Mozilla Firefox 3 3.6.4 Final


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|MG| Mozilla Firefox 3 3.6.4 Final Download


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Firefox 'Lorentz' arrives but with restrictions

Firefox 3.6.4 might not sound like a major update, but the latest version debuts an important new feature for Mozilla's browser. Code-named "Lorentz" and available for Windows and Linux, the update includes the highly-anticipated Out-of-Process Plug-in (OOPP) "sandboxing" feature that prevents specific plug-ins that crash from taking down the entire browser. In this initial implementation, OOPP will prevent Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime, and Microsoft Silverlight crashes from causing browser-wide instability.

While Mac users do get the security fixes made in their version of Firefox 3.6.4, they won't get OOPP support. In a FAQ, Mozilla said that getting OOPP to work on the Mac version of Firefox "requires major changes" to the browser, and that users should expect it in the major Firefox 4 update due late this year.

OOPP has been been part of Google Chrome for some time, but in a slightly different form. Mozilla's version, which the publisher touts as allowing users to experience "uninterrupted browsing," is slightly different in that it relates only to specific plug-ins.

Plug-ins are not the same as extensions and add-ons, although some people colloquially use them interchangeably. A plug-in is a special kind of add-on that helps the browser perform specific functions such as media playback or viewing images that would otherwise be unviewable.

So in Firefox 3.6.4, when a plug-in crashes, only the plug-in component of the page becomes unusable. This is different from Chrome, where a plug-in crash leads to a replacement of the entire page with an icon indicating that a crash has occurred. Non-OOPP crashes in Firefox will still take down the whole browser, but Mozilla expects people to see a dramatic reduction in the incidence of browser crashes because of the OOPP innovation.

OOPP also will automatically let Firefox 3.6.4 users know when plug-ins need to be updated. If you're not sure of a plug-in's status, Mozilla has created a Web site that will automatically scan your plug-ins, let you know which ones need to be updated, and provide download links for them.

For a while, it seemed like Firefox 3.6.4 might launch without the OOPP feature. A potential security risk kept the browser from hitting its original street date of early June. Other repairs made in this version include four critical security bug-fixes and several minor ones, related to buffer overflow, integer overflow, reused free objects in plug-ins, and memory corruption.