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Firefox Release Notes

Firefox 2 is the next-generation release of the award-winning Firefox web browser from Mozilla.

These Release Notes cover what's new, download and installation instructions, known issues and frequently asked questions for Firefox 2. Please read these notes and the bug filing instructions before reporting any bugs to Bugzilla.

Give us your feedback through this feedback form.

What's New in Firefox 2

  • Visual Refresh: Firefox 2's theme and user interface have been updated to improve usability without altering the familiarity of the browsing experience.

  • Built-in phishing protection: Phishing Protection warns users when they encounter suspected Web forgeries, and offers to return the user to their home page. Phishing Protection is turned on by default, and works by checking sites against either a local or online list of known phishing sites. This list is automatically downloaded and regularly updated when the Phishing Protection feature is enabled.

  • Enhanced search capabilities: Search term suggestions will now appear as users type in the integrated search box when using the Google, Yahoo! or search engines. A new search engine manager makes it easier to add, remove and re-order search engines, and users will be alerted when Firefox encounters a website that offers new search engines that the user may wish to install.

  • Improved tabbed browsing: By default, Firefox will open links in new tabs instead of new windows, and each tab will now have a close tab button. Power users who open more tabs than can fit in a single window will see arrows on the left and right side of the tab strip that let them scroll back and forth between their tabs. The History menu will keep a list of recently closed tabs, and a shortcut lets users quickly re-open an accidentally closed tab.

  • Resuming your browsing session: The Session Restore feature restores windows, tabs, text typed in forms, and in-progress downloads from the last user session. It will be activated automatically when installing an application update or extension, and users will be asked if they want to resume their previous session after a system crash.

  • Previewing and subscribing to Web feeds: Users can decide how to handle Web feeds (like this one), either subscribing to them via a Web service or in a standalone RSS reader, or adding them as Live Bookmarks. My Yahoo!, Bloglines and Google Reader come pre-loaded as Web service options, but users can add any Web service that handles RSS feeds.

  • Inline spell checking: A new built-in spell checker enables users to quickly check the spelling of text entered into Web forms (like this one) without having to use a separate application.

  • Live Titles: When a website offers a microsummary (a regularly updated summary of the most important information on a Web page), users can create a bookmark with a "Live Title". Compact enough to fit in the space available to a bookmark label, they provide more useful information about pages than static page titles, and are regularly updated with the latest information. There are several websites that can be bookmarked with Live Titles, and even more add-ons to generate Live Titles for other popular websites.

  • Improved Add-ons manager: The new Add-ons manager improves the user interface for managing extensions and themes, combining them both in a single tool.

  • JavaScript 1.7: JavaScript 1.7 is a language update introducing several new features such as generators, iterators, array comprehensions, let expressions, and destructuring assignments. It also includes all the features of JavaScript 1.6.

  • Extended search plugin format: The Firefox search engine format now supports search engine plugins written in Sherlock and OpenSearch formats and allows search engines to provide search term suggestions.

  • Updates to the extension system: The extension system has been updated to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions.

  • Client-side session and persistent storage: New support for storing structured data on the client side, to enable better handling of online transactions and improved performance when dealing with large amounts of data, such as documents and mailboxes. This is based on the WHATWG specification for client-side session and persistent storage.

  • SVG text: Support for the svg:textpath specification enables SVG text to follow a curve or shape.

  • New Windows installer: Based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System, the new Windows installer resolves many long-standing issues.

Downloading and Installing

System Requirements

Before installing, make sure your computer meets the system requirements.

Downloading Firefox 2 provides Firefox 2 for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X in a variety of languages. You can get the latest version of Firefox 2 here. For builds for other systems and languages not provided by, see the Contributed Builds section at the end of this document.

Installing Firefox 2

Please note that installing Firefox 2 will overwrite your existing installation of Firefox. You won't lose any of your bookmarks or browsing history, but some of your extensions and other add-ons might not work until updates for them are made available.

Removing Firefox 2

You can remove Firefox 2 through the Control Panel in the Start Menu on Windows, by removing the Firefox application on OS X, or by removing the firefox folder on Linux.

Removing Firefox 2 won't remove your bookmarks, web browsing history, extensions or other add-ons. This data is stored in your profile folder, which is located in one of the following locations depending on your operating system:

Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003 Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox
Windows NT WINNT\Profiles\<UserName>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox
Windows 98, ME Windows\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox
Mac OS X ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox
Linux and Unix systems ~/.mozilla/firefox

Any version of Firefox that you install after removing Firefox 2 will continue to use the data from this profile folder.

Extensions and Themes

Extensions installed under Firefox 1.5 may be incompatible and/or require updates to work with Firefox 2. Please report any issues to the maintainer of the extension. When you install Firefox 2 all of your Extensions and Themes will be disabled until Firefox 2 determines that either a) they are compatible with the Firefox 2 release or b) there are newer versions available that are compatible.

Known Issues

This list covers some of the known problems with Firefox 2. Please read this before reporting any new bugs.

All Systems
  • Some firewall software may silently block Firefox from running. This often happens immediately after Firefox has been installed or updated from a previous version. There are configuration instructions available for most popular firewall programs to help you ensure that Firefox is allowed to connect to the Internet.
  • Dictionaries for several locales can't be packaged with the builds, and must be manually downloaded by right-clicking in a text area and selecting "Add Dictionaries..." from the shortcut menu. New dictionaries are regularly being added to Mozilla Add-ons, so if you don't see the particular dictionary you need, check back later.
  • When trying to print web pages with text areas, if the text area contains a misspelled word and spell checking is enabled, all the following content of the text area will not be printed. You can right-click in the text area and uncheck "Spell check this field" to turn off spell checking temporarily while you print.
  • Access key definitions provided by web pages can now be triggered using Alt+Shift+key on Windows, Ctrl+key on Mac OS X, and Ctrl+Shift+key on Unix.
  • The Session Restore functionality provided in Firefox 2 will restore connections to services which use session cookies to maintain login state such as GMail. It is recommended that users with concerns about the privacy implications of this behavior change the value of browser.sessionstore.resume_from_crash to false.
  • The option for "Shrink to fit" has been removed in Firefox 2. If you wish to change this from the value you had set in your previous version of Firefox, change the value of browser.enable_automatic_image_resizing.
  • To install Firefox on a multi-user system in a location in which users do not have write privileges, Firefox must be run at least once by a privileged user. Alternatively, an empty file must be created in the following directory: <install-directory>/extensions/
  • Software Update will not work if Firefox is installed to a location on your disk to which you do not have write access, since Software Update needs to replace or create files in this location.
  • Some financial institutions use port 563 for secure logins, which results in an error message. If you encounter this error, make sure that includes 563 in the comma-separated list of banned network ports to override.
  • When installing as a restricted-access user on a shared machine into a location that you can write to, there may still be negative side effects (default browser/other keys not being set correctly). The browser should still function however. When installing as a restricted access user do not attempt to install over an installation in a restricted-access/shared location as this may destroy that installation.
  • Firefox may hang when closing after viewing a PDF file in some older versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug in. If you experience this, make sure you are using the newest version of the plug in.
Mac OS X
  • The "Close Other Tabs" action on the shortcut menu of a tab can fail with an error when more than 20 tabs are open.
  • Some users have reported problems viewing Macromedia Flash content on Intel Mac computers. To work around this problem, users can remove or move the PowerPC version of "Flash Player Enabler.plugin from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins.
  • After installing a new plug-in, Firefox may continue to display information for the older version of the plug-in in about:plugins. If this happens, quit Firefox, delete the "pluginreg.dat" file from your profile folder, and relaunch Firefox.
  • Java does not run on Intel Core processors under Rosetta.
  • There is no Talkback on Intel-based Macs when running natively or under Rosetta. The Apple Crash report program should launch in the event of application crashes.
Linux and Unix
  • If Firefox is installed to a location with spaces in the path, it may not be able to set itself as default browser and may keep prompting at startup. The work around is to install into a path without spaces.
  • GNOME integration does not work properly with Fedora Core 3. Users of Fedora Core 3 will need to download and install linc-1.0.3-3.1.i386.rpm. After installing the RPM, perform the following command in the directory in which you installed Firefox (you will need write permission):

    touch .autoreg

    The next time you start Firefox, GNOME integration should be functional.
  • firefox -remote (mozilla-xremote-client) no longer works on urls containing commas, and is deprecated. firefox -new-window /url/ will open the url in a new window; firefox -new-tab /url/ will open the url in a new tab.


  • Poorly designed or incompatible Extensions can cause problems with your browser, including make it crash, slow down page display, etc. If you encounter strange problems relating to parts of the browser no longer working, the browser not starting, windows with strange or distorted appearance, degraded performance, etc, you may be suffering from Extension or Theme trouble. Restart the browser in Safe Mode. On Windows, start using the "Safe Mode" shortcut created in your Start menu or by running firefox.exe -safe-mode. On Linux, start with ./firefox -safe-mode and on Mac OS X, run:

    cd /Applications/
    ./firefox-bin -safe-mode

    When started in Safe Mode all extensions are disabled and the Default theme is used. Disable the Extension/Theme that is causing trouble and then start normally.

If you uninstall an extension that is installed with your user profile (i.e. you installed it from a Web page) and then wish to install it for all user profiles using the -install-global-extension command line flag, you must restart the browser once to cleanse the profile extensions datasource of traces of that extension before installing with the switch. If you do not do this you may end up with a jammed entry in the Extensions list and will be unable to install the extension globally.

If you encounter strange problems relating to bookmarks, downloads, window placement, toolbars, history, or other settings, it is recommended that you try creating a new profile and attempting to reproduce the problem before filing bugs. Create a new profile by running Firefox with the -P command line argument, choose the "Manage Profiles" button and then choose "Create Profile...". Migrate your settings files (Bookmarks, Saved Passwords, etc) over one by one, checking each time to see if the problems resurface. If you do find a particular profile data file is causing a problem, file a bug and attach the file.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What can I do to help?

    We need help from developers and the testing community to provide as much feedback as possible to make Firefox even better. Please read these notes and the bug filing instructions before reporting any bugs to Bugzilla. You can also give us your feedback through this feedback form.

  2. Why haven't you responded to the mail I sent you?

    Use the forums. The Firefox team reads them regularly. We all get a lot of email and your email may get lost.

  3. Where can I get extensions and themes (add-ons)?

    Extensions and Themes can be downloaded from Firefox Add-ons.

  4. Who makes Firefox 2?

    Lots of people. See Help->About Mozilla Firefox, Credits for a list of some of the people who have contributed to Firefox 2.

  5. Where's the Firefox 2 source code?

    A tarball of the Firefox 2 source code is available for download. The latest development code can be obtained by cvs. Firefox-specific source is in "mozilla/browser", "mozilla/toolkit", and "mozilla/chrome". Please follow the build instructions.

  6. Where is the mail client?

    Firefox 2 works with whatever mail client is the default on your system. However, we recommend Mozilla Thunderbird, our next-generation email client and the perfect complement to Firefox.

Contributed Builds

These are unofficial builds and may be configured differently than the official builds. They may also be optimized and/or tested for specific platforms.

Solaris (contributed by SUN Desktop Beijing Team)

Tarball format (README)

Pkgadd format (README)

Localized Builds

Many localized builds are now produced and distributed by on behalf of their authors. These are available on the Firefox 2 download page.

Builds that have not yet been certified as official Firefox 2 localizations are available by browsing the FTP site.

The following resources contain useful information about Firefox 2: