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Firefox 15 Released: Silent Updates, Compressed Textures, Add-on Memory Leak Fix 393

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-in-chrome dept.
Mozilla released Firefox 15 today, and it brings a number of interesting changes. First, the browser is finally switching to a "silent" update model, like Chrome. (No doubt in answer to endless complaints about their rapid release cycle.) In addition, Mozilla says they have "now plugged the main cause of memory leaks in Firefox add-ons." Add-ons commonly hold extra copies of sites in memory when they don't need to, and the browser now has a mechanism to detect this and reclaim the memory. Another significant improvement is the addition of native support for compressed textures in WebGL, which is a boost for high-res 3D gaming. Here are release notes for the desktop and mobile versions.
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Firefox 15 Released: Silent Updates, Compressed Textures, Add-on Memory Leak Fix

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  • Anyone else not able to see live updates to the DOM with the developer tools?

    Try this:

    1. Right click on the Firefox start page (about:home) around the empty area left of the Firefox logo -> Inspect element.

    2. <div id="topSection"> should be selected.

    3. Open Tools -> Web Developer -> Web console.

    4. Type: document.getElementById('topSection').className = 'hello';

    5. Notice the view of the DOM below does not update to reflect the new className you've added.

    Additionally, there doesn't seem to be a
    • by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:11PM (#41154163)

      They've got to save memory somehow, you know!

    • Sounds like the DOM Inspector on IE8, completely useless for dynamic content. As an added bonus, I don't think I've ever used it without a crash.
    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:23PM (#41154449) Homepage

      Look, I mean you probably found a bug. The thing to do is to either post on the project mailing list or file a bug report.

      Posting a comment on Slashdot is unlikely to result in a solution.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Posting on Slashdot certainly wont. People have been complaining about memory leaks in Firefox for years and some of the devs have repeatedly come here and told us there aren't any.

        Right, so why the fuck did they just fix one in this update?

        Hopefully they're more helpful on the project mailing list/bug tracker like you suggest, but you're spot on about reporting it here being no use, as although they will see it, they'll just pretend it isn't a problem and that Firefox is flawless.

    • by sapgau (413511)

      Why not use Firebug?

    • The Firefox dom inspector is a bit shit. I doubt it's a live view unlike Firebug. In fact they shouldn't have bothered and spoke to the firebug guys about integrating it into Firefox.
      • Agreed, firebug has been so useful for so very long, it'd be better to just ensure that it keeps working, why bloat the browser for those very few that would need firebug? for that matter, most of the devs in question on Mozilla probably use firebug, so didn't see/notice the shortcomings of the new tool(s).
  • Flash freezing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Myria (562655) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:09PM (#41154129)

    Did they fix Flash freezing all the time, or is that Adobe's fault?

  • SILENT updates? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by courcoul (801052) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:10PM (#41154151)

    Last thing I need is for an idiot in some far and distant place to think it fun to roll out a new version and trigger an update on all my computers that may render all the corporate apps unusable. No, thank you. FF joins Chrome in the sandboxed "use only if indispensable" bin.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gweihir (88907)

      Indeed. Automatic updates are already a very bad idea. Making them silent is the hight of stupidity.

      • by rwven (663186)

        Chrome has been doing them since, like, forever. I think it's fantastic, personally. I dont want the browser to nag me when it's time to update. Just do it...

        • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Cro Magnon (467622) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:54PM (#41155113) Homepage Journal

          Until an update breaks something, and you don't even know Chrome is what updated.

          • Then you turn off automatic updates. Honestly, I prefer that youtube or something breaks for all of 2 days once a year, versus having to worry about malware doing a driveby exploit. But to each his own, I suppose.

        • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Obfuscant (592200) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:57PM (#41155167)

          Chrome has been doing them since, like, forever. I think it's fantastic, personally. I dont want the browser to nag me when it's time to update. Just do it...

          You probably also don't have 100 computer semi-literates using Chrome for mission critical applications that will all call you at the same time when those mission critical apps stop working.

          Automatic updates are fine for people who don't care if the program stops working for some unexplained reason, or who can either debug the problem themselves or put off finding a solution until they have some free time. Or for people who make a living off of debugging other people's computer problems.

          Automatic updates are dangerous for high reliability systems, mission critical applications, or anything that is supposed to run unattended. Anyone who has worked in IT for any length of time will have memories of when some program decided to update itself and made itself fail. (E.g., "Firefox has detected that the following plugins are incompatible with the current version and disabled them:")

      • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @06:59PM (#41158345)

        I take it you never go on the frontlines to deal with the rampant malware problem on the internet.

        If this is an issue for you, do your reasearch and turn on the flags to block updates. From the current firefox version:
        FirefoxButton-->Options; Advanced, Update; Click "Never Check for updates (not recommended: security risk)", and uncheck "use a background service to install updates".

        According to Resource Monitor, this changes a setting in your profile's prefs.js, which if I had to guess would be these two:

        user_pref("app.update.auto", false);
        user_pref("app.update.enabled", false);

        There, 3 minutes of research and I found out how to block this company wide (you can push a prefs.js to the firefox install directory and it becomes globally enforced; Im not taking the time to find out where that is). Push it from GPO, youre all set.

        Honestly, the knee-jerk, "I refuse to research the options for myself" reactions from slashdot get old sometimes.

    • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:15PM (#41154245)

      Uh, turn it off?

      If your managing multiple computers, PLEASE tell me you know how to turn these sorts of features off.

      • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by characterZer0 (138196) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:32PM (#41154627)

        If you are managing multiple computers, PLEASE tell me the end users do not have write access to the browser executables in the first place.

        • FYI: The updates are now done by the Mozilla Updater Service (or whatever its called), which runs with SYSTEM rights. In most cases this is brilliant, as it lets the program update without the program itself ever having admin. In all other cases, you can turn it off.

    • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kethinov (636034) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:18PM (#41154321) Homepage Journal

      It's a default, not a mandate. If it doesn't benefit you, like it benefits the vast majority of Firefox users, then turn it off, FFS.

    • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:19PM (#41154353) Homepage

      You know you can disable that on Chrome, right? It's not even complicated. Here is a guide [chromium.org] for the administrators.

      I'm sure you can also disable it on Firefox as well.

      There's no need to put them in the bin at all, at least not for that reason.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If only there was some way of disabling automatic updates. Oh wait, there is, problem solved.
    • by sinij (911942)

      Not only corporate. I have dedicated banking machine running Chrome (decision was made back when it was the only major browser using sand boxing) that is only used couple times a month. Silent updates majorly bog it down. Yes, if I cared enough I'd find a way to block it.

      Can someone tell me what the difference between Firefox and Chrome these days? I want my supported 3.6 back.

    • you could always use their extended release version that is supported for one year.
      https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/

    • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:4, Informative)

      by CimmerianX (2478270) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:26PM (#41154529)

      Just turn them off. Same thing we do with Window Servers. Download updated but let me choose when to install them.

      http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/disable-silent-updates-in-firefox/ [bleepingcomputer.com]

    • Re:SILENT updates? (Score:4, Informative)

      by linebackn (131821) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:32PM (#41154633)

      Last thing I need is for an idiot in some far and distant place to think it fun to roll out a new version and trigger an update on all my computers that may render all the corporate apps unusable.

      And that is why you should download and install the Firefox Extended Support Release: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all.html [mozilla.org] instead of their version-of-the-month.

      Hopefully future ESR releases will remain able to manage updates.

  • Every time Firefox upgrades, it wipes out my login cookies. It forces me to re-login to my sites. Is there a way to turn this dictator off?
    • I just updated Firefox between my "Flash freezing" post above and this post here, and I didn't have to log into Slashdot again.

      • Re:Works fine for me (Score:5, Informative)

        by Khopesh (112447) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @04:36PM (#41155987) Homepage Journal

        GP said

        Every time Firefox upgrades, it wipes out my login cookies. It forces me to re-login to my sites. Is there a way to turn this dictator off?

        I would be very surprised if there were not. Chrome lets you turn it off. I'm sure if you use Iceweasel (the Debian Firefox derivative), this wouldn't be a problem (updates are managed by apt). There are third-party efforts like IceWeasel for Windows [sourceforge.net] and Porting Icecat on Mac Using Fink [sourceforge.net] (IceCat is the GNU port of Firefox, sharing quite a bit (even the name, originally) with Iceweasel), but they're horribly out of date.

        You said

        I just updated Firefox between my "Flash freezing" post above and this post here, and I didn't have to log into Slashdot again.

        Slashdot works because its cookies do not expire with the session. Any cookies that expire with the session will be expired by a browser upgrade. This is because "resuming" a crashed or otherwise saved session isn't actually resuming, it is reopening to the browser's best ability. This does not include session cookies for security reasons.

    • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:15PM (#41154271)

      Install Opera instead. There is a very small number of sites with problems, most work just fine.

    • by jimwelch (309748)
      Maybe it is one of my add-ons: BeefTaco?
    • No doubt, you have "Clear history when Firefox closes" checked on the options Privacy tab.

  • Hope they fix the running process error before going any further, it's the next most annoying thing after WinRAR's evaluation period!

    http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-already-running-not-responding [mozilla.org]

    I don't take this as a solution:
    If Firefox did not shut down normally when you last used it, Firefox might still be running in the background, even though it is not visible. Restart your computer to see if the problem goes away.
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:13PM (#41154209) Homepage Journal

    It's been what, six years since 64-bit OSes became norm? Why can't Firefox devs make a 64-bit version?

    32-bit Firefox runs like crap on Win7. I use this ajax grid [dhtmlx.com] in my pages, and it runs smooth as glass on XP. The same page viewed on Win7 Firefox is slow and jerky. There's something wrong with the way Firefox renders javascript when running under a 64-bit OS.

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      What is wrong with that grid on your FF? It runs smoothly on my 64 bit Linux on Firefox.

    • Something is wrong with your computer. That grid works perfectly fine in 32-bit Firefox.
    • by daremonai (859175) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:37PM (#41154743)
      They do make 64-bit versions for Windows and Linux as part of the nightly builds. There are also a couple of projects which make "optimized" versions of some of these - Pale Moon (palemoon.org) and Waterfox (waterfoxproject.org).

      The biggest issue with the 64-bit versions is that they only run 64-bit plugins, unless you use something like nspluginwrapper (nspluginwrapper.org).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @05:35PM (#41157195)

        The biggest issue with the 64-bit versions is that they only run 64-bit plugins, unless you use something like nspluginwrapper (nspluginwrapper.org).

        That is out of date information. The 64-bit builds (Waterfox & Pal Moon) are compatible with all standard 32-bit extensions.

    • by robmv (855035)

      try disabling hardware acceleration on the preferences panel, if it works ok try to update your video drivers, I had problems with old buggy drivers on some pages

  • In my browser?

  • Brilliant!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:36PM (#41154707)

    the browser is finally switching to a "silent" update model, like Chrome. (No doubt in answer to endless complaints about their rapid release cycle.

    So people have been complaining about Firefox's Rapid Release Cycle -- more correctly called Rapid Version Number Inflation -- and so Firefox's solution is to continue doing it and just not tell you about it.

    Brilliant.

    • more correctly called Rapid Version Number Inflation

      More correctly called "Chrome does it so we have to do it too".

      -- comment posted using Firefox 10.0.7ESR [mozilla.org]

      • More like "its an incredibly good reason even if a niche group doesnt like it".
        The old update process for firefox was borked in the extreme.

  • by Chemisor (97276)

    So, does Firefox support WebGL on Linux yet?

  • It broke my Exchange plugin in Thunderbird (manual update). No company calendar for me for an unspecified time frame.

  • by jensend (71114) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @03:48PM (#41154975)

    The memory improvements are nice and all, but the support for the Opus audio codec [opus-codec.org] will have a much bigger impact on the Web. Opus is open source, royalty-free, and superior to previous formats in latency, flexibility, and audio quality. It handles speech, music, and general audio well, and scales fluidly from a 6kbps mono narrowband VOIP bandwidth all the way up to perceptually-transparent multichannel music. It's been approved as an IETF standard and should be published as an RFC this week.

    Finally having a best-of-breed standardized codec which is universally implementable without patent royalties means that HTML5 audio - especially real-time communications - can finally take off.

    Firefox is the second major end-user application to add support [mozilla.org]. (The first was the foobar2k audio player.)

  • I Love Firefox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zoxed (676559) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @03:18AM (#41162879) Homepage

    At the risk of killing my Slashdot cred: I love Firefox.
    I have not noticed any memory leak problems, my 15+ Add-Ons have not broken with FF updates, I do not care what version they call it (major or minor number updates) and I can not remember when it last crashed on me.

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