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Firefox 3 Beta 5 Released 416

Posted by Zonk
from the another-toy-for-the-weekend dept.
bunratty writes "Firefox 3 Beta 5 was released today. This last beta release sports performance-boosting improved connection parallelism. Not only has 'the memory leak' been fixed: Firefox now uses less memory than other browsers. This is not only according to Mozilla developers, but CyberNet and The Browser World as well. As for the Acid3 test, Firefox 3 Beta 5 scores only 71/100 compared to 75/100 for Safari 3.1 and 79/100 for the latest Opera 9.5 snapshot. The final release of Firefox 3 is expected in June."
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Firefox 3 Beta 5 Released

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  • FIRST POST!111 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:05PM (#22942950)
    I'm glad that the Acid3 test is just a side mention in this story. The recent Firefox betas look great. It needs to be said though that the WebKit builds that score 100/100 are publicly available. But it also needs to be said that there's a lot more to a web browser than its performance on a single standards test.
    • by Nushio (951488) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:42PM (#22943326) Homepage
      Webkit does 100? That's nothing. The newest Opera beta does 106/106 [opera.com]!
    • Re:FIRST POST!111 (Score:4, Informative)

      by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:48PM (#22943412) Homepage
      You certainly didn't see Apple ship Safari 3.1 with 100 on Acid3. WebKit (more accurately Safari) are at the beginning of a development cycle. They just shipped Safari 3.1 after quite a long dev cycle and are beginning Safari 3.next (or 4?) so it makes sense that they tear into their code in a pretty aggressive way. As far as I can tell, Opera 9.5 due sometime soon also won't pass Acid3. All of this work you're seeing on Acid3 is for the _next_ release, not the current release. (where current is Firefox 3, Safari 3.1, and Opera 9.5)
  • Almost there (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr_da3m0n (887821) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:09PM (#22942984) Homepage
    Now if Google could just port Google Browser Sync [google.com] over...
    • Re:Almost there (Score:4, Informative)

      by anaesthetica (596507) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:33PM (#22943220) Homepage Journal
      Try Mozilla Weave [mozilla.com]?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrvan (973822)
      I'm a bit worried about 'giving' google all my history, cookies, and stored passwords, protected by a PIN.

      Since the PIN is the only thing you need to set up on a new computer, I don't think the data sent to google is encrypted (using a key unknown by google, ie more than https)?

      I guess they don't really want my passwords, but the navigation and form history coupled to my search history... brrr... (I don't even want to imagine using gmail too)

      Note: I'm not saying google is evil, I wouldn't trust anyone with
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FreakinSyco (873416)
      I find syncing histories a tad overboard.

      I use FoxMarks [foxmarks.com] for bookmark syncing across multiple FF installs. You can also log on the their website from any internet computer and access your bookmarks without installing anything. Now thats useful.
  • Acid 3 Test (Score:5, Insightful)

    by J_Meller (667240) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:10PM (#22942994)
    I'm glad there isn't an improvement in their Acid3 score with the latest beta. It means that their release procedure is sane and they aren't introducing regressions right before a big release. Kudos to the devs for not pushing patches for the sake of it.
    • Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mitchell Mebane (594797) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:37PM (#22943270) Homepage Journal
      Beta 4 only scored 68 / 100, so they have made some core changes. They fixed tests 42, 67, and 69. In addition, the test seems to run about 40% faster in B5 vs. B4, at least on my PC.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by barzok (26681)
        It's entirely possible that those fixes were not made specifically for ACID3, but instead had been targeted for Fx3 a while ago.

        I think someone on the Mozilla team has publicly posted that they are not intentionally going after ACID3 fixes for the sake of making ACID3 fixes, in the interest of a stable & sane release.
      • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

        by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @05:47PM (#22944882) Homepage
        Beta 4 only scored 68 / 100, so they have made some core changes. They fixed tests 42, 67, and 69. In addition, the test seems to run about 40% faster in B5 vs. B4, at least on my PC.

        Yes, Firefox does include a few Gecko fixes that increase the Acid3 score, but not because Firefox 3 is chasing the test. We're focused on getting in the right set of changes between now and ship and that's not going to be defined by Acid3.

        - A

    • by Millennium (2451)
      Perhaps, but shame on the devs for not announcing a 3.1 release to fix Acid3-compliance as soon as possible after 3.0's release. How I long for the days when standards were a priority on that team.
      • Re:Acid 3 Test (Score:5, Informative)

        by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @05:52PM (#22944948) Homepage
        Perhaps, but shame on the devs for not announcing a 3.1 release to fix Acid3-compliance as soon as possible after 3.0's release. How I long for the days when standards were a priority on that team.

        I think you're confused. The Acid 3 test is not a test for Web standards. It's a test for a particular (and rather small) subset of Web standards. It's not even a representative set of Web standards that would necessarily move the Web forward in meaningful ways if there were compatible implementations across the various browsers.

        At Mozilla, we're definitely focused on fixing bugs in our various Web standards feature implementations as well as adding new Web standards capabilities, but we're not going to focus on any one test, especially a test that's designed as much to make browser vendors jump through hoops as much to advance the standards state of the Web.

        - A
    • Re:Acid 3 Test (Score:5, Informative)

      by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:51PM (#22943462)
      In fact, there are patches implementing ACID3 features that aren't going to be merged in Firefox 3 because they're too intrusive (what, slashdotters want an example? look here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=421765#c8 [mozilla.org])

      Acid 3, just like acid 2, has been released when the firefox development cycle is focusing on stabilizing...other browsers have focused on passing acid3 like it was the most important thing to do and have done ugly things just to be the first, take for example this: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=410460#c44 [mozilla.org]

      And the fact that at least WebKit has introduced a special case for the Acid3
      font:
      m_allowFontSmoothing = (nameStr != "Ahem");
      • Re:Acid 3 Test (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @04:52PM (#22944260)

        And the fact that at least WebKit has introduced a special case for the Acid3 font

        That's not the whole story. The Acid3 test assumes specific font-smoothing behaviour (that it doesn't increase the dimensions of the text). This is not always true on OS X and isn't required by any specification. The workaround in Webkit was to guarantee the font-smoothing behaviour that the Acid3 test expected. That font is not a normal font, it's designed specifically for testcases, so both the "bug" and the workaround would not affect normal situations. And the Acid3 test has since been changed to avoid this problem [hixie.ch].

        Please include this information when mentioning this "ugly thing", because without the pertinent facts, people assume a number of things that simply aren't true.

  • Waiting... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ServerIrv (840609) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:11PM (#22943004)
    It will come out of beta as soon as Ad Block Plus is updated.
  • What I care about (Score:3, Insightful)

    by microbee (682094) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:17PM (#22943052)
    I want to try beta 5 out (especially after I found Tab Mix Plus is actually supported [garyr.net]). But my main worry is how they react to bugs found in the beta. Are they continuously releases security updates for betas the same way as the official released version? Or I'd have to wait patiently for the final release which is more than 2 months away?

    Also, every time I uninstall firefox 3, I could no longer click links in outlook unless I reset default browser to IE and switch back. This is very irritating.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dragonslicer (991472)

      Are they continuously releases security updates for betas the same way as the official released version? Or I'd have to wait patiently for the final release which is more than 2 months away?
      I would guess that there will be at least two release candidates between the last beta version and the final release.
  • CPU spike bug? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aredubya74 (266988) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:18PM (#22943062)
    I haven't been able to find a bug on Moz Bugzilla on the behavior, but both previous betas would occasionally spike in CPU usage after a few hours' of usage, seemingly at random. Restarting the browser clears the problem. It doesn't seem to be a site-specific problem, as rebrowsing the same pages doesn't immediately trigger the spike. Anyone else seeing this? Otherwise, I've been very happy with the FF3's rendering and feature set.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Rurik (113882)
      I have that problem with FF2, and it was the reason I went to FF3. I've not had it occur within FF3, but when I temporarily reverted back to 2.0 it was still there.

      It would spike for about 10-20 seconds then go back to normal for a few more minutes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cephah (1244770)
      Sounds like it could be a resource manager of Firefox that does some work in the background, makes sense since you say it occurs after a few hours use and that it disappears if you restart it (thus removing all of Firefox's allocated resources from RAM).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lpangelrob (714473)
      Apparently, this was related to an outdated list of phishing sites, causing the browser to try to download updated sites in one bite. See here: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2007/11/firefox_3_beta_1.html [mozillazine.org]. It hasn't happened to me in months, so I think it's been fixed.
  • Got Buttons? (Score:5, Informative)

    by shogun (657) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:28PM (#22943164)
    Ok this was amusing, I just upgraded from 3b4 to 3b5 and it decided to replicate the forward/back button control a few times: Screenshot [smugmug.com]. Easily fixed under customise toolbar though...
  • Defaults? (Score:2, Informative)

    by non-poster (529123)
    They changed the default values for some connection settings? What's the big deal? I've had these settings for a really long time now.

    roll-eyes.
    • That's a good point, parent. Because most users know how and why to change default connection settings, especially if they're operating through a proxy, by going into about:config and manually editing variables. Obviously, for the common user, there is absolutely no need to alter default settings.
  • by Manip (656104)
    Since when did memory usage become such a big deal?

    I mean Firefox has had some nasty memory leaks for the longest time and absolutely I would love to see those fixed. But it seems like this is more than just that, it seems like some big epeen contest between browsers.

    Memory is perhaps the second cheapest commodity on a modern day PC after disk space. If they get too deep into this then it wouldn't surprise me to see them off-set this reduced usage with increased CPU time or disk seek times (which is destruc
    • by BZ (40346) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:41PM (#22943304)
      > Since when did memory usage become such a big deal?

      Since people started doing more "wep apps" (and memory usage skyrocketed as a result) and since mobile devices started becoming a real browsing platform. RAM on those is not all that plentiful, so far.

      Note that the work to reduce memory usage in Firefox has thus far led to performance improvement, most likely due to better cache coherency. There _have_ been some optimizations to reduce memory usage at the cost of more CPU usage (largely to do with how long decoded 4-bytes-per-pixel representations of images are kept in memory), but most of the memory usage improvements have been due to using a better allocator and fixing leaks. There is no "must have the smallest memory usage around" goal; as you note other considerations are at least as important.
    • by anaesthetica (596507) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:43PM (#22943334) Homepage Journal

      Since when did memory usage become such a big deal?

      I'm not sure if you recall reading the comments to any other story about Firefox on Slashdot or Digg or Ars or virtually anywhere else in the past two years, but about 90% of those comments discussed memory usage. The Firefox team is doing a good job responding to its user base. They have not, to my knowledge, had to sacrifice speed or additional features to achieve lower memory usage.

    • by MBCook (132727)

      Depends on your OS. My Mac has 2 gigs, so I never have to worry about it. Even if I have Parallels open and using 768MB or 1GB, it's fine.

      XP is different.

      Way back in the 9x days, I used a little program called MemTurbo (by Silicon Prairie Software, I think). It made a HUGE difference in system performance. Windows was just terrible at managing memory. MemTurbo would defrag your memory so that larger chunks were available. You could trigger it yourself, or have it trigger when a certain amount of memory wa

    • by bunratty (545641)

      Since when did memory usage become such a big deal?

      Uh, you have noticed all the people crying that Firefox is a bloated memory hog, haven't you? The ones that have been demanding that Firefox use less memory? I guess you should be careful what you wish for. Personally, I agree that it's been made a much bigger deal than is necessary. I wish Firefox developers would spend more time on other fixes, as memory use is far from being an issue for me. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to have caused performance

    • by pthisis (27352)
      The ridiculous memory use is the #1 reason that it's sometimes 30 seconds between when I click and when Firefox responds. Swapping is _slooooow_, and even if you don't hit swap you're trashing the cache and killing responsiveness (which you seem to value).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Since when did memory usage become such a big deal?''

      I think it has pretty much always been a big deal. Unless you have plenty of memory, memory is likely to be the limiting factor on the performance of your system. In extreme cases, memory shortage can cause programs to not work at all. Firefox has been a notorious memory hog. So I am _very_ glad to see this addressed. I might actually start using it again.
  • by dn15 (735502) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:31PM (#22943204)

    As for the Acid3 test, Firefox 3 Beta 5 scores only 71/100 compared to 75/100 for Safari 3.1


    If we're comparing a Firefox beta then we may as well look at a newer version of Safari, too. The latest nightly builds of WebKit get 100/100 on Acid3. http://webkit.org/blog/173/ [webkit.org]
    • by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @06:05PM (#22945108) Homepage
      >As for the Acid3 test, Firefox 3 Beta 5 scores
      >only 71/100 compared to 75/100 for Safari 3.1

      >>If we're comparing a Firefox beta then we may
      >>as well look at a newer version of Safari, too.
      >>The latest nightly builds of WebKit get 100/100
      >>on Acid3. http://webkit.org/blog/173/ [webkit.org]

      Actually, that's not quite fair. Firefox 3 beta 5 is the final beta and it's basically done. It will be a shipping browser at the same time as Safari 3.1. Comparing shipping browsers with nearly simultaneous releases (only a few months apart) is an eminently reasonable thing to do.

      - A
  • by billstewart (78916) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:32PM (#22943210) Journal
    Mozilla wants me to update from 2.0.0.12 to 2.0.0.13. Is there any reason I shouldn't just go to 3.0 Beta 5? I'm assuming it either fixes that security bug or replaces it with some new ones.


    Are the critical extensions available? For me, that's Adblock, NoScript, and Flashblock.

    • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:55PM (#22943530)

      Are the critical extensions available? For me, that's Adblock, NoScript, and Flashblock.
      Flashblock works fine for me on beta3 at home. The install.rdf file says it works with 3.0.*, so you wouldn't even need to disable version checking.
    • Would it kill you guys to view a page with ads?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TaoPhoenix (980487)

        Yep.

        After all, net content is usually plain text.

        ** BUT ADS ARE BOLD!!! THEY WANT YOUR ATTENTION!!!**

        The web has come a long way in putting up real news.

        ** BUT DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE FLASH ADS THAT CAPTURE YOUR MOUSEOVER AND START PLAYING FLASH GAMES!!!????**

        Sometimes you don't even make it through a sentence

        ** FORD REALLY IMPROVED THEIR QUALITY AFTER BEING SHOWN UP BY THE JAPANESE IN THE 1980's. **

        before an ad rips your focus away from you.
  • by lancejjj (924211) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:37PM (#22943266) Homepage

    Firefox 3 Beta 5 scores only 71/100 compared to 75/100 for Safari 3.1 and 79/100 for the latest Opera 9.5 snapshot
    Just last week Opera was at 100/100 and Safari was at 98/100 for ACID3. What happened???

    Oh yeah, those were numbers for non-production browsers, in-the-lab builds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      The Safari number (100/100, pixel-perfect result) is for the WebKit nightly builds, which can be downloaded from the WebKit site or built by checking the code out of the (public) svn repository. This is directly comparable to a FireFox beta, since both are publicly available but not officially called releases. Since Apple isn't the only one to use WebKit (Nokia do and there are also GTK and Qt bindings now) I wouldn't be surprised if someone other than Safari gets better results by using a newer version o
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jsoderba (105512)
        A Webkit nightly is not directly comparable to a Firefox beta. A Webkit nightly is comparable to a Firefox nightly, which hasn't gone trough the testing and triage that betas get.
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:44PM (#22943340)

    I'm sure somebody is likely to bring it up, so it may as well be me with some additional relevant facts. The HTTP 1.1 specification, RFC 2616 [ietf.org], says [ietf.org] that:

    Clients that use persistent connections SHOULD limit the number of simultaneous connections that they maintain to a given server. A single-user client SHOULD NOT maintain more than 2 connections with any server or proxy. A proxy SHOULD use up to 2*N connections to another server or proxy, where N is the number of simultaneously active users. These guidelines are intended to improve HTTP response times and avoid congestion.

    This "improved connection parallelism" is simply changing Firefox from using the RFC-suggested 2 persistent connections, to 6. Now, SHOULDs and SHOULD NOTs are not set in stone, but they do require careful thought before ignoring.

    The Bugzilla entry [mozilla.org] debating this has a comment [mozilla.org] that points out that other browsers have also started to ignore this part of the specification:

    • Firefox 2: 2 connections
    • Opera 9.26: 4 connections
    • Opera 9.5 beta: 4 connections
    • Safari 3.0.4: 4 connections
    • IE 7: 2 connections
    • IE 8: 6 connections
    • by garett_spencley (193892) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:57PM (#22943544) Journal
      RFC 2616 was published in 1999.

      I agree that specification recommendations should not be ignored without careful consideration. However, I think the jump from 2 to 6 makes a lot of sense after almost 10 years of adhering to the specification and I don't think that it was done without careful consideration. Web servers and bandwidth have both strongly moved forward, and that specific suggestion in the RFC was just that. A suggestion. In the context of 1999.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bogtha (906264)

        I think the jump from 2 to 6 makes a lot of sense after almost 10 years

        Not all movement has been in the forward direction. Back them, most web traffic was totally static, even the HTML. These days, it's far more likely that the HTML is generated dynamically from something like mod_php. This, in turn, means that rather than tying up a slim process, a persistent connection ties up a "fat" process with a language runtime embedded in it. Three times as many simultaneous persistent connections means up

  • I mean, Firefox is just a front end to Gecko, right? Back when the Mozilla suite was the focus of the Mozilla foundation and Firefox was just a side project, Firefox development effected Gecko development very little. Is this still true even with the focus shift from the Mozilla suite to Firefox?

    I do know that Firefox nightlies DO NOT equal webkit nightlies. Firefox and Gecko are actually devoloped on separate branches and are only merged at intervals.

  • OK, I tried the hardy beta upgrade a few days back, complete with FF3b4. Totally hosed my system, forcing a reinstall. Not sure how much of the problem was with hardy & how much was with FF3b4, but I know for a fact that I won't upgrade til FF3 comes out of beta.

    I didn't have back & forth arrows, no home button, and most of the extensions I use on a daily basis didn't work. Neither did the themes. Updates didn't work. And I couldn't edit my bookmarks.

    Again, I don't know how much of this was FF3

  • by themildassassin (1094497) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @04:19PM (#22943848)
    I'm wondering how the new releases of distros like Ubuntu and Fedora are going to handle not having a stable version of Firefox 3.0 until June. Currently Ubuntu is using beta 4 for the hardy beta, will the plan be to revert back to FF2 when hardy becomes stable or release with a beta version of FF3?
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @05:42PM (#22944828)
    I haven't installed it yet, but FF Portable has a FF3b5 version available:

    Firefox Portable [portableapps.com]

    Yay!
  • by Britz (170620) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @06:09PM (#22945172) Homepage
    What I badly need is a replacement for that awful Flash player. There is so much Flash content on the web now, that unfortunately I need a viewer for this. Firefox 2 is fine. The need for better/faster viewing or more features is not very big.

    So please Mozilla foundation: If you want to do something to improve my web exprerience just put some effort into Swfdec or Gnash or do something from scratch and put it into Firefox.

    http://swfdec.freedesktop.org/wiki/ [freedesktop.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swfdec [wikipedia.org]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnash [wikipedia.org]
  • Greasemonkey (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @07:12PM (#22945972) Homepage Journal
    Greasemonkey broke again, /sigh

    Every update it seems to break, what keeps changing that this addon breaks every time?

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