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Firefox Mozilla

Firefox 22 Released, Boosts 3-D Gaming and Video Calls 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
Today Mozilla announced the launch of Firefox 22 for desktops and Android devices. For the desktop version, WebRTC, the open source browser-based communications API, is now enabled by default. "This technology makes it possible to place and receive video calls from a mobile or desktop browser or share live video, files and images with friends and family." Firefox 22 also has support for the asm.js subset of JavaScript, which allows for big performance boosts on graphically complex applications in the browser. (We saw a demonstration of this a while back.) Other new features include display scaling options for making text bigger on high-res displays, better WebGL rendering performance, word wrapping for text files displayed in the browser, and the ability to change the playback rate of HTML5 audio and video. The new Android version features include tablet UI support for smaller tablets, and a fix for scrolling in nested frames.
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Firefox 22 Released, Boosts 3-D Gaming and Video Calls

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  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jmc23 (2353706) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:02PM (#44102979) Journal
    when can I use it to run emacs?
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      What you really want is vimperator.

      I wish chrome could be changed that much. Only thing keeping me on firefox.

    • Well, an elisp implementation for JavaScript shouldn't be all that difficult to write. ;-)
      • by Lennie (16154)

        If not, you can use Emscripten/asm.js to just recompile the runtime as Javascript and be done quicker.

        • That would be terrible, performance wise. For example, compiling a garbage collector in C to JS (even with asm.js) to run on a byte array can't possibly be better than using native JS objects as representation of ELisp objects, what with all the effort invested by Mozilla and Google into high-performance, incremental, generational low-pause collectors written in C++.
          • by Lennie (16154)

            Well, it depends.

            This is the text of a slide of the presentation linked below:

            "A Unified Approach?
            Should we compile entire VMs from C/C++ to JavaScript, and implement JavaScript-emitting JITs?
            Seems the only way to run most languages with perfect semantics + maximum speed
            This is why I believe C/C++ to JavaScript translation is the core issue regarding compilation to JavaScript"

            http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/29324270 [ustream.tv]

            http://kripken.github.io/mloc_emscripten_talk/ [github.io]

            • Seems the only way to run most languages with perfect semantics + maximum speed

              You'd first have to have an equivalent-quality generational collector in the original C code to reach the Javascript GC performance level - AND, in addition, the C++-to-JS compiler would have to generate code with zero drop in performance compared to native code. I don't think that the original Emacs elisp GC is *that* good.

              Also, after compiling the Emacs elisp VM from C to JS, the only thing you get is a bytecode-interpreting VM (with a lousy GC to boot), whereas a Javascript implementation of the VM coul

    • by cyfer2000 (548592)
      yes! http://bellard.org/jslinux/ [bellard.org] wait for it to boot, then just type "emacs", have fun!
  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:13PM (#44103101)

    Is there something named Firefox that isn't a browser but uses the same silly exponentially increasing versioning scheme?

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by ntshma (864614)
      I was wondering this too.. Remember when Firefox as fast and lean?
    • Is there something named Firefox that isn't a browser but uses the same silly exponentially increasing versioning scheme?

      I used to use Firefox, and the thing about it that I remember 'increasing' was its memory consumption, due to leaks, up to the point that the computer practically froze. I stopped using Firefox when all I could get was denial that there were problems.

      So how is the memory leakage issue now? (If there are reliable good reports, then maybe I might dare to try Firefox again?)

      -wb-

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @02:27PM (#44104055) Homepage

        Lot better. it is now far faster than Chrome. I have switched back.

        • Lot better. it is now far faster than Chrome. I have switched back.

          It can still leak memory and be fast. (well, right up to the point where the computer runs out of memory)

          • by rsborg (111459)

            Lot better. it is now far faster than Chrome. I have switched back.

            It can still leak memory and be fast. (well, right up to the point where the computer runs out of memory)

            Luckily modern operating systems are pre-emptively scheduled allowing you to simply kill and restart the offending App.

            Are you by chance running Classic MacOS9?

        • by dsinc (319470)
          Funny you should say that. I regularly use Firefox and Chrome on two very different machines: one, is an anemic laptop with a Pentium T4200, the other a desktop with 8 cores and lots of memory. On the weaker machine, Chrome is visibly snappier - and never slows down at the end of the day. Firefox seems quite spry in the beginning, but quickly becomes visibly slower - not its rendering, but its general reaction, the awful, XUL-based interface. By the end of the day, right-clicking on a page and/or opening a
          • True that.
            In my experience, Chrome is faster than Firefox, but uses too much RAM. Firefox "leaks" CPU and Chrome "leaks" memory - it doesn't really leak, it wastes memory by the ton because it was design that way. Sadly I don't have 8GB or 16GB so I can run Chrome or Chrome + Firefox, so I just run Firefox.

            I run Epiphany on the side (lamely renamed "Web" by the Gnome team) which is fast, lean, almost has a really great layout, and is annoying like hell for not allowing to scroll the tab bar with the scroll

      • by nigelo (30096) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:13PM (#44104673)

        Memory leaks are normally attributable to the plug-ins used, rather than Firefox, nowadays.

        Unfortunately, memory leaks are usually blamed on the browser, not on a plug-in, regardless of the cause.

        • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:21PM (#44105557) Journal

          Unfortunately, memory leaks are usually blamed on the browser, not on a plug-in, regardless of the cause.

          Give me an easy way to trace which plug-in it is.
          Surely Mozilla could do that?
          They already tell me which plug-ins take a long time to load, why not some basic memory management?

        • by Inda (580031)
          I know!

          I have an 'add-on' that fetches all linked images on a page and wraps them in <img> elements. One hundred 8-megapixel images on a page! No need to click anything!

          My laptop, with 3gb of RAM, grinds to a halt. Hard disk thrashing; paging all those images to disk. Javascript engine moaning about taking too long.

          What's a man to do? Fucking Firefox with it's bloated code and high revision numbers.

          I jest (although the above is almost 100% true). I still think Firefox blows the competition away and I'
      • Haven't seen it in the twenty series, but after being a die-hard Firefox user since ~2000 finally switched to Chrome* last year. I suspect the video was the Flash plugin leaking memory. Firefox about:memory is a total joke. 2 GB to 4 GB usage after 30 days of heavy YouTube usage and the ONLY way is to close down and restart the browser.

        * The reason: saw that Chrome was extremely fast (V8 compiles JS down to assembly) and has a beautiful "Tools > Task Manager" option that runs every web tab in a separa

    • by mspohr (589790)

      I believe that they have a linear arithmetic increasing number, not exponential.

  • Now I'll be able to play games on my Mac!!
  • I have big hopes for asm.js. Even with its teething problems, it's the best chance we have for a truly multi-platform common ground to develop networked apps in.

    At the same time, this awesomeness has traditionally been ignored by the big players who desired fragmentation. Hopefully this time is different, as all browser vendors have a lot to lose if they are the last to implement asm.js.

    The big missing feature is threading - here's hoping for an extension to asm.js to make it complete.

    • by Lennie (16154)

      On the issue of threading:

      That is what webworkers is for.

      I know it wouldn't cover all the uses of threading, but it fit a lot of use cases.

  • Not trolling, straight question. I know nothing about webRTC; are communications 'secure' by default?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not trolling, straight question. I know nothing about webRTC; are communications 'secure' by default?

      They use (S)RTP for the transport:

      http://www.webrtc.org/reference/architecture#TOC-RTP-Stack
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_Transport_Protocol
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Real-time_Transport_Protocol

      The speicific protocol used is DTLS:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datagram_Transport_Layer_Security

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:23PM (#44103243)

    setTimeout(function(){window.locationmanageQueryStringParam('source','autorefresh');}, 600000);

    this bit of code is a nightmare on FF mobile, iam trying to read the comments and bam iam looking at the slashdot homepage ? WTF ? i didnt press back

    sort it out slashdot, your code needs much more work and if you cared about the user you would NEVER reload a page the user didnt request.

    • by Inda (580031)
      It's a nightmare on the desktop too.

      Open Slashdot link in new tab.
      Read comments.
      Close tab.

      Look at Slashdot landing page scrolled to the top!

      Now where was I? Dunno. How far do I have to scroll back down? Dunno. May as well go back to Reddit.

      Sort it out Slashdot. You suck.
      • by jez9999 (618189)

        I haven't had a problem. Then again, I do still have it set to use the classic discussion system. :-)

  • by sinij (911942) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:24PM (#44103267) Journal
    I don't know all use cases, but I personally use Firefox to browse. Why do I want 3D gaming and video conferencing integrated into it? What next, preparing taxes?
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:40PM (#44103483) Homepage Journal

      Because the web is increasingly an application delivery platform, and modern web standards reflect that. Many people may not like it particularly, but that's what it is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by UltraZelda64 (2309504)

        Adding all this garbage is just setting the browser up to be like IE6 before it... a huge, bloated, buggy, major security risk. Most if not all of those things are already true to some extent, but at this rate it's only going to get worse. Once upon a time, a web browser just fetched web pages... now it's making it braindead easy to run unheard of amounts of potentially untrusted code. Beyore, you would have to download an executable in most cases or even buy a program at a store... now, all you have to

      • by Xest (935314)

        People don't like it because it requires fudge after fudge after fudge to make it work.

        The problem is that everything from HTTP's stateless nature, through to Javascript's poor OO support mean that the underlying technologies aren't ideal for building larege applications. There's nothing inherently wrong with HTTP being stateless and there's nothing inherently wrong with Javascript having poor OOP support, but it does mean they're not ideal for building applications of a reasonable size. You can only fudge

        • I don't think anyone's arguing the web solution is perfect, but ultimately there is a massive demand for a distributed client server platform that's independent of any one vendor, and that's what's brought us here. That demand isn't just from "content providers" (I don't mean the RIAA/MPAA members here, I mean the wider group that includes everyone from bloggers to game developers), but also from users who are used to the basic web "visit a webpage and it just works" model and want that to be the way every

          • by Xest (935314)

            I agree with you there's a good reason for the web as an applications platform, we just need better technologies to allow it to do that better because we currently risk breaking or at least over complicating the technologies that are used for static content in trying to make them something they're not.

            I have no problem with what Javascript can do but I think even when you understand it's functional capabilities and so forth it's not a great language. The difference between declaring var and not causing the

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So that you can play web-based 3D games and video-chat on websites. This is a step forward that opens up a lot of new possibilities, but of course old people will whine about it. Stick with Lynx if that's your thing.

    • I personally use Lynx to browse, why would I want images/audio/video built into it?

    • by washort (6555) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @02:37PM (#44104169) Homepage
      "to browse" is a pretty vague term. This is equivalent to saying 30 years ago "I don't know all use cases, but I personally use my computer to compute. Why do I want 3D gaming and video conferencing integrated into it? What next, reading the news?"

      The web browser is now a universal secure applications platform, standards-based, not controlled by a single owner. These are compelling reasons for people to want features added to it to compete with other applications platforms.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        These are compelling reasons for people to want features added to it to compete with other applications platforms.

        Thirty years ago, the old-timers used to call that 'bloat'.

        I have absolutely no use for 3D gaming or video conferencing in my web brower, and I don't plan to be using it to run slow, ugly 'web apps'. Is there an option to turn all that crap off?

    • by Cyko_01 (1092499)
      So adobe flash can finally die
    • by SeaFox (739806)

      I don't know all use cases, but I personally use Firefox to browse. Why do I want 3D gaming and video conferencing integrated into it? What next, preparing taxes?

      I do my taxes every year in Firefox... on the TurboTax website.

    • by tibman (623933)

      lol. Yes, you can do your taxes in the browser now.

  • That's two things i really never do within my browser.

    Maybe in 23, they could boost performance and reduce memoryleaks instead of adding bloat.

    • Have you thought that perhaps you aren't doing these things on your browser because they have been previously unsupported, slow, or lacking critical features of native clients? There was a time when videos weren't watched on a computer, because a computer was for performing math calculations. We do more things on a computer now because computers have gotten better at doing them. The same goes for web browsers, which are nice as a mostly standardized platform for running software on a variety of clients.
      • by sinij (911942)
        Have you thought that perhaps feature creep has bigger downside in context of browsers other than bigger footprint and wasted development time? Security for example.

        Decades of constant battles with Java security should be abject lesson to anyone eager to swell functionality past any reason.

        Consider how much better our browsing would be if Java never existed? I am eagerly await near future when marketing gets a hold of video conferencing and start throwing sales pitches at you or hackers figure out how
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by UltraZelda64 (2309504)

        I do VoIP in my browser, and I can tell you, while I like the capability to call people from my computer for free using Google Voice, I FUCKING HATE being forced to do it in a web browser. The Gmail site is a bloated pig, just like so many others these days, and Firefox itself is also bloated to hell these days. With 1GB memory, it is NOT a pleasant experience, and sometimes the damn plug-in even refuses to load. I literally cannot open Firefox with Gmail and Slashdot without the system swapping like a s

        • I find having a second browser is useful, such as Chromium, Midori or Epiphany - using the latter one lately. That way if you have to be stuck running a browser while you're out of ram and swapping you can quit or kill -9 the pig browser and still have some browser shit running in the secondary browser.

          With 1GB, you ought to run a lightweight OS / environment (Windows XP, but it's deprecated, or LXDE, or some non xubuntu XFCE at best) and look for a memory upgrade unless you're on an old maxed out computer.

          • The problem with a lighter environment is that most of the bloat I mentioned is the culprit: the web browsers and the web sites. All it will do is allow me to load maybe one more semi-bloated page without swapping *quite* as badly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cyko_01 (1092499)
      FYI: google chrome has this same "bloat" in development and stable builds as well as true bloat like NaCl - a brand new interpreted language on top of javascript that no one uses
  • by rossdee (243626) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:32PM (#44103383)

    " WebRTC, the open source browser-based communications API, is now enabled by default. "This technology makes it possible to place and receive video calls from a mobile or desktop browser or share live video, files and images with friends and family."

    This doesn't sound very convenient - there are times that I am "browsing" when I don't want a video call suddenly interrupting me.

    Luckily I don't have a webcam on this PC

    • Under Firefox 21 I could drag and rotate quite smoothly, but the transitions from one model to the other were very slow. After the upgrade, it's all smooth.
      • Same. 22 is noticably better than 21 especially in the layout transition. Further comparison;

        Chromium - even faster and a little (but noticably) snappier when zooming or rotating
        IE10 - like walking through quicksand. Still works though.

        To be fair to Firefox, I have a literally hundreds of tabs open (most still unloaded) and Chromium has 5. For my use Firefox is still much preferred.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:57PM (#44103679) Homepage

    WebRTC is now enabled by default.

    Useful!

    support for the asm.js subset of JavaScript

    Impressive!

    word wrapping for text files displayed in the browser

    Decidedly underwhelming.

    • Funny, my use cases are the exact inverse of yours. I have a JavaScript bookmark on my bar for exactly the last use case (well, for wrapping long <pre>s, actually). I don't have a webcam and don't intend to buy one, and would use different software for that anyway if I did, and have heard enough about Mozilla "focusing on speeding up JavaScript" for the last 12 releases that I'm sure it doesn't need more boosting for the time being.

      How about *reducing* bloat? But yeah...

  • I know it's fashionable to give Firefox a hard time, but it's still my default browser after all these years. I use Firefox about 85% of the time and Google Chrome about 15%. Speed seems comparable, but overall the Firefox UI is still better for me.

    Thank you, Mozilla developers.

  • For the Whiners (Score:5, Informative)

    by caspy7 (117545) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:10PM (#44104617)

    For those who read the title and came here to moan about bloat:
    The technologies mention in reference to 3D gaming are WebGL and asm.js. These serve to make things faster and their size is negligible (want to complain when the few extra bits in your JS engine make things go faster?). They can both be used in non-gaming situations, particularly processing-intensive stuff like dealing with images (processing, filters) and video (decoding - see ORBX.js). WebGL was already there, it's just better now.

    You can disable it if you want, but WebRTC stuff doesn't load additional components (encoding/decoding video for instance) unless you're using them - which would be no worse than Flash (better actually). And just like with Geolocation, a site has to ask permission - to which you can say "never".

    Chrome already has WebGL, WebRTC and is optimizing for asm.js. It's possible to land these without adversly impacting performance/responsiveness, and for the past year Mozilla has had their eye on the metrics.

  • So with all this new tech, it would be interesting to see a video-enabled web-based XMPP client sometime soon.
    Does anyone have any now on something like this?

  • Every browser, even IE, has support for the subset of javascript - that is the whole point! What is significant is that it has been OPTIMIZED for the asm.js subset
  • Any Downsides to Upgrading?

    For example are lots of extensions not working with the upgrade?

  • For a project originally started to combat software bloat....
  • Time to move away from Firefox, it seems, and I've been using it since long before it had that name.

    Why? Because it's going down the bloatware road that already destroyed Open Office. If you want 3D or video conferences, or kitchen sinks or coffee machines in your browser, a plugin is the proper way to go, period.

    I don't want it. It want to display HTML pages. That includes Javascript and CSS and stuff, but why the f&%$! does it even have a plugin system if every newfangled crap gets thrown into the cor

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by elementalest (2722553)
      I opened up a bunch of tabs (9 in total) in firefox 22.0 which came to a total of 398MB memory usage. I opened the SAME tabs in chrome and it came to 592MB. I opened the SAME tabs in IE10 and it was 354MB. I guess firefox is actually pretty good. Besides there are a stack of plugins that have been around for a long time that are not being integrated and probably never will. In any case IE10+ looks like a good option for you.
  • So why exactly is this something we want in a browser? How much more bloat do we need before it's enough?

  • Anything to rid my friends and family's dependence on Skype(tm).

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

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