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First Look At Firefox 3.0 Beta 2 531

DaMan writes "ZDNet takes Firefox 3.0 beta 2 for a spin and draws some conclusions that should be sweet music to Mozilla's ears. "Beta 2 feels snappier and far more responsive than beta 1 (or Firefox 2.0 for that matter) and I can feel the difference on all the systems that I've tried it on — from a lowly Sempron system to my quad-core monsters. No matter what you want doing — opening a new tab, moving tabs, opening up Find, zooming in and out of the page, bookmarking — it all happens swiftly and smoothly. What surprises me about the Firefox 3.0 beta is how many memory leaks that Mozilla have fixed. Complaints of memory leaks with Firefox 2.0 were met with an attitude of "Leaks? What leaks?" Considering that there have been more than 300 leaks plugged, it's obvious that past versions leaked like sieves.""
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First Look At Firefox 3.0 Beta 2

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  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RotsiserMho ( 918539 )
    But does it pass Acid 2?...
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:25PM (#21761018) Homepage Journal
      Beta 1 did, so you'd hope Beta 2 will :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HungSoLow ( 809760 )
        You mean to say IE8 did, so you'd hope Firefox will!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ozmanjusri ( 601766 )
          You mean to say IE8 did, so you'd hope Firefox will!

          It's been claimed for IE8, but anyone can download the Firefox betas and check for themselves. Big difference.

          Wouldn't be the first dose of vapourware to come out of Redmond....

          • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

            by centron ( 61482 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:08AM (#21765482) Homepage

            No, it really did. That's your first clue that it isn't done yet. :)

            Firefox is developing more quickly because it doesn't have all of the baggage. It has its hurdles to overcome like and project, but they don't have to worry about making their browser render any page written in Netscape Composer properly. IE still has to make all those FrontPage sites look like the code wasn't shat out of some third graders science project on the effects of mold on diodes.

            With good developers, lots of money, and as much savvy as anyone, Microsoft has the ability to produce all kinds of amazing software. Once they've made some great software (like a browser that renders Acid 2 properly), that's when they start adding in all of the backwards compatibility that effectively crushes the product.

            I believe that Windows could be every bit as polished as OS X, as lean as Linux, and as secure as BSD if they didn't bend over backwards to maintain compatibility with every in-house-developed Visual Basic app that accesses odbc.ini, has hard coded requirements to be at the root of C:, and writes user preferences to HKLM.

            Mirosoft needs to learn that sometimes things shouldn't work with their new OS. That isn't to say that Apple doesn't do this to the other extreme, breaking things with every point release and forcing developers to come out with updates to all of their software every year or two just so that it won't run in some degraded mode, but there's a happy medium in there where you do a lifecycle on the components of your OS. If they could ease people along, explain the benefits of the new way of doing something, and make a clean break instead of using hacked together tangled bundles of cruft, we'd all be in a better place.

            Ok, so I strayed off topic. Anyway, I use Opera. : )

        • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by The_reformant ( 777653 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @04:48AM (#21762618)
          To be honest its mostly irrelevant at this point since you're still going to have to support FF2, IE6 and IE7 for years yet.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        No it doesn't proof []
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Apparently not, the bug against it is still open. ( [] - but you'll have to copy/paste, since Bugzilla blocks Slashdot referrers.)

      And before anyone jumps on this and points out that it used to, it has apparently regressed and no longer does, according to the last comments on the bug.

      Not to mention that, even if it does (finally) pass Acid 2, there are still a ton of CSS3 features that Firefox fails to implement.
      • Actually I was able to follow the link as posted. Perhaps they've fixed that little bug.
      • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by stony3k ( 709718 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:09AM (#21761342) Homepage
        It is much more important to be compliant with CSS than just passing the Acid2 test, and so I really don't pay much attention to this test at all. There are better test suites out there, for instance [].

        We need to pay less attention to passing any one test and more to standards compliance as a whole.
        • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RotsiserMho ( 918539 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:19AM (#21761388)
          Normally, I'd agree with you, but I think in this case it's different. It's all about public perception and to and extent, marketing. If IE8 can pass a test that's widely publicized and the latest FireFox can't, people may doubt that FireFox is superior. Of course people such as yourself will realize it doesn't mean much, but it's a very easy thing to point to and say "Hey it looks like Microsoft got something right."
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by stony3k ( 709718 )
            Even in that case, Firefox 3 beta1 was compliant and there seems to be a recent regression. So we can argue that Firefox was Acid2 compliant long before IE8. What Mozilla needs to ensure is that the final version of Fx3 is Acid2 compliant (which I have no doubt will be the case for exactly the reasons you state).
      • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by stony3k ( 709718 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:29AM (#21761452) Homepage
        Sorry for replying again but I just found out that the test itself is broken and not Firefox. The reason is given here [] but it appears that it now renders wrong in Opera and Safari as well.

        Hmm... The test breaks and IE is suddenly compliant while previously compliant browsers are not *dons his tin foil hat*
        • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

          by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:04AM (#21761668)
          A MS internal beta version of IE8 reportedly passes Acid2. That's a bit different from "IE is suddenly compliant."

          Those of you watching from home from an IE browser, please don't attempt the Acid2 test, or you might do further damage to the test.

          - RG>
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jamienk ( 62492 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:32AM (#21761480)
      It does pass. The original Acid 2 test page [] accidentally got changed a bit (so that a missing link returns error code 200 instead of 404 not found). That's why FF (and other browsers like Safari and Opera) "fail" on that page. But see the mirrored page here [] to verify that FF 3b2 (and Safari and Opera and IE 8... OOoops! can't test that one!) do pass...
    • by knorthern knight ( 513660 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @08:47AM (#21763758)
      ACID2 fits in perfectly with the Microsoft Mindset. Remember how MS screwed other browsers. They...

      1) custom coded their HTML generators (e.g. Frontpage) to generate badly broken webpages, which any sane browser (Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, etc) would have problems with

      2) custom coded IE to handled the badly broken webpages produced by Frontpage, etc.

      The net result was a World Wide Web full of pages that are "best viewed with Internet Explorer". Embracing broken "MS Extensions" is wrong. Yet the people behind ACID2 seem to think that it's a good idea that a web browser should take a badly broken webpage and guess at what the "intent" of the webpage is. What's next? A C compiler that tries to guess what you intended your program to do, rather than returning a compiler error when it encounters broken C code? The solution to broken webpages should be to fix the broken webpages.
      • by soliptic ( 665417 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:55PM (#21767914) Journal

        Embracing broken "MS Extensions" is wrong. Yet the people behind ACID2 seem to think that it's a good idea that a web browser should take a badly broken webpage and guess at what the "intent" of the webpage is.
        Why on earth is this modded insightful, it's hogwash. The ACID2 test is not about browsers guessing what the "intent" of the page is, it's about browsers failing in the way the standards specify.

        NB, I'm rather sceptical of the ACID2 test, for the reasons perfectly expressed in this comment [], but your comment is nonsense.
  • Memory Leaks? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trytoguess ( 875793 )
    I was under the impression that the issue was memory fragmentation. Ah well... does anyone have a link about this? I swear I read it somehere, or maybe it's from here heh.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Seumas ( 6865 )
      The response from the Firefox camp was always exactly as follows:

      There may be some teensy weensy little miniscule memory leaks that could be plugged up here and there, but the reason people think there is some big memory handling problem is because of how we cache things for quick use of the 'back' button. Your browser isn't taking up hundred of megabytes of memory because of a leak, but because it makes the back button super duper fast! And since memory is so cheap these days and everyone has a ton of it,
      • Ack! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hangly Man ( 994587 )
        And since memory is so cheap these days and everyone has a ton of it, what's the big deal about half a gig dedicated to the browser anyway?

        Maybe if you're a web developer. My whole OS doesn't use half a gig of memory!
      • Re:Memory Leaks? (Score:5, Informative)

        by BZ ( 40346 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:58AM (#21761630)
        Sorry, I call bullshit. The only time I've seen that "response" was on Ben Goodger's blog, numerous comments by ignorant fanboys, and a lot of copy/pastes by people like you. I have yet to see anyone familiar with Firefox internals make this (patently false) claim. Of course part of the problem with the Web is that most people can't tell apart a random blogger who doesn't even use Firefox, a Firefox fanboi, and a Gecko developer, even if they were to try. And they don't try.

        The claim I _have_ seen made is that leak bugs would be easier to fix if people actually provided some idea of how to reproduce the leak (e.g. which sites they visited in the process of leaking). At some point David Baron wrote an extension that allowed collecting such data automatically, and the results from this led directly to a number of leaks being fixed in Gecko 1.9.

        The other issue Gecko 1.8 had is that it had several leak scenarios that particularly hit AJAXy apps. With the growth in the number of such apps, the leaks became more serious. Gecko 1.9 fixes those issues.

        Try the beta. You might like it. ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kelson ( 129150 ) *
        s/always/once/ (that I can remember)

        And then Slashdot collectively declared it to be the official response, and repeated it over and over ad nauseum until people believed it. Kind of like the "Acid2 only tests error handling" misconception that came up several times earlier today, even though if you actually look at the description of the test, it's only one aspect among many.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hal_Porter ( 817932 )
        I think at one point they claimed that Firefox was freeing the memory but Windows for some reason was not releasing it from the process firefox.exe. Which is kind of cool, because all the Firefox fans would then assume that Windows contains code like this

        BOOL GlobalFree ( HGLOBAL Mem )
        #ifndef DOJ_SOURCE_CODE // Take out this shit before you show the damn lawyers Bill says or you will be fukken shot!!!1
        if ( (!_tcsicmp (, _T("FIREFOX.exe") )) && random() < HIPPY_SHAFTING_

    • Re:Memory Leaks? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:34PM (#21761096) Homepage

      It would take a really bad OS to make memory fragmentation a problem, since memory address pointers are virtualized (IE I'm talking about how process A can't access process B's memory and how the same numerical pointers in each point to different memory locations). Even Windows isn't that bad. Besides, the only performance metric any kind of fragmentation can really affect is speed, never size.

      Or is this some misnomer or am I misunderstanding this?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by chromatic ( 9471 )

        It would take a really bad OS to make memory fragmentation a problem, since memory address pointers are virtualized....

        Actual memory addresses aren't. If you allocate 1,000 pages, free a few in the middle, and try to allocate another thousand contiguous pages, you won't get them a few from here and a few from there.

        I'm sure it's possible to stitch together a byte here, a byte there, and so on in your VMM, but that would be a lot of overhead and you'd need to be pretty good at packing algorithms to ma

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          malloc need return only contiguous virtual memory. Memory mapping is not part of the C spec. However it does make sense performance and implementation wise to return a contiguous physical block if you can. In practice, memory will have to be contiguous at least to the level of the page size in use (4k is a typical example). Usually these align well enough with cache line boundaries that this kind of fragmentation is not an issue, although other posters seem to have experience to the contrary.
      • Re:Memory Leaks? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jamesh ( 87723 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:40PM (#21761136)

        Even Windows isn't that bad.

        Windows EventID 9582: The virtual memory necessary to run your Exchange server is fragmented in such a way that performance may be affected. It is highly recommended that you restart all Exchange services to correct this issue.

        It happens quite a bit actually.
      • Re:Memory Leaks? (Score:5, Informative)

        by gmack ( 197796 ) <gmack@inn[ ] ['erf' in gap]> on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:41PM (#21761146) Homepage Journal
        Your misunderstanding it.

        The problem with memory fragmentation is that as firefox gets used it allocates memory for buffers then stops using some of that memory. The memory unused is too small to return to the OS and if a large amount of memory is needed then more is allocated sice none of the spaces are large enough to hold whatever object that needs the memory.

        It's entirely possible that firefox would have 1/3 to 1/2 of it's memory unused at any given time.

        Knowing that's the problem and fixing a problem as complicated as that are two different things unfortunatly

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by vux984 ( 928602 )
        Its not a misnomer, but its exactly the opposite problem that filesystems have. With filesystems, as files get added, and then removed or resized 'holes' are created between them. With filesystems, what happens is that the next allocation will use up all the holes and the file will be fragmented, slowing access time.

        With memory its the opposite. Blocks are ALWAYS allocated in complete chunks. So the smallest holes never get filled. -Free Memory- gets fragmented instead of data, and because small bits of mem
  • Why so many leaks? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aminion ( 896851 )
    Why did/does Firefox have so many memory leaks? Is it sloppy coding? A framework issue? Third party addons?
    • I last read them before Mozilla 1.0 shipped, but among the more heinous "advice" was to not use templates.

      While that doesn't rule out Resource Allocation Is Initialization (RAII) - a standard C++ memory management tool - it does make it a lot more labor intensive, by requiring special code to be written for each type of object that's managed.

      With templates being allowed, one can use the standard library auto_ptr, as well as reference counted smart pointer templates.

      • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:01AM (#21761646)
        You read somewhat wrong... General use of templates was disallowed, but templated smart pointers for reference counting have been in use in Gecko for quite a long time. The class was carefully written and tested to work on all the compilers being targeted at the time (a lot of which had crappy template support).

        I'm not sure why it's "heinous" advice to say "avoid writing code that won't compile and will have to be backed out"...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      from the tests I've done on different firefox builds, the extensions are by far the biggest problem in regard to memory use although firefox can use a lot of memory under certain conditions that have nothing to do with extensions. if firefox is left open for hours/days at a time, multiple pages etc... it will use a lot more memory.
    • by Niten ( 201835 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:46AM (#21761554)

      To the best of my knowledge, Firefox typically does not leak memory, at least in the conventional sense that references to memory are erroneously discarded and unused allocated memory cannot be freed. Instead, the actual heart of the issue is supposedly memory fragmentation: []

      As the linked article suggests, memory fragmentation can be reduced by replacing heap allocations with stack variables, where possible, in hotspots such as the JavaScript engine. As for the heap allocations that cannot be dealt away with in this manner, effort can be made to group them together such that they are less likely to cause fragmentation.

    • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:09AM (#21761692)
      A brief answer is "yes".

      There is sloppy coding in some parts of the codebase (some of which are not actually used in Firefox, though; parts of the addressbook code in mailnews come to mind). The reference-counting system used in Gecko will leak in the presence of reference cycles (mitigated in 1.9 with the cycle collector). The reference-counting system and the GC-based JS engine don't play that nice together in some ways (again mitigated by the cycle collector; planned to be fixed in Gecko 2.0 by moving to a GC-based setup for the C++ as well). Extensions have been known to do silly things like holding onto all Window objects ever loaded in the browser (which of course prevents them from being GCed).

      Some things you missed are memory fragmentation, plug-in leaks (only really solvable by putting plug-ins out-of-process), and unbounded growth of caches (there isn't much of this, but for completeness sake).
  • I like firefox... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:26PM (#21761022)
    But on older systems, the sieve like memory leaks made it inoperable within a short period of time. Hopefully this will allow those of us who run legacy hardware to have a modern relatively secure web browser.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Seumas ( 6865 )
      They aren't memory leaks! Remember, it is all a "back button speed enhancement" feature! If they say it enough times, it becomes true!
    • Re:I like firefox... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ed.markovich ( 1118143 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:28AM (#21761442) Homepage
      But on older systems, the sieve like memory leaks made it inoperable within a short period of time. Hopefully this will allow those of us who run legacy hardware to have a modern relatively secure web browser.

      Have you tried Opera? It's really quite good. I use it on my older Linux laptop (128MB ram) because it's the only modern browser that can show pages without thrashing the drive. I also use Opera on powerful machines - I think it's the best browser out there in terms of both the feature set and the quality of workmanship.

  • by bheer ( 633842 ) <rbheer AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:26PM (#21761026)
    Except for the newer bits, like most of Places and the cosmetics of new Super-autocomplete dropdown (which feels ... unrefined; functionality-wise it's doing a great job).

    It's interesting to see the new animated-ish tab movement on the tab bar (when you scroll the mousewheel over it) and the animation when things like 'Remember this password?' appear. They look pretty, but are slow on some crappy video cards -- would anyone know how these 'animation' effects can be disabled?

    And, kudos to the Firefox team -- I've been using v3 Beta1 for some time, and the browser does feel snappier. Of course, I haven't loaded up my 4-5 'must-have' extensions (Adblock, TabMixPlus, SwitchProxy, DownloadThemAll mainly, sometimes YSlow) so it'll be interesting to see how v3 does in "real"-use scenarios.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dr_Banzai ( 111657 )
      The Super-Autocomplete dropdown is disturbing. I'll be typing something into the URL bar trying to show my mom a web site and I'll see a few porn site entries flash by in large type and with kinky icons. The older list was much more discreet.
  • I can't wait for Firefox to stop crashing every now and then. I'm seriously looking forward for Firefox 3.0
    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:38PM (#21761124)
      I love my firefox, but with Opera and Konq out there, the only reason I really stick to Firefox is for the extensions that I simply can't live without. I am getting so damned tired of it crashing on KDE time after time that I'm on the verge of being willing to dump it all and survive extension-free. As it is, I'll be just browsing around, reading some stuff, click a link... the page I want will start to come up... and then it'll just hang out of nowhere and never come back to life. I'll kill the process and re-launch it and it'll be fine again for a few hours. It's just so damn frustrating. Thank god for the session saver. That absolutely had to be implemented, because without it nobody would continue using firefox unless it was completely crash-free.

      I do like the idea of using Konq full-time, but the extensions just aren't there. Meh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:33PM (#21761070)
    I remember the excitement when people first started using the trimmed down Firefox versions. Lean, mean, secure, and eventually the amazing array of extensions people have grown to no longer be able to do without.

    Those days seem long ago now. The project needs a top to bottom rewrite to deal with orders of magnitude more demanding usage of large numbers of tabs over days or weeks at a time.

    Firefox needs to:

    1) Implement threading both between tab sessions and within tabs themselves

    2) Bring the memory-performance balance up to par with other browsers

    3) Implement some sort of standard memory/resource allocation/deallocation API for extensions so that people can bring up a standard window and see:

    Tab 1: 35 megs
    Tab 2: 50 megs ...
    Extension 1: 500k
    Extension 2: 100 megs == Zoinks!
    Extension 3: 300k ...

    So that memory/resource leaks can be readily identified, reported, and fixed.

    The save active tabs option has helped to allow people shutdown and wipe the memory slate clean but that really is not a solution a decent piece of software should be forced to rely on.

    • So that memory/resource leaks can be readily identified, reported, and fixed.

      Your list of must have features are not end-user features. Why should the browser be bloated with what are debugging and profiling tools? To say that a product must have such features is to completely and utterly ignore the userbase and live in a coder-centric world.

      Write a list of functional requirements that drive the above technical implementation details.

      The "save active tabs" feature was added so that people could sa

      • by Pulzar ( 81031 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:35AM (#21761494)
        Your list of must have features are not end-user features. Why should the browser be bloated with what are debugging and profiling tools?

        They *are* end-user features, though. In Windows, you can open the task manager and see how much memory each task is taking up. Would you also argue that that is a bloated debugging feature? Is 'top' a bloat? Firefox is a little OS of its own, running multiple extensions and web apps, I don't see why a feature that's standard on every OS is so non-applicable to Firefox.

        Since every instance of Firefox is different because of the extensions, the only way to figure out how to keep the memory usage down is by having these memory-reporting features available. It's a necessity, as much as it is on other platforms.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pavera ( 320634 )
      I've been browsing in firefox for > 3 years exclusively, all three platforms (windows, linux, OSX).

      I would simply ask, what other browser has memory profiling built in? Can you open a window in IE and kill a stray activeX process or see how much memory its using?!?

      Opera doesn't provide these features either.

      I don't think IE is threaded by tabs, I'm sure safari isn't. I guess I don't see where firefox is so massively behind the other browsers. It doesn't use an inordinate amount of RAM, it is comparabl
    • by Mikey-San ( 582838 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:53AM (#21761916) Homepage Journal
      The project needs a top to bottom rewrite to deal with orders of magnitude more demanding usage of large numbers of tabs over days or weeks at a time.

      Whenever I see statements like this, I ask myself, "Has this person ever done any real software development?" Rarely does a project--especially one like Firefox--need a "top to bottom rewrite", regardless of problems it's having. Even when applications make the transition from one platform to another, they almost never require a total rewrite.

      Posts like yours sound really informed, what with phrases like "implement threading both between tab sessions and within tabs themselves". The reality is that in addition to not knowing that a stack of existing bugs doesn't mean "it's time for a rewrite", phrases like the one I quoted are more vague than they will appear to those who don't know better. What does "threading between tab sessions and within tabs" mean, exactly? What operations do you want to see performed in separate threads?

      Firefox doesn't need a top to bottom rewrite, but I think your post does.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by renoX ( 11677 )
        I wonder why this is +5 insightful: FF is famous for freezing the whole browser when one tab is blocked for whatever reason, which is a really poor design and makes it not very pleasant to use due to these freeze.

        I don't know if this could be fixed without a rewrite but this shows really that FF needs more threading, and I think that it should provide better isolation using several process so when an extension crash the whole browser doesn't crash..
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by roystgnr ( 4015 ) *
        What does "threading between tab sessions and within tabs" mean, exactly? What operations do you want to see performed in separate threads?

        "Threading between tab sessions" should be obvious - you use one thread for the abominably slow rendering job (yes, I browse Digg and Salon, why do you ask?) in one tab so that it doesn't prevent the user from interacting with the already rendered pages in other tabs. It seems like Firefox is at least trying to do some cooperative multitasking here, but that never worke
  • on leaking (Score:5, Funny)

    by bigmaddog ( 184845 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:46PM (#21761186)

    Maybe it's late and I'm looking to nitpick, but "it's obvious that past versions leaked like sieves" is a bold declaration that is rife with interesting implications that I don't think are strictly true.

    1. Sieves leak by design. Judging by the sheer quality of the leaking, you may think that FF also did this by design but that's probably not the case.
    2. When a sieve leaks, water entering from outside the system passes through the system at a constant rate. When FF leaks, the fixed amount of memory in your system is rendered unavailable at an arbitrary rate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by karlto ( 883425 )
      'leaks like a sieve' has been a figure of speech for quite some time now, I don't think you can blame its inaccuracy on the author of the article
  • It should be fast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T-Bone-T ( 1048702 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:50PM (#21761210)

    No matter what you want doing -- opening a new tab, moving tabs, opening up Find, zooming in and out of the page, bookmarking -- it all happens swiftly and smoothly.
    Those don't strike me as particularly hard things to process. Browsers have been doing most of those things quite well for a long time on much weaker hardware. If the browser bogs down adding a bookmark, it has serious problems.
  • by Malloc Arena ( 1205588 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @11:54PM (#21761230)
    Firefox got replaced with some lame Iceweasel thing. Besides just looking nasty, it doesn't use the firefox settings. I lose the themes, stored passwords (Talk about lock-in! How in hell to I dig those out of firefox?), stored cookies (a bit more lock-in), plug-ins, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gardyloo ( 512791 ) []

      The only complaints I've seen about Iceweasel vs. Firefox (see, for example, posts in the "Software" section of the forum) is that the Debian maintainer may not be doing a very decent job of bug-checking before uploading releases to the repositories. Other than that, everything (every extension, theme, bookmark, password, etc.) that has worked for me in Firefox also works on my Debian machines. It looks and acts exactly the same, including plugins.
  • Hey, if this version can upgrade without deleting my bookmarks and javascript whitelist (like it did 3 of the last 4 times I upgraded), I'm excited!

    When was the last time IE did that? Sometime between "never" and "why don't you fire up that bong again?"
  • Awesome Bar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by farnsworth ( 558449 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:01AM (#21761282)
    The best new feature is the so-called Awesome Bar [], the new url input.

    It takes a couple hours to get used to, but it's simply fantastic. Kudos to the team that implemented it.
  • In the present Firefox, I miss the ability to pause/resume or even stop/resume downloads. This is a feature I thought would be included. What about support for bittorrent, anyone?
  • It (perhaps) seems a little faster than, but I haven't done anything "strenuous" with it yet, nor did I ever really see any problems with memory being gobbled by Firefox, so I can't tell the difference. I REALLY can't tell the difference because all of my themes, extensions and bookmarks, etc. seem to be working fine (miracle of miracles), automatically, but they've also not changed the version when you go to Help->About Mozilla Firefox.
    Hell, if I were coding this stuff, I'
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack ( 1011407 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:08AM (#21761328) Homepage
    How about basic useability improvements that I've been hoping for since Firefox 0.8 (Firebird back then, or maybe Phoenix even) such as page-created modal dialogs (eg. javascript:alert("");) being tab-modal instead of application-wide, or how about the Downloads dialog being useful? I'm not talking about making it a Download Manager or anything, I mean stuff like actually telling me if a download fails instead of reporting "Complete" even if the download URL resulted in an error or if it cuts out before downloading Content-Length bytes. And I'm sure there are plenty more things like these I could think of if it wasn't 5am right now.

    I know this stuff may be considered trivial things to some people, but it strikes me as basic functionality. I would hope that Firefox won't make it to a third supposedly major version change without these kinds of things being addressed.
  • by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:11AM (#21761352) Homepage Journal

    What surprises me about the Firefox 3.0 beta is how many memory leaks that Mozilla have fixed. Complaints of memory leaks with Firefox 2.0 were met with an attitude of "Leaks? What leaks?"

    This is really the worst part of modern software-development practices. When users complain about bugs, they are met with hostile demands to explain exactly, how to reproduce the bug, and the complainer is always presumed to be doing something wrong. Those, who aren't willing to put up with the hostility are not even deemed worthy of being a user — if you had a bug, you should've reported it!

    But when a new release has (some of) the bugs fixed, the fixes are touted as a major leap forward. We are supposed to love the new version for all the fixes it includes — and ignore all the bugs, that the next version will be addressing...

    • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:41AM (#21762314) Journal
      This is really the worst part of modern software-development practices. When users complain about bugs, they are met with hostile demands to explain exactly, how to reproduce the bug, and the complainer is always presumed to be doing something wrong. Those, who aren't willing to put up with the hostility are not even deemed worthy of being a user -- if you had a bug, you should've reported it!

      Obviously, you aren't a developer. If you were, you'd know what they are dealing with.

      You write some software, test it, and release it. You sink your heart and soul into it, you design it meticulously, and you are careful to leave the end-user in a position of strength - they can do whatever they want. You explain how to use it to the rest of your staff. They start training end users. Shortly, the calls start to flood back. How does NNN work? Why does "XXX" do that when you click on the button? And so on.

      At first, you're all too happy to explain how NN feature works. But after a few years, while you're still explaining how feature NN works, you realize that you have documentation, notes on the website, an embedded help system, a features list, and a nice website that all explain the issue at hand.

      You are willing to accomodate the fact that end users are not programmers. You ask for language, improvements, etc. that make it easier to understand what's going on.

      But despite documentation and careful training, most calls I get are NOT bugs or problems, they are examples of the software doing exactly what it was supposed to do. I remember one support call I got that sounded like very serious data loss. The end-user denied seeing any error messages or anything by the program that would indicate any data loss. This end user went through several support staff before finally coming to me, the "chief tech weenie".

      To avoid any ambiguity, I ran a Remote Desktop tool (VNC inside an NSIS installer) so that I could see what the end user was actually seeing. And right in the middle of the conversation, our software kicked up an error with a message that started with "PAY ATTENTION - YOU MIGHT LOSE DATA", which then explained the whole situation in pretty plain English. The end user was mid-sentence with me when this error popped up, and without skipping a beat, she clicked on the "ok" button. There was no pitch change, no pause, nothing in her voice. When I asked about the error message, she replied with "Oh, I see that all the time, and I just click OK".

      So I had the fun of explaining to her that the message she hadn't bothered to read explained why she was losing data, and that the program had been laying out, to her, exactly what she needed to do so that everything worked as expected, and that she had been busy ignoring this safeguard, and that our product didn't kick up messages for the fun of it, etc...

      I've even had the fun of having a user complain that they "aren't getting the latest features" of our product, only to find that when the update prompt came up, they were clicking "Cancel" without even reading the popup message.

      I'm not saying that there aren't bugs that I find that are perfectly legit - but it's frustrating how many people assume that software will be sentient somehow and solve their problems for them, to the extent that they don't feel any need to pay attention to what's on the screen. They click OK, Cancel, red "X", or whatever to get the "annoying screen" out of their way so they can "get something done".

      I've taken to kicking up windows that can't be dismissed unless they type some code, like: "I don't mind losing data" or "yes I want to delete this forever", or "I am liable for the information I'm about to lose". No, not that long, but you get the idea. If the end user can't dismiss the window without reading the message on it, maybe they'll read it.

      Vista users are the worst - their O/S kicks up so many worthless messages they are truly desensitized to them.

      Nowadays, I answer the phone politely but tersely, and I don't really bother to hide the fact that I have better things to do with my time. I go so far as to make sure that they have the right answer, then bail as quickly as I can without being openly rude. /Shrug/
  • I'm posting this from FF 3.0 beta2 right now. It's a good improvement, IMHO and I intend to keep it. Much smoother, pages are more legible for some reason, very quick rendering. It imported everything except the plugins. System specs: Dual P3 coppermines at 1 gHz, IGig of PC-133 ram, cable modem at 100-base-T eth0. OpenSuSE 10.3 with all updates and a bunch of add-ons. I'm happy with it so far and will either look for a source RPM or roll my own SuSE RPM for it.
  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:31AM (#21761474) Journal
    We need a rewrite that strips out all the bloat to make a lean, fast, bloat free browser out of a basically solid codebase. It'll be like it's risen from the ashes, so we need a name that reflects that. A name like "phoenix". I wonder if that's taken...
  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Thursday December 20, 2007 @02:25AM (#21762016) Journal
    Don't get me wrong lads, I love firefox, but the downloader in 1.x and 2.x is ASSSSSSSSS
    I know that 3.0 did SOME changes to the downloader but how many? Is it just the UI or resume?

    In FF 2.0 on a single core, p4 3ghz, if I open say a 1920x1200 JPG on a web site, then right click to save as, the ENTIRE BROWSER dies in the ass for up to nearly 10 seconds, it even does it on my heavily overclocked quad core machine at home (still 4 or 5 seconds)

    There's something about that download box which just completely chugs machines.
  • Vertical tabs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Compuser ( 14899 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @03:49AM (#21762376)
    The reason I am waiting for Firefox 3 is the new Gecko engine which will make vertical text possible. With this, it should be possible to make tabs vertical. Right now the only way to get that in Firefox is the Rotab extension, but it is an ugly slow and unpolished hack which has not been updated in ages. Hopefully a major extension like TabMixPlus will make vertical text an option
    in FF3.
  • by Mike_K ( 138858 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:24PM (#21767320)
    I am a rather heavy browser user. I usually have in excess of 50 tabs open. I usually keep going back to 3 or 4 of them, continuously open new tabs and close them, and occasionally go through the ones I have open and read/close them. I normally hibernate my computer (I run XP) and shut it down only occasionally. Currently my laptop has idle time of 107 hrs and Firefox has CPU time of 2hrs. I think I last restarted Firefox to install an update.

    I used to have really serious memory problems with Firefox. My memory usage would skyrocket very quickly, and I'd have to close it and reopen. This stopped a while ago when I installed FlashBlock. I rarely view flash anymore, and my memory footprint is rather stable. Right now I have VM Size of 403M - not small, but I have 4 windows and 97 tabs open. Have fairly few add-ons installed: DownloadHelper, FlashBlock, IETab, TabMixPlus and TalkBack.

    I don't believe that memory leaks on Firefox are a problem, at least not on Windows. I think it is the plug-ins that are causing the problems.



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