Firefox 1.5 RC1

Piping hot and fresh from the oven: Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1 is here. (A “release candidate” is the last testing step before the final version comes out.)

The cool part? The new binary patching system is working. Because I was running one of the 1.5 betas, I didn’t have to go to to get RC1. Instead, when I started Firefox today a window came up informing me of the release of 1.5 RC1 and asking me if I wanted to update. All I had to do was click “yes” and everything else was automatic — a patch was downloaded, Firefox installed it, and then the next time I opened the browser I was running the latest version!

This is a Big Improvement over the old system of upgrading because it means that people with old versions of the browser won’t have to go out of their way to find out about and install upgrades anymore — which should mean a lot fewer copies of Firefox out there with unpatched security holes because their users are too lazy to upgrade. And because the new system only downloads a patch, rather than the complete Firefox installer, you get the update much quicker — for me, the patch was less than 1MB, compared to the 8MB full installer I usually have to download.

Great work, Firefox team! I’m looking forward even more now to 1.5 final!