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Firefox Quantum Arrives With Faster Browser Engine, Major Visual Overhaul ( 323

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 57, branded Firefox Quantum, for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The new version, which Mozilla calls "by far the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004," brings massive performance improvements and a visual redesign. The Quantum name signals Firefox 57 is a huge release that incorporates the company's next-generation browser engine (Project Quantum). The goal is to make Firefox the fastest and smoothest browser for PCs and mobile devices -- the company has previously promised that users can expect "some big jumps in capability and performance" through the end of the year. Indeed, three of the four past releases (Firefox 53, Firefox 54, and Firefox 55) included Quantum improvements. But those were just the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, Firefox now exclusively supports extensions built using the WebExtension API, and unsupported legacy extensions will no longer work, the company said.
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Firefox Quantum Arrives With Faster Browser Engine, Major Visual Overhaul

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  • Weird Gaps? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:45AM (#55546889)

    Anyone else seeing large gaps to the left of the address bar and to the right of the search bar?

    Also, the new tabs look a lot uglier...

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:48AM (#55546923)

      The Quantum is the smallest possible increment. Always remember that when someone tells you it's a quantum leap in performance.

    • Re:Weird Gaps? (Score:5, Informative)

      by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:49AM (#55546933)

      If you right click the gap and click Customize, it seems these gaps are "flexible space" and can be removed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Anyone else seeing large gaps to the left of the address bar and to the right of the search bar?

      Nope. Chrome is working just fine.

    • That's from it trying to convert your old style into the new layout. You can adjust it to fix it.
    • The square tabs are far better than Chromes rounded tabs. Originally Firefox had square tabs but they tried to emulate Google Chromes UI. The community was upset by the change and has been asking for square tabs for for sometime. Rounded tabs are not what Firefox originally had so this is just Firefox going back to the original Firefox way. As for the gaps, I can see it makes sense to have the address bar fill in the space rather than to have wasted space.

    • by jimbo ( 1370 )

      I agree wrt gaps. Fortunately you can Right click, Customize, drag gaps away.

    • The gaps are new "spacers" put in by default, easy to remove using "hamburguer menu / personalize"

      But, on my case the 57 broke the "noscript" plugin and the new "Adblock plus" for Firefox57 is a complete piece of shit, and the very usefull "Classic Theme Restorer" is now broken and the developer can't do nothing about because the new API lost a lot of functionality and it is unlikely that this functionality be recovered some day.

      So, back again to version 56, Maybe I will use the version 52 long term.
    • Right click on the gap, select 'remove'

  • New Default. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:51AM (#55546941)

    The beta has felt quite a bit faster than my old default (Opera). With an official release Firefox has regained default status. I've used it since back in the Phoenix days. Then they got stale and Chrome was faster. Then it got stale and Opera was faster.

    Hurray for competition.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:51AM (#55546949)

    Finally tally: about 2/3 of my regularly used extensions don't work with 57 and don't currently seem to have a similar replacement available.

    Sadly, a performance boost just isn't work losing that much functionality for me. :-(

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:55AM (#55546973)
      What performance boost? It disabled NoScript.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Erioll ( 229536 )

      The real bear is losing extensions that take out LSOs - aka SuperCookies. The "suggested replacement" for Self-Destructing Cookies doesn't remove LSOs... thus it is not a replacement. The API is there now, but the author hasn't gotten off his ass yet to implement it. []

      Also Gestures extensions are worse, though at least somebody's trying. []

      Also no more tab groups - aka Panorama - which sucks ass. Not upgrading until I can get that, and wi

      • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @02:10PM (#55548543)

        And... and... and... WTF WERE THEY THINKING??? Make it so addon authors need to update things and/or re-create is bad enough, but then remove the underlying functionality? That's insane! It shouldn't be LESS CAPABLE.

        It's almost as if to address the performance issues that people have been bitching about would require a major architecture change, but no that's not it, they, like any company, specifically asked YOU what would piss you off and did that instead.

      • by threc ( 105464 )
        The Mozilla Foundation is in full on PR attack mode right now. Look at how they respond [] to users in the Firefox sub-reddit who dare discuss alternatives to keep legacy addons functional. The Firefox team probably realizes that if FF57 isn't a success the whole organization is sunk. The team is probably terrified they are going to lose a significant number of users and not make it up.
  • UI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ISoldat53 ( 977164 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:54AM (#55546969)
    Why does every change start with a new or changed interface?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @10:56AM (#55546977)

    When it loses the whole POINT of the program? The add-ons are what made Firefox worth using as a primary browser. With the switch to the new version, they made all previous plugins incompatible, and most of the add-ons that I'd prefer to use won't be ported over, mostly out of disgust/disinterest by the developers, or simply that the tools are no longer available to accomplish the task anymore.

    This is somewhat akin to a new version of Steam coming out, that disables all Steam games until a new version of each game comes out requiring XBox One controller-only controls. They decided keyboard/mouse was potentially insecure. Sure - some users will celebrate this, but it kind of defeats the point of the platform at large. Eventually, it might get good again - but you're throwing away too much now to be worth that.

    • The old extension API was horribly insecure, would expose all browser internals. The WebExtensions does improve security since there are better controls, and a user has to approve an extensions access to information. There is no direct access to the filesystem. Policing extensions was a huge problem and you could not trust the stuff that was in the repository because of the old API and its open ended access.

      Another reason was major architectural changes to the browser meant the old API was going to break an

      • by PGaries ( 827288 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @01:14PM (#55548129)
        Indeed. Having an extension system in which malicious extensions can hide that they're installed while monitoring everything you do on the Web was a pretty big security hole. That's why I'm glad Mozilla transitioned to the new system despite the loss of functionality.
      • by AntiSol ( 1329733 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @06:15PM (#55550509)

        It's kind of funny how often I see people justifying this insanity by talking about how horribly insecure the old API was. Kind of funny because in over a decade I have had exactly zero problems with addons doing nasty things. And I can recall hearing about exactly zero addons doing nasty things.

        But we want to kill the old API,!

        It reminds me of that time McLaren realised that they could increase the power to weight ratio of their F1 cars by removing that heavy steering wheel.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @11:04AM (#55547051)
    The speed of Firefox was not a big issue for me. It was usually "fast enough." Sometimes speed wars focus development efforts towards the wrong area. The big thing I do notice about Firefox 57 is the large loss of functionality that I used every time I browsed. Only two out of my nine plug-ins work with Firefox 57. I have not seen any viable replacements for the seven that do not work.

    I've reverted to Firefox 56.0.2. Unless the plug-in situation changes for the better, Firefox 56 will be the end of my use of Firefox.

    • ...I've reverted to Firefox 56.0.2. Unless the plug-in situation changes for the better, Firefox 56 will be the end of my use of Firefox....

      Scratch that. I've reverted to Firefox 52 ESR. That should give me enough time to find a suitable replacement for Firefox.

    • Troll? Looks like someone didn't like me choosing to revert to an earlier version of Firefox to keep the functionality I need.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @11:08AM (#55547089)
    Simply put, plug-ins are not a part of the Firefox development effort. The Mozilla folk have always eschewed adding functionality because the wanted functionality can be added via plug-ins. Yet, those same Mozilla folk all but ignore the loss of functionality of those plug-ins when they release a "two-times faster" Firefox.

    The headline for this release should not be that it is two times faster, but that a very significant amount of functionality has been lost.

    • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @12:53PM (#55547973)

      the old extensions mechanism was insecure. Extensions could access all of the browser internals, plus the filesystem. No sandboxing, No security, No nothing.

      The old extension API was great if security is of no concern for you.

      I would never trust any of the extensions of the old API because of this, so removing the old API is not a downside if one is concerned about security.

      For people who are concerned about security, removing the old API is a good thing. It will force a refactoring of the extension code into much more secure code and will smoke out a lot of insecure code, and make the extension systems much safer.

      The idea of adding additional functionality through extensions was dubious at best via the old API, especially if third parties are adding the features rather than the Firefox developers, especially since it was becoming very hard to security review the extensions that were coming from third parties due to the high numbers.

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Waa waa waa it was insecure, what a bullshit excuse. It worked perfectly fine for me for years (and still does with Pale Moon).

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @11:31AM (#55547261) Homepage

    This isn't a Firefox 57 feature, but for all FireFox users I recommend Options - Tracking Protection - Change Block List - strict protection. The strict protection is arguably bettern than an ad blocker, since it leaves unintrusive ads that support a site but blocks the garbage ones. I don't mind if a site is financed with ads, because server time isn't free.

    On Slashdot, the ads at the top that tried to stick themselves over the article, that intermittently tried to inject malware and redirect you to other pages, and that showed me whatever I last looked at on Amazon -- those are gone. Instead, I just see the "Slashdot Top Deals" on the right side and bottom. Those aren't so bad, and if they pay the bills then great.

    Until I selected this option, I was browsing in private windows 75% of the time. Now I can go back to normal browsing, which is a slight convenience. If enough people do this, maybe the ad companies will start to figure out that injecting malware is less profitable than an unobtrusive ad.

    • Ads are paid per-click, not per-load. If you're not going to click any of the ads anyway, why do you think showing some of them are helping the site maintainers?
    • I don't mind if a site is financed with ads..I was browsing in private windows 75% of the time...If enough people do this, maybe the ad companies will start to figure out that injecting malware is less profitable than an unobtrusive ad.

      How are you so passive and naive about advertising? That ship sailed nearly two decades ago. Over the course of 20 years, ads have just gotten worse and more obtrusive. Loud, animated, moving content around, covering it up, opening in windows in front and behind the browser, now pushing malware, some of which is used to show more ads.

      Advertising does not get better. It can't, because of its very nature. It can't be a benefit to the end user of a website.

      To advertise, one must draw the attention of the viewe

    • >"The strict protection is arguably bettern than an ad blocker, since it leaves unintrusive ads that support a site but blocks the garbage ones. I don't mind if a site is financed with ads, because server time isn't free."

      If the ad is animated in ANY way, or contains video or audio, or follows me down the page, or blocks out HUGE sections of content, or performs some action when moused-over *IT IS INTRUSIVE*! This is regardless of where it is hosted or redirects. So although I think your posting is in

  • Pros and Cons (Score:3, Informative)

    by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @11:35AM (#55547299) Homepage


    • It really does seem a hell of a lot faster than Firefox 56.


    • As others have mentioned, the GUI changes are shit. Thanks to those who told how to remove the blank spaces before the URL bar and after the search bar, but the rest of the changes are horrible.
    • There's currently no viable replacement for the It's All Text plugin that lets you edit textareas in an external editor. That really cramps my style.
    • The rendered content seems a bit squashed compared to FF56.
  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @12:02PM (#55547509)

    Generally when a browser boasts of speed increases I sort of shrug because it's rarely obvious. Typically I'm more limited by the speed of the connection than by the browser processing speed. However this time it Firefox actually does appear to work notably faster. I'm not particularly impressed or offended by the visual changes but they are fine I guess. But I am actually (pleasantly) surprised to see how much quicker it works. I use Firefox as my primary browser so it's nice to see a change for the better. Hopefully nothing important broke in the process...

  • So if you want to customize shortcuts, their own help articles recommend that you use an add-on called 'Menu Wizard'...that isn't compatible with this version of the browser.

    Also, it renders the most OBNOXIOUSLY large scroll bars for Tweetdeck, no matter what the text scaling size is. It's just visually offensive, and no other browser seems to do it. Even MS Edge reduces the size of the scrollbars as you modify the scaling, despite it not rendering the correct, rounded scrollbars.

    I've also had to restart it

  • I generally keep 20 or so tabs open, and once a week or so everything will grind to a halt. If this update keeps that from happening I'll be happy. I'm a creature of habit, and I keep certain tabs open in FF and others in Chrome, and I don't really want to change. FF hasn't made it easy over the last few years though, I understand why so many people jumped ship.

  • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @02:13PM (#55548571)
    C'mon people. Everyone here seems to know what would make the most perfect flawless browser. Why has no one here done it?
  • Thank you Mozilla (Score:3, Interesting)

    by donstenk ( 74880 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @02:44PM (#55548853) Homepage

    Thank you for keeping up, thank you for being non profit and open source and thank you for offering a cross platform alternative independent of advertising companies and OS vendors.

    This is important work.

    Thank you ðY(TM)ðY.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson