Firefox 1.5 browser debuts

New release brings UI, standards compliance, and security improvements

Last week, the Mozilla Corporation unveiled the first major update to its popular Firefox Web browser. Version 1.5 offers improved support for Web standards, including JavaScript 1.6 compatibility and the ability to render SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) images. The new version also brings speed and UI enhancements, including a redesigned Options panel; enhanced pop-up blocking and RSS feed integration; the ability to change the ordering of browser tabs via drag and drop; and accessibility features for the sight- and mobility-impaired.

A new automated update feature will be of particular interest to users defecting from vulnerability-plagued Internet Explorer. Regular security updates are expected to arrive every six to eight weeks, and the downloads will be smaller than they have been in the past, according to Mozilla representatives.

Asked whether Firefox 1.5 includes features of interest to enterprise IT, however, Chris Beard, Mozilla vice president of products and marketing, said his organization remains much more consumer-focused for the time being.

"We're actively recruiting partners who will provide enterprise support," Beard said. "In [Version] 1.5, we've included enterprise-friendly capabilities, such as how the browser manages Windows Registry keys and saves data. There is work in our community to develop a client customization kit to improve enterprise deployments. Additionally, IBM has deployed Firefox today to some 400,000 desktops. We expect to grow this channel in the future."