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Mozilla puts brakes on auto Firefox updates

Newborn browser suffers crash probs

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Patch Tuesday from Microsoft coincided with browser updates from both Mozilla and Google this month.

Mozilla released a new version of Firefox 4 Beta that's designed to fix a pair of stability bugs that caused problems for some testers. One of the tweaks addresses a problem with plugins for the Mac version of the browser that made it hard for users to type into some web pages while the second addresses an unspecified stability issue in the Windows version of Firefox 4 beta.

The open source browser developer was keen to stress that the "beta schedule hasn’t been impacted by this additional release".

Other stability bugs have caused Mozilla to suspend automatic updates to the latest full release version of Firefox while it investigates stability bugs. Normally users of the browser will be offered new releases between 24 to 48 hours after they come out, but this is not happening with Firefox 3.6.9 and Firefox 3.5.12, released last week on 7 September.

The releases are still available for manual download but reports of crashes, mostly on startup and on multiple platforms, have prompted Mozilla to hold off on a more widespread roll-out.

"We've limited updates to Firefox 3.6.9 and Firefox 3.5.12 at this time as we evaluate some early feedback which indicates that a subset of our user base may be finding the releases unstable," said Michael Shaver, Mozilla's head of engineering, told Computerworld.

The move is troublesome because Firefox 3.6.9 addresses 15 vulnerabilities, 10 of which Mozilla classifies as critical.

In other browser security news, Google has pushed out a cross-platform update for its Chrome browser. Google Chrome 6.0.472.59 tackles a total of 10 flaws in the browser, six of which pose a "high" risk and one of which is critical.

The critical update is confined to Mac flavours of the browser - Windows and Linux versions are unaffected - the details of which have been withheld, at least for now, from Google's advisory. ®

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