieved by incremental JavaScript garbage collection, which makes sure that the browser only takes small amounts of time for background tasks while staying responsive for user input. Further details are explained in Mozilla’s blog.

Shortly after the release of Firefox 16, it was removed again from the download page due to a security vulnerability, which could allow malicious websites to find out which other websites the user visited before. Firefox 15 is unaffected and by now Mozilla released an updated version 16.0.1 that corrects the issue.

On the browser market, the picture remains largely unchanged. Over the past months, Firefox lost a few points. A few months back Google Chrome was able to eclipse Microsoft Internet Explorer. This development seems to continue a bit in favor of Chrome. There is also a slow but steady rise of Apple Safari.


Along with Firefox, a new version of Thunderbird was released. Similarly to Firefox, Thunderbird contained some critical bugs in version 16 that have now been fixed by an update. With the new release, was added as a new service for Filelink, a feature that allows sending files via cloud storage instead of attachments. Also, silent updates that were introduced to Firefox a few versions back  are now making an on Thunderbird as well. Finally, a number of bugs and security issues have been fixed as usual. Details can be found in the release notes.

For quite some time already, development of Thunderbird has been slowing down a bit. Therefore, Mozilla announced during the summer that they would no longer dedicate resources to develop new features for the desktop mail client. The software should still receive performance and security enhancements as part of the release cycle, but development resources for new features will be cut after the release of version 17. The company believes that the majority of the approximately 20 million users of Thunderbird are happy with the software as it currently stands and do not need new features.