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Mozilla closes security hole with Firefox 3.5.1

The first patch to the new open-source browser fixes a critical security vulnerability and makes some other adjustments.

Mozilla updated Firefox to version 3.5.1 for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Thursday, fixing a security problem, improving stability, and speeding launch time on some Windows systems, according to the release notes.

"We strongly recommend that all Firefox 3.5 users upgrade to this latest release," browser director Mike Beltzner said in a blog post Thursday.

Firefox 3.5 embodies Mozilla's hope to build a better foundation for Web applications, but about two weeks after its debut, a vulnerability in the browser's JavaScript engine came to light. Mozilla rated it "critical" because an attacker could create a Web site that would run malicious code on the computer.

The new version can be installed from Mozilla's download site or by selecting "Check for Updates" in the Help menu. Unfortunately, when I did so, the Firefox warned me that the newly updated Gears plug-in from Google becomes incompatible again.

Update July 17 1 p.m. PDT: A patch to fix the Gears compatibility issue is under way.