Firefox 6 quietly released ahead of official launch

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While Firefox 6 is slated for an official release on Tuesday Mozilla has already thrown up the installation files on its FTP server for those who want to get their hands on the final code early. The next version of the popular open source browser doesn't bring major UI changes, but it is reportedly 20% faster than Firefox 5 and adds a few tweaks to improve plug-in management as well as site-specific permissions tool -- both of which were available since the beta.

The latter is accessible by typing "about:permissions" in the browser's address bar and will let users determine on a site per site basis whether to store passwords, cookies, enable location sharing, allow pop-ups, among other things.

Startup times have also been improved for users with a ton of tabs and groups: you can now choose whether to load your tab groups when launching Firefox or load them within the Panorama grouping tool. Another subtle change that Firefox users will notice is that the address bar now highlights the domain of the website you're visiting, just to make it easier to identify on a quick glance.

Mozilla hasn't posted the final release notes yet but it should be pretty close -- if not the same -- as the latest beta:

  • The address bar now highlights the domain of the website you're visiting
  • Streamlined the look of the site identity block
  • Added support for the latest draft version of WebSockets with a prefixed API
  • Added support for EventSource / server-sent events
  • Added support for window.matchMedia
  • Added Scratchpad, an interactive JavaScript prototyping environment
  • Added a new Web Developer menu item and moved development-related items into it
  • Improved usability of the Web Console
  • Improved the discoverability of Firefox Sync
  • Reduced browser startup time when using Panorama

As usual, Firefox 6 is available to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

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