Everything You Need To Know About Firefox 3

Firefox Download Day

Fortunately, anxious users can get a preview of the all the features and updates that are included in Mozilla's browsers by taking a look at "A Field Guide to Firefox 3" by Debra Lynn Richardson.

Richardson is already the author of the about:mozilla newsletter, and her field guide has been endorsed by Mozilla's blog. The guide exists in its entirety online and provides useful links to the Firefox developers blog and also the personal blogs of heavy weight developers like Johnathan Nightingale.

"A Field Guide to Firefox 3" discusses the important features that will be available in the new version of the browser, and devotes time to issues pertinent to even the casual Web browser.

Specifically, Richardson devotes time discussing how Firefox 3 addresses malware and phishing protection.

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"Firefox 3 keeps track of all reported malware sites, protecting you by blocking them before the pages even load, ensuring that your computer is never at risk. You can ignore the warnings if you want — it's your browser, after all — but we're hoping this added security will help protect users and make the Web safer for everyone," Richardson wrote.

The latest version of the open-source Web browser also features a big-time security upgrade from Firefox 2 by protecting users from sites that are phishing up front.

The Field Guide reports, "Firefox 3 also has improved Phishing protection. Reported phishing sites are now blocked up front, before the pages are even loaded, so your computer is never in danger. Firefox 2 loaded the page, but warned you that it was a reported phishing site by greying it out and displaying a warning dialog. Firefox 3's method, which matches the new Malware protection behaviour, is more secure and exposes you to less risk over all."

Firefox 3 enthusiasts were handed a scare earlier in the week when Mozilla announced the Web browser would require a third release candidate.

Firefox 3 RC 3 is aimed specifically at problems that appear with the browser on Mac platforms. According to a post on Bugzilla, Bug 436575 causes Mac machines to experience unkillable hangs after installing Mac OS X 10.5.3. The error causes MacBooks to freeze until a hard reset occurs.

Linux and Windows versions of the browser are not affected by Bug 436575. Because the problem is specific to Mac, calling the update Release Candidate 3 is something of a misnomer, Beltzner wrote in an e-mail to ChannelWeb.

"We did indeed produce a third release candidate, although the only change is in Mac OS X builds; while we offer RC3 downloads on all platforms, the Windows and Linux versions are the exact same as RC2," Beltzner said.

Release Candidate 3 was successful in picking up and fixing Bug 436575. With that crisis averted, Firefox 3 has nothing but smooth sailing in front of it until its release date on Tuesday June 17.