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Mozilla to cordon off plugin crashes with Firefox 3.6.4 beta

Hopes to cure Adobe, Microsoft, Apple headaches

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Mozilla released a public beta of Firefox 3.6.4 yesterday, which also debuted “Lorentz” - a project that the open source outfit is hoping will stablise browsing for Windows and Linux users when Adobe’s Flash, Apple’s Quicktime and Microsoft’s Silverlight plugins crash.

The browser maker currently claims that 400 million people have downloaded Firefox 3.6 since launch earlier this year.

Mozilla doesn’t normally make a big splash about its betas, but it's keen to get the Firefox community fired up with 3.6.4 to test for crashes in the latest iteration of its browser.

Firefox, while a very popular alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, has been criticised in the past for the number of crashes it suffers among surfers printing web pages or running various plugins.

Mozilla is hoping to address at least some of those stability problems with its Lorentz project.

“This version of Firefox will offer uninterrupted browsing for Windows and Linux users when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime, or Microsoft Silverlight plugins,” said Mozilla’s Mike Beltzner.

“If a crash in one of these plugins happens, Firefox will continue to run and users will be able to submit a crash report before reloading the page to try again.”

The plugins will run in their own processes, which should in theory isolate them from a Firefox session if Quicktime, Silverlight or Flash go titsup when a user is browsing the web with the 3.6.4 beta.

But Mozilla needs to put that theory into practice, which is where the Firefox community comes into play. The beta can be downloaded here. ®

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