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Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 Released 212

Posted by timothy
from the waiting-in-the-wings dept.
An anonymous reader writes with word of the release of the first alpha of Firefox 3.6, "intended for developers and testers only." "As with Firefox 3.5, there are improvements to the performance; pages render faster, and pages with JavaScript code run much faster with the new Tracemonkey engine. Although this Firefox version carries the code name 'Namoroka' Alpha 1, it is also currently referred to as Firefox.next. And like other Firefox Alphas, it does not bear the Firefox logo. This release uses the Gecko 1.9.2 engine and will likely include several interface improvements in later versions, such as new graphical tab-switching behavior, which was removed from 3.5 with Beta 2." Update: 08/09 03:54 GMT by T : Read more at InaTux.com.
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Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 Released

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  • No link (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What? Is it me or there is really no link just a teaser?

    • Re:No link (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:55PM (#28998297) Journal
      Here [mozilla.org].
    • by Briareos (21163) *

      Actually, it's a teaser for the upcoming dupe two days from now - with a link yet pointing to the mysterious future... ;)

      np: Death Cab For Cutie - Styrofoam Plates (The Photo Album)

  • OK... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:53PM (#28998277) Journal

    And like other Firefox Alphas, it does not bear the Firefox logo.

    Um... yay?

  • Getting the code right to link to something on Slashdot is so hard not even the editors can get it. Maybe that's a sign of something.

  • Missing links (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:54PM (#28998293)
    Downloads [mozilla.org]

    Wiki page on Namoroka [mozilla.org]
  • Too much too fast (Score:2, Informative)

    by apankrat (314147)

    I was reinstalling the laptop the other day and installed FF 3.5. Used it for an hour, uninstalled and replaced with 3.0. A fresh install of 3.5 on a faster hard drive was noticeably slower than a well used 3.0 on an older hardware. Not just the start-up, but a regular use too. To me, personally, no amount of new features can justify that. So unless 3.6 comes with a performance fixes - thanks, but no.

    • For me on the same machine 3.5 is much faster.

      It's possible it might be taking more ram and on your old hardware with less ram it's using swapped memory, which is very very slow.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by psyclone (187154)

        3.5 performs better than 3.0 for me too (x86_64). What I have noticed the most is memory usage. I have the same extensions installed with 3.5, and I open the same number of tabs, and browse for a "normal" amount of time, say 3 days, and resident memory seems to peak at 250-350 MB. Whereas with 3.0, my resident memory is never less than 500-750MB over the same period of time.

        My heaviest extensions are TabKit (yay groups of tabs on the side!) and NoScript.

        I used to have to restart 3.0 every 5-7 days or so

    • Re:Too much too fast (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Saturday August 08, 2009 @05:46PM (#28998673) Homepage

      I find 3.5 to be significantly faster than 3.0. As well as general optimisations, the history database backend has been improved so it puts less strain on your machine when doing lookups for things like the address bar suggestions. The new Javascript core is also a lot faster.

      One major irritation with 3.5 is the new way tabs work. You used to be able to set it so that all links opened in the same tab, regardless of any target="_blank" rubbish. I.e., you have control over the browser, not the web developer. At the same time, there was a separate preference for links opened by external programs (e.g. you click a "go to product's homepage" link in a program, or a link in your email client) which allowed you to have them open in a new tab every time. Unfortunately the latter option has disappeared in 3.5, so now you can either have external links destroy your current tab or suffer endless new tabs being opened by badly behaving webmasters.

      I wish the Moz devs would consult users on these sorts of major functionality changes before just doing them.

  • Firefox 3.5 was terrible. Every few seconds, no matter what I did, it would pause, and I would have to watch a beachball spin. Really bad.

    Further, tabs should be attached to the pages they represent, not floating around at the top, in limbo. That was the worst design decision I have seen in ages.

    And finally, at least on the Mac, the "close this tab" button should be on the left of the tab, for consistency with everything else. Not on the right.
    • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @05:31PM (#28998589) Homepage Journal

      Further, tabs should be attached to the pages they represent, not floating around at the top, in limbo. That was the worst design decision I have seen in ages.

      In my FF3.5, tabs are 'attached to the pages they represent'... unless I'm misunderstanding you. Care to provide us with a screenshot of what you're talking about?

      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        I'm not the OP, but I think I understand what he's saying.

        In FF, the tabs are rounded at the bottom. In other words, they're "attached" to the browser on the top end, facing your URL bar, and then they extend into the dead space that is the tab bar.

        What I think he's saying is that he feels it should attach the other way, at the bottom. The active tab would therefore blend into the page you're viewing while the other tabs would jut out of the top of that page. It would literally look as though the act

        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @08:47PM (#28999573)
          The whole concept of tabs, in the first place, was that of a tabbed folder, like a 3-ring binder with those little plastic tabs so you can find your place. That was the visual "metaphor" that was being followed. By visually detaching the tabs from the pages they control, the metaphor is broken, and the eye does not follow as naturally from the page to the tab, or vice versa.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pizzach (1011925)

            The whole concept of tabs, in the first place, was that of a tabbed folder, like a 3-ring binder with those little plastic tabs so you can find your place. That was the visual "metaphor" that was being followed. By visually detaching the tabs from the pages they control, the metaphor is broken, and the eye does not follow as naturally from the page to the tab, or vice versa.

            Please remember that there are reasons for both ways and that you are debating which is less wrong. Not which is right. The tabs attaching to the toolbar is supposed to show that the buttons effect that particular tab which is also a very important thing to represent in the gui. Ideally, the tabs should be on the very top of the window like Opera and now Chrome.

            Or alternatively you can use abstract PC [com.com] for the tab connecting to both effect so no one is happy. :)

          • I think there's a firefox ui dev who just won't be satisfied. Seems like every release I have to spend a week looking for about:config fixes and extenstions to undo his work.

          • by skeeto (1138903)
            I've never actually seen the whole Fx 3.5 UI since I use Vimperator [vimperator.org], so I'm not sure what exactly you all are talking about. With Vimperator, all the GUI mess at the top is gone: it's just a row tabs, then the page. I think this is perfect, and it sounds a bit like what you are describing.
        • by ZosX (517789)

          ff 3.5 on windows 7 has tabs that flow into the document. they are quite pleasing to the eye. i know the linux version has some appearance differences. I think I really prefer the default windows ff over the default skin in ubuntu.

        • In FF, the tabs are rounded at the bottom. In other words, they're "attached" to the browser on the top end, facing your URL bar, and then they extend into the dead space that is the tab bar.

          Your description of Firefox's tabs is kinda confusing to me. Do your tabs look like mine? (This question applies to the OP, as well.)

          http://simoncion.wargameweaver.com/pix/ff3.5tabs.png [wargameweaver.com]

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            He's using it on OS X. I guess they copy Safari there, which would explain the tab appearance. Well, blame Apple for that - they set UI standards on Mac, others can either follow, or be flamed by Apple users for not doing so...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jez9999 (618189)

          Just to confirm, I had to search pretty hard for a screenshot, but it looks like this only applies to FF on MacOSX. On Windows + Linux, it doesn't. So, as another poster said, flame Apple not Mozilla. Though, I think Mozilla should still keep the look & feel closer between different OS ports... the MacOSX version looks so differently skinned it feels rather different. Leave that to Camino.

    • by caerwyn (38056) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @05:32PM (#28998599)

      That's rather odd- I use Firefox 3.5 regularly on 10.5.7 with no such issues. The only slowness I've found is when quitting the app- it clearly does a lot of cleanup when you shut it down, and that process takes a ridiculously long time. Nothing with regular browsing, though.

    • I agree. That beachball is just as horrible as that apple with the bite. ;P

      On a more serious note: I use is on Linux, so I can't comment about the Mac UI integration. But I think UI integration really is very important. I often hear of development teams neglecting the Mac. But every time I had to develop for the Mac, I found testing it to be very frustrating, because the whole system is so not-made-for real power usage like development. (At least for me.)
      Maybe that's a part of the issue...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FooBarWidget (556006)

      And finally, at least on the Mac, the "close this tab" button should be on the left of the tab, for consistency with everything else. Not on the right.

      Uh, what? Everything on OS X has the close button on the right of the right. iTerm, Textmate, etc all have their 'X' on the right of the tab, not left.

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        Everything on OS X has the close button on the right of the right.

        Safari has close buttons on the left of the tab. The software you mention is third-party, not Apple software, so looking to them for examples of UI consistency is a bit of a red herring.

        • LMAO. Don't even start me on 'internal Apple UI consistency'. That baby got thrown out years ago, in favor of 'looks purtier this way...'.
      • Not mine. In all the programs you mention, including Textmate, my close buttons are on the left. Maybe it's in the preferences somewhere.
    • I suspect that the problem was the JSSH extension, which I use for automating remote websites. With it disabled, the problem seems to have gone away. Only time will tell.
    • by compro01 (777531)

      Tab mix plus [mozilla.org] has an option for the "close button on the left" thing you desire (It's in tab mix plus options, display, tab, "place on left side"), among other tab customization options.

      Not sure what you mean by "tabs should be attached to the pages they represent" though.

    • While I can't duplicate your experience with Firefox on MacOS X taking a long time to do stuff, and I don't see tab graphics as an important issue, I do think the preferences would benefit from being native preferences instead of JS preferences.

      Firefox has implemented its own preferences system in Javascript which offer some of the functionality of MacOS native preferences (admins can leave a preference alone, set a preference, or lock a preference at a given setting). Firefox preferences, however, can't b

    • I dunno if it will be what you're looking for, but check out the Tree Style Tabs [mozilla.org] extension. It puts the tabs to the left, in expandable/collapsible trees, with the trunk forming based on the page the links spawned from. It's great on wide/short monitors, as your vertical space is generally the limiting factor for webpages. Plus, it makes waaaaay more sense to me to organize tabs this way.

  • Random number bug (Score:2, Informative)

    by manweekdayz (845140)
    when will they fix that random number generation issue that makes the program take 3 mins to launch? Firefox has been a POS lately because of it.
    • Re:Random number bug (Score:4, Informative)

      by Threni (635302) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @06:32PM (#28998947)

      In 3.5.1.

  • 3.6 alpha 2 pre (found here) has additional performance improvements (ie. is wicked fast), and seems quite reliable in the latest nightly build. Note that these are nightly builds, so you run the risk of being the first to experience a shiny, new bug!

  • by Hadlock (143607)

    How much faster can you get than "instant"? I'm still using 3.0 on a dual core windoze machine and everytime I hear someone say "its faster than the previous version" I think, "hunh?". Browser speed is not something that has come to mind since 2005 at least. Maybe they're talking about render speed on old 1ghz celerons burdened with norton antivirus and tons of spyware on 512mb of ram.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      you know, not everyone has a new computer and frankly I am glad that at least some developers don't make the same assumption you just did. This is especially important considering the rising popularity of smaller notebooks that even bare Windows XP has trouble booting.

      • by Killer Orca (1373645) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @06:03PM (#28998773)

        you know, not everyone has a new computer and frankly I am glad that at least some developers don't make the same assumption you just did. This is especially important considering the rising popularity of smaller notebooks that even bare Windows XP has trouble booting.

        How old are these machines that some people are running? My families oldest computer is from 1997 and runs Windows 95, should people expect that to be supported? If you slimmed down an XP install to run on older hardware and it can't handle a modern web browser is that the creators' fault? I can understand your grievance about netbooks, some are just plain underpowered for 3 tasks at once and you need to use the applications that it can handle, but how long is hardware supposed to be supported by software? 10, 20, 30 years?

        • by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @07:00PM (#28999111) Journal

          the mentality of devs is that the hardware can take the bloat just give it some time and as far as I am concerned it's a cancer slowly eroding away at what software should be. quick, clean and efficient. BUt really, why shouldn't software be capable of running on hardware for over a decade- we've got a 12 year old compaq sitting in the basement that has less hard drive space than my ram is and yet it can surf the net just fine... The problem comes when devs start to think that they shouldn't be tasked with improving code efficiency because they aren't coding for older hardware. Well all I can say is maybe they should. If an old geezer compaq can hack it just fine on the internet today why can't newer versions of software that do the same basic things cope as well?

          • The problem comes when devs start to think that they shouldn't be tasked with improving code efficiency because they aren't coding for older hardware. Well all I can say is maybe they should.

            Alright. Are you willing to endure slower development, fewer releases and higher prices for non-free software?

            Keep in mind that the approach you're complaining about is not popular because of general laziness. It's mostly a result of using higher-level libraries, frameworks and languages, and sometimes using a more generic but slower solution that can be reused over hand-coding a fast specialized one from scratch.

          • by jsebrech (525647)

            the mentality of devs is that the hardware can take the bloat just give it some time and as far as I am concerned it's a cancer slowly eroding away at what software should be. quick, clean and efficient.

            It's exactly the wrong move from a cost-effectiveness standpoint to put too much effort in supporting old hardware. The replacement cost for hardware is an order of magnitude less than the engineering cost of supporting that hardware. If we kept everything working on decade-old hardware, it would mean less f

        • How old are these machines that some people are running? My families oldest computer is from 1997 and runs Windows 95, should people expect that to be supported?

          You shouldn't "expect it," but it's a certainly a plus when it works. The aim should always be to to write code that performs as well as possible for the task at hand and if you could boast that your software runs on a 486 with 16mb of ram, the response shouldn't be, "but who runs 486's these days?" The response should be "awesome, that means it'll be instant on my modern computer while keeping plenty of resources available for other apps to run AND I can recommend it to my grandfather who refuses to upgr

        • how long is hardware supposed to be supported by software? 10, 20, 30 years?

          10 years at least. I should be able to get as much use out of a computing appliance as I do out of other purchases such as a car, washing machine, microwave, dishwasher, TV, etc.

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        When I bought my dual core machine in jan 2008 it was already year old hardware, the cheapest name brand stuff you could buy. That was for a $500 computer including $120 video card at the time. A standard $350 consumer computer without fancy video card from three years ago is going to be just as fast running firefox as a brand new one - i.e. instant. I think it's respectable to expect poorer performance on a 5 year old computer running it's original install of windows (and whatever spyware it's been choking

        • 2008 is not an old. old begins at windows ME [not that you would ever use such a POS OS] the software ran fine at least if you don't upgrade the software that is... the functionality is basically the same [surf the net, check email etc...] so why is it that since that time a new firefox is currently using 137 megs of RAM while I'm reading slashdot. A computer even ten years ago doesn't even have that much ram and yet you can surf the net with it... explain to me why all of this ram use was worth it?

    • by johannesg (664142)

      I'm not sure what they include in rendering a page, but if I open a bunch of slashdot articles in different tabs it slows down noticably after I open more than four or five. And this is on a machine that has 3GB of RAM and a dual core / 2.6GHz CPU.

      Also, the geocaching.com map is still pretty unusable on FireFox; only Chrome has enough oomph to actually make it work in anything approaching realtime.

      So speed improvements are definitely appreciated.

      • by ZosX (517789)

        Hmmm. There must be something wrong with your setup there. I'm running a dual core 2ghz machine with 3gb of ram and the page you mentioned ran in total real time. I was able to scroll around the map as fast as my connection could download the map. Pretty neat site. Never thought of combining google maps with geocaching......kinda takes a lot of the challenge out of it to be honest.

        • by johannesg (664142)

          Hmmm. There must be something wrong with your setup there. I'm running a dual core 2ghz machine with 3gb of ram and the page you mentioned ran in total real time. I was able to scroll around the map as fast as my connection could download the map. Pretty neat site. Never thought of combining google maps with geocaching......kinda takes a lot of the challenge out of it to be honest.

          Try this: for the address, type "Rheine". Then zoom out two steps. Processing on Firefox 3.5: about 20 seconds. Processing for the same area on Chrome: about 1 second.

          Now, this is almost certainly the fault of GC.com: they retrieve at most 500 caches at a time, so whatever processing they do is probably O(n^2), and could probably easily be done in O(log(n)). But for now we are stuck with it, and a faster Javascript engine really does make a big difference when scouting out an area for a cache trip.

          As for th

          • by dylan_- (1661)

            Try this: for the address, type "Rheine". Then zoom out two steps. Processing on Firefox 3.5: about 20 seconds. Processing for the same area on Chrome: about 1 second.

            3 seconds. Actually, as quick as it could download, I think. Yes, just checked, realtime once it's cached.

            (That's on a 2.8 GHz iMac, Firefox 3.5.2).

          • by Hadlock (143607)

            Confirming what Dylan said - it's realtime in lowly Firefox 3.0.2 Ok, so the bottom half of the map was white for 5ms while it loaded the image, but that's the only weak link. Zooming in and out 5 steps in either direction continues to show instantanious use. This is on a 2.4ghz core 2 on XP SP3 with 2GB of ram (an "average" computer for the last two years)

            • by johannesg (664142)

              Confirming what Dylan said - it's realtime in lowly Firefox 3.0.2 Ok, so the bottom half of the map was white for 5ms while it loaded the image, but that's the only weak link. Zooming in and out 5 steps in either direction continues to show instantanious use. This is on a 2.4ghz core 2 on XP SP3 with 2GB of ram (an "average" computer for the last two years)

              Fascinating. As a test, I've disabled all extensions I've got installed and tried it again. While it is not nearly instantaneous with 467 caches visible, the waiting time is now down to a more reasonable seven seconds. I'll try to figure out if any specific extension is causing this slowdown next.

              However, I must stress that the problem occurs only with a large number of caches in the display; with a smaller number it works in realtime for me too. The fact that you claim to be able to zoom out five steps sug

    • by Mia'cova (691309)

      The developer excitement isn't around getting a youtube page to render 10ms faster. It's the application possibilities that these improvements allow. People are excited about building really solid media players with javascript and html 5 instead of flash and silverlight. They're excited about the possibilities of doing 3D in the browser with javascript and OpenGL-like hardware rendering. But the common glue is javascript and DOM. Anything you build will be limited by the browser's core. And from a current-d

    • by Alef (605149)
      As web pages are progressing to become more and more like applications, where the browser serves as a standardized virtual machine, speed will become an issue (if it isn't already -- slashdot is rather sluggish on my box running Firefox 3.0). This includes both java script performance, which Google have been emphasizing with Chrome, as well as rendering performance.
    • by bipbop (1144919)

      Yeah, try using Firefox on one of the systems where it's incredibly, incredibly slow, like a PPC mac. (From which I type this, on Firefox. This is a last gen 1.67GHz G4 powerbook with 2GB of ram, and with noscript and adblock plus and nothing else running, all history booksmarks etc cleared, it's so slow as to be barely usable. Blegh.)

      Amusingly, on a similarly specced Intel box, dual booting Windows and Linux, Firefox is slow enough not to seem "instant", but still quite snappy and perfectly usable. By

  • As opposed to the text mode tab switching we have now?

    • CtrlTab [mozilla.org] extension switches graphically while using a keyboard, if that's what you mean.

      I love being able to ctrl-tab back and forth between two recent tabs. Much easier than opening a new window and dragging tabs in order to use alt-tab.

  • Frequently updated. However a slam if I may, 3.5.2 has HORRIBLE javascript rendering. Hopefully this is fixed in the new version.
    • by bunratty (545641)
      What is JavaScript rendering?
    • by BZ (40346)

      What problem did you encounter, exactly? Did you report it?

      I'd love to fix whatever the issue was, but the above is really not enough information to start on that...

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Saturday August 08, 2009 @09:24PM (#28999711)

    A plugin like Flash should not be ABLE to lock up the browser. No, that's not the fault of Flash, it's the fault of the browser that _allows_ it to happen. The browser should be in control of the plugin, not the other way around.

  • to get the Close [X] gadget back on the last tab? Firefox 3.5 is KILLING ME with this...

    • by k_187 (61692)
      about:config browser.tabs.closebuttons http://kb.mozillazine.org/Browser.tabs.closeButtons [mozillazine.org]
      • by jddj (1085169)

        thanks for trying to help, but apparently the feature I'm missing has been "improved [mozilla.org]" out of the settings.

        No matter which setting you choose, you can't restore the Firefox 3 behavior that worked so well for me.

        Worth noting that some posters on the bug thought it worked well the old way - as I do.

        • by k_187 (61692)
          Ah, I remember when they changed the behavior from FF1 to 2. I stopped using it until I found out about that option in about:config. For a browser that's as open as Firefox, some of their decisions about user choice are pretty infuriating.

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