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Mozilla’s popular Firefox brings a new release almost every month, and following the October release of Firefox 16 and the subsequent Firefox 17 beta, the latest version has crept out of beta stage and is ready to rock. Available on the official download page, those keen to get the update as soon as possible can grab it right now via 17 Mozilla’s FTP servers – download details at the bottom of the page.

The browser, which covers Windows, Mac and Linux, has come under constant pressure from Google’s slick Chrome browser, but to its credit, the Mozilla Foundation has been resilient, and in switching to a more frequent release cycle, has continued rolling out the improvements every six or so weeks.

Now up to version 17 – a count unheard of for most apps except, perhaps, Chrome – it brings a couple of interesting features with it, although most of the changes are under-the-hood performance enhancements. One of the key new entries to the fold – at least from a security perspective, is the click-to-play blocklisting, which stops vulnerable plugin versions from running without due permissions of the user. For those running on Mountain Lion, there’s support for the Notification Center, and with a total of twenty bug fixes in total, it’s clear Mozilla has gotten things down to a water-tight level.

There are plenty of improvements for developers, too. JavaScript Maps and Sets are now iterable, SVG FillPaint and StrokePaint have been implemented, and with the Web Console, Debugger and Developer Toolbar a lot slicker than ever before, those concerned with the innards of the renowned browser should be all over this update.

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You can download Firefox 17 tailored for your OS by pointing your browser to: Firefox.com, whereas Firefox 17.9 should arrive at some point later today, if reports turn out to be accurate. If you already have an earlier version of Firefox installed then the update will be pushed to you over the air. We took the browser for a spin on our Windows 8 driven PC, and we have to say; it works pretty much flawlessly. Though I keep Chrome as my browser of choice for daily usage, lets see if the latest update to Firefox makes me want to switch over.

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