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Firefox 21 Arrives 246

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 21 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Improvements include the addition of multiple social providers on the desktop as well as open source fonts on Android. In the changelog, the company included an interesting point that's worth elaborating on: 'Preliminary implementation of Firefox Health Report.' Mozilla has revealed that FHR so far logs 'basic health information' about Firefox: time to start up, total running time, and number of crashes. Mozilla says the initial report is pretty simple but will grow 'in the coming months.' You can get it now from Mozilla."
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Firefox 21 Arrives

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  • You know, I feel like I only just upgraded to Firefox 20. In fact, there hasn't even been a 20.1 yet. I really like Firefox, I do. Some of the new web development tools (which I've only just discovered) are really nice. But, to be frank, apart from those, I can't tell the difference between 18, and 20. And looking at the changelog, I can't see anything that says, "I'm a major new version that breaks compatibility with previous versions".

    So, I want to ask again (and I'm beating a horse that is not only dead,

    • The point was supposed to be that one of the three version numbers wasn't really being used - the first number changed maybe twice, while major updates were just bumping up the second digit over and over.

      However, as you've pointed out, now they've started ignoring the second digit, going straight from 20.0.1 to 21.0.0. So nothing's really changed at all.

      • The first number says "I'm incompatible with previous versions", which in Firefox's case, probably should mean with regards to plugins and extensions. So, if there's no need to increase it, don't! The second number, that's for additional functionality, and various changes that don't break compatibility, and the third number is for patches (bug fixes).

        It's also plausible to upgrade the first number for major rewrites, or other major changes in the software's life cycle. A change from a SGML/XML based render

    • Re:Oookkkaaayyy.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @03:23PM (#43723419)

      But, to be frank, apart from those, I can't tell the difference between 18, and 20. And looking at the changelog, I can't see anything that says, "I'm a major new version that breaks compatibility with previous versions".

      FF20 added that horrendous download box, for starters...

      Of course, you can revert it back to the more sane old download list by setting to TRUE.

      It isn't that hard to miss in FF20. Not sure what UI breakage they did in 21, though.

      • The old download window was horrendous too. People actually use that? I usually download files with wget, but I never use a copy of Firefox without the Download Statusbar extension. As far as I can tell, they replaced a shit interface with another shit interface; they didn't really improve anything.

      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        I don't get why all the hate for something as inane as a download box.

        Now removing the protocol from URLs, that is downright irresponsible though it like many other regressions can thankfully be reversed in about:config (TrimURLs=false in this case).

        Other regressions are not so easily fixed; the braindead decision to remove the status bar for example needs an extension (status4evar) to fix.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      I am taking the debian approach to it. Apparently, I am using firefox 10.0.12

      And you know what, I so much do not care which firefox I am using...

    • Re:Oookkkaaayyy.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cochonou ( 576531 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @03:47PM (#43723687) Homepage
      There is supposed to be an important new feature in Firefox 21 (which was not talked about in the summary): h.264 playback with system codecs enabled by default. It is present in Firefox 20, but needed to be enabled manually through about:config.
      • by ssam ( 2723487 )

        gstreamer support has been there (but disabled by default) since fedora 14. on gentoo you just add gstreamer to your use flags and you can watch h.264.

      • Yup, works great so far too. Now I can finally drop all the other crap. No more transcoding all the videos to three different formats! YAY

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )

      I can't tell the difference between 18, and 20...what's the point of these fast track updates?

      Many small updates allows them to keep adding features without causing huge breaking changes. It gives everyone enough time to implement the new ways before the old ways are dropped.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You should consider installing the ESR version if you don't want to deal with the rapid upgrades. It is currently version 17.0.6. The "ESR channel" gets only security patches, no new features, until it reaches end of life after about a year, at which point you upgrade to the next ESR (Extended Support Release). Firefox version 3, 10, 17 (and future 24) are ESRs.


    • So, I want to ask again (and I'm beating a horse that is not only dead, but buried, and decomposed, with only a few bones and other hard items left), what's the point of these fast track updates?

      It's a number-counting game with Google--that's pretty much it. They seem to be trying to play a game of "who can count to a hundred and need a new version system and/or product name the fastest."

  • by JustAnotherIdiot ( 1980292 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @03:30PM (#43723515)
    I remember the huge fanfare when Firefox 4 came out, we were on 3.x.x for ages.
    That was what, 2 years ago now I think? And so now we've since had 17 new "versions", it maybe deserves to be 3, at best. My point here? /., we don't need an article every time a new version is released. You don't do this with chrome either, and for good reason.
    They come out too frequently, with too few changes, and frankly very few people honestly care at this point.
    • In some situations 21 vs u21 matters.
    • My point here? /., we don't need an article every time a new version is released. ... frankly very few people honestly care at this point.

      Of course very few people actually care: Only Nerds like me care about news like this. Who the hell do you think makes content for these platforms? Web Fairies?!

      /me shakes his star tipped wand at you.
      VortexCortex quit: [Off to make stuff that matters!]

  • Improvements include the addition of multiple social providers on the desktop

    On the desktop? Don't you mean "on the side of the Firefox window"?

  • by Aethedor ( 973725 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @03:57PM (#43723793) Homepage
    And the only thing I really want in Firefox is *still* not there. But instead, more crap features.
    • ( Clippit shows up)

      Clippit : It seems you are trying to use an enterprise feature of the Web.
                  Mozilla has stated that the enterprise is not there target audience.
                  You should use Chrome which supports TLS 1.2 with graceful fail to TLS 1.1.

      (Note: Just don't tell anybody that Chrome tracks your ass like it owns it)

  • Version 21 (Score:5, Funny)

    by loufoque ( 1400831 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @03:58PM (#43723815)

    Finally allowed to get drunk.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @04:35PM (#43724211)

    One world is to implement Chrome like versioning.

    The other world is to implement a Microsoft like need for making a grand entrance.

    It's just a web browser, nobody gives a rat's ass what it does, that is why Google updates silently in the background without fuss.

    It's the 21st century, web browsers do not need press releases anymore just like you don't need someone on the street corner announcing every hour of the day.

  • So it is going to be Firefox 100 by next year then?

  • by NoImNotNineVolt ( 832851 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @04:51PM (#43724569) Homepage
    It seems like it was only yesterday that Firefox 3 was released to great fanfare after years and years of refinement.
    To think, Firefox has come seven times farther now! Amazing!

    On a more serious note, what the fuck is a "social provider on the desktop"? A philanthropist that runs in the root window?
  • by TheCycoONE ( 913189 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @05:00PM (#43724705)

    As usual, most of the important changes are only listed in the Developer changelog: []

    Highlights include:
      element support
    scoped attribute support for (allows a stylesheet to only apply to a particular element and it's children)
    No more E4X

  • Recently I needed to find a plugin for a certain feature and remembered one for FF4 I used a while back. When to down load it on this new computer to find out the developer had stopped updating the plugin. The reason: these frequent updates didn't leave him enough time to continuously test and make sure it still worked with each version every few weeks. I searched for similar plugins and everyone I saw the author pretty much said the same thing. They had all discontinued development for FireFox because

  • New major version, no real worthwhile features worth mentioning. Say, hasn't that mostly been the case for the last 15 or so versions now?

  • I had to quit using firefox for the first time in years because it kept locking up in a very ugly way in 20.4
    I have been waiting for the upgrade so I can browse without locking every 6 seconds.
    Safari isn't as intuitive for me since I am used to how firefox was and I don't have a chromium based browser on my system anymore.
    Opera is a nice browser, but it really does have to do with how used to something one is.

  • Not sure why, but every single time Firefox updates, they break my favorite theme: Springshine. It's incredibly annoying. I suspect it's because they change the first number, instead of the second number, like a sane programmer would do (we should be on 4.18 or so now, not 21!).
  • I really liked it as a simple, straightforward browser I could customize. But Firefox keeps putting more and more effort into trying to Chrome, and adding bells and whistles and tweaking the interface. I got tired of needing to put things back the way I liked them everytime an update took them away or broke them. If I wanted to use Chrome, I'd use Chrome. Maybe if the next version is Firefox 122, that will make me like it again.
  • Since Firefox has started their crazy version numbering, I've given up on upgrading. I use 27 different addons and perfectly configured to make my web browser do what I want. It is near impossible to do an upgrade without spending hours reconfiguring the addons, some of which need to be manually downloaded and have their "MaxVersion" incremented so they will install. Maybe in 6 more months when we reach Firefox 50 I'll give it a try, but until then. Firefox 8 all the way!

    Application: Firefox 8.0 (2011110416

  • They haven't implemented this until now? Seriously? Good gawd wake me up when Firecrotch grows up and matches WebKit's HTML 5 support.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller