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Firefox 5 Details: Sharing, Home Tab, PDF Viewer 453

Posted by timothy
from the competition-doing-its-job dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Firefox 4 may be still new, but Firefox 5 is already being prepared by Mozilla. At least the UI features have been laid out by the Mozilla team — there are nine new features in total. There are some features that are replicating Chrome functionality (tab multi-select or an integrated PDF viewer that will also extend to other file formats), but there are completely new features such as tab web apps, an identity manager a home tab that replaces the home button as well as a social sharing feature that is integrated in the URL bar and enables users to post directly to their Facebook and Twitter pages."
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Firefox 5 Details: Sharing, Home Tab, PDF Viewer

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  • by elucido (870205) * on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:01PM (#35701292)

    Facebook? Twitter? Since when did Mozilla integrate commercial websites into their browser? Since integrating the Google search engine? Since AOL? This is why Netscape and Mozilla were originally kept separate. To keep the commercial bloat in the Netscape browser and allow the community to use Mozilla.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Haedrian (1676506)

      Well its something people use. I'm pretty sure adding new sites will be as simple as adding search engines to the bar.

      The amount of people who use those services is large enough that this integration will be seen as a good thing by many, and if you're not interested - turn it off.

    • by cgenman (325138)

      What? Netscape and Mozilla were originally kept separate because Netscape was dying and wanted free development but didn't want to relinquish the valuable "Netscape" name. Mozilla and Netscape were almost identical except for the branding. Mozilla was also huge and massively bloated. This bloat was the reason why a splinter offshoot, Firefox, was created. Firefox became so popular that it overtook the Mozilla suite. And, of course, Netscape just died.

      So while sveltness is a wonderful goal, we are talk

      • by BenoitRen (998927)

        Mozilla and Netscape were almost identical except for the branding.

        Netscape had a couple more features, like an integrated AIM client, among others.

        Mozilla was also huge and massively bloated. This bloat was the reason why a splinter offshoot, Firefox, was created.

        This is wrong, and a good example of revisioning. Mozilla never was bloated. What happened is that a team of Mozilla developers wanted to concentrate on making an IE-killer. They started the Phoenix project with the goal of making the best Windo

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      They have to do something. Almost all the features in the last few versions have just been bloat. Ditto here. Except for in-browser PDF viewing, which Safari has had forever, it's just more feature creep.

  • by ludomancer (921940) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:03PM (#35701314)

    They think this versioning method is a good thing? I read the headline and only thought "5, already? omfg, I'm done with this stupid browser".

    I know that's probably biased, and knee-jerky, subjective and immature, but that doesn't change that it's probably a lot of peoples thoughts on the matter.

    It's stupid how a number can make you or break your opinion of a product, and even stupider that their change had the opposite affect on me (negative impression, etc)

    • Re:stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FooBarWidget (556006) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @04:39PM (#35702068)

      So what are you going to do, switch to Chrome 10?

  • by lennier1 (264730) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:03PM (#35701320)

    I hope someone will be annoyed enough to start a fork which removes this gimmicky crap but keeps the security fixes.

    • by elucido (870205) * on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:08PM (#35701376)

      We need a security and functionality oriented fork ASAP. Performance matters also.

      Nobody asked for changes to the interface. The interface to Firefox was never broken and nobody complained about it.

      Nobody asked for the "awesome bar" or whatever the hell that is. If it improves productivity then fine, tabs make sense, but the majority of this shit is just gimmicks. Integrating the cloud makes sense but not when it's specifically "facebook" and "twitter", but to allow anyone to select anything and make it completely transparent and open. They are going commercial in a really bad sell out kind of way, and you can tell the developers I said it.

      • by BenoitRen (998927)

        You could use SeaMonkey. Same core, different and more sane interface implementation.

        Or at least it used to be. The head developer has been forcing his redesigns of some windows when it was never necessary. However, it's still much better than Firefox, and will likely remain as such, if only because it doesn't hide nearly as many preferences in about:config.

        There's also K-Meleon that you could try, but that's Windows-only.

    • I hope someone will be annoyed enough to start a fork which removes this gimmicky crap but keeps the security fixes.

      You don't see no-more-reliance-on-the-Adobe-PDFViewer as a security fix?

      • by lennier1 (264730)

        There are already plenty of other document readers out there. Why reinvent the wheel if they can just endorse an alternate reader and team up with those developers?
        The different available plugins for Flash, Java and so on aren't that different if you think about it.

        • There are already plenty of other document readers out there. Why reinvent the wheel if they can just endorse an alternate reader and team up with those developers?

          One that works on Windows, Linux and MacOSX like Firefox?

      • I don't use Adobe Acrobat even when I'm on Windows let alone on Mac OS X or Linux, so no.
    • So, basically do to Firefox what Firefox (as Phoenix) did to Mozilla? Fork to go back to basics?
    • I just wished that the Firefox devs would just leave the Flock [flock.com] features concerning social network integration out of the FF Mainline -- If we want FF + Social, Flock exists already... Where will be my FF minus the pointless social tools? (And what about identi.ca?)

      It's sort of like if Linux decided to incorporate a web browser into the kernel -- Bad Idea, Leave that to specialized projects / add-ons / apps, not everyone needs a browser on their Linux (not everyone needs social network integration in the

      • not everyone needs a browser on their Linux (not everyone needs social network integration in their Firefox).

        Not everyone needs browser tabs--like my parents, who to my knowledge don't know how to visit multiple sites simultaneously. When a large enough fraction of users benefit from a feature more than the feature hurts other users, it should probably be included. I'm not sure if that's the case here, but my point is inclusion of features is complex, and your rather heavy handed example glosses over that complexity.

        I'm curious (enough to read a summary of the process, but not enough to find out myself) how these

  • > Identity management: ... keep you signed in to websites via an integrated identity manager and even support multiple sign-ons at the same time.

    IIRC this feature was requested by someone in the US Army ?

  • by slyborg (524607) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:19PM (#35701470)

    Why not just take the Chromium tree and figure out how to run Firefox extensions on there and just call that Firefox? Would save time and have much better memory use and performance. Firefox is basically converging on a Chrome clone with slightly worse performance and some dumb UI hacks that will end up largely unused/abandoned (like Panorama).

    Isn't all this what the extension ecosystem is for? Why would a team that already is overwhelmed by the task of testing its product incorporate MORE features to test? My main issue with Firefox right now is not a lack of Facebook integration (-_-) but the obvious memory leakage in the released FF 4 with AdBlock/NoScript, which was present through the entire last half of the beta cycle.

    Mozilla has really wandered off the reservation here. I want a solid, fast browser that supports the great extensions that Mozilla didn't write, and continues to support developments in the core web standards space. If I want Chrome or Flock, I'll just download those, seriously.

    • by BZ (40346) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:26PM (#35701548)

      > and figure out how to run Firefox extensions on there

      How much work do you estimate this to be, exactly? Chances are, your estimate is low.

      > have much better memory use and performance.

      Firefox has better performance and memory use than Chrome in many cases. It's worse in others. Both browsers are improving.

      How would having only one implementation be better for consumers than two competing ones?

    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @05:46PM (#35702536) Homepage

      My main issue with Firefox right now is not a lack of Facebook integration (-_-) but the obvious memory leakage in the released FF 4 with AdBlock/NoScript, which was present through the entire last half of the beta cycle.

      Hi, I'm a Firefox dev. We are constantly working hard on memory issues, you can follow this meta-bug [mozilla.org] for example, to see how progress is going.

      The fact is though, that the people that work on frontend stuff like app tabs and so forth, are different from the people that work on more hardcore things like memory usage. It isn't as if we can say, everyone should work on memory usage now. So we will always have a lot of work going on on both frontend and platform stuff - but, by the nature of things, the press and blogs will report on frontend stuff. So you might get the idea that Firefox devs are all working on things like app tabs and panorama - but that is very untrue! It's just that platform improvements under the hood are, well, under the hood ;)

      Btw, a long-term solution for all these memory issues will likely be when we switch to one process per tab. Then we'll have something similar to what Chrome has - higher baseline memory usage (overhead of processes and duplication, etc.), but more predictable memory freeing when tabs are closed and a very easy way to see which tabs are responsible for which memory. We are already working very hard on this, and a version of it shipped with Firefox Mobile just now, actually (separate processes for the UI and for web content) - so while it's not done yet, it's making very good progress. A release of desktop Firefox late this year should add the same functionality.

  • by guidryp (702488) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:24PM (#35701534)

    Are they trying to drive me to Chrome? I don't want any of that crap.

    They need to fix the massive memory leaks. I don't need any features. Spending a year making it more robust.

    Right now with 4 simple tabs open(Win7-64), FF4 is consuming 650 MBs. I have to restart it every hour or two as it just keeps growing and growing.

    It is my favorite browser for features, but the memory leaks are ridiculous (note the Windows build seems to leak more than Linux/Mac builds from what I read).

    If FF5 adds a bunch of lame features and doesn't fix the fundamentals, I am gone.

    PS: From the time I typed 650MB above till I previewed and ready to submit, FF4 memory usage as increased to 725 MB...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Always with the leak-accusations. I've had FF4 open all day on the same OS-version and it's consuming ~180MB acc. to Task Manager. Isn't it more likely that you're having a problem with some sort of plugin?

    • What Add-ons and plugins are you using?

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      I don't really have any leaks to be honest.

      What I found however is that since I've been using firefox for years now, the plugins which are from the time when every site needed a video plugin, are still there. Go to about:addons, find the plugins tab and rip out anything which you don't need. Do the same for the addons. When you've removed the junk, then see if the leak is still there.

      I leave FF on constantly, and I hibernate my computer, such that in certain times it'd have been running for more than 50 hou

    • by diegocg (1680514) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:47PM (#35701722)

      I have been reading about firefox leaks for years, yet I have never seen them. I have always thought it must be a problem with some configurations, or a myth/antifirefox propaganda.

      • by guidryp (702488)

        So did I, until I got Firefox4. I am considering rolling back to FF3.6 or switching to chrome.

        • Haven't had any bad leaks, but it seems a lot more jittery on Windows 7 than 3.6. It is slightly better on OSX than 3.6. Driving me nuts tbh.
      • by Fnkmaster (89084)

        I have always agreed with you. Until now. FF3.6 really didn't have any issues. In fact, the whole FF3 series was great, and so was the 2 series. FF4 in the betas was very rough around the edges, and the big problem is the intermittent seizing-up or pausing (for perhaps half a second at a time). It happens every 30 seconds or so after FF4 has been running for a few hours on my Macbook. Same issue on my lightweight Windows desktop at work.

        If I restart Firefox, it's fine at first. This only starts happe

        • by Fnkmaster (89084)

          Oh, and I'm only using Flashblock, Adblock Plus, and NoScript extensions on my Macbook. So I'm not one of these people with 20 installed extensions, and I think the 3 extensions I use are practically required to safely and comfortably browse the web and are among the most used extensions out there.

          I think the issue is that my Macbook only has 2 gigs of RAM. Which is ridiculous. I see people in this thread saying they have 8 gigs of RAM and have trouble with Firefox 4 eating too much memory. This is absu

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Back during the 2.x era there was a substantial memory leak which caused serious trouble under normal circumstances. But that has long since been fixed, anybody saying that at this point is probably either a troll or blaming it on an extension with a memory leak.

        • by guidryp (702488) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @06:50PM (#35703068)

          Back during the 2.x era there was a substantial memory leak which caused serious trouble under normal circumstances. But that has long since been fixed, anybody saying that at this point is probably either a troll or blaming it on an extension with a memory leak.

          I am not trolling. I love Firefox. It is by far my preferred browser.

          If I have to ditch my Extensions, then Firefox wouldn't be my preferred any more. Extensions make the browser IMO.

          I kept Firefox open since my first post. It is now consuming a whopping 1.4 GB with three tabs open...

          If it is extensions, Firefox has to sandbox, isolate, control them.

          That should be a much higher priority than adding a bunch of useless fluff.

      • The cause of the majority of leak problems seem to originate from the extensions engine. People with more extensions or more complex extensions will see their memory usage increase faster, and memory usage will typically never decline. Many people blame extensions coders for poor coding, but, honestly, if you're going to have a system which allows end-users with little to no development experience or resources to generate executable code in the browser you should have a pretty robust engine for it with so

      • by Tim C (15259)

        Well for me, lately Firefox has been getting better, but in the past I've seen it using well over a gig of RAM. Perhaps it is some combination of my extensions and plugins, but that doesn't make it any less annoying when it happens.

      • by OverlordQ (264228)

        I have been reading about firefox leaks for years, yet I have never seen them. I have always thought it must be a problem with some configurations, or a myth/antifirefox propaganda

        Ok, how about this one [mozilla.org].

        Firefox eats your memory in safe mode by doing absolutely nothing but opening it.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      The whole reason I switched to chrome was that it fixes many of these fundamental flaws. It is a lot more like what Firefox used to be - lean and efficient. Granted, they're adding on the features as well, but at least tabs are self-contained and it doesn't suck down RAM by the hundreds of MB.

    • During normal browsing I get up to 1GB, and with more intensive browsing I hit 2GB when it becomes useless (this is an application--I have 8GB RAM). 3.6 would get unusable at 1GB, but it handled 25% more tabs with that memory than 4.0 can. Deep disappointment fills my soul. (And before anyone tells me to disable addons: with no extensions I would use another browser, since even IE can be faster than FF)
    • I gave up on Firefox and the memory leaks a year ago. Have never looked back. Chrome is SO much faster. Things pop instantaneously. I don't have to restart my browser constantly because of the out-of-control memory. Do it and be happy with browsing again. Firefox sucks, and you don't realize how much it sucks until you start using a browser designed for speed.

      And to those who claim "Firefox works for them," I say congratulations. I don't know why your Firefox doesn't suck, but it sucked on every computer I'

    • Many have questioned my extension usage.

      I use many, 18 to be exact. But it is the extensions that make Firefox great. If I have to stop using extensions, then I would definitely give up on Firefox.

      Trying to diagnose which ones are causing issues is also problematic as Firefox still seemed to grow memory for quite a while when I disabled all of them. It fluctuates even when it is sitting idle.

      In use Extensions:
      Adblock +
      BBcodeExtra
      BetterPrivacy
      Download Statusbar
      Download Helper
      FireGesturs
      FlagFox
      Flashblock
      FxIF

    • by basotl (808388)
      I'm not experiencing leaks like that either. I would check what cruft you may have in your installation and how much caching you have it set to do.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What happened to the slim, extensible browser? Good god. The whole point of Firefox is that it was supposed to be a slim browser that additional features could be added through extensions. Just add another interface to add features that you like but are not supported due to some shortcoming in that system. All of this is more and more features and UI changes that not everyone wants added into the browser. Add a new theme that does tabs on top, while keeping the old one for people who do not. Add a def

  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:27PM (#35701556) Homepage

    I'm sticking with Firefox 3.6x for as long as possible - it's very stable and runs well.

    Firefox is making many of same mistakes Netscape did by trying to be everything to everyone.

    On a related topic, the strong push to integrate social networking and apps into upcoming versions of the browser makes me wonder if Facebook is heavily influencing the development of Firefox these days.

    Ron

  • 6. In-browser preview: Firefox will also get an integrated PDF viewer (like Chrome) and will extend this capability to more popular file formats, including MP3.

    The PDF file format (or at least a certain subset of PDF functionality -- everyone seems to forget about that) is available for use under what I believe are royalty-free terms.

    One of the biggest reasons why Mozilla was gunning for Theora (and now WebM's VP8) to be the defacto HTML5 video codec was that those codecs are believed to be distributable under FOSS licenses, without paying any royalties.

    I'm sure that there are lawyers who remember the exact patents and dates better than I, but I'm pretty sure that there are patents that read on the mp3 file format that won't expire for several years. How is Mozilla going to ship with support for mp3 files without putting themselves and their users at risk of patent litigation? And if they do ship with mp3 support, does this mean that Mozilla has given up the fight for advocating for only Free/Open codecs, and is now willing to include H.264 support in Firefox and other pieces of Mozilla software?

    • by basotl (808388)
      I'm having difficulty finding a Mozilla source stating they will have future mp3 support. This is still unverified in my eyes due to some of the arguments you brought up.
  • As Extensions! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomcircuit (938963) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:36PM (#35701646) Homepage
    All new features in firefox should be implemented as extensions. That is all.
  • by xiando (770382) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:47PM (#35701726) Homepage Journal
    Once upon a time there was a browser named Mozilla, also known as Mozilla Application Suite, which grew and grew. It became a huge pile of bloat. A few developers refused the bloat started an experimental branch at Mozilla which eventually evolved into Firefox. Their goal was to create a mean lean browser without the bloat. This path was good. The new "let's throw in as much bloat as possible" path is a total scandal. I really hope some clever people take firefox 3.6.x and use that as a basis for development of their own without-the-bloat branch. I've used the Firefox browser since it was named Phoenix, and I do think it's gone downwards since a while ago. evince or okular or whatever read PDF files just fine. Having a PDF reader and a pile of dunkey dung built into my browser is not required or desired.
  • Time for a reboot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Millennium (2451) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @03:54PM (#35701772) Homepage

    When Mozilla 5's codebase got too unwieldy, they rebooted it for what we now call SeaMonkey. When what would later be called SeaMonkey's codebase got too unwieldy, they rebooted it for what we now call Firefox. Is it perhaps time for another reboot?

    The backend work done for FF4 is good and much appreciated, but the it sounds like the team is resting on its laurels again: it thinks the work on the basics is done. Standards support is still not where it needs to be, yet they're working on fluff like site-specific browsers. It sounds like it's time for someone to go back to the basics again: just a browser in the core, with a good extension model for people to hack all these things into for people who actually want them.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Standards support is still not where it needs to be

      Do you mean the missing points on Acid3 due to security issues with SVG fonts, or do you mean some other sort of standards support?

    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @06:15PM (#35702758) Homepage

      The backend work done for FF4 is good and much appreciated, but the it sounds like the team is resting on its laurels again: it thinks the work on the basics is done. Standards support is still not where it needs to be, yet they're working on fluff like site-specific browsers. It sounds like it's time for someone to go back to the basics again: just a browser in the core, with a good extension model for people to hack all these things into for people who actually want them.

      Hi there, I'm a Firefox dev. I'd like to point out that we are not resting on anything ;) There are people working on frontend stuff like this article reported on, and there are people (like me) who work on platform/backend stuff. These are different people, so if some people are working on app tabs etc., that doesn't mean that they are working on that instead of platform stuff. Both stuff is being worked on, but for some reason frontend gets more press ;)

      Just a few examples of things we are working on in the platform: A Type Inference engine for JavaScript to make it even faster; a new graphics library; a split-process model (this already shipped in mobile Firefox, should ship in desktop late this year), support for lots of new HTML5 features (on both desktop and mobile), improvements to JavaScript garbage collection, and of course lots of other improvements big and small.

  • Firefox is opening itself for a storm of security issues with a PDF viewer. Virtually anyone that has attempted to make a PDF viewer has opened themselves up for security issues with the implementation. Honestly, this is a horrible direction to take. Every platform in existence (including most mobile OSes) have PDF viewer built in, so why not use it. Have the user download the document and view it.
  • I'll just wait until FF6.

    I swear, it's like the evil marketing people have hijacked FF development. Lot's of sizzle, but no real substance.

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