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February Fifth Firefox Friday Five!

(Can you tell that I'm trying to spice things up around here?)

We've actually been discussing how to 'sass-up' Firefox Friday Five. Interviews with Mozilla developers? Add-on creators? Perhaps we could even get a perspective from competitors -- how does Microsoft intend to combat Firefox? With Chrome and Firefox both being open source and effectively having a shared code base, can either one of them ever be dominant?

Anyway, another quiet week from Mozilla itself, but there's been plenty of news about Firefox -- so let's get going!

1. Firefox for Mobile is coming to Android, thank God

I think we all knew Firefox would come to Android eventually, we were just getting a little nervous -- what with the Nokia/Maemo version being released, and no news of any other version except a stillborn Windows Mobile alpha.

It's still early days for the Android version (it's just a full port of the desktop version at the moment), but one has to assume, with Android taking off and the Google Tablet possibly on its way, that Firefox for Android is now a priority for Mozilla.

2. Firefox 3.5's crown did not last for long -- IE8 overtakes it to become the most popular browser in the world

Only a month ago we were reporting on FF 3.5 being the most-used browser on the Internet! Well, now Microsoft has the pleasure of pinching the crown from Mozilla and perching it atop IE8's head.

The blog post from Microsoft doesn't mention the fact that Firefox 3.6 came out in January, though. But having said that, Firefox relied on the continued deprecation of IE6 and 7 to reach its position at the top! I wonder how long it'll take FF 3.6 to get back to a 20% market share though...

3. Mozilla confirms infected add-ons made it through security to the official Firefox add-ons site

The two add-ons in question -- Sothink Web Video Downloader and Master Filer -- have been found to contain viruses, both of the password-stealing Trojan horse variety. The infection occurrs as soon as the user opens Firefox -- and uninstalling the add-on does not uninstall the virus! Usual virus protection software should detect the infection, though. Mozilla admitted that their malware-scanning software did not pick up the infected add-ons, but they've made changes to ensure they're detected in the future.

This is just proof that no browser is inherently more secure than any other -- it's simply a matter of which browser is attacked by miscreants! It's a classic argument: 'Linux is more secure because only 2% of all computers use it -- and thus only 2% of virus writers'. The same goes for Firefox, and if Opera ever accumulates more than 10 users, it would be the same story.

4. Mozilla Labs want to discover how often we use the menus in Firefox, and how fast we are

I can't remember the last time I used the menu in Firefox -- other than to 'bookmark all tabs' (and you can do that by right-clicking a tab now!) It's even become quite popular to hide the menu with add-ons like Hide Menubar -- perhaps that's why the Firefox menu in 4.0 has been reduced to a single orange button (incidentally, if you haven't tried the Firefox 4.0 theme add-on, you really should.)

Anyway, this study from Mozilla Labs wants to identify how often we use the menu, which buttons we use most, and how long it takes to click those buttons.

I can't actually find a way to take part in the test -- anyone one know how?

5. Because Firefox is for people with a sense of humor: Operetta Advance makes Firefox look like Opera 10.5...

I did say news was a bit thin this week... and so I give you Operetta! It makes Firefox look like Opera 10.5, and it only works on Windows. My windows theme is a dark grey Windows 7 Aero-glass thing, and it goes together very nicely with Operetta!

Ultimately though, there are prettier themes for Firefox (and you can see in the screenshot above, it actually interacts with the Fx4 theme quite well!) Perhaps it's targeted at Opera users to ease the transition to a non-dinosaur browser?

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That's all for this week -- again, if you have any ideas on what you'd like to see in the weekly Firefox column, let us know in the comments.

Tags: add-on, android, firefox, firefox for mobile, firefox friday five, FirefoxForMobile, FirefoxFridayFive, maemo