Firefox 3.5 officially hits the streets

When is a point update not just a point update? When it’s a point-five release, naturally. On Tuesday, Mozilla released Firefox 3.5, the latest version of the popular open-source Web browser, bringing joy into the hearts of children and adults alike.

Besides sporting a fancy revised icon by the Iconfactory, Firefox 3.5 brings several new features to the program, including support for HTML5 video and audio content embedded directly on a page, a private browsing mode, and location-aware browsing, which allows you to share your location with Web sites if you so choose.

Arguably the biggest improvements in Firefox 3.5 are performance-based: the browser’s developers boast that its JavaScript performance is more than twice as fast as Firefox 3, and ten times faster than Firefox 2, thanks to the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine. The software also incorporates the latest version of the Gecko rendering platform, which brings faster rendering of onscreen content.

Originally, the 3.5 update was supposed to be version 3.1, but in March, Mozilla decided to change the version numbering, believing that it better reflected the breadth of new features and functionality that the update brought.

A free download for all, Firefox 3.5 is available in more than 70 different languages. The program runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. The Mac version requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, any Mac with an Intel-based or G3, G4, or G5 processor, and at least 128MB of RAM.

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