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Firefox 18 has been released, and delivers a faster browsing experience than before. Along with the release, the pre-release for future versions of the browser promises some interesting changes

Firefox 18 was just released, and adds a new, faster Javascript engine, support for Retina screens on mac and preliminary support for WebRTC. The Javascript JIT compiler which debuts with the browser, called IonMonkey, should speed up web apps heavy in Javascript, including certain games, apps, and pages like Gmail. Good stuff.

It's always nice to see Firefox speeding up


Web developers in particular will enjoy the update, which adds support for more WebRTC features, facilitating peer-to-peer communications, such as video conferencing, without the need for external plugins. There is also support for the latest CSS 3 Flexible Box Model syntax, which can be enabled by going to about:config and searching for "flexbox".


A final noteworthy change is the ability to stop insecure content from being loaded on a secure page. As it may break a lot of pages, it's turned off by default, but it does facilitate more security in your browser.


Gmail is going to be faster


Along with the update, Firefox 19 is now available for beta download. Firefox is about 6 weeks from release and will integrate a pdf viewer in the browser. Firefox 20 is also available as an Aurora release, and will enable local webcam and microphone capture.


Unless you've disabled automatic updating, your Firefox should already be updated to version 18. If you want to try the pre-releases out, head on over to Mozilla's website, but bear in mind they are not ready yet and may be unstable.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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