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Firefox Friday Five

Happy Friday everyone!

I suppose it's to be expected, after a flurry of activity from the Mozilla HQ over the last few weeks, that things would calm down a little. There wasn't much Firefox news this week I'm afraid, but I've done my best to scrape together five fairly-interesting tidbits.

Let's start with a neat tip:

1. Overriding the add-on compatibility/version check

Most of you have probably updated to Firefox 3.6 in the past week -- except those of you that are hanging on to old add-ons that haven't had updated versions released!

Fortunately, most add-ons that work in 3.5 also work in 3.6 -- you just have to override the function that checks. You run the risk of having less stability, but in most cases you'll be fine. Follow these simple steps:
  • Type about:config into your address bar
  • Create a New Boolean Value by right-clicking in any empty space (New>Boolean)
  • Type in extensions.checkCompatibility.3.6 (copy and paste it if necessary). Click OK.
  • Select false on the next dialog box. Click OK.

2. Mozilla Weave reaches version 1.0 -- synchrolicious!

Weave, if you've not heard of it before, synchronizes your mobile and desktop browsing experiences -- and it synchronizes everything: tabs, bookmarks, browsing history, passwords. It's pretty cool actually (read the FAQ if you want more info).

The problem is that the mobile version of Firefox -- Fennec -- only works on a handful of Nokia phones that no one actually owns. Which brings me neatly onto the next item...!

3. Firefox for Mobile becomes Firefox for Maemo and releases RC3

It's getting a little tiring reporting on a version of the Firefox browser that probably has a potential user base of only a few thousand, but hey... it's Firefox. It seems the name has changed since I last reported on Firefox for Mobile -- the URL's the same, as is the browser, it's just... Firefox for Maemo now.

I hope this doesn't mean that Maemo is the mobile Firefox. Don't forget, there's an early alpha version for Windows Mobile too -- but nothing for Android yet. We're going to have to struggle through 2010 in hope that a serious Firefox for Mobile appears.

4. To any network or IT administrators out there: Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 support will likely end in August

With Firefox 3.7 or 4.0 (or whatever it's called, we're not sure yet) coming later in the year, Mozilla will cease support for both Firefox 3 (which is now at 3.0.17!) and Firefox 3.5. This means that if security holes are found, they won't be patched -- nor will any tweaks to stability or speed be made. All resources will then be ploughed into supporting 3.6 and their next major release.

I don't even know if Firefox is installed in the corporate environment, but if so: admins take heed!

[I am extrapolating the information about 3.0 from the new banner on the Firefox 3.5 download page stating support will end in August -- it's an educated guess.]

5. Hot the heels of Strata40, Fx4 is here to make your browser look just like Firefox 4.0

While we're going to have to wait until later in the year to get the real deal, there are a bunch of add-ons that can simulate Firefox 4.0 with impressive aplomb. First there was Strata40 (which was impressive!) and now there's Fx4 -- and it's even better.

You can't appreciate just how swish this add-on is from the screenshot above, so just download it and give it a go. The add-on's developer suggests you also install Tab Scope and App Tabs for the full funky-tab-previewing-and-pinning experience that will debut with Firefox 4.0.


Tags: add-on, compatibility, extension, fennec, firefox, firefox 3.5, firefox 3.6, firefox 4.0, firefox for mobile, Firefox3.5, Firefox3.6, Firefox4.0, FirefoxForMobile, mozilla weave, MozillaWeave