Boasting a new silent updater and an optimized memory management system, Mozilla pushed out Firefox 15 this week, the latest build of its flagship browser. Following similar steps taken by Adobe and Google with its Flash, Reader and Chrome products, Firefox’s new updater will now perform updates in the background, saving users from those pesky, sometimes intrusive notifications.
Mozilla debuted a silent update mechanism for the browser in April when it released version 12 of Firefox. While that method allowed Firefox to update while the browser was running, installing that version, during its next restart, would take slightly longer. Firefox 15’s background updates are different than silent updates in the sense that when an update is installed in the background, the browser will take the same amount of time to start up as it usually would.
Firefox’s new memory management system should help prevent add-ons from hogging memory after a user has already closed a browser tab. The new mechanism apparently notices when extra versions of websites no longer need to be held onto and recaptures the leaked memory, according to Asa Dotzler, Mozilla’s Product Manager for Firefox, in a blog post detailing the new system.
“Many users should experience greatly reduced memory consumption, particularly on long browsing sessions,” wrote Nicholas Nethercote, a Firefox developer who previewed the functionality in a blog post last month.
The update also fixes a laundry list of bugs and 16 vulnerabilities, seven of which the Mozilla Foundation deems critical. Among the critical vulnerabilities addressed by the update is a “new tab” escalation of privilege bug, memory corruption via WebGL and an issue with the SVG buffer overflow. For the full list of vulnerabilities, head to the Mozilla Foundation’s list of Security Advisories.