After some delays, Mozilla has released Firefox 3.6.4, the newest version of the popular web browser. It comes with one big addition: protection against crashing due to third-party plugins, most notably Adobe Flash.
The updated browser, which you can download here, comes with dozens of bug fixes and stability upgrades. What the average user will care about most though is Firefox crash protection, something that is a prominent feature of Google Chrome.
Crash protection utilizes out-of-process plugins technology to run third-party plugins (specifically Flash, Quicktime, and Silverlight) in a separate process. In the past, a plugin crash would take down your entire Firefox browser. With crash protection however, “the browser will stay running while the portions of websites controlled by the plugin will be disabled.” It only takes a refresh to restart the plugin.
There is a catch, though: only Windows () and Linux () users have access to crash protection. According to Mozilla, making crash protection available to Mac OS X users would require major changes to Firefox’s infrastructure. However, the non-profit promises that it will become available for Mac users in Firefox 4, which should ship by the end of the year.