New Firefox update tweaks crash detection

Mozilla has released a quick update for Firefox to increase the time Firefox waits for a plugin to respond before considering it hung up.

For older slower machines, the default 10 seconds is not enough and could cause Firefox to terminate a plugin prematurely, particularly some heavy Flash based games like Zynga’s Farmville, Mafia Wars, and others.

Preference dom.ipc.plugins.timeoutSecs now defaults to more conservative 45 seconds. To set it to a value that better suits your needs, go to about:config and edit it. You can set it to -1 to disable the feature completely.

This is not an urgent update if you are not experimenting false crash detections, so you may want to wait to be prompted. If this affects you, select Check for Updates… in the Help menu.

For more details, check the Firefox 3.6.6 release notes.

Firefox 3.6.4 now available with out of process plugins

Firefox 3.6.4 has finally arrived, and as expected it brings added stability by making Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins run on their own process, so if something goes wrong with them, your whole session will still survive and you will be given an option to reload the plugin.

While Silverlight, Flash, and QuickTime are supported out of the box as they were subject to intense quality control, you can actually run any plugin on its own process. You just need to know the name of the plugin library (which you get from about:plugins),

For example to have the Adobe Reader plugin running on its own process, create a boolean preference in about:config, name it dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.nppdf32.dll, set it to true, and restart. For Java, the preference must be named  dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npjp2.dll, and so on.

Conversely, you can disable OOPP for enabled by default plugins by creating and setting their respective preference to false.

This update also includes fixes to four critical and a few other less severe vulnerabilities, so you are strongly encouraged to update right away. Just click on Check for Updates… in the Help menu.

Next version will be labeled 3.6.6, skipping 3.6.5, to synchronize version numbers with Firefox for mobile devices.

You can get more details in the release notes.

Multi-process Firefox Lorentz beta now available for download

As expected, Mozilla has released the first Firefox beta featuring out of process plugins (OOPP), or plugins running on their own process, so if one crashes it won’t take down all your Firefox session. Instead, the plugin is replaced with a dark image notifying the plugin crash, and display a link you can click on to try to reload the plugin.

FoxitReader plugin crash

The feature has been ready for about two months, and in the latest days Mozilla has been ironing stability bugs, and back porting it from the trunk (main development repository), to the Namoroka branch (Firefox 3.6.x).

Right now, it only runs QuickTime, Flash, and Silverlight on their own process, but you can also manually add other plugins via about:config. Continue reading Multi-process Firefox Lorentz beta now available for download