img Mozilla Firefox 3 Firefox 3 - a vintage edition of Mozilla's browser

Firefox 3 was first released by Mozilla on June 17, 2008 and included a wealth of updates and new features over the Firefox 2 series. These included new security features, greater speed and a much lighter use of system resources than its predecessor. It was also the first version of Firefox to drop support for Windows 9X (95, 98 and ME) and OS X 10.2 and earlier.

At the time, it was hailed by critics for its speed, higher security and general lack of bloat. It’s faster rendering due to the Gekko 1.9 rendering engine and security features including sophisticated phishing protection made it a favorite over contemporary versions of Internet Explorer and Opera. It also offered users easier installation, without even a reboot required before the new browser can be used.

For users upgrading from Firefox 2, there are a few changes in the user interface, but not to the extent that they’ll feel lost. New icons have been added, although button placement is the same as in previous versions of Firefox. Linux users upgrading to Firefox 3 will notice that the browser finally matches the look of their own native user interface. Improvements have also been made to the browser’s Add-Ons manager, download manager and password manager.

Core features already familiar to Firefox users are present in Firefox 3 as well, including integrated spell checking and search, pop-up blocking, automated updates, the popular session restore feature and the ability to clear private data for user privacy.

One new feature introduced in Firefox 3 is the Smart Location Bar, which searches the user’s bookmarks and history as they type in URLs and provides a drop-down list of pages with matching keywords. Some users have reported disliking this feature, but it can be easily disabled by editing the about:config file.

Overall, Firefox 3 is what users have come to expect: a fast, stable and secure browser packed with features designed to make browsing the web easier.

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Screenshots of Mozilla Firefox 3 3.6.28