Mozilla has released the latest version of Firefox which, among other changes, introduces automatic updates on Windows. After updating Firefox 12, the browser should download and install future builds entirely on its own. This offers at least two immediate benefits: you'll have one less application nagging you about updates, and it should put Mozilla on track to having a less fragmented installed base.

Those points are especially relevant since the developer initiated its rapid-fire six-week release cycle in early 2011. Of course, if you'd rather not receive updates automatically, you can quickly the disable the feature in the advanced options (Firefox button > Options > Advanced). In that menu, you can configure the browser to notify you about (but not install) new versions, or to simply ignore all updates.

Download Firefox 12: Windows | OS X

Firefox 12 also brings other improvements, including better WebGL performance on certain Macs (courtesy of a bug fix) and the ability to start downloads by pasting a file's URL into Firefox's download manager. You'll also find support for line breaks in the title attribute as well as line numbers in a page's source code. Mozilla also mentions 85 improvements to built-in developer tools and these security fixes:

  • MFSA 2012-33 (High) Potential site identity spoofing when loading RSS and Atom feeds
  • MFSA 2012-32 (Moderate) HTTP Redirections and remote content can be read by javascript errors
  • MFSA 2012-31 (Critical) Off-by-one error in OpenType Sanitizer
  • MFSA 2012-30 (Critical) Crash with WebGL content using textImage2D
  • MFSA 2012-29 (Moderate) Potential XSS through ISO-2022-KR/ISO-2022-CN decoding issues
  • MFSA 2012-28 (Moderate) Ambiguous IPv6 in Origin headers may bypass webserver access restrictions
  • MFSA 2012-27 (High) Page load short-circuit can lead to XSS
  • MFSA 2012-26 (High) WebGL.drawElements may read illegal VRAM due to FindMaxUshortElement error
  • MFSA 2012-25 (Critical) Potential memory corruption during font rendering using cairo-dwrite
  • MFSA 2012-24 (High) Potential XSS via multibyte content processing errors
  • MFSA 2012-23 (Critical) Invalid frees causes heap corruption in gfxImageSurface
  • MFSA 2012-22 (Critical) use-after-free in IDBKeyRange
  • MFSA 2012-21 (Critical) Multiple security flaws fixed in FreeType v2.4.9
  • MFSA 2012-20 (Critical) Miscellaneous memory safety hazards (rv:12.0/ rv:10.0.4)