Mozilla is going to ship a new version of Firefox on 24th April 2012. This version, Firefox 12, is an important milestone for implementing silent updates in Firefox on Windows platform. Silent Updates will allow Firefox to automatically install the latest version in the background similar to Google Chrome.
Currently, Firefox just prompts users whenever there is a new version available. The new update mechanism ensures that the users always have the most recent version of the browser. Although, the entire silent update feature will be implemented gradually over the next few releases, Firefox 12 solves a very important issue on the Windows platform: UAC prompt. Mozilla engineers have introduced an on-demand Windows service, Mozilla Maintenance Service (maintenanceservice.exe), for removing the UAC dialog pop-up on every future update. More technical details about this mechanism is available here.
This background update process will not break most of the add-ons, as Mozilla has already introduced a new feature with the Firefox 10 where add-ons are marked compatible by default unless any issue is detected.
Interested users can install the Firefox 12 right now, without waiting for Mozilla to release it officially, by downloading its installer from Mozilla’s FTP servers.
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