Today Mozilla released version 3.6 of their popular Firefox browser, a minor update from their last major release – 3.5.

From the release notes, here are a few of the new features that are relevant to the end user’s experience:

  • Support for a new type of theme called Personas, which allow users to change Firefox’s appearance with a single click.
  • Protection from out-of-date plugins to keep users safer as they browse.
  • Open, native video can now be displayed full screen and supports poster frames.
  • Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness, and startup time.

One of the subtle changes that did not make the bulletted release notes list was a change in the new tab procedure. In previous releases of Firefox, when a user would open a link in a new tab, the resulting tab would be created at the end of your tab bar. Logically, this flows with what most feel is a common user interface cause and effect. In Firefox 3.6, and a behavior found previously in Google’s Chrome browser, opening a link in a new tab causes the tab to be created just right of the originating tabbed page – not at the end. The idea is to maintain relevancy in the tab groupings, if a new tab page originated for a link on another page – the assumption is those two tabs share the same association. Now, this sounds like a minor change but for me, it’s extremely hard to adapt to. I have to assume that my reaction falls in the minority because there is no option in the UI preferences to fall back to the old method.

Typically I would strongly encourage any user to try out new changes on any product before immediately reverting to what was tried and true – if that’s even possible. I will give the new tab behavior it’s due for 1 week – but if you don’t have the patience you should know it is possible to restore the old behavior using about:config.

  1. In the address bar type about:config.
  2. Filter for the preference named browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent.
  3. Double click on the preference to toggle the boolean value from true to false.