Firefox 16 Released

Mozilla has released an update for Firefox on October 9, 2012 with Firefox 16 for desktop and Android users. There are several fixes and updates in this version. However, most notable for desktop users is improvements to JAVA Script related to incremental garbage collection. This should hep reduce (and possibly eliminate) the dreaded ‘unrepresentative script’ warning.Bill McCloskey wrote about this feature:

The basic purpose of the garbage collector is to collect memory that JavaScript programs are no longer using. The space that is reclaimed can then be reused for new JavaScript objects. Garbage collections usually happen every five seconds or so. Prior to incremental GC landing, Firefox was unable to do anything else during a collection: it couldn’t respond to mouse clicks or draw animations or run JavaScript code. Most collections were quick, but some took hundreds of milliseconds. This downtime can cause a jerky, frustrating user experience. (On Macs, it causes the dreaded spinning beachball.)

Incremental garbage collection fixes the problem by dividing the work of a GC into smaller pieces. Rather than do a 500 millisecond garbage collection, an incremental collector might divide the work into fifty slices, each taking 10ms to complete. In between the slices, Firefox is free to respond to mouse clicks and draw animations.

Existing Firefox users should be prompted for an update shortly or can update within in the browser via I Help > About Firefox or manually update and install from site. Also Firefox 10.0.8esr has been released. Release notes for Firefox 16 are here.

Attention Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) users: Leopard will no longer be supported after (Firefox 17 and beyond) this Firefox release.