Firefox 4 quickly replaced by version 5

Farewell Firefox 4, I hardly knew ye.

Pick your poison.

Pick your poison.

Many users of the popular Mozilla browser have to wonder if something is amiss when prompted to download Firefox 5, which became available June 21.

Firefox 4 was released only 3 months ago. Version 3 and its various updates lasted three years.

Why the short shelf life for the entirely revamped Firefox 4? Was something terribly wrong with it? Did it have a security hole the size of Bobby Cox’s trophy case?


But, since Mozilla is no longer issuing vulnerability patches for version 4 — and hackers seem busier than ever lately — you’d be wise to upgrade to version 5 immediately.

Version 5 feels like version 4.1 to the end user, though there are some under the hood achievements.

Why was Firefox 4’s lifespan so short? Marketing, it seems.

Mozilla, the world’s No. 2 browser behind the Microsoft juggernaut Internet Explorer, is trying to fend of Google’s Chrome browser, which has surged in popularity recently.

Currently, Explorer still lays claim to more than 50 percent of the browser war turf, Firefox about 25 percent, Chrome about 15 percent. Safari, Opera and others divvy up the scraps.

The big, and well-paid, brains at Google release a new version of Chrome every six weeks. Firefox developers hear the footsteps.

From now on, they’ll be releasing a “rapid-release” version every three months. Firefox 6 will be out in September.

Unfortunately, many useful Firefox extensions will fail to keep pace with the development cycle and quit working. And office computer gurus will have to update workers’ browsers a lot more often to keep things secure.

So, keep hitting that update button.

Or, just use Chrome. It loads faster.

Capitalism wins again.

45 comments Add your comment


June 24th, 2011
8:50 am


June 24th, 2011
8:57 am

If it were only true capitalism.
and, yeah Chrome loads faster due to its increased vulnerability over firefox


June 24th, 2011
9:01 am

This is really poor because the Mozilla/Firefox add-ons can’t keep up with the new releases, meaning that every time you update their browser, you’ve just lost the add-on you finally got to work on the one you updated three months prior.

Case in point; if you use the Norton Toolbar on Firefox, it took Mozilla and Norton nearly 6 months to make it compatible with Firefox 4, and it just became stable enough to work correctly, and now release 5 is being thrown down our throats. After looking at the release comments from other users, once again, the Norton Toolbar isn’t compatible with the new release.

George Mathis

June 24th, 2011
9:06 am

Good point Glenn, I will steal that idea. Thanks. My avast toolbar does not work with 5 either, but thankfully Firebug does. I don’t think they’d release a version without Firebug compatibility, there’d be a dev riot.

Just Sayin'

June 24th, 2011
9:17 am

THe only ‘problem’ I have with Google Chrome is that at times it takes up to a minute to load a new webpage. The issue isn’t internet connectivity speed or website download speed, it’s the time chrome takes to unload my cache and upload all its cookie data (aka data-mining my memory).

And I LOVE all the targeted ads I get after using gmail (as it data-mines my personal communication).


June 24th, 2011
9:20 am

I was looking forward to ff4, but after reading different articles on websites and all the problems people were having upgrading from the posts on mozilla help forums, i passed. I’m sticking with ff3.6.17. I also read on one site about being able to change ff4 interface to resemble ff3, but so many people were having problems with that too. Too much trouble to change all that on 2 pc’s and a laptop. If they ever get future versions to resemble ff3, and with all the addons to be compatible, i’ll think about changing. It was bad enough when new versions of the personas came out and none of the themes or personas would work. Luckily you can get older versions(1.4) of the personas that still work with all the themes.

Note to Glenn

June 24th, 2011
9:21 am

I Too had Norton, but recently gave up on it because a couple of well documented trojans got through the security and caused me a few problems. I started using MSFT Security Essentials – seems to work with all the browsers (so far) and, best of all, it’s FREE!

A Different Jeff

June 24th, 2011
9:26 am

I’ve got version 3.6.18 on my computer, and plan on keeping it for as long as the add-ons still work.


June 24th, 2011
9:30 am

For some reason, I can’t get my Netscape Navigator to work anymore. I’m stuck using Internet Exporler 1.0 to type this.


June 24th, 2011
9:30 am

Keep version 3.6.18 at home and it works just fine. My work computer just recently upgraded to 5 which doesn’t look any different than 4.

Haley Reinhart

June 24th, 2011
9:33 am

Shaggy, you need to get off that Apple II you are using.


June 24th, 2011
9:52 am

I don’t trust Google. People feared Microsoft so-called monopoly’s years ago, but the main drawback of their power for most consumers was a disregard of product quality and bad customer support. I don’t think that was monopoly arrogance as it was the also the company’s general corporate philosophy in areas where they weren’t even close to monopoly status: it took the company at least 3 years to release a version of the XBOX360 that actually worked longer than one week. Google, on the other hand, seems to abuse their monopoly status. That’s why I’m avoiding Chrome and use Bing.


June 24th, 2011
10:00 am

I used to be a big Firefox user but I am part of the 15% that has primarily switched to Chrome. FF got to where it felt big and heavy and slow and cumbersome more so than years past. I also found that I would spend a lot of time installing add-ons that I wound up rarely using. Chrome has that sleek, fast, streamlined feel that I like. It has the add-ons that I need – Evernote clipper, Xmarks, Instapaper, etc. I still have FF installed and every now and then will pull it up, but they have pretty much lost me to Chrome ever since Google came out with a Mac version of their browser. The big question I have – why is anyone bothering to use IE?? The only time I pull that dinosaur up is when I need it for certain intranet sites on my work PC.


June 24th, 2011
10:13 am

The only reason IE still is #1, is because offices insist on using it for “security reasons” -but I loathe IE because it is so *slow*. Fortunately, I asked for an alternative and the IT guys said that Google Chrome was acceptable. Thank god, because now I can actually get things done quickly. But at home, I’m still a Firefox girl all the way. I’m really hoping that Chrome or Firefox takes over the #1 slot too -then maybe Microsoft will care enough to make their browser faster.


June 24th, 2011
10:26 am

I switched from Firefox to Chrome about a year ago and I’ve been thrilled with the improvement. I don’t care about all of the under-the-hood mechanics. I just want a browser that works quickly and efficiently. If Google notices that I buy dog biscuits online, oh well. I haven’t noticed any targeted marketing, at all.

The Monster

June 24th, 2011
10:40 am

“Version 3 and it’s various updates lasted three years.”

“It’s” means “it is” or “it has”. The possessive pronoun “its” does not have an apostrophe.

Alan in Sunnyvale

June 24th, 2011
10:41 am

Browserism rules the world!


June 24th, 2011
10:42 am

Anyone know how to get the latest copy of PC Write?


June 24th, 2011
10:54 am

I LOVE chrome, and I really don’t care if they see all the pron I look at.


June 24th, 2011
10:57 am

Haley Reinhart

Hey, I couldn’t afford that Apple II, so I upgraded my Commodore. I bought a nifty tape drive, so I’m loaded for bear.

George Mathis

June 24th, 2011
10:59 am

Thanks Monster. You are not so scary.


June 24th, 2011
11:55 am

Since I rely on google bookmarks to search the web, Firefox5 which is not compatible with the Google Toolbar is useless! i went back to Firefox4 immediately.


June 24th, 2011
11:57 am

Best feature on Chrome: incognito window.


June 24th, 2011
11:58 am

Why do some people insist on using “toolbars” in their browser? Toolbars are just another way to track your activity and quietly download malicious adware and bloat your computer with spyware. Norton, Yahoo, Google…all try to make you think that by installing and searching with their toolbar it’s going to shield you and keep you safe from “accidentally” loading an infected website. BULL!!! Not even searches from are guaranteed to be legitimate links to safe websites! AND QUIT INSTALLING EVERY FREE ADD-ON you see on the internet just because it’s free. That’s why your browser takes FOREVER to load moron!!!

Wayne stuck in AL

June 24th, 2011
11:58 am

A major problem I have with Firefox 5: my TrendMicro security toolbar is incompatible.

Wayne stuck in AL

June 24th, 2011
12:01 pm

To scooby-doo: My TrendMicro toolbar warned me ahead of time if a loading page was dirty AND if a result on a Google search was dangerous.


June 24th, 2011
12:48 pm

I know a bunch of people that had problems with 4. I have 2 different machines in which 4 would crash almost every time.


June 24th, 2011
12:49 pm

Still doesn’t work.


June 24th, 2011
1:04 pm

I’m very picky about updates to new versions of ANY software including Microsoft, Adobe, Firefox and Google products until I see how others have tested and reviewed it. The only thing I update every time is my Java console and Windows security updates and even then I still scrutinize what updates they’re installing before I just inadvertently click YES. Too many people are so quick to click on everything with their little mouse button without using their little brain button and then wonder, “How did that get on my computer!?!” Well, because you clicked your little mouse button moron!!


June 24th, 2011
1:07 pm

Does FF5 interfere with just the Avast toolbar or the Avast anti-virus? Sheesh…I like Avast and I don’t know enough about the guts of these programs to have a clue about how to fix “incompatibilities.” I just type on these things.


June 24th, 2011
1:11 pm

Thanks guys, now Robo Forms doesn’t work yet again!


June 24th, 2011
1:32 pm

@ChristieS-If you feel you need to upgrade to FF5 it will at some point during the process show you a window with a list of any incompatible add ons. Please review this list and if avast or any other add-on is listed that your not sure about don’t continue the upgrade. Just simply cancel and Firefox will not continue the upgrade. The avast toolbar is not really that important because it’s just a helpful little add-on to make you feel safer. The avast anti virus program is the main program that protects your computer and it is always updating so you don’t have to worry about it.


June 24th, 2011
2:19 pm

If you are still using IE, you are an idiot.

That is all.


June 24th, 2011
2:43 pm

Did not like what they did with the interface in 4.x. Rolled back to 3.x, will stay there as long as possible. Thought only Microsoft changed stuff just for the sake of change without improved in mind. Apparently not.


June 24th, 2011
2:54 pm

Do these viruses/hackers only mess with PC’s?

Malls Vasew

June 24th, 2011
3:59 pm

Yo Mozilla great job with Firefox 5. It has crashed on me more times in the last five minutes than all of the previous versions have in the past three years. If your goal was to make a web browser as unusable as possible, keep up the good work.


June 24th, 2011
7:24 pm

Firefox user for many years now..Im simply tired of the broken addon’s ,themes with mozilla updates.
they will release a new version every 3 months..umumum Oh lordy
just recently many things were made compatible with version 4.
This might just be the push for many to change browsers.

Version 4 already made me switch to Opera,,I hate chrome hate it hate it!!!!
about any browser with some bookmarklets can work as well as the new firefox..shrugs

Big Lebowski

June 25th, 2011
12:26 pm

Hi, can someone help me on this. I clicked th upgrade to firefox 5….only to find out that roboform (which I use for passwords) doesn’t work with it. So how in the heck can I revert back to the previous version I had…4.whatever it was??


June 27th, 2011
5:15 pm

Never liked Chrome, it’s always been unstable. I think Firefox’s approach to browser reality was the better one. Keep it simple, stable and releaseupgrades in a steady, technology driven paste. Letting it being hurried-up now by Google’s marketing driven approach will only make it more like Chrome. Or possibly worse: like IE.


June 29th, 2011
10:38 pm

Big Lebowski… here’s a link that tells you how to do that.


June 30th, 2011
2:40 pm

I am keeping version 3.6.18 because I can’t use my fingerprint reader (HP Simplepass) with either versions 4 or 5. Come on, Mozilla — please catch up on your add-on compatibilty.


July 1st, 2011
6:02 pm

5.0 erased all of my recent Bookmarks when it downloaded, erasing months of research. Only an idiot would write a program that would eliminate someone’s data base.


July 3rd, 2011
4:39 pm

Or they sold you down the river like Google and MS. Here is a novel approach; just cut back on computer time.


July 3rd, 2011
6:44 pm

I had HUGE memory leak issues with FF4. My browser was crashing up to 10 times a day. It would suddenly be taking more than 2 or 3GB of memory and then crash. There were previously only minor memory issues with FF3.6…. But since upgrading to FF5, I haven’t had a single crash and even with multiple tabs and windows open, it’s keeping steady at under 1GB of memory. It may not look different from 4, but it’s definitely more stable.

I'm so Kahnfused

July 8th, 2011
5:03 am

5 is an improvement on that front no doubt grayce . I haven’t had any life changing drama over moving to FF 5 .

As far as people ccomplaining about addons … I lost access to 2 addons when I moved to FF 5 ( out of a mountain stuck all over my browser ) IF I actually cared about those two I lost instructions are all over the Internet telling people how to deal with compatibility issues

Anyone CAN use “out of date” addons with ANY version of Firefox … 5 included … it simply isn’t recommended because they MIGHT be a security risk . It doesnt take a computer science degree to fix that “issue” . The biggest hurdle for most people is getting off their lazy azzes and searching for any of the ten thousand places that explains how to do it and then taking the whopping 3 minutes out of their “busy” lives to read ( and implement) the instructions …