Firefox 3 Beta 5 hits the wire

The new beta also provides platform-specific user interface enhancements and the changes result in the fastest Firefox ever. Hmm … ‘fastest Firefox ever’ that sounds like something to get excited about.

The updated Beta continues to build on interface enhancements and tries hard to stick to operating system themes. That means Firefox for Mac looks more … Mac like with support for OS X GUI chrome and Growl notifications. Windows users get native user interface chrome too. Linux users will see Firefox’s default icons using the native GTK theme.

Beta 5 also improves the Places Organiser introduced in Firefox 3. The Places Organiser lets you ‘easily view organise and search through all of your bookmarks tags and browsing history with multiple views and smart folders.’

And where would a new Beta release be without the obligatory security web compatibility and stability improvements?

In my brief testing this morning Firefox did indeed feel ‘snappier’ especially on pages with lots of Javascript. Mozilla claim that applications such as Google mail and Zoho Office run twice as fast on Firefox 3 beta 5 as compared to version 2 . These improvements come courtesy of improvements to the Firefox Javascript engine as well as ‘profile guided optimizations’.

The usual caveats come with running any beta software – but in my experience pre-release Firefox versions tend to be relatively stable but users should take care and ensure that all critical files (including Favourites) are backed up prior to upgrading. If you’re brave click here.