Firefox Aurora 7 to focus on performance, memory

Mozilla debuts a new version of Firefox Aurora today, light on new features but with fixes and improvements for performance and memory problems.

The latest developer's build of Firefox launched today, bringing hope to the small but vocal minority of Firefox stable users who have been plagued by the browser's persistent memory and performance problems that Mozilla is not ignoring their complaints. Firefox Aurora 7 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and includes changes that Mozilla said in a blog post announcing the release will result in 30 percent less memory use "for many users."

Another big memory usage change comes to the "garbage collector" process, which, when working properly, cleans out from your system memory browser processes that are no longer running in active tabs. This, too, is expected to result in better memory management. Telemetry infrastructure has been added to Firefox in this release, so it's easier for Mozilla developers to track how their changes affect the open-source browser. Mozilla also expects people to see faster browser start-up times on all three desktop operating systems.

There are a smattering of new features included in Aurora 7. Most of these relate to support for "future-Web" technologies, and the browser includes support for a Web timing specification to measure performance of a site as it's being used; the hardware acceleration function Azure Direct2D for HTML5 Canvas; and a more elegant way to display text that has spilled out of its boundaries on a page called CSS3 Text-Overflow: ellipsis. In the new version, Firefox Sync will now synchronize bookmarks and passwords by default.

New users will be able to download Aurora 7 immediately (see links above), while existing Aurora users can force an update through Firefox's Help menu or wait for the build to be pushed to them in the next few days.