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Firefox Upgrades News

Firefox 3.6.4 Released With Out-of-Process Plugins 261

Posted by kdawson
from the bye-bye-crash dept.
DragonHawk writes "Mozilla Firefox 3.6.4 went to general release today. The big new feature in this release is out-of-process plugins (OOPP). This means things like Flash, Java, QuickTime, etc., all run in separate processes, so when Flash decides to crash, it won't take your browser out with it. If Flash starts consuming all the CPU it can find, you can kill it without nuking your browser session. I've been using this feature since it was in the 'nightly build' stage, and it was still more stable than 3.6.3, just because Flash was isolated." And reader Trailrunner7 supplies another compelling reason to download 3.6.4: "Security researcher Michal Zalewski has identified a problem with the way Firefox handles links that are opened in a new browser window or tab, enabling attackers to inject arbitrary code into the new window or tab while still keeping a deceptive URL in the browser's address bar. The vulnerability, which Mozilla has fixed in version 3.6.4, has the effect of tricking users into thinking that they're visiting a legitimate site while instead sending arbitrary attacker-controlled code to their browsers."
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Firefox 3.6.4 Released With Out-of-Process Plugins

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  • Re:UI Lag (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @11:21PM (#32661262)

    I have never had problems with firefox having a ton of tabs open.

    I regularly have 15+ tabs, sometimes 50 or 60. The only time I have any issues is if I turn off no script and get some flash or javascript running to slow things down.

  • by kbahey (102895) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @11:22PM (#32661272) Homepage

    I confused, since I am on Kubuntu 10.04 64-bit version, and use the Firefox version that comes with that release (3.6.3).

    For the longest time, I am able to kill npviewer.bin without Firefox crashing. I just get a grey box when I do that where Flash used to be.

    Flash already runs as a separate process for me.

    Here are the processes:

    me 4177 1746 0 12:43 ? 00:00:00 /bin/sh /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.3/firefox
    me 4182 4177 0 12:43 ? 00:00:00 /bin/sh /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.3/run-mozilla.sh /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.3/firefox-bin
    me 4186 4182 9 12:43 ? 01:03:08 /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.3/firefox-bin
    me 4353 4186 2 12:45 ? 00:16:37 /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer.bin --plugin /usr/lib/flashplugin-installer/libflashplayer.so --connection /org/wrapper/NSPlugins/libflashplayer.so/4186-1

    So, what is happening here?

  • Re:UI Lag (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @11:42PM (#32661370) Homepage Journal

    This, this, this, this, this. The terrible user interface responsiveness of Firefox is what kept me on IE for the longest time (and I only moved because of addons, not because Firefox itself is any better).

    For a good test, open a Slashdot story with ~1000 comments and watch as the browser just stops dead in the water for 5-15 seconds while it renders the page. You can also try opening the browser when you have 10 or more tabs saved in your session. Again, the entire interface is useless while the pages are rendering. If the browser really is multithreaded in any meaningful fashion, then the rendering threads obviously have a priority higher than the UI, which seems like a bad thing.

    I'd rather have this improved than move plugins into an external process. Since I started using NoScript I haven't had Firefox crash because of Flash. Ever. However, I still read Slashdot so I do deal with the lagging on a regular basis.

  • Re:UI Lag (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @11:50PM (#32661412) Homepage Journal

    My problem is that I kind of hate the Internet with NoScript.

    You might take a look at YesScript [mozilla.org] (a JavaScript blacklisting plugin sans all the extra protection crud in NoScript). If you use it in conjunction with AdBlock+subscriptions you'll probably block quite a bit.

    That said, I like NoScript in general because of just how much faster most sites are with their scripts disabled. It does get annoying though, as more and more sites are completely non-navigable without scripts enabled.

  • Re:UI Lag (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:13AM (#32661504) Journal

    Are you on Windows or Linux? Because I've noticed the Linux version just doesn't run as well as the Windows version. If you are on Windows may I suggest you run PCWizard [cpuid.com] by the guys at CPU-Z, as it sounds like you may have a bottleneck causing problems. I've seen weird slowdowns in things like browsers before, and using the benchmarks in PCWizard have been able to trace down the culprit.

    Because my PCs aren't top o' the line by any means (an AMD 925 quad with 8Gb and a 1.8Ghz Sempron single with 1.5Gb) and since going to the 3.x branch FF has been nothing but zippy, which is pretty impressive considering how many tabs and extensions I have, plus the fact I only use sleep on my PCs, never reboot except for updates. Currently I have ABP, NoScript, Downloadhelper, Downloadstatusbar, FEBE (a must have IMHO) ForecastFox, iMacros (another must have) Imagezoom, nightly tester tools, and distrust. And neither the Sempy nor the quad has been anything but snappy in FF.

    So run PCWizard (there is a zip version so you don't even have to install it) and run the individual benches. Then look at how you compare to others, and if something is way below what you have then something is up. I had the same thing happen to me on a dual Athlon and it turned out a shitty chipset driver was causing all sorts of little slowdowns.

  • by DragonHawk (21256) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:50AM (#32661668) Homepage Journal

    For performance reasons, tabs don't and shouldn't run in separate processes.

    I find that statement dubious. Please explain.

    In my experience, the process-per-page (be they tab, window, or whatever) yields much better performance. I believe there are multiple reasons for this. For starters, the OS already has a perfectly good scheduler, and it makes sense to use that to handle multi-tasking. Indeed, OS people prolly know more about how to design a scheduler than browser people. By exposing the this to the OS, it also means the OS can do whatever tricks it has to make I/O, memory allocation, etc., more efficient on a per-page basis, rather than treating the whole browser as an opaque object.

    Finally, lot of modern hardware has 2, 3, 4 or more processor cores. Firefox generally only uses one of them. A browser like Chrome can have each page render on its own processor core, which is a *huge* performance gain. Without that, any multitasking is going to be limited to slicing up a single core between multiple tasks. The system can still only do one thing at a time. By using multiple cores, the system actually gets multiple things done literally simultaneously. On good hardware, the performance difference is astounding.

    "You know, the original motivation for the tabs feature was that each tab could be run in a separate thread whereas each window needs a separate process."

    That's just plain wrong. Each window does not need a separate process. Each tab does not get a separate thread. In Firefox 3.6, multiple threads are used, but it's not a one-thread-per-tab thing. Most of the work is still done in a single monolithic thread.

    The motivation for tabs in Firefox was to copy Opera. The motivation for tabs in Opera was as an alternative to one-page-per-window or MDI [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:UI Lag (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:11AM (#32661764)

    Whitelisting each domain *once* is hardly annoying unless you have many computers, in which case I'd be looking into sync'ing each machine to a common config.

    I find the real relief in NoScript disabling all the domains/scripts that aren't necessary to the function of a page, such as (ad) partners and miscellaneous third parties.

  • Re:UI Lag (Score:2, Interesting)

    by inode_buddha (576844) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:22AM (#32661820) Journal
    Interesting. Ever since my SMP box died, I'm using an old P4 e-Machine with 512 megs and linux. Flash playback, and video in general plays just fine. Graphics are onboard Intel i915. Though newer versions of FF *are* much better. I saved a bunch of CPU horsepower by using a decent hosts [someonewhocares.org] file so that AdBlock and NoScript don't have to work so much.

    The UI *does* lag a bit with pages that have tons of comments, but not nearly as bad as it used to be. On the SMP box there wasn't any lag at all. By SMP I mean multi-sockets and large RAM; not just multi-cores.
  • Re:First (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shadowbearer (554144) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:11AM (#32662016) Homepage Journal

    I've been using Opera, Google's Chrome, and IE alongside Firefox on W7 for about four months now on three computers, on a consistent basis, meaning every day.

      Opera is a bit faster, Chrome is a lot faster, but we are talking about tenths of a second here when rendering anything other than extremely complicated web pages which to be honest would render a lot faster in any browser if the designers wouldn't include so much crap in them that demands connections to multiple websites for stupid things like a small advertising gif image from a server that is already overloaded.

      Over that time, Firefox has been easily the most stable browser I've ever used - that might have something to do with me running addons such as adblock, flashblock, and NoScript - denying access to a lot of the poorly written or implemented crap websites that can crash any browser. I can count the number of times that Firefox has crashed on all three of my computers on one hand since the beginning of the year - that's two laptops and one desktop, running combinations of Windows XP, Windows 7, Ubuntu and Fedora.

      It didn't used to be that way, no. But it is now. Firefox also consistently recalls my previous browsing sessions - even after the multiple downtimes I had tonight during numerous power outages due to bad storms (the new battery for the UPS is in transit and should arrive tomorrow, and I ordered it from a website that does not list Firefox in their supported browsers list) neither Opera nor Chrome did so.

      The addon Xmarks has proven to be both useful and consistently stable, I'd highly recommend it.

      YMMV, YEMV, etc. This is just mine. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'll take stable over fast any day. I regularly have from a dozen to several dozen tabs open at any one time, and being able to recover my work after any crash, no matter the cause, means a lot to me. These features should have been written into browsers as DEFAULT features from the beginning. Somewhat around ten years ago I remember wishing that someone would just code a browser that could remember what I was doing before a crash, and do so consistently. Now, finally, I have one. Thank you, Mozilla.

      What I find ironic about the whole browser war is that the "feature leader" over the last decade has been the open source solutions - specifically firefox, and the rest of the field is playing catchup - especially Microsoft.

      SB

     

  • Re:Great (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Zoidbot (1194453) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:57AM (#32662216)

    Surely Opera is now the benchmark for performance, not V8. (10.60 beats V8, even in Chrome6 by some margin). Opera is also more complain with Javascript according to Googles own Sputnik tests, it's also has better HTML5 and CSS3 support...

  • Re:UI Lag (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hack slash (1064002) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:23AM (#32662354)
    The biggest annoyance about FF I have is just that - why is FF giving CPU time to tabs you haven't looked at for a while?

    It should be that you can configure something like "tab CPU timeout" in minutes so when you view a different tab, after X minutes the tab which is no longer displayed gets no CPU time at all - this should keep the browser fast even when you've got 10's/100's of tabs open.

    I keep dozens of tabs open on my main machine as I use it as an alternative to keeping bookmarks, saves the hassle of clicking bookmarks and reloading whole pages - flipping to a different tab is like turning a page in a book, the information is there instantly, but it shouldn't suck CPU power when you're not looking at it.
  • Re:First (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:00AM (#32663418)

    The main problem I see with web browsers today, is that they completely and utterly ignore every single user interface design convention they can find.

    With Chrome reinventing window layout, Firefox reinventing standard dialog layout, and Opera reinventing UI themes, where do we take refuge? Hell, even IE doesn't have menus by default anymore.

    That said, Firefox has Adblock, and Adblock has hufilter, so I'm not switching anytime soon.

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