back to article Mozilla stokes Firefox 4 with first beta build

Mozilla has released a first beta of Firefox 4, which comes loaded with lots of fresh features and a distinctive new look. In January the open source browser maker nixed Firefox 3.7 and jumped instead to Firefox 4 in a move to reflect the number of changes it was making to the popular surfing tool. The current iteration of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Meh, still slow as a dog.

    Even more bloated than Firefox 3.6

    1. Si 1


      They haven't rolled out the enhanced Javascript interpreter yet, that's going to be added to a later beta, so it's not exactly a fair performance comparison at the moment.

  2. Greg J Preece

    So long as I can put my menu bar back

    All sounds good, except for that "single button" interface. Screw that - I want a menu bar, damn it.

    Might download it and take a look.

    1. Absent

      Menu bar

      You can turn it back on in the 'Customize' menu.

      What I've yet to find though is the "private browsing" button.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Cheers for that

        As for private browsing, what about CTRL+SHIFT+P?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        re: Menu bar

        In Firefox, IE and I believe Chrome you are limited to everything or nothing being private browsing.

        In Opera, you can have private and non-private tabs. Right click on the + tab and click New Private Tab.

        As usual, Opera does things properly, everyone then catches up a couple of years later.

        1. Anonymous Coward
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          +1 for the cool feature..

          -2 for the snarky attitude, and the fact that Opera won't let you drag browser bars up or down to customize them the way you want.

          That's a particular feature I'd have liked them to see a couple of years ago.

        2. M Gale

          re: re: Menu bar

          "As usual, Opera does things properly, everyone then catches up a couple of years later."

          Using up almost every ounce of my 1GB RAM plus swap partition to display a single tab? Yeah, I suppose you're right. That and Turbo has never worked.

          The movable tabs and mobile-view are a nice idea, but please, why do people evangelise so much about a browser that's more bloated than most?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      +1 on the menu bar

      All the main browsers seem to be at it. Now it takes an extra click to get access to anything. How is that a UI improvement? I guess it's to satisfy those people who view text labels across the top of the screen as ugly and uncool. Form triumphs over function yet again.

  3. Beaviz

    Hope it's less bloaty

    I moved to FF about 3 or 4 years ago, but I've now switched over to Chrome as Firefox feels increasingly sluggish these days and uses more memory than I feel it should. No regrets so far...

    I'll try FF4 to see how it compares though. If it feels quicker I could come back.

    1. DuncanP
      Thumb Up

      FF4b is now faster and leaner than Chrome

      I have compute intensive JavaScript code that uses large datasets. Chrome has recently slowed down by 120% for my main benchmark and is now 3 times slower than FF4b.

      The only browser that is faster is Opera 10.53 (by 15%) but it takes 3 time the memory to hold the same data so for heavy JavaScript performance FF4b is my favourite.

      Compared to FF3.6.6 the new beta is more than 10 times faster. They are obviously doing something very right here.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Nice interface, where did they get the idea?

    It's copied straight from Opera. Replace "Firefox" on the menu bar with "Menu" and that's Opera. Pixel for pixel.

  5. TheItCat

    Tabs at the top???

    Putting tabs at the top is already a stupid idea. Moving them even further away from the content is idiotic.

    Thank god Opera allows me to place the tabs at the BOTTOM of the page where they should be (your eyes will be at the bottom of the page when you've finished reading and want to move to a different tab).

    1. Slappy
      Thumb Up

      Tabs at the bottom?

      That mate is a bloody good point!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Yes, tabs at the top

      I've tried having my tabs at the top, bottom and both sides and they work best for me at the top. The top is the most intuitive place as that is where all the clicky stuff sits on pretty much any app on any platform.

      1. TheItCat

        Wait, stuff?

        Except for the task bar of course, which is all a browser tab bar is.

        Plus... you click stuff in a browser? Seriously?

        If I want to type in a URL or search (inline search is great) I hit F2. If I want to navigate forwards/backwards/home/up or close the current tab I'll use mouse gestures. The only clicking I do is to change tabs, and I can do that from the Win 7 task bar or through the browser task bar, both of which are at the bottom of their respective document windows.

    3. LionelB Silver badge

      My eyes never reach the bottom of the page

      nuff said

  6. Anomalous Cowturd

    One word.


    1. SilverWave

      Nah couldn't stomach the EULA

      Was going to give it a go on my Android Desire...

      Not a chance.

    2. Anomalous Cowturd

      Holy shit, five downvotes for a one word post!

      The haters are out in force today.


  7. Matt 21

    According to this

    ... it's not Firefox which is bloated ( ). Personally it seems fine to me on both Windows and Linux. I don't have any memory problems, crashes and performance (page rendering and loading) is as quick as I could want.

    Opera seems good to me as well but I didn't notice it being faster.

  8. Adam Trickett


    It's good to see Firefox develop, but compared with Opera, Konqeror and Chrome is does seem horribly slow. Only when compared with IE6/7 does it still seem fast.

    At work where we're forced to use XP I find that Firefox is faster and better than IE6 and except when some stupid intranet site does work with standards when I'm forced to use IE6, FIrefox is my default browser.

    At home on my Linux systems I use to use Iceweasel (Debian's FIrefox) but over time I've found it slow when compared with the newer alternative browsers. I now tend to use Chrome and Opera a lot and I'm even using the new KDE4 Konqueror using webkit not khtml. It would be nice to see a newer version of Firefox but only if it's fast...

  9. Psymon

    I suspect underlying drive is win7 compatability

    While Firefox certainly runs on win7, there were a few integration aspects that were suspicious by their abscence.

    Most noticable, was the lack of support for taskbar grouping of the tabs. I was pleasantly suprised to see that Opera had this feature almost from the outset.

    It's nice to see a bit of healthy competition in the browser market now, especially the refreshed focus on performance. FF and IE are both a bit lethargic on startup. IE is terrible with javascript, and new tab generation is appallingy slow.

    Opera still has some rendering issues. Certain javascript image rollover functions cause it to 'jump' back to the top of the page, making it virtually unusable with certain large thumbnail gallery pages.

    IE has the edge when it comes to adding search providers. While with others you need to find a pre-configured link, or fiddle with config files, Microsoft provide a "Create your own search provider" link. SImply search TEST on the website of your choice, paster the resulting URL in the box, give it a name, and click 'Add'.

    IEs Internet Accelerator feature is a killer app once you figure out how to customise it properly. Combined with your own custom search providers, it makes very short work of finding content related to a certain phrase across multiple sites, and is my browser of choice for these types of tasks.

    Opera is very feature rich, but I don't think I'm alone when I say I've browsed through the options, and gone "oooh, that's a cool feature" and then never used them again, or tried to use them, and found it too much work with little gain. Voice recognition and Gestures spring to mind.

    Firefox on the other hand, relies almost entirely on add-ins to be 'feature rich'. While this is not a bad thing per say and adds a modular approach, it does quite often lend to stability and performance issues.

    1. Hans 1

      Wow, last specimen of an extinct race discovered

      First ie supporter I read in years! You feeling lonely? I would think so ... :-D

      WhoTF cares about search providers? Google is all you really need ...

      IE 8 is dead slow, cannot display pages correctly, history is a mess, and the worst of all, it still downloads files to temp and then copies them over to the destination folder, how @#$ is that, no really? I guess the guy who wrote that also wrote the Windows file copy progress! At least it does work best with Outlook WebMail ... when you have not installed the "Open Standards hacks" on the webserver, that is ... ;-)

  10. sean123456

    Too much harddisk grinding noises with Firefox

    In my experience over the past couple of years, Firefox almost never crashes; and on the very rare occasion when it does, it's no big deal. It is a big deal to me, on the other hand, that it frequently makes a lot of annoying noises on the harddisk. Partially those noises are for maintaining a written record of current state so the state could be re-created after a crash. I would much prefer the peace and quiet. Firefox 3.6 is noisier than Firefox 2.0.

    The very frequent writes to the profile database and consequent noise, with no disablement option, is the biggest defect of the program. What's coming in version 4.0 is stuff that I either don't want or couldn't care less about.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Geez dude

      How loud is your hard drive? I run SCSIs and I don't sit there thinking "hmm, I don't care for the sound of THIS application, no sir."

  11. probedb

    Good and bad

    Well it's using a lot less memory than FF3.6 does and in general feels speedier, but maybe that's because most of the extensions don't work.

    The Firefox button top left looks completely lost and out of place.

    Depending on the theme you have it's now difficult to see which tab is selected compared to 3.6.

    They seem to have copied lots of Chrome in the UI.

    It's a wait and see for me.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Any old irony

      "They seem to have copied lots of Chrome in the UI."

      The reason it's ironic is that the UI in Firefox has always been called "the chrome".

  12. kit
    Thumb Up

    Firefox4 is much faster vs FF3.6.6

    I compare FF4 beta with FF 3.6.6 which I downloaded about 2 days ago, by opening 20 tabs in the same window frame and check its cpu utilizing rate . I found FF4 is roughly 30-40 % more efficient ( less cpu utilization).Well done, Mozilla has done a good job to improve FF4.

  13. David McMahon

    Tried it lasted 5 mins

    Prefer my tabs just above the page, half my add-ons don't work, if the tab move stays above the address bar will prolly use another browser unless printing (but not exploder lol)

    Maybe a good time for me to investigate new browsers?

    1. Greg J Preece


      Your add-ons don't work in PRE-RELEASE SOFTWARE???

      The bastards! My God man, we should sue someone! You should definitely switch to something else. It's not like they'll fix anything or upgrade the add-ons in the next few months...


    2. Douglas Terborg

      You do realize...

      that you can undo the "Tabs On Top" feature?

      Tabs On Top is default, but it CAN be turned off.

    3. SilverWave

      You leave ff and ff users smile in relief. sfb


      IE sounds about your speed.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    re: Tried it lasted 5 mins

    The pains of not having functionality built in and relying on plugins of dubious quality/security/functionality..

    Now is a very good time to explore alternatives. Opera is an exceptional choice, it supports all the decent Firefox extensions (NoScript, AdBlock+, GreaseMonkey) right out the box, no messing about, no upgrade worries, no version compatibility problems.

    If you want the Opera Adlock to autoupdate like Adblock+ does, and you are running Windows, then there is a Windows Adblock Service (google: Opera Adblock service)

    1. Greg J Preece

      Oh look, another Opera evangelist

      I like Opera as a browser, but its fanbois remind me of fanbois of a different type. I think it's the smug "superiority".

      Thing is, does Opera have ReloadEvery, the Web Developer toolbar, download statusbar add-ons, Firebug, Window Resizer, etc, etc?


      Bugger off then.

  15. Bryce Prewitt
    Thumb Down

    Lock + Key

    Can someone please put the Opera fanboys back in their box?

    1. Mark Aggleton
      Thumb Down


      Can someone put the fartfux fanboys back in theirs.

  16. Neoc

    Oh good deitiy-of-your-choice.

    The more I read about where Opera/Firefox/Chrome(1) are trying to take the browser, the more I see a future where we end up running an OS-like application on top of your existing OS.

    I mean, come ON! Does the browser *really* need to have all that crap built-in? Surely the better arrangement would be to call external handlers when/if required. Anybody else remember the Unix Philosophy? Why would I want (for example) my browser to be a full-featured video player when there are a multitude of other players out there who probably would do a better job of it (I personally prefer MPC and would rather that *all* videos I view play through it, but YMMV).

    (1) you can add your favourite browser in the list if you want.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    "We moved the tabs to the top...

    to make it easier to focus on the web content and easier to control the tools in your web browser".

    Who the heck is this dude thinking I am, Homer Simpson ? What makes him believe that I'd be so distracted by the line of tabs at the top that I'll miss the page content ? And even if I miss that content, why is he suffering for me doing just that ?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @Greg J Preece

    Clearly you haven't even tried Opera, as all but one of those you mention are alredy built into Opera and better to boot.

    In Opera:

    ReloadEvery - Built in. Right click a page, Reload Every Select a interval (didn't look very far then...)

    Web Developer toolbar - Menu, Page, Style, it's all there, built right in (again didn't look very far)

    Firebug - It's called Dragonfly, it's opensource and far better than Firebug and built right in

    Download statusbar - pretty much built in, plus if you have Windows 7 you also get the download status in the toolbar with Win7 integrations in Opera (something Firefox has also yet to get)

    Window Resizer - Not sure on this one. I'm sure it's in Opera somewhere, but never needed to use it.

    Congratulations Firefox Fail of the day.....

    1. luxor
      Thumb Up

      Cheers for that.

      It saved me having to type it all in.

      1. Greg J Preece

        You noticed the "etc"?

        That's just the ones I use continuously. There are more than that on my list. Those are just the ones that spring to mind.

        I do use Opera, and I do like it. It's by far the best mobile browser, hands down, though Firefox on my N900 is a surprisingly excellent implementation. And you're right, I wasn't aware that so much is now native in Opera. But there's just something about it on the desktop I don't like.

        It still isn't as versatile as Firefox either. I've been able to modify just about every aspect of FF's behaviour - I've added the accelerators from IE8, I've changed the way it handles restarts, I've enabled printing to PDF, and so on, and so on. You can't deny that that's cool.

        And the killer app for me is still the Firefox address bar. That thing just kicks ass.

  19. Skymonrie
    Thumb Up

    Keep those pedals turning

    All these Opera Fanboi's try so hard to justify using it. Why not let bygones be bygones, noone cares about this commercial roots browser but the fanboi's.

    It's good to see Firefox development isn't stagnant

  20. Defiant


    Told you guys before the Firefox and Linux geeks are just sheep, no one is allowed to criticise

  21. karabuni


    The developer version (c. Aug 08/Aug 09) of Safari 4 had tabs at the very top - to the right of of the page title, which did not reduce the size of the window area.

    This disappeared in the public version, and hasn't (yet) been seen since, but it seemed a better position for tabs.

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