The new version of Firefox has been released by open source group Mozilla Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation that rose from the ashes of Netscape after it lost out in the market to Microsoft in the late 1990s, promising a number of performance enhancements to the world’s second most popular internet browser, including speedier browsing, swifter updates and better pop-up blocking.

Firefox 1.0 was introduced just over one year ago, and Firefox 1.5 is the browser’s first major update. Since then, Firefox has emerged as one of the most popular alternatives to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, with more than 100 million copies downloaded in the first year, more than 40 million active users and about 8 percent of the browser market.

Mozilla Firefox

New features in Firefox 1.5 include:

  • Automated update to streamline product upgrades. Notification of an update is more prominent, and updates to Firefox may now be half a megabyte or smaller. Updating extensions has also improved.
  • Faster browser navigation with improvements to back and forward button performance.
    Drag and drop reordering for browser tabs.
  • Improvements to popup blocking.
  • Clear Private Data feature provides an easy way to quickly remove personal data through a menu item or keyboard shortcut.
  • is added to the search engine list.
  • Improvements to product usability including descriptive error pages, redesigned options menu, RSS discovery, and “Safe Mode” experience.
  • Better accessibility including support for DHTML accessibility and assistive technologies such as the Window-Eyes 5.5 beta screen reader for Microsoft Windows. Screen readers read aloud all available information in applications and documents or show the information on a Braille display, enabling blind and visually impaired users to use equivalent software functionality as their sighted peers.
  • Report a broken Web site wizard to report Web sites that are not working in Firefox.
  • Better support for Mac OS X (10.2 and greater) including profile migration from Safari and Mac Internet Explorer.
  • New support for Web Standards including SVG, CSS 2 and CSS 3, and JavaScript 1.6.
  • Many security enhancements.

Firefox can be downloaded as a standalone program from Mozilla Firefox.

Update: Firefox 2.0