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Mozilla The Internet Upgrades

Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 Adds Private Browsing 216

Posted by kdawson
from the more-features-late-in-the-game dept.
CWmike was one of several readers to point out the release of Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, the first version of its flagship browser to switch on the much faster TraceMonkey JavaScript engine and sport a working privacy mode dubbed "Private Browsing." An ancillary addition to Private Browsing is a new addition to the "Clear Recent History" dialog box allowing users selectively to erase the last hour, the last two hours, the last four hours, today's, or all browsing history — previously, the wipe was all or nothing. This beta includes support for "web worker threads," a developing specification that will let Web-based application developers run background processes to speed up their apps. One feature present in Beta 1 is gone in the new beta: Ctrl-Tab switching. According to the developer, the UI needs more work; the feature probably won't be in the final 3.1.
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Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 Adds Private Browsing

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  • Come on... no Ctrl+Tab switching?
    How could anyone possibly use it without that feature?

    Seems like a deal-breaker for me...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't know what the hell they were thinking with that. I hope there's still some method of switching between tabs without reaching for the mouse.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by AlterRNow (1215236)
        Alt + [0-9] allows me to switch tabs without the mouse ( not sure on any limitations e.g. only up to 10th tab ).
        • by Fri13 (963421)

          Not on my beta2... Ctrl+Tabs works just fine (I like the Ctrl+, or Ctrl+. like on konqueror, because I can move more easier to both sides than just forward and back with Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab.

          Altough the Alt+0-9 does not work on me...

      • by Shining Celebi (853093) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:01AM (#26045865) Homepage

        Don't know what the hell they were thinking with that. I hope there's still some method of switching between tabs without reaching for the mouse.

        You can still switch tabs with Ctrl+Tab, it's just the fancy effects [mozillalinks.org] to go along with it are gone, as well as it switching based on recency instead of order. It'll work the same way it does in Firefox 3. You can also switch between tabs with Ctrl+PageUp and Ctrl+PageDown.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by auric_dude (610172)
      The acid test is will it now pass the http://acid3.acidtests.org/ [acidtests.org] ?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jugalator (259273)

        No. Maybe Firefox 3.2. *shrug*

        More interesting that talking about numbers in the Acid3 test is about the features lacking though. And a major part lacking here would be SVG fonts.

      • nah it scores 92 (at 100% page zoom, 89 at other zooms)but acid is just a pissing contest. Im much more worried about the way it fails most of css2.1 when not at 100% page zoom.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jez9999 (618189)

      Dunno why this was modded funny... have they seriously disabled that? If so, why???

    • by deniable (76198)
      Next question, how the hell did they break it? The UI needs more work, WTF? Maybe they were trying to add some eye candy to it.
    • by evilNomad (807119) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @09:58AM (#26045827)

      The Ctrl+Tab functionality is still there, they just removed the new interface that they had added in beta 1..

      • by y5 (993724) * on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:05AM (#26045917)

        The Ctrl+Tab functionality is still there, they just removed the new interface that they had added in beta 1..

        Mod parent up. I'm using the latest nightly, and you can still CTRL+TAB. It just removes the screen previews from the previous beta, which IMO were slow and annoying.

        I wish the summary were more clear.

        • by clickety6 (141178)

          Why use screen previews which are bound to be slow and cumbersome. if you need some sort of indicator, why not just use favicons and page title and have something more like ATL+TAB under Linux, Windows, etc.

    • Geez did you people actually download the beta and try it?

      CTRL-TAB still works. I am rotating through tabs as we speak.

      All that was removed was the fancy previews of the tabs as you hit CTRL-TAB. They removed it to work on the impli

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kelbear (870538)

      I keep a "close" button on my mouse. This is really just Alt+F4 but in Firefox to close a tab it's CTRL+W. (I can address this in program-specific options though)

      I keep a "toss window" button on my mouse to "toss" a window from one screen to the other, but I can't use it on a tab.

      I've got a button to tile all the windows via Switchr (kinda like what they've got on a mac), but it doesn't help with tabs.

      In firefox I don't have a forward or back button. I use a Shift button and a Minimize button instead. Shift

    • by ZosX (517789)

      Foxtab:

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8879 [mozilla.org]

      Coverflow styled ctrl+tab.

  • by Firkragg14 (992271) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @09:18AM (#26045537)
    No more suspicious empty history porn fans.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Most distros, if you set up a user with a UID less than 1000, it doesn't show up anywhere on login screens, etc, but still functions normally. Name it something deceptive like httpdaemon and bury the home directory somewhere within /etc and tada, your own fully featured stealth pron user. No guarantees, but my SO hasn't found it after three years...

      Poisted AC for obvious reasons (ie, she reads /.)

      • She reads slashdot, but she doesn't know how to do a "find / -iname *.jpg" ??

        Dude, she knows.

      • by zaxus (105404)

        Better couple that with a loopback filesystem, to defeat random "find" and "locate" commands. Mount your loopback when you need access to your porn, make sure you unmount it when you're done. The worst thing your may have to do is migrate to a bigger loopback file if you run out of room. Has worked for me like a champ. :-)

      • And now she's going to run find / -name '.bash_history'
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ThePhilips (752041)

      To me, better feature would be to save history for only specified sites and/or to never save anything from specified sites.

      There are some sites I visit only to check something periodically - and I do not want them to be in history. Or sites which force you for every little thing to go to new page. I simply do not need them to clog my history.

    • An ancillary addition to Private Browsing is a new addition to the "Clear Recent History" dialog box allowing users selectively to erase the last hour, the last two hours, the last four hours, today's, or all browsing history -- previously, the wipe was all or nothing.

      No matter how much or how little of the history you delete, there's always going to be that little "gaping hole." Clever parents know that when someone goes online, there's going to be a history trail. But when a parent checks the history an

  • by Eccles (932) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @09:20AM (#26045565) Journal

    Stealther did the same thing, but started a heck of a lot faster and could even delete downloads. It doesn't work completely with 3.1 though. Clearing the history for periods of time is a nice touch for those who forget to engage the private mode.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Auraiken (862386)
      Or for those who want privacy in the engaged mode ;)
    • by BZ (40346)

      I believe the private browsing mode does delete downloads from the download manager (though not from your disk, of course).

  • Javascript speed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @09:34AM (#26045639) Homepage

    If the new Javascript engine is turned on, does this mean that the new Firefox beta gives a larger e-penis [somethingawful.com] than Chrome or the latest Safari?

    Seriously, I am thinking it might be time to start learning Javascript (to a higher level than just being able to copy and paste snippets to autoscroll the page and other simple effects). It's not perfect but it has wide support and mindshare, which is more important than any technical criterion. What I want to do is display simple graphs in the browser of things like stock prices, based on information fetched over SOAP (yeah I know SOAP is a bit clunky, but it's the interface I have). Can more experienced programmers recommend Javascript tutorial sites (at a higher level than 'copy and paste this snippet of code to get cool smilies!') or a good set of libraries?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Azeroth48 (855550)
      learn jQuery.. one of the best lib ever made for javascript! http://jquery.com/ [jquery.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JuanCarlosII (1086993)
        jQuery is probably good starting point if you want to be able to do simple things very quickly and easily. If you are interested in actually learning the language itself as opposed to just how to do things in one particular library then I'd also recommend looking at Prototype [prototypejs.org]. Prototype reveals a little more of the native DOM than perhaps jQuery allows so IM(NS)HO is a better primer for someone looking to grasp the fundamentals of the language, whereas jQuery is probably the best for actually "getting stuff
    • by sootman (158191)

      I remember seeing a reference to something like 'jsgraphs' that used javascripot (and probably css) to do graphs. I used to LOVE using PHP to create SVGs and was very happy when Firefox and Safari announced native support, but Safari's support does NOT extend to the iPhone so I'm looking for something new. I just looked for 'jsgraphs' and came up empty and paging through results for 'javascript graph' didn't yield anything that looked familiar. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

  • Nothing new (Score:4, Informative)

    by fxkr (1343139) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @09:35AM (#26045649)
    Isn't this what Distrust [mozilla.org] is for? And that one is even better:
    1. Activate it.
    2. Surf.
    3. Deactivate it.

    It then deletes everything that happened between 1. and 3., but keeps what happened before you activated it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    with IE7 via group policy you can stop the user from clearing history etc, can Firefox do the same ?
    or is Firefox going to be deemed a security threat by Administrators ? which is not good for corporate usage and compliance

    • with IE7 via group policy you can stop the user from clearing history etc, can Firefox do the same?

      Maybe I'm just stupid, but how do you capture the history of the other browsers your users are running? I'm not entirely convinced that other browsers (such as safari, chrome, elinks, w3m-mode and others) play nice with group policy either.

      If you want to log browsing history, just do it at the border router(s), for your desired value of border. Then you can chill out and stop worrying about what browser people are using.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Maybe I'm just stupid, but how do you capture the history of the other browsers your users are running?

        By not allowing them to execute because the program's SHA-256 value isn't on a whitelist maintained by the IT department. In Wikipedia, see Code signing [wikipedia.org].

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @09:57AM (#26045815) Homepage

    If your workplace has you going through a proxy, no amount of stealth in the browser is going to help.

    I have had a ton of people requesting I install Chrome for them ( which violates policy anyway ) because they mistakenly think that the privacy feature will hide their browsing habits from the logs.

    Oh, they try to be sneaky about it, sure. But that's what their after. I have half a mind to install it for them, then watch the logs to see what they don't want me to know about.

    • by ryanvm (247662)

      I don't admin Windows boxes anymore, but I was under the impression that Chrome would install without admin privileges (i.e., not in "\Program Files\") if the user didn't have them. Is that not the case?

      • I couldn't install it at uni ... so I think you must need some admin privileges. There is a 'portable apps' version of chrome, but it had issues too unfortunately.
    • by xant (99438)

      > Oh, they try to be sneaky about it, sure. But that's what their after

      Why did you go into desktop support? You clearly have a career as a psychic. Or maybe a diplomat or a spy or something. You really know how to read people like a master.

      Or could it be that you're wrong, and most of them are actually just trying to install the most-hyped new browser?

      Also, you're wrong about the proxy. Tor fixes that just fine.

      • Admin know thy user. My users don't give a rat's ass about the latest and greatest. They do care about hiding their pron and gambling habits from the IT division.

        Tor doesn't work on a network where the admin blocks all access out. Like any sane admin would do.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      If your workplace has you going through a proxy, no amount of stealth in the browser is going to help.

      ssh -D 12345 user@home
      Use a socks proxy at 127.0.0.1:12345
      set network.proxy.socks_remote_dns in about:config

      • Maybe. But if you were on my network, you wouldn't have any connectivity out except through the proxy.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hatta (162192)

          No [kartbuilding.net] problem [wieers.com].

          Not that I advocate violating company policy. Just pointing out that it can be done. After all, a false sense of security can be worse than no security at all.

  • to whitelist/blacklist storing items in your history/cache by URL? They have it for just about everything else!

    Right-click, go to "View Page Info", and click "Permissions". It should be right there. Any takers on writing an extension for this?

    • Well, then there would be a record. If you have chickswithleukimia.com blacklisted, then your wife and kids could go into the blacklist list and see that you put it in. A record of the fact that you don't want people to know you look at that site is an admission that you go there.
      • by pbhj (607776)

        Who'd have thought that chickswithleukaemia.com would be so popular it has typo squatters ....

        [no I didn't check if it exists]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by y5 (993724) *
        But isn't that why there's a master password? I'd use that feature and protect it.
  • Mozilla Links (Score:4, Informative)

    by Björn (4836) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:05AM (#26045911)
    There is a good article [mozillalinks.org] at Mozilla Links, about 3.1 beta 2.
  • It's interesting that IE actually had the private browsing feature with IE 8 Beta first. While I have no interest in going back to IE whatsoever, it's a very good thing that they're finally building innovative features, and it's also a good thing that Firefox is having to play catch-up feature-wise for the first time. Wow - real competition in the browser space - what is this, 1998???

  • I really do hope that the submitter is confused and that Firefox will not be spawning background processes, or else that would be the end of Firefox.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      What makes you think that?

  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:28AM (#26046175) Homepage

    My solution is that each time I start a web browser, it first runs through a script that creates a replica of the .mozilla directory in a unique place. The HOME environment variable is set to the unique directory. When it's done, I exit and just wipe out that directory.

    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @11:00AM (#26046583)

      I've been using a simpler solution for a few years

      I love Slashdot.

      Only on Slashdot would it be "simpler" to code a custom script that automatically runs when starting a particular application, generates a new temporary profile, sets an environment variable to use that profile, and deletes the profile on exit; rather than sometimes click a menu item marked "private".

      I'm not disagreeing that your solution is simpler, by the way. It is actually a great way to force a particular behavior in a robust way, and is simple to use once implemented. But it's only "simpler" for Slashdotters!

    • Post it.

  • Since Safari has had the privacy mode feature for years.

  • Does Firefox add threading for tabs yet?

    I still use SRWare Iron [srware.net] (the phone-home-free version of Chrome) because it runs each tab/window in a separate process, so I can load many tabs in the background while the foreground tab is unaffected and I'm able to use it.

    The fact that Firefox still lacks this usability feature (the ability to do things in one window while another is busy) blows my mind. Even IE does it.

    I mean, it's nice to see them steal - and expound on! - a feature from Chrome, but they're still m

    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      I still use SRWare Iron (the phone-home-free version of Chrome) because it runs each tab/window in a separate process, so I can load many tabs in the background while the foreground tab is unaffected and I'm able to use it.

      Actually, it (Google Chrome, SRWare Iron etc.) doesn't. It only does so to a certain point, then it starts using threads.

  • Privacy and URLs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @02:14PM (#26049049)

    Does this version resolve the privacy flaw in 3.0? Namely, the fact that the autocomplete history for the URL bar is not erased, even when the user manually clears all available privacy options?

  • ... I was doing some private browsing.
  • Will websites be able to take advantage of these parallel Javascript threads while remaining cross-browser-compatible, is what I'd like to know...

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