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Mozilla The Internet Software

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.1 Alpha 2 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeping-up-with-the-googses dept.
daria42 writes with news that Mozilla has released the second alpha build for Firefox 3.1, codenamed "Shiretoko." The new build includes "support for the HTML 5 <video> element" and the ability to "drag and drop tabs between browser windows." ComputerWorld is running a related story about benchmarks shown by Mozilla's Brendan Eich which indicate that Firefox 3.1 will run Javascript faster than Chrome.
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Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.1 Alpha 2

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  • by ShaunC (203807) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:10AM (#24898269)

    Mozilla has released the second alpha build for Firefox 3.1, codenamed "Shiretoko."

    I see. Is that why I was yet again presented with a dialog tonight inviting me to "Upgrade to Firefox 3!" even though I've hit the Never button on that same dialog at least twice on this machine over the past few weeks?

    If you give me an upgrade option that says "Never," and I choose that option, my expectation is that I will no longer get random dialogs offering the upgrade. Ever. That's sort of the reason I keep clicking "Never" instead of "Later," but Firefox doesn't seem to care.

    This is really starting to get annoying.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:14AM (#24898297)

      That bug was fixed in version 3.0. I recommend you upgrade your browser to fix the bug.

      • I think he wants the version codenamed "Raven".
    • by Psychotria (953670) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:21AM (#24898329)
      There is a fix/workaround for this behaviour--make sure that you do not connect to the internet. This way firefox never sees the update and the nag dialog to update never appears.
    • by zig007 (1097227) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:28AM (#24898377)

      This is really starting to get annoying.

      I suppose you filed a bug report a few weeks ago and no one has done anything about it?
      Don't bother to check, I am quite sure you didn't:
      https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=453452 [mozilla.org]

      This was posted on the 3rd. On the highly unlikely event that it was you that posted that bug, maybe you should give them more than 3 days to do something about it before bashing them on /.?
      Also, I would categorize this as a low priority bug(OMFG? Pressing a button AN EXTRA COUPLE OF TIMES? You still alive?), so don't hold your breath.
      It is also in the 1.8 branch..

      You know one thing I find annoying?
      Users that find bugs and never tell you about them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by FoboldFKY (785255)

        I once had a chat to some Mozilla guys on IRC; I'd just gone through the rigmarole of posting a bug in Bugzilla, and was saying how it wasn't exactly easy to work out.

        Their response was that Bugzilla isn't intended for end-users to submit bugs; it's for developers.

        The average user is going to take one look at Bugzilla and run screaming so fast the air friction will burn their face off.

        • I once had a chat to some Mozilla guys on IRC/quote>

          if your talking about #firefox@irc.mozilla.org (or similar) then its unlikely you were delt with by a mozilla guy and much more likely you were delt with by some unpaid/qualified community member.

          Their response was that Bugzilla isn't intended for end-users to submit bugs; it's for developers.

          at first filling bug reports is a daunting task but as long as you check for obvious dupes and put in all the relevant information you have, you dont need to be a developer to submit them. Obviously its easier to deal with error in such and such a stack resulting in blah blah coruption than, msn doesnt work, so its understandable that the bugs posted with more info (normally by developers) get handled first, but that doesnt mean end-user bug reports are ignored.

          god i sound like a mozilla apologist, my point was that if you try and help the devs when filling bug reports, there is more chance of a fix than complaining on slashdot

          disclaimer:I dont work for mozilla, hell im not even a developer, but i do file bug reports when i get to the bottom of my problems.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You know one thing I find annoying?
        Users that find bugs and never tell you about them.

        You know one thing I find annoying? Spending a good half an hour producing a long bug report to a third party, detailing my configuration carefully, testing on other machines, suggesting possible causes and workarounds, explaining why the bug is important... then having someone who clearly knows his users' needs better than his users either
        (1) ignoring it as if it was never posted;
        (2) marking it the "so low priority you might see a fix within 3 years, if at all" category; or
        (3) slamming a "wont fix" or a "b

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday September 06, 2008 @06:53AM (#24899631) Homepage Journal

          I refuse to provide any help to the Mozilla Foundation until it stops trying to disguise itself as a non-profit.

          OK, Once and for all:

          From Wikipedia:
          "On August 3, 2005, Mozilla Foundation announced the creation of Mozilla Corporation, a wholly owned for-profit taxable subsidiary of Mozilla Foundation, that primarily focuses on delivering Firefox to end users. It will also oversee marketing and sponsorship of the products."

          Emphasis mine.

      • You know one thing I find annoying?
        Users that find bugs and never tell you about them.

        You know one thing I find annoying? Users that complain "there is no software available for [Linux|Mac]" and never write to software developers to let them know that they want their software to run on their platform of choice.

        You want something, let the devs know. In the case of Firefox, or any other application with a public bugzilla or other users-to-devs communication medium, there is no excuse.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deletedNO@SPAMslashdot.org> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:22AM (#24898583)

      Maybe, If you started to think, instead of demanding from people who give you stuff for free, you'd found out, that "Never" means "Never ask me if I want to update to *this* version.".

      Besides: If you don't like it, you can easily fix it. Every noob can change some "if (...)" in some JavaScript C code.

      Never forget that all that beautiful open source software only gets created, fixed and updated because we like to do it. And if we listen to you, it's only because we like to make people happy.
      If you insult us, call as stupid idiots, tell us that we're shit... do not expect us to even talk to you.

      It's common sense: Be nice. Most of the time, people will help you.
      But maybe some people do not get out of their basement too often... (Users and Developers alike)

    • by stevied (169)

      I have a feeling that behaviour might be "by design." From this blog entry [mozilla.org]:

      ".. select Never if you don't want to accept this upgrade offer; we might send you another offer again in the future, but it won't be for several weeks or months.."

      I don't know whether your "few" matches up with Mozilla's "several" :/

  • "the ability to 'drag and drop tabs between browser windows.'"

    You can do that now last time I checked...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Wow, I didn't know that. Tried just now on 3.0.1 and yes, you can.

      It's one of the things I really like with Chrome; I think Chrome does it slightly better (FF replaced the content of the the open tab in the destination window with the page from the source window and left the source tab open - Chrome creates a new tab in the destination window and closes the source tab). I'm still firmly in the Firefox camp so it'd be great if 3.1 more closely mirrors Chrome's tab moves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LiquidFire_HK (952632)

        On the other hand, Chrome doesn't seem to allow me to switch to another window by hovering the mouse over that window's taskbar button while dragging a tab - which makes the feature nearly useless if you use maximized windows. Especially since pressing alt-tab stops the dragging immediately. Hopefully they'll fix it by the release version.

        • But why maximize? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @06:31AM (#24899525) Homepage Journal

          Chrome doesn't seem to allow me to switch to another window by hovering the mouse over that window's taskbar button while dragging a tab - which makes the feature nearly useless if you use maximized windows.

          Most web site designs nowadays are tested against window widths of 800 to 1000 pixels. Many of them are "liquid", meaning that the width of the main text area resizes with the width of the window; on these, if you make the window too wide, you have to move your head back and forth to read [webstyleguide.com]. Others just put blank bars at the sides if your window is too wide. So unless you use a small screen, such as that of an older PC or a subnotebook PC, why would you use maximized windows with a web browser?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Kugrian (886993)

            So unless you use a small screen, such as that of an older PC or a subnotebook PC, why would you use maximized windows with a web browser?

            Poor eyesight?

            I increase the text size of all pages, just because it makes it easier on my eyes. Maximized windows means I get to see more of the easier to read content.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bytta (904762)
      Works fine from tabbar to tabbar in latest FF (3.0.1) - but TFA points to a bug from 2001 that's finally resolved.

      Probably dragging to anywhere in the window works now.

      • Wow, Slashdot's on fire tonight! That's the second top tab tip I've got. Thanks, bytta! Thanks, SLOviper!

        I tried tabbar to tabbar, too, and it works *exactly* as I'd expect - source tab closes, content appears in new tab at destination. Awesome!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by konohitowa (220547)

      As an FYI for Safari users, you can do the same in Safari. IIRC, it came in sometime in the 2.x era, but I might be mistaken in that. I frequently run the betas and the feature vs version issue gets a bit clouded for me.

      Anyway, you can rearrange the tabs, drag them to other windows, are drag them out into a new window.

      The only down side is that, as far as I can tell, you have to have multiple tabs in the window from which you're dragging. So consolidating two windows into one means you have to Cmd-T in one

    • I believe the current implementation just creates a new tab, copies the history of the dragged tab, loads the URL in the new tab, and closes the old one. Try it with a Gmail tab or something, and watch the whole thing reload. This probably also means the current drag-and-drop doesn't work on pages with submitted POST data. I would guess the new feature is true "reparenting" of tabs, which would avoid both these problems.

    • by tolan-b (230077)

      It reloads the tab though, I'm hoping they mean you can transfer the tab state without a reload.

  • by Anik315 (585913) <anik@alphaco r . n et> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:22AM (#24898333)

    To get a version with Tracemonkey, download a nightly build [mozilla.org] and follow these instructions:

    open a new tab
    type about:config and hit enter
    read the warning and heed its wisdom
    enter jit in the filter field
    double click on javascript.options.jit.chrome and javascript.options.jit.content to change their values to true

    • by Joe Tie. (567096)
      It's a pretty huge improvement too, at least on my machine. It's been a little more unstable, and crashes are usually the result. But the speed improvements seem pretty impressive. Both from a subjective feel, and benchmarking.
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:25AM (#24898355) Journal

    So here we have the Moz FF team saying: "We ain't dead yet!".

    With IE as the undisputed champion, nothing happened. FF brought the "browser war" back, and suddenly IE starts getting new features.

    Google's Chrome brings the browser war to a white heat - suddenly FF is being given a run for its money as the undisputed browser feature champion!

    Here's what I'd like to see:

    1) Process-per-tab. It sucks when some JS in some tab gets hung up, bringing everything else in the browser to its knees! Chrome is the only game in town here.

    2) Fast (native-speed) JS execution. (Chrome? FF?)

    3) Excellent plugin compatibility. Both FF and IE have this down.

    4) Cross Platform support. I'm a Win/Mac/Linux guy, I expect my software to work equally on all three. FF is the clear winner here.

    4) Ubiquity. For me, this is FF, because it's the first thing I download after a fresh OS install, regardless of the OS. But for most people, this is still IE.

    What am I going to use? Firefox has my money, still. I type this in Chrome, but I usually am not using Windows, so Chrome, Safari, and IE are non-starters for me.

    But Chrome makes it obvious: the browser is the next O/S.

    • by tobiasly (524456) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:35AM (#24898631) Homepage

      Google's Chrome brings the browser war to a white heat - suddenly FF is being given a run for its money as the undisputed browser feature champion!

      I really don't think that Google wants to enter the browser wars. They will make no money from Chrome; it is just a means to an end. What they are trying to do is just make sure that the rapid pace of browser development over the past few years continues unabated, so Microsoft doesn't pull another IE6 on us.

      I see Chrome as more of a "reference implementation" than a true competitor. Really, are they gonna put the effort into this thing to keep it current for the next decade? To foster the type of developer and add-on community that Firefox has? I just don't see it happening. I think they really just hope that Firefox, Safari, and Opera et. al. incorporate all the new ideas in Chrome into their own products.

      • by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @03:43AM (#24898853) Journal

        Really, are they gonna put the effort into this thing to keep it current for the next decade? To foster the type of developer and add-on community that Firefox has? I just don't see it happening. I think they really just hope that Firefox, Safari, and Opera et. al. incorporate all the new ideas in Chrome into their own products.

        If they have structure their code properly (and initial feedback indicates that they have) it will take perhaps a dozen reasonably qualified software engineers to keep Chrome relevant. Compared to the size and resources of Google, this is a fairly small investment.

        But the result is likely to be rather dramatic for Google: if they provide a simple, rapid, quality browser for a reasonable price that takes browsers to a whole new level, where the browser is very literally more like an operating system, this can have tremendous benefits for Google with its significant and growing number of online applications like google maps, gmail, calendar, and more by the day.

        Unlike IE, Chrome developers only have to build a browser that works. They don't have to integrate with some ActiveX or Cocoa API, they don't have to maintain retro-compatibility with a bazillion intranet applications. They just have to make a browser that's cross-platform and implements O/S features in the 80 MB or so of its download size that were common in early Unix Operating Systems that were 10 MB or so.

        While I have my doubts as to whether Chrome is everything claimed in their introductory comic, Chrome represents a good step forward, and the fact that it's open source and open license means that it's likely to spread far, wide, and deep within a few years.

        It's a double-plus sign to the KDE team; Chrome is based on webkit which is based on Konqueror which was written for KDE. Open-source cross-polinization at work!

        Go Google!

    • by H0p313ss (811249) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @03:02AM (#24898715)

      But Chrome makes it obvious: the browser is the next O/S.

      I wish this meme would die... tell me... will your browser have a posix API? Will your browser have it's own video and printer drivers? Will your browser allow me to run Linux as a hosted process?

      Honestly, kids these days...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by prockcore (543967)

        Will your browser have it's own video and printer drivers?

        There's no reason why it can't. In embedded space it even makes sense.

        The other two examples have nothing to do with whether or not something is an OS. Just your narrow definition of one.

    • 1) Process-per-tab. It sucks when some JS in some tab gets hung up, bringing everything else in the browser to its knees!

      I don't see this as a good thing. Really it's just a workaround for buggy code elsewhere, limiting the scope of damage to a single tab at the expense of using lots more system resources. Instead the JS interpreter or whatever bad behaving code should be fixed so that the browser as a whole is more stable without needing the extra overhead.

      The exception to this is of course closed sou

    • by Yer Mum (570034)

      Google's Chrome brings the browser war to a white heat - suddenly FF is being given a run for its money as the undisputed browser feature champion!

      I feel sorry for the FF team. After all those criticisms memory usage, they spend all that time ripping out the bloat from FF2 to get FF3. Then Google releases Chrome which is even more memory hogging, but as it's Google they can do no wrong...

    • Undisputed browser feature champion? Heh, Opera has always been better on features... Firefox wins on stability, website compatibility and extensibility.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:31AM (#24898393)

    While I appreciate the new features in Firefox's latest release, I am still disappointed in it because I cannot watch CNN live streams.
    Before you jump to conclusions, let me inform you that I have all the latest plugins installed; from Flash, Shockwave, Java and all the rest.

    I even have CNN's own plugin for Firefox installed...but live streams will not play! Incidentally, the commercial before the the actual content (which is in Flash), plays fine. When it's over, what one sees is a black screen!

    Whose fault it is, I do not know...all i know is that I cannot watch those live streams on CNN. What's going on?

    • by lazy_nihilist (1220868) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:15AM (#24898559)

      I even have CNN's own plugin for Firefox installed...but live streams will not play! Incidentally, the commercial before the the actual content (which is in Flash), plays fine. When it's over, what one sees is a black screen!

      The commercial plays fine, that's all what matters.

    • by anss123 (985305)

      I even have CNN's own plugin for Firefox installed...but live streams will not play!

      There are times when youtube videos refuse to play in Firefox (restarting the browser does not help), but the problem goes away eventually - In the meantime I just fire up ie.

      The bug is odd as it seemingly only hit one video website at a time. It may have something to do with cashing, so try clearing your cache - or fire up another browser.

    • Got silverlight?
  • shiretoko (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dr. Tom (23206) <tomh@nih.gov> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:38AM (#24898433) Homepage
    too bad they didn't say which kanji. shiretoko could be shireitoko, the place of a ghost. or it could be command place. shiretto-ko would be the little one who doesn't care. shiiretoko could also mean the buying up place ... japanese has so many homonyms
    • by zalas (682627)
      If it's just "shiretoko", then it might be the Shiretoko Peninsula [wikipedia.org] located in the northeast section of Hokkaido. And hate to be nitpicky, but shiretoko, shireitoko, shirettoko and shiiretoko are not homonyms, as they have a different rhythm when pronounced, although they sound a bit similar. Shireitoko has a prolonged 'e' sound, shirettoko has a stop/pause after the 'e' sound, shiiretoko has a prolonged 'i' sound.
    • by Mr Z (6791) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @03:09AM (#24898751) Homepage Journal

      japanese has so many homonyms

      I dunno. They all sound the same to me.

      ;-)

    • Um, no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by amake (673443) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @07:08AM (#24899695) Homepage

      All of the possibilities you mentioned are not the same word as "Shiretoko." Did you even notice as you typed them differently from the actual name?

      shireitoko != shirettoko != shiiretoko, and none of those are actual words, much less homonyms.

      AFAIK Firefox releases use place names, and Shiretoko is a peninsula in Hokkaido. See: Shiretoko Peninsula [wikipedia.org].

  • by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:00AM (#24898505)

    From Brendan's JS benchmarks:

    We win by 1.28x and 1.19x, respectively. Maybe we should rename TraceMonkey "V10" ;-).

    Apart from getting the "asshat" award for this comment, Brendan seems to ignore Firefox currently has the slowest DOM manipulation of any of the major browsers.

    And it's that DOM which is the bottleneck in most web applications (as I can testify as a web developer), as JS is mostly used to modify the document in some way, not to compute cryptographic hashes of huge datasets or the like.

    I am noticing a consistent trend in Mozilla trying to one-up the competition in their benchmarks, while ignoring the real-world problems of their products. Bad for their users, but in the long run, bad for Mozilla as a company and initiative as well.

  • Firefox Developers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Whiteox (919863) <htcstech@gmai l . c om> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:15AM (#24898557) Journal

    Chrome isn't perfect and doesn't run all that well on a hyperthreaded P4 single core.
    I'm not about to throw away my computers just to run a beta Chrome which really isn't as functional as my Firefox. I doubt if it would ever be.
    A lot of us appreciate the work that FF dev. does and it can only improve.
    Thanks.

  • Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tolan-b (230077) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @03:11AM (#24898759)

    I wonder if FF are planning to fix the poor memory handling and speed in Linux any time soon. I'm getting quite tired of just how Windows focussed they are. I know that needs to be their primary target, but it would be nice if the Linux version didn't lag behind *quite* so much, especially seeing as they forget to mention that all these fancy improvements listed for a new version don't actually apply to the Mac and Linux versions.

  • If you're using FF 3 and want to try out 3.1, chances are you've got a bunch of extensions that will get disabled. Doesn't look like they made any major changes that should affect extensions, so just go to about:config and add/set "extensions.checkCompatibility" to false

  • Meh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @04:20AM (#24898987) Journal
    Speed, who cares. As I work in websites I of course need to have all browsers installed and running, Opera is my favorite browser, its mouse gestures is simply the most complete and function, in Firefox, it still feels tagged on. Same with tabbed browsing, although firefox is getting better at it, opera does it best. For specific tasks, I use firefox, I especially like its spell checked in textarea's, if I care about my spelling (guess what weeb site I doo nt car abot speeling) then that is the one I use, it also used to be the one with the best tools for a dev to see what the hell is going on with CSS and html. And then chrome landed and WOW. Maybe I am using the wrong add-ons in Firefox/Opera but Chrome gives some very nice tools for inspecting CSS and how it is affecting your layout. I really couldn't care less about executing speed, what I expect in a browser is to do what I want it to do well, a mili-second faster or slower has no effect. Firefox is still the most well-rounded browser out there, but right now, two of its tasks for me are better handled by other browsers.
  • HTML 5 video (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @04:33AM (#24899063) Homepage

    Great! Now all of Opera, Safari and Firefox support the video element, can we please kill flash already?

    I doubt youtube, game trailers, southpark studios and friends will demand this real soon now because people in general suck but I can wish can't I?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027)

      Now all of Opera, Safari and Firefox support the video element, can we please kill flash already?

      There are useful parts of SWF other than FLV, such as the ability to synchronize vector animation to audio, and the ability to run in Windows Internet Explorer on parent-owned, employer-owned, or library-owned PCs that restrict the execution of "all of Opera, Safari and Firefox".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259)

      Now all of Opera, Safari and Firefox support the video element, can we please kill flash already?

      You have to support the browsers your target audience uses; until IE drops to single-digit usage figures or implements the video tag, Flash video isn't going anywhere.

  • Still no .. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jopet (538074) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @04:34AM (#24899067) Journal

    still no decent process separation between tabs and plugins though. FF has a lot of work to do to catch up to Chrome (or even IE) in this respect. This problem has been known since years now and nothing has happened.
    They could also learn a thing or two about sandboxing from both IE and Chrome.

  • by mutherhacker (638199) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @08:00AM (#24899943)
    Chrome stayed on my system for about 15 minutes during the evaluation. Yes it was fast, yes it was shiny but I dont think i can browse without my firefox addons (adblock plus!!, piclens, rikaichan for japanese etc). I got used to the web without ads and I just cant go back.
  • "We are so, so happy with Google Chrome [today.com]," mumbled Mozilla CEO John Lilly through gritted teeth. "That most of our income is from Google has no bearing on me making this statement. Their implementation of our JavaScript is SO GOOD it's ... pleasing. Really."

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