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Firefox 7.0 Beta Released 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-day-another-version dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that the first Firefox 7.0 beta has been released. One of the big areas of focus for this version will be performance enhancements. One optimization "Reduces memory use and improves performance areas including responsiveness, startup and page load time, even in complex websites and Web apps." Another addresses one of Firefox users' long-standing gripes: "The JavaScript garbage collector works more frequently to free up memory and improve performance when you have many tabs open or keep Firefox running for a long time."
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Firefox 7.0 Beta Released

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  • FIrefox 8 Alpha... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:13PM (#37144608)

    Next in few mins...Firefox 8 Alpha released and Firefox 9 Preview released... Do we need to clog up the front page with these articles? Gone are the days of version numbers making any sense in FF. We don't report Chrome versions do we?

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      The version is a lie.
      • Version numbers these days are more about marketing than informational content. Based on no knowledge of the politics of the decision or any formal statements issued to the contrary, it really seems like someone signed off on a corporate plan to bring Firefox version numbers up to match or exceed IE version numbers.

        At least, that would be the best explanation for it that comes to mind. It's really weird for tech people to see, but it may help convey the relative maturity of the browser to new laypeople.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by swordgeek (112599)

      Actually, I think you meant to say:

      "Gone are the days of...any sense in FF."

    • by Bengie (1121981)

      The version numbers make perfect sense and do exactly what they're suppose to do... The larger the number, the "newer" it is.

      I could care less what kind of numbering system the use, so long as it's incremental.

      • by arose (644256)
        Furthermore, it lets them publish new features as they go because there is no expectation of perfect compatibility (and I say expectation, because things still broke) with everything sharing the same major version number over several years. This means that less development time is wasted on back- and forward-porting. Usable features get into web-developer hands, better browsers into user hands. People expecting Mozilla to be their private IT department are not as important as they think they are.
        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          This is why I think Mozilla has given up being customer driven and is selfishly being developer driven. Ie, they do what is convenient for developers.

          You don't need to back-port features, you only need to back-port bug fixes. Not everyone needs these new useless features. If people want the new features than can upgrade. If they're happy with the current product then they should not be pressured to upgrade except to get patch releases for security. At least that's the way it should be if you care even

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Gone are the days of anything making any sense in FF.

      FTFY.

      Seriously I have to wonder if someone from the IE or Chrome teams managed to plant a few ringers because frankly everything they've done lately has been to the advantage of Chrome and IE! Tossing point releases for a frankly insane 6 week release goal which killed everyone that was trying to roll FF into the enterprise (point for IE) and the constant changing of enough of the guts so that FF is a royal PITA to keep an extension going for which caus

    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      Coincidentally (or likely not), this is the longest my FF8a1 has gone without automatically updating. It's been 4 days. That's news!

      FWIW, it's the 64 bit version and has been running rather well. 64 bit flash too.

    • FF8 nightlies already exist.
    • by dissy (172727)

      Next in few mins...Firefox 8 Alpha released and Firefox 9 Preview released

      Don't worry, the only difference between FireFox 8 and FireFox 24 will be six additional changelog entries :P

    • Actually, we do report Chrome versions ;-)

  • by AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) <`afacini' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:14PM (#37144620)
    As a web designer, they're turning my hair white with all these versions. Not so much that we need worry about things becoming incompatible, etc. but it's spreading out the userbase, which is just inherently more difficult to ensure cross-version identicality.
    • I agree that it's annoying, but in practice I don't think this causes any compatibility issues. Before did you worry separately about whether you support 3.5, 3.5.1, ..., 3.6,3.6.1, etc? Probably not. Now you should probably just think of FF4-7 as being essentially the same version until you find out otherwise (just as you likely did previously with the minor version numbers).
      • Yeah, pretty much. I don't expect anything to happen, but it's a lot of changes that bring some percentage of the prior userbase along to the new version. Now we'll have more people spread out among version numbers (albeit arbritrary). It's happening fast enough that a security mistake in one of the many versions gone by between then and now could pop up eventually, meaning we need to (for example) tailor our scripts around one of them.

        But again, yeah I hear ya, probably nothing to actually be concerned a
      • Re:Aw c'mon (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:26PM (#37144848)
        Yeah, but the point was you knew right away 3.6 was nearly identical to 3.6.1 (well, should be anyways) and was probably pretty similar to 3.5, but not to 4.0. Now, you have no clue if 7 represents a major change or just a bugfix without actually testing it. Hence, frustration for developers. Mozilla is basically giving them less information about what the release cycles contain, and for no good reason whatsoever. And that is why people complain.
        • by Kippesoep (712796)

          Now, you have no clue if 7 represents a major change or just a bugfix without actually testing it.

          Really? What about 5.0.1 and 4.0.1? Bugfix releases still can and do happen. 7 is a feature release, as were 6, 5 and 4 before it. Perhaps the features added aren't alway major news or huge visible changes, I agree. But at least they're coming available much quicker now and can be refined sooner as well.

          Hence, frustration for developers.

          As a web developer, I am not frustrated by the jump in version numbers. It is, after all, just a number. If anything, it makes it easier to know when new functionality becomes available, even if it comes in

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cachimaster (127194)

          I think that's the idea, to stop developers from relying on version # and start coding to standards.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      As a web designer, they're turning my hair white with all these versions.

      Um, you're much more likely to have everybody using the same version now they've added auto-update...

    • by Reapman (740286)

      Does Chrome keep you up all night too?

      Maybe if you were a plugin developer I'd be concerned, but the way you have to think about these version numbers is to move the decimal point to the left. This isn't a whole new version how coders think of it, it's really just a point release - it's like getting stressed out because Firefox released 3.6 after 3.5 (or whatever was before 3.6). It's practically a non issue.

      It's not how I'd run the show but really people need to stop whining about these version numbers b

  • Memory Reporting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:14PM (#37144628)

    Not in the summary is an opt in feature that will report your memory use (presumably along with what pages you are on and extentions you are using) back to Mozilla so they can finally put the "but FF using 2 GB of RAM on my machine" bugs to rest, either by fixing them or by dispelling the myth depending on which is the case.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Not in the summary is an opt in feature that will report your memory use (presumably along with what pages you are on and extentions you are using) back to Mozilla so they can finally put the "but FF using 2 GB of RAM on my machine" bugs to rest, either by fixing them or by dispelling the myth depending on which is the case.

      More likely is that they'll continue current practice, and refuse to even look at the bug for anyone who has any plugin installed, and instead assume that it must be the plugins that are at fault.

  • "The JavaScript garbage collector works more frequently to free up memory and improve performance when you have many tabs open or keep Firefox running for a long time."

    Shouldnt the leaks be fixed, rather than having a garbage collector cleaning them up?

    Isnt it like putting a bigger engine on a car with square wheels instead of making the wheels round?

    • by siride (974284)

      It would be fixed by using a non-GC language. Seeing how JavaScript has become the defacto scripting language of the client-side web, I doubt this is going to change any time soon.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        The vast majority of scripting languages depend upon garbage collection. Possibly naive garbage collection like reference counting but it's there. This is in the nature of a high level language. These are not new things they've been around over fifty years.

        • by siride (974284)

          I know...

          The OP seemed to think that the problem was the existence of the GC, rather than its tuning. To "fix" that would require switching to a non-GC high-level scripting language (an absurd proposition, of course).

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by H0p313ss (811249)

      Shouldnt the leaks be fixed, rather than having a garbage collector cleaning them up?

      You sir just won Slashdot's "Wannabe techie dumb comment of the day."

    • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:19PM (#37144720)

      If the garbage collected collected leaks, they wouldn't be called leaks anymore.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Shouldnt the leaks be fixed, rather than having a garbage collector cleaning them up?

      Welcome to the age of managed code. No, what you do is of course add another abstraction layer to distance yourself from the bugs, and add unit tests for the purpose of validating your code (instead of finding something wrong with it, which once upon a time was the purpose of tests).

      • and add unit tests for the purpose of validating your code (instead of finding something wrong with it, which once upon a time was the purpose of tests).

        Anyone doing unit tests properly is both validating their code and finding something wrong with it. If you're tests don't do both, you're doing it wrong.

  • by Ossifer (703813) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:23PM (#37144780)

    Firefox 7.0 has already reached end-of-life at the time of this posting...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It used to be a tiny little box that would slide up in the corner of the screen. It would stay there for exactly as long as it took for your brain to register the presence of the link, and then slide away. Unless you were a ninja and/or sniper you had no hope of hitting the link.

    Now a big, huge window flops up onto the middle of the screen WHILE I'M WATCHING A GODDAMN VIDEO. Half an acre of gray emptiness with two buttons and a line of text about the new version.

    I hope with future versions that the entir

  • What was called FireFox 4.0 should have been called FireFox 3.7, and we should still be in 3.7.x phase. These version number games make me have the very real inclination to punch the people responsible in the face repeatedly. They are doing no less than turning FireFox, which once had reverence, into an object of ridicule.

  • They're ALL Betas (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jonathan C. Patschke (8016) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:41PM (#37145166) Homepage

    From the big Bugzilla thread [mozilla.org] about version numbers earlier this week:

    Users cannot sit on Firefox 4.x They will be updated to the latest version when they open the About dialog (or sooner) because all* but the current Firefox release are unsupported versions in the new rapid release cycle. Those not current versions do not not get critical security updates except via the current version. Firefox users will not be spread across Firefox 4, 5, 6, etc. They will be on the latest version or they will be about to be on the latest version.

    Effective expiration, lack of bugfixes, and rapidly replaced by newer versions with bugfixes? By any practical definition, there is no stable version. They're all betas from here onwards. The whole notion of a release isn't that it's bug-free, but that it's supported for a reasonably-long period of time.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      They say "cannot sit on Firefox 4.x" like it's some universal law or something. Are they going to send goons out to my house to forcibly click the upgrade button? As opposed to having goons write popups that remind me to upgrade daily.

      Basically I'm just waiting for adblock to be supported on a browser other than chrome or firefox, or else I may just give up on the whole web thing as being fundamentally too broken to use.

  • My FireFox has updated itself to 6.0 now and my humble plugin-requirements still work. I use NoScript, AdBlock+, BetterPrivacy and DownloadHelper. So you will at least be able to surf the web with reasonable security. As soon as the plugins starts breaking, I'm going straight for Chrome. I don't know much about Chrome these days, I last used it 3 years ago. How is the stance with plugins on Chrome now ? If there are still no plugins, do you at least have the equivalent functions of the plugins i mentioned a
    • by Tridus (79566)

      Chrome's addins don't break because they have much less access to the browser then FF extensions (which can use internal APIs and that's why they break more often). For example there's no true equivalent to FlashBlock on Chrome because the API makes it impossible. The closest thing just hides Flash, but it's still running.

      • in chrome for blocking flash and stuff like that there's a built in feature. go to about:flags and enable click2play. then enable it in the plugin settings. it works exactly like flashblock!

        • by vlueboy (1799360)

          in chrome for blocking flash and stuff like that there's a built in feature. go to about:flags and enable click2play. then enable it in the plugin settings. it works exactly like flashblock!

          Thank you very much. Knowing this flags page exists and enables GPU rendering and other nifty stuff is a nice weekend gift. Carry on, kind sir!

  • Next up: Mozilla becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fox News empire after Google and other funding sources dry up.

    • by afabbro (33948)

      Next up: Mozilla becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fox News empire after Google and other funding sources dry up.

      I love that pseudorumor so much I am going to start spreading it.

  • Okay, so Major versions mean "new feature that may be buggy, so avoid .0 releases", Minor versions mean "okay, no new features, let's just concentrate on enhancing performance and security of the features we do have". And FF7's major claim to fame will be performance enhancements and a widget to tell MOZILLA about webpage memory usage. So not only is Firefox 7 breaking the traditional model, it's reporting things to Mozilla that it won't even report to the user. Screw this, if I want phone-home enabled b

  • Why should I care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kbrannen (581293) on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:01PM (#37145540)
    Really, why should I care about FF any more? They're killing us and themselves with all of these major version releases. As many others have pointed out, it's painful when dealing with web development, plugin usage, or even just to know what version is "latest". And that doesn't count all the pain with the major bugs that just languish while the UI is endlessly tweaked for no good reason (exactly why was the status bar removed?).

    I'm sorry FF, but I'm sticking to the 3.6 series. As soon as that doesn't work anymore because of 1 OS upgrade too many, I'll stop using FF. If you can get things fixed and find sanity again before then, I'll stay. Otherwise, it's been a good 8 years we've had together.
    • Agreed. I need interface consistency. I want my muscle memory to work for me, not search around endlessly for some functionality that is now on the other side of the window or completely invisible now.
  • by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:10PM (#37145726) Homepage Journal

    I think some hacker redefined Mozilla's $version as an INT.

  • I'm wiping Firefox entirely off computers at home, just can't be bothered to deal with a high-maintenance broad, er, browser.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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