Mozilla has unleashed a new Firefox 10 browser that marks the organization's first implementation of a new schedule that will give businesses and their vendors enough time to certify each new Firefox release while maintaining a high level of Web security.
Many enterprises, SMBs, academic institutions and government agencies have found it difficult to deploy Firefox to their users in a managed environment. To address their concerns, Firefox 10 will be Mozilla's first extended support release, or ESR.
Though future ESRs for business environments will occur at 42-week intervals, enterprises and other organizations will continue to receive security updates in the interim -- but without Mozilla making any other changes to the Web or its Firefox add-ons platform.
The new ESR schedule is key for adoption, said Al Hilwa, director of applications software development at IDC.
"Mozilla does not have a big base of enterprise customers at this point, but does have a few who have found rapid, forced updates a problem," Hilwa said in an e-mail Thursday. "This should help these customers and also potentially win over others."
Keeping Developers in the Fold
Thursday's release of Firefox 10 comes at a time when the upward trend for Google's Chrome browser on desktop PCs and laptops has come to a halt, according to Net Applications. The bad news for Mozilla is that Internet Explorer's market share rose 1.1 percent last month to 53 percent, while Firefox slipped one percentage point to 20.9 percent. Google's Chrome declined 0.17 percent to 18.9 percent of the browser market.
Going forward, however, Mozilla will be able to distinguish itself by offering "a more customized browser that supports a broader range of operating systems -- and one that can help enterprises protect their privacy," Hilwa said. "I think this is a win for Mozilla, which stands to gain some business market share."
Firefox 10 also incorporates a number of new, built-in tools that will enable developers and Web page designers to change the look and feel of Web sites in real-time.
"The developer capabilities are likely to influence market share in a small way," Hilwa said. "Many developers use Firefox and these capabilities will help keep them in the fold instead of having them shift to the latest fastest browser of the week."
Firefox 10's page inspector gives developers the ability to peek into a page's structure and layout without having to leave the browser. "This means they can quickly navigate between page elements and view the HTML document structure for the page," Mozilla wrote in a blog.
Mozilla's new full-screen API and 3D support features give developers the ability to build full-screen and 3D Web experiences for Web sites and Web applications. Potential offerings include full-screen games, immersive video experiences and rich presentation sharing.
Firefox 10 now supports anti-aliasing for WebGL, enabling developers to create objects that blend together and move smoothly. Moreover, new support for CSS 3D Transforms will allow developers to animate and transform two-dimensional elements into 3D using HTML5 without the need for third-party plugins.
"We have also significantly improved Firefox add-on compatibility and simplified the update process for all users," Mozilla added.