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Firefox Upgrades News

Firefox 4.0 Beta Candidate Available 366

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the beta-burning-fox dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla quietly posted the first beta build of its Firefox 4 browser early this morning. The 'Chromified' browser leaves a solid first impression with a few minor hiccups, but no surprises. If you have been using a previous version of Firefox 3.7, which now officially becomes Firefox 4.0, you should already feel comfortable with this new version. Mozilla has not posted detailed release notes yet, but there seem to be no major changes from Firefox 3.7a6-pre, with the exception that the browser is running more smoothly and with fewer crashes." Update: 06/29 18:40 GMT by S : Mozilla's Asa Dotzler writes, "Mozilla has not shipped Firefox 4 beta yet. We are in the process of making and testing the final set of changes, but we're not quite there yet." Changed headline to reflect this.
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Firefox 4.0 Beta Candidate Available

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    • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:25PM (#32732428)

      That's some nice eye candy. But will Firefox stay relevant? Chrome is coming up fast and Mozilla seems to be stagnating. It sad to be in a state where your only source of income is your competitor.

      From an earlier post of mine:

      Mozilla corporation seems to be pretty badly run. They solicited donations for the NYT ad(some of my poor college friends scraped together money for it) while overpaying the CEO($500K per year)! The management was supposed to find different ways of getting funding but Mozilla is still dependent totally on Google(which competes with it's own rival browser). Mozilla made $66 million in revenue just in 2006 while development was largely done by unpaid volunteers.

      In the meantime, Firefox was quite bloated, crash prone and lost the speed race to Chrome, Thunderbird stagnated and nothing really innovative or useful came out of Mozilla labs. Ubuntu will probably switch to Chromium and Firefox will start losing search revenue. . Probably the only thing going for Firefox are extensions(Chrome supports extensions now) and proper Adblock. Things are so bad that the CEO is planning to step down

      Sad to see one of the epitomes of FOSS go down in flames like this.

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:35PM (#32732590)
        Firefox will still be used so long as Chrome maintains its policy of not really allowing any major customizations. Firefox lets you customize -EVERYTHING-, seriously, type in about:config in Firefox, until Chrome lets you do this, I for one will stay with Firefox because I've got it customized exactly how I like it and Chrome won't let me.
        • by DiegoBravo (324012) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:04PM (#32733030) Journal

          Even Netscape navigator is still used by a minority. That's not the point. How many people knows about "about:config", or wants to?

          I guess most slashdotters are driven to FF by the extensions; but most of its users were "converted" from IE just because its (perceived and real) vulnerable nature against malware.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Darkness404 (1287218)
            Almost everyone who really browses much. For example, on Linux on Chrome I can't use backspace to go back a page, for Firefox its disabled by default but I can enable it through about:config, Chrome doesn't allow me to even control basic history options that even IE lets you, etc.

            In short, every single annoyance in the UI or the like in Firefox can be removed via about:config with Chrome there are no options.
          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            Actually what made a friend of mine change was that FF has an add-on for the "image bar" that was removed from IE7 :-)

            Firefox is getting worse for customisation. They keep changing the UI and then removing preferences from about:config for no apparent reason other than they were associated with the old UI. Tabs are the worst for that. A lot of people used preferences like browser.link.open_external which allowed new window links to open in the same tab but still allowed external links (e.g. from an email pr

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bunratty (545641)

        You should go look at the replies to your earlier post to see why this doesn't mean Mozilla is going down in flames. The CEO was planning on leaving within a year when he joined. The NY Times ad was just a fun way for people to get involved and get their names in the paper. The fact that Mozilla still gets the majority of money from Google doesn't mean they're not looking for other sources of income. Most Mozilla development is done by paid Mozilla employees. The $66 million revenue will help tide them over

        • by mystikkman (1487801) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:49PM (#32732802)

          The CEO was planning on leaving within a year when he joined. T

          The CEO planning on leaving within a year somehow justifies the needlessly fat paycheck?

          . The fact that Mozilla still gets the majority of money from Google doesn't mean they're not looking for other sources of income.

          It's what now, 6 years and still no success in cultivating other sources of income? I mean the management is paid top bucks for doing exactly that, right?

          Most Mozilla development is done by paid Mozilla employees

          Err, that wasn't quite what we heard when we were complaining about bloat and memory leaks. All we got was 'if you don't like it, fork it' and we had no right to complain because it was the work of unpaid volunteers working in their free time.

          I mean, if people are getting paid, how hard is it to assign them boring tasks but which matter a lot to the end user? It's not just about scratching your itch when you're getting paid.

          . The $66 million revenue will help tide them over if they stop receiving funding from Google. Firefox is not getting bloated or crash-prone

          Not if the money is being squandered on C-level executives.

        • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:57PM (#32734804)

          The fact that Mozilla still gets the majority of money from Google doesn't mean they're not looking for other sources of income.

          The Moz Foundation hasn't published a financial report since 2008. Tax Returns and Financial Information [mozilla.org]

          It is really, really, tough to get good, hard numbers on the financial state of the Mozilla Corporation and the Mozilla Foundation

           

      • To be fair, Firefox is still a great browser. No, it's not as fast as Chrome, but I think that's the worst thing that can be said about it. Compared to IE, it's a marvel of engineering. It's not particularly bloated or crash prone. It's just... slower than Chrome.

        I find Thunderbird to be a little more disappointing, but I don't think anyone other than Microsoft is actually interested in building a good mail client these days. Too many people are moving to web mail, so mail clients seem passé.

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        That's some nice eye candy. But will Firefox stay relevant?

        There are multiple aspects to this question:

        1) Extensions. If Chrome's base of extensions approaches a usable level (not comparable to FF - most people don't use that many extensions), then FF's advantage in this area goes away completely. Chrome's extensions are much less painful to install.

        2) UI. Chrome's interface is generally less capable than that of FF. Chrome keeps improving, true, but it's not changing the UI much at all, so I don't think th

      • Chrome is nice, but firefox scrolls smoother, renders faster as it scrolls and displays. Chrome still lacks real ad blocking capabilities, as it still downloads the ad in the background, but it doesnt not display it. Firefox has color management, albeit broken and not up to date color management, but it still has color management. Chrome displays images without any color management which really screws with anyone who cares to display their images properly. Safari has the best color management, but its safar

      • But will Firefox stay relevant? Chrome is coming up fast and Mozilla seems to be stagnating.

        Not sure what you mean...

        - FF 3.7 is actually snappy on linux now, and without hardware acceleration turned on.

        - FF will almost certainly get hardware acceleration before Chrome. From Chromium blog, "the image data must be transferred to the main browser process before it can be drawn to the screen, which limits the possible approaches we can take". They have to re-architect a bunch of stuff to get hardware acceleration.

        - FF is getting a new, cleanly written HTML5 renderer to replace gecko.

        - Old javascript

  • "Mozilla has not posted detailed release notes yet, but there seem to be no major changes from Firefox 3.7a6-pre, with the exception that the browser is running more smoothly and with fewer crashes."

    I love software that doesn't swap UIs every major release!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nadaka (224565)

      I didn't RTFA, but if the summary is correct, is this not what most of the firefox critics have all been clamoring for?

      A smoother and more reliable firefox without a boatload of shiny new features?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by recoiledsnake (879048)

      "Mozilla has not posted detailed release notes yet, but there seem to be no major changes from Firefox 3.7a6-pre, with the exception that the browser is running more smoothly and with fewer crashes."

      I love software that doesn't swap UIs every major release!

      Except that the UI was indeed swapped. It got a more Chrome/Opera look now.

  • Do not want. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the linux geek (799780) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:38PM (#32732626)
    The new UI is terrible, and appears to be trying to (badly) emulate Chrome. The worst part is that, by default, minimize/maximize/close buttons are not present, which hurts usability badly. The good news is that this can be restored to the previous UI with a few clicks... I hope that options remains present in the final release.
    • by armanox (826486)
      I'm quite happy with the UI. The real changes that I can see are the ability to hide most toolbars, and the transparency (On Windows, haven't booted my laptop for the Linux test). I also have all the buttons. Maybe you have a conflict from an old theme?
    • by Toonol (1057698)
      by default, minimize/maximize/close buttons are not present

      Seriously? That's ludicrously bad design. I used to be a huge Firefox booster; now... well, at least it's still better than IE.

      This is beating a dead horse, but the 'awesomebar' signaled to me that Mozilla was taking the browser in the entirely wrong direction. Flash over efficiency, bloat over speed, and a desire to manipulate rather than please the consumer. They've made plenty of decisions since then in the same vein.
      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        no, really, the awesomebar is a good thing. We just took a while to get used to it - but once you did, it works wonderfully.

        Ok, I'd like to be able to tell it to only store 'root' links, not every damn link of a shopping site, one entry per item I've viewed; and to ignore some entries, but otherwise its replaced my bookmark menu for some sites! Oh, and you can turn it off, ok, which should please even you!

    • And Chrome is horrible in the first place. Luckily you can switch back to a decent UI style (and on Linux the new UI isn't present at all yet).

    • Re:Do not want. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Patch86 (1465427) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:30PM (#32733440)

      Ditto. I don't dislike Chrome as a browser, but I hate the UI- its everything I hate in a UI, and more. From replacing labels with abstract pictures, to hiding menus within super-menus instead of having toolbars.

      I can only hope the default GNOME version is more sane, as I do hate having to replace "themes".

  • Chromium(Chrome) and Opera are eating their lunch in performance (even IE is kicking their ass), they have started emulating Chromium's look, and they have no presence in the mobile market.

    Me thinks rough days are ahead for Mozilla's favorite project.

    • Yes, but you can't customize Chrome, Opera, Safari, IE, etc. to the extent that you can Firefox. Customization is Firefox's killer feature and unless suddenly Google added About:config support in Chrome, it will be the reason why people will use Firefox.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Yes, but you can't customize Chrome, Opera, Safari, IE, etc. to the extent that you can Firefox.

        I dont know about the others, but I know that you are wrong about Opera. Customize -> Appearance, and then drag-and-drop UI elements, enable and disable, etc..

        • Ok, so you can customize the UI. Show me the equivalent tool of about:config in Opera, it just doesn't exist. And because it isn't open source you don't have that customization either.
          • Show me the equivalent tool of about:config in Opera, it just doesn't exist.

            You really shouldn't speak on subjects you clearly have no knowledge about. The equivalent in Opera is opera:config [opera.com] and it has extensive amounts of settings you can change.

            And because it isn't open source you don't have that customization either.

            Yes because the average user is modifying the Firefox source code on a regular basis. Oh wait...

          • by Kugala (1083127)
            You mean like when you type in about:config in Opera?
        • No real extensions, just greasemonkey-level scripts

          • That's because Opera actually cares about the stability of their browser instead of letting any turd write some buggy extension that can take down the entire browser.

  • I can offer these comments:

    a) rendering speed was generally very good
    b) while I did not have issues of 'crashing', I did have issues with seemingly random pegging of the cpu.
    c) start up time to restore multiple open tabs was unpredictable - sometimes very quick other times never finished (a named tag but blank page)
    d) most, if not all, extensions no longer work and the usual workarounds seemed to stop working too. this was #*! annoying.

    Based primarily on (d) and also (b), I stopped using 3.7a5 ab
  • Somehow everyone seems to miss, that this “Chromification” actually is a Opera-ism, which was from the very beginning designed like this, because it had tabs from the very beginning.
    It’s funny how everything always comes back to Opera’s choices of detail implementation being the best.

    I, for one, thank the only innovators in the business. There’s a reason they are the only ones who are remotely profitable with making browsers.

    Also: It’s 2010, right? We have mouse gestures,

  • by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:08PM (#32734096) Homepage

    This account is wrong. Mozilla has not shipped Firefox 4 beta yet. We are in the process of making and testing the final set of changes, but we're not quite there yet.

    - Asa Dotzler
    Mozilla

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