Mozilla teases surfers with near-final version of Firefox 3.6
Show'n'tell Release Candidate hits intertubes
Mozilla spun out a near-ready version of Firefox 3.6 over the weekend, all of which suggests that the final build of the next iteration of the open source browser could be imminent.
The outfit said on Sunday that over 75 per cent of the thousands of Firefox Add-ons had now been upgraded by their authors to be compatible with the Release Candidate version of Firefox 3.6.
Mozilla noted that the RC “may update itself periodically, and will eventually be exactly the same as the final Firefox 3.6 release itself”.
More than 100 bugs have been patched in the latest test version of the browser, which is built on the org’s Gecko 1.9.2 platform.
It comes loaded with Personas, allowing surfers to change Firefox’s appearance with a single click of the mouse.
Perhaps more interestingly, Mozilla has tweaked how third party software bolts itself onto Firefox, to make the browser more secure.
Meanwhile, support for the WOFF font format, HTML 5, CSS, DOM web technologies, full screen open, native video and poster frames have been added to this version. There’s also support for the HTML 5 File API, said Mozilla.
Some Firefox users have complained recently that Mozilla had broken away from its roots too much, and that the surfing tool was becoming increasingly bloated with each new release.
Mozilla did not confirm when it would squirt out the complete version of Firefox 3.6, but unless the outfit is hit by any showstopping bugs it’s likely the browser could land before the end of this month.
At the end of December, Mozilla delayed the release of Firefox 3.6 until the first quarter of 2010. It had previously promised to deliver the next iteration of its celebrated browser before the decade was out. ®
Need for speed?
There we go: a new version of Firefox is announced and the first comments are about how bloated and slow FF now is compared to IE, Chrome, pick-your-browser-of-choice and how everybody expects it to still be slow with this new version.
First about speed: Firefox out of the box is actually quite fast. Admittedly not as fast as say Chrome or IE8. However, what tends to slow FF down are extensions: if you have a performance problem, try disabling a few and see if it makes a difference. As for bloat, if someone can tell me what functionality you would remove out of vanilla Firefox (i.e. no extensions installed whatsoever), I'd be interested to know. I'd agree that the upcoming "persona" feature is surplus to requirements but I do struggle to see what else I would remove out of vanilla FF to make it more lightweight.
In terms of expectations, FF 3.6 is a minor version upgrade compared to 3.5 so you should not expect any major changes, this is all about incremental improvements. For major changes, we'll have to wait for FF 4.0. Performance improvements to match (or overtake) Chrome, IE8 or any browser that was completely (re-)built from the ground up in the last 18 months probably require a major rewrite of some essential parts of the rendering engine and that is an undertaking that should be left for a major upgrade, not a minor one.
Having said this, you choose the browser that fits your needs and one good thing to say about Firefox is that since it came out it's revived the market and we now have real competition and therefore a real choice. I choose to use Firefox for the following reasons, that are probably different from yours:
1. It is fast enough for me (and that's on a 5 year old laptop and a netbook),
2. It displays properly all the web sites I go to, even the ones that are just tag soup,
3. It has a number of extensions I find useful,
4. It supports a number of W3C recommendations beyond HTML, in particular SVG and MathML,
5. It is open source, which means that if I have an issue with it, I can easily file a bug so that it gets sorted,
6. It is the default browser on my Linux distro of choice, which means I know it will be kept up to date.
Firefox 3.6 & 3.7 Available via daily ppa
Gain access to the latest ubuntu-mozilla-daily ppa.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firefox-3.6
sudo apt-get install firefox-3.7
These packages install in their own directories so you can use 3.5/3.6/3.7 side by side.
The new FF3.6 will be found under the name "Namoroka" in Applications > Internet.
The new FF3.7 will be found under the name "Minefield 3.7 Web Browser".
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv:1.9.2pre) Gecko/20100109 Ubuntu/9.10 (karmic) Namoroka/3.6pre - Build ID: 20100109051341
Noticed the same
What we want is something fast, 64bit, muticore support. Back to the original ethos of FF - fast, stable, secure. It does seem to be getting a bit bloaty lately. Now there's something to change the look of it with a single mouse click. How useful is that not going to be?