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Mozilla The Internet Technology

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 Released 273

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-love-daft-punk dept.
ink writes "Mozilla has released the third beta for Firefox 3.1 (which may become Firefox 3.5). This beta includes the new location bar, Mozilla's new JavaScript engine Tracemonkey, new HTML5 features and many other enhancements. It looks the same on the surface, but there are many changes under the hood."
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Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 Released

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  • Great (Score:2, Informative)

    by stonedcat (80201)

    They changed the location bar again.
    Now I can watch people flip out about it on the interwebs for 6 months as well as being personally annoyed with re-getting used to how it functions.

    • Re:Great (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tx (96709) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:55AM (#27168043) Journal

      As usual with Firefox features, if you don't like it, you can probably fix it. Try the oldbar [mozilla.org] extension. There is probably a way to disable it without an extension, ISTR there is a setting in about:config for 3.0 at least, but you can google that yourself. Personally I love the awesome bar, although I don't think I will flip out about the new version for a whole 6 months, but each to their own.

      • Cue up the replay of the "oldbar is not a fix" flameware. Hell, it's open source, if you don't like teh awesomebar, rewrite it and recompile it. We're on slashdot, after all.
        • Re:Great (Score:5, Funny)

          by Spatial (1235392) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:49PM (#27168937)
          Flameware sounds like a great name for some forum software.
        • by Toonol (1057698)
          A still easier solution would have been for the developers to have not stripped out the old code inthe first place. They did have both versions working concurrently in an early beta, with an option to switch between them; but they wanted to push the AwesomeBar as a feature, so removed the choice.
    • They have?

      Looks the same to me [sorn.net]

  • by amclay (1356377) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:47AM (#27167927) Homepage Journal
    I was going to download this using Mozilla Firefox, but Microsoft told me it would be faster downloading, and it's returning a exception. Too bad I wanted to use it.
  • It always amazed me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coryking (104614) * on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:52AM (#27167987) Homepage Journal

    How pretty much everything we do uses JSON and until now there has been no love from the browser.

    My question is, will all these new JavaScript goodies (both in Firefox and in IE8) get rolled into jQuery? That way if jQuery sees the browser can do JSON serialization, or timeouts on XHttpRequests, it will use the native stuff instead of emulating the behavior?

    I'm gonna have to play with the VIDEO thing. The big problem such a new feature will have is codec support. Nobody is gonna transcode their streaming content to use this thing when they can just use flash player. That and I really dont want "normal people" trying to find codecs on google--most of the hits for "$AWESOME_CODEC" are usually just spyware installers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sveinungkv (793083)

      That and I really dont want "normal people" trying to find codecs on google--most of the hits for "$AWESOME_CODEC" are usually just spyware installers.

      Firefox 3.5 won't have support for other codecs than those that are built in (various Xiph [xiph.org] codecs (Vorbis, Theora) and Wav). Since it won't be possible to install extra codecs for use in Firefox Firefox won't contribute to "normal people" installing random codecs from the net. If/when support for [mozilla.org] system [mozilla.org] codecs [mozilla.org] land (probably after 3.5) you may get the proble

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *

      Check this out:

      https://developer.mozilla.org/samples/video/chroma-key/index.xhtml [mozilla.org]

      You can now dump the video to a Canvas for manipulation! Which means that you can now do real-time video effects in Firefox! The example above demonstrates Chroma-Key background replacement. An impressive feat for a web browser, wouldn't you say? :-)

      Source and explanation are here:

      https://developer.mozilla.org/En/Manipulating_video_using_canvas [mozilla.org]

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:56AM (#27168069)

    ...It looks the same on the surface, but there are many changes under the hood."...

    Will Joe Public be in position to notice them? The new engine might be indeed faster but I wonder whether an ordinary user will see a difference.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      I'd say Safari on iPhone vs. Fennec on Nokia is going to be the primary arena in which people see any comparison.

      On the modern desktop, speed is much harder to notice.

    • Probably with respect to Javascript performance. A lot of people notice slow performance in javascript heavy websites like Facebook, Yahoo! Mail's beta AJAX interface, etc. If they see a dramatic speedup, they will notice even if they do not know why.

    • Does that even matter? Joe Average doesn't complain about Firefox's speed or memory usage, only geeks do because they have 2000 tabs open and leave Firefox running for 4 years.

      • by Kagura (843695)
        Wow, it feels like you're talking right to me. That description fits my Firefox usage exactly. ;)
    • >>Will Joe Public be in position to notice them?

      YES.

      Many of my admin consoles have gone web based. MessageLabs, Zenworks, many others. In IE it can take IE up to 2 seconds after each click to go to the next page. Firefox 3.1 beta lowers this time to MS.

      Users will notice.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought Firefox was going to be implementing the same type of preemptive threading and memory protection that Chrome and, I think, IE 8 have?

    So far the latest FF beta all seem horribly slow with multiple pages. The more tabs the worse the overall performance.

    Also, the latest FF betas still have the awful performance rot where overall performance degrades over time as you continue to open and close tabs.

    After using Chrome for a while it is hard to keep using FF when I've been able to keep Chrome open for a

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:15PM (#27168373)

      FF isn't EVER going to have a pre-emptive threading and protected memory for tabs. Anyone who has taken a look at the stinking pile of shit that is the FF codebase can see that. It would require effectively rewriting the entire FF codebase from scratch. And if you were going to do that you might as well just go with Chrome that already has all of that fundamental work done and working incredibly well.

      It is absolutely pathetic that Microsoft now has a browser that is the constant source of ridicule from open source users and developers that leaves their main browser technologically in the dust.

      Chrome - pre-emptive threading and memory protection for tabs
      IE 8 - pre-emptive threading and memory protection for tabs
      Firefox - monolithic address space and all tabs are part of the same thread

      Absolutely embarrassing.

      What that means is Firefox will forever be riddled with memory and resource leaks over time as each tab gets opened and close leaving crap behind. And as more and more websites become more application like the lack of pre-emptive Javascript for Firefox is just going to become more and more painful. With Chrome and IE 8 you can have massive numbers of tabs with huge amounts of Javascript in each one and every single tab and the overall browser UI will remain lightning quick.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mattkime (8466)

        >>It is absolutely pathetic that Microsoft now has a browser that is the constant source of ridicule from open source users and developers that leaves their main browser technologically in the dust.

        Unless you account for rendering web pages. ....which i guess not everybody does. *shrug*

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:27PM (#27168575)

      Everyone remembers FF devs flaming people in those FF memory leak stories from a few years ago. The anger comes from the fact they know they have a huge problem with the way FF is architected. Lashing out is a very common reaction from developers who are aware of some fundamental problem with their code that they know would require massive amounts of work they are unable or unwilling to fix.

      The FF devs got away with it because they were compared to the horrible mess that IE was back then. Now IE has really gotten its shit together now with it great leaps forward with javascript performance, threading, and memory protection.

      With Chrome and its incredibly clean and modern code base and extensions soon to arrive and the Linux version rapidly maturing, the only reason to keep using FF will be misplaced lingering fanboyism from the "IE sucks! I use FF so I'm cool" days.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SharpFang (651121)

        Only when Google decides to shoot its revenue foot and release adblock, I might consider Chrome.

        Firefox by itself - I'd be grateful if they scaled back. Do you remember the origin? There was this bloated hog called Mozilla Suite, and there was this little-known neglected wild branch called Phoenix, which was meant to be the Mozilla engine with a minimalistic, customizable frontend - cut on all the bloat.

        And suddenly people switched en masse to the small, lean "just a browser" thingy while the monstrosity di

        • Give me a browser that can run on a Commodore 64-sized computer times the 8-to-64 bit word conversion..... .....somewhere around 1/2 or 1 megabyte in size. That would be slick.

          Yeah I know. "Impossible." (sigh). Right now my FF3 browser is using ~150 megabytes and I don't know why it needs all that room just to display one single page.

      • The Firefox devs got away with it by fixing their memory problems. They made Firefox use less memory than other browsers [arstechnica.com]. What was it they were unable or unwilling to fix again?
      • Everyone remembers FF devs flaming people in those FF memory leak stories from a few years ago

        I don't remember any Firefox developers flaming people about memory issues. I remember fanboys doing it, but there's a big difference there. The only "official" response I know of from any Firefox developers was Ben's "It's a feature, not a bug" blog post from 2005, which is long-obsolete. Ben doesn't even work for Mozilla anymore (ironically, he's on the Chrome team now).

      • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:16PM (#27172273)

        With Chrome and its incredibly clean and modern code base and extensions soon to arrive and the Linux version rapidly maturing, the only reason to keep using FF will be misplaced lingering fanboyism

        It's easy to have a clean codebase when...

        * No fullscreen mode.
        * No detection of click-through
        * Cut and paste uses icon-shape style instead of dragging an image
        * Can't grow selection using cursor
        * Not cross platform
        * History is just a list of titles (can't even get URL info)
        * History looks like a webpage, but you can't do text search or select or right-click on links
        * Downloads looks like a webpage, but same problems as history
        * Closing a window with multiple tabs nukes them with no warning.
        * No 'view page info' showing links, media, etc
        * No 'page style' css choices
        * Poor handling of many tabs (they shrink forever).
        * Can't control what sites are in the screenshots on start page
        * Can't search inside and outside a text field at once (either or)
        * Can't see pages that are in the cache (work offline mode)
        * Print... just silently does nothing if no printer installed
        * No rss support at all
        * No multiple profiles
        * With lots of bookmarks, it doesn't remember where you were in the list so you have to scroll to the bottom again to click more than one
        * Can't allow/prevent pages from choosing their own fonts
        * No whitelist for cookies
        * No clearing of cookies on closing browser
        * No separate proxy settings, have to use OS ones
        * No settings for enable/disable Java, Javascript.
        * Can't restrict Javascript behaviors, such as moving windows
        * Can't disable image loading
        * Can't modify MIME type mappings
        * Can't set max history time in days or entries
        * Can't set cache size
        * No master password
        * No whitelist to avoid site warnings
        * No support for security devices
        * Can't control update behavior
        * Poor accessibility
        * No autoscroll (fixed?)
        * Can't clear all transfers (have to remove one by one)
        * Buggy UI, for example Text Encoding menu doesn't autoscroll up despite having arrows (have to click arrow, can autoscroll down if wiggle mouse)
        * No firebug equivalent.
        * No mouse gestures.
        * Plugins perform badly and/or fail
        * Has bad rendering on many non-perfect sites (same with all WebKit browsers)

        Oh yeah, and they stole the name 'chrome' from Mozilla, which is pretty scummy. They don't even give props to Mozilla for the name.

        Let me know if these are outdated... I don't have my Windows vmware image handy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by theantipop (803016)
        Plugin support?
  • Version Numbers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blincoln (592401) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:04PM (#27168209) Homepage Journal

    I know there is a tendency among some people to think of version numbers as decimal, since they use decimal points. I know I did when I was younger.

    It's kind of annoying when major projects make this mistake though. It leads to all sorts of confusion when people see results like version 3.1.150 being after 3.1.50 and don't know why that's the case (".5 is more than .15!", which in the case of the Firefox release mentioned in TFS would be accurate, but in the case of properly-numbered software wouldn't), or other people truncate 3.1.50 to 3.1.5.

    I wish major projects at least would use the traditional "increment by one" method. If it can be done for the X-Men 2.1 DVD (after nerds no doubt complained about the "X-Men 1.5" DVD), it can be done for Firefox et al too :).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Daimanta (1140543)

      Well, I understand your position but no system is perfect.

      Example:

      You release the game "Dungeon Plunderers" and you give it the version number 1.0 at release and increment(to 1.01 or 1.1, whatever is the liking) when releasing updates.

      Now you release the sequel "Dungeon Plunderers 2", what should its version number be? 1.0? 2.0? Both things could be argued for. 1.0 because of the fact that it has no direct software connection with "Dungeon Plunderers 1" and may use things like a new graphics engine or even

      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        This is why I like Ubuntu's method of using sequential letters. I can never remember the version number, but if anyone asks me what version I use, I just say Intrepid Ibex.
        • by compro01 (777531)

          The versions are just the year.month of the release (8.04 is April, 2008). The animals are before they know the release date firm (it may slip due to a major bug being discovered at the last moment or something.), though I do like just "version letter", even though I still find the names silly.

    • I think I'm missing something. I see 3.1b3 in my about box. Not 3.1.150. When 3.5 comes out, that's a higher number than any of the 3.1x versions. No confusion.

  • HTML 5 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    <BLINK> is back!
  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:13PM (#27168347) Homepage Journal

    I'm looking forward to them resolving the bit where the *nix Firefox builds performed slower than the win32 builds, supposedly due to Profile Guided Optimizations in javascript:

    http://www.tuxradar.com/content/benchmarked-firefox-javascript-linux-and-windows-and-its-not-pretty [tuxradar.com]

  • I just downloaded and am using it now .. it definitely feels faster, however, will it crash less on a Mac? :(

    I love firefox, and I use it everywhere, but man, is it awful on a Mac.

    Please don't flame, just an honest opinion from a long time firefox user/supporter/evangelist.

    • I love firefox, and I use it everywhere, but man, is it awful on a Mac.

      Really? What sort of bad? I use it on all four Macs of various ages and abilities at home. The only problem I've noted was that stupid Flash 9 would lock the system after a couple of hours. Flash 10 works fine (well, as well as Flash ever works...)

      The "Awesome Bar" should be renamed the "Awful Bar", but that's apparently a feature, not a bug.

      • Really? What sort of bad? I use it on all four Macs of various ages and abilities at home. The only problem I've noted was that stupid Flash 9 would lock the system after a couple of hours. Flash 10 works fine (well, as well as Flash ever works...)

        Like after a day or so of usage, it just decides to not render pages properly (not just little minor things, but complete failure to fetch/load CSS files etc). I have to quit and reload it, and even then, I have to sometimes force quit it because it won't respond to the apple-q. I know it's not just me, because a friend of mine sees the exact same behaviour. He's moved to Safari. I prefer to have the same browser on all my platforms (mac/linux) with the same 2 add-ons (flashblock, web developer) for consist

        • Do you, perchance, have Flash 9 loaded? I ask because that is extraordinarily similar to the one problem I had on my wife's 15" MBP. Did all sorts of the usual OS X things - flushed caches, cleared permissions, stuck pins in my Wozniak doll. I had even done a couple of Google searches without any useful hints. Then one day after getting the Evil Eye once again ("it's always MY computer that breaks!"), I must have had a burst of good Googlefu and out popped this post with the same problem and the suggesti
      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Man, and here I was thinking the awesome bar was pretty awesome, letting me find old links and such without having to remember exactly the google incantations I used. Thanks for setting me straight on that!
    • by jbeaupre (752124)
      Firefox 3.X being awful on a Mac is an understatement ... when running OSX 10.3.9
  • by feelafel (228034) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:16PM (#27168397) Homepage

    Hey everyone - glad you're excited about the new beta, we're pretty excited to release it. We actually haven't finished the QA on the download page, the update snippets, etc, yet. What you're seeing here is that last night we started sending out the final bits to our mirror network. So yes, you could go get it directly off the FTP servers, but that can overload mirrors and make it hard for other people to download it.

    We'd prefer if you waited a few hours until about 2pm PDT when we'll be ready to update:

    http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/all-beta.html [mozilla.com]

    which uses our mirror-rotation script to ease the load of downloads.

    Mike Beltzner
    Director of Firefox Development

    • Mod up! I can wait a few hours for the awesomeness.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by hattig (47930)

      PDT - is that Pre-Download Tension?

      I'm sure it's building up here. Some geeks might have to take the afternoon off work because of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheUni (1007895)

      This link works, and seems to use the rotation script so I hope I'm not making things worse:

      http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/products/download.html?product=firefox-3.1b3&os=linux&lang=en-US [mozilla.com]

      (insert your OS of choice in the link)

      TheUni

    • Hi! That's good, but i'm afraid i have to be annoying now.

      2 years ago, there were rumours floating around that "Firefox 3 will release official .msi files for enterprise deployment." 3.0.7.. or 3.1... or 3.5... is here now, and the only source for central management i can readily access are third-party packagers.

      Some provide this free - tho rebranded - and others charge for the service. There are of course also commercial solutions to build my own packages. Any of them, especially the free ones, release

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by feelafel (228034)

      We released early - go get it.

  • by sam0737 (648914) <samNO@SPAMchowchi.com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:33PM (#27168663)

    Finally..finally!

    Now I think I an transcode my snapshot video footage into a format that I don't have to worry about for ...at next 5-10 years.

  • Here's the feature I want: bug fixes! Everytime I turn around there's a new Firefox packed full of new features I don't need. I wondering how rock solid it could be if they spent half that energy on fixing bugs. No new features until the bug queue is empty!

  • Couldn't they provide 64bit binaries? That would be very useful, at least to me...

  • I use Firefox on Linux as my primary browser. I'm having a huge problem with random slowdowns, however. It seems to be fairly random, exacerbated when multiple tabs are open, and possibly related to Flash. When the slowdowns start occuring Firefox will start eating 99% of CPU and become unresponsive. A strace will show dozens of gettimeofday() calls every second.

    A google search for "firefox getttimeofday" will show many people with similar problems.

    This is on CentOS 5.2 with the latest packaged firefox...

    An

    • See bug 273310 [mozilla.org] (not that there's much there to help)
    • by david.given (6740)

      I use Firefox on Linux as my primary browser. I'm having a huge problem with random slowdowns, however. It seems to be fairly random, exacerbated when multiple tabs are open, and possibly related to Flash. When the slowdowns start occuring Firefox will start eating 99% of CPU and become unresponsive. A strace will show dozens of gettimeofday() calls every second.

      I had something similar to this and managed to fix it by changing my X configuration --- either from EXA acceleration to XAA acceleration or vice v

  • by justinlindh (1016121) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:00PM (#27172063)

    My interest in the new Firefox betas is its official support of cross-site HTTP requests (documented at https://developer.mozilla.org/En/HTTP_access_control [mozilla.org]). It's following the new W3C spec (http://dev.w3.org/2006/waf/access-control/) for allowing the XmlHttpRequest to communicate with an external domain without the use of the filthy "script get" hacks. I've just spent some time implementing a proof-of-concept for this stuff, and am impressed with how well it works. It even allows POST requests so you're not limited by the usual GET length limits.

    It does require server-side modifications, but they're mostly simple.

    I see this as the best new feature of Firefox and plan on adding support for this method of XHR into my applications, with failover to the old "script get" stuff. I only hope that other browsers also embrace this new functionality in the near future.

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