Firefox 6 will be officially released tomorrow (Tuesday), but it became available on Mozilla’s servers yesterday. If you download it before the official release, it will be marked as beta, but it’s actually the final release.
First things first: If you decide to install Fx 6, remember that it is a new version, not an update. Although it should install properly over the older version, it is always best to uninstall the previous version first, especially if you are using a version earlier than Firefox 5. Just look for Firefox in your list of programs and click uninstall. When prompted, do not check the box to remove personal data. You’ll want your stuff, which should appear just like the old stuff if you allow your extensions to update.
I’ve found 6 to be flawless so far. It’s faster than 5, nearly as fast as Chrome. It is, however, still slower than Chrome and Internet Explorer when loading, depending on how many extensions and other add-ons you have installed. A “clean” copy is just as fast as the other two. That’s the price you pay for versatility when you use Mozilla products. Personally, I think it’s worth the few seconds wait a couple of times a a day. I practically live in my browser, as I use cloud applications almost exclusively, and so my browsers stay open.
Firefox 6 seems to be better about releasing memory than 5 was, and it’s certainly much better than the versions prior to 5. I ran it on a netbook with one GB of RAM for about three hours, and it performed just fine except for one period of about 20 seconds when it froze in Gmail while I was typing a long reply. For a netbook with a 1.5 GHz processor and that amount of RAM, I consider that good performance. Chrome isn’t any better on that machine.
HTML5 seems to run better on 6 than on 5. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about it. It’s the upcoming replacement for Flash, and you won’t notice any difference. All of my important extensions were already available in new versions, although a few themes and personas didn’t transfer. Since I don’t use the ones that didn’t anyway, who cares?
Based on my admittedly limited experience, I declare Firefox 6 ready for prime time. Since the geeks at Mozilla think so too, I’d say you’re safe giving it a drive around the Web. You can get it here.
Update: Forget about Firefox for Android. Clunky, takes up a lot of space, and you don’t need all the bells and whistles on a phone. The Android browser works just fine. IMNSHO.
Another note: if you’re feeling adventurous (and running WIndows), you might want to take a look at Pale Moon, a customized Firefox version optimized for fast operation in Windows.
I’ve got the new mobile version on my Thunderbolt, as well. I’ll let you know.