back to article Firefox 4 hits third beta stage, gets touchy-feely with Windows 7

Mozilla has slung out its third beta of Firefox 4, which now comes with Windows 7 multi-touch support. This test build of the browser also has improvements to its JavaScript handling functions. However, the interface itself remains unchanged from the previous beta released by Mozilla late last month. That’s hardly surprising …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    With a number of plugins not working, or working but marked as not working, I think they need to start getting their heads around this.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      They have

      Get the Add-on Compatibility Reporter from (as suggested when you hit the 'get add-ons' tab in the add-ons manager).

      1. Cameron Colley

        @Dan 55

        That is good for allowing plugins to run so you can test their compatibility -- but when a plugin breaks it's not much help. See my comment above about AdBlock and NoScript -- if I didn't run the compatibility tool I wouldn't know that they now cause all sorts of problems because I wouldn't be able to run them at all.

        1. A handle is required


          but for most plugins it's the developers who have to worry updating their plugins. Not Mozilla.

  2. Cameron Colley

    Needs working plugins.

    I've been using Minefield (64bit Linux Beta of 4.0) and it was working well -- that is until it stopped working with AdBlock and NoScript. Now it's next to useless fro anything but trusted sites and even then pages are harder to read due to annoying adds breaking up articles.

    Hopefully there will be version s of NoScript and AdBlock coming soon.

    1. Jamie Kitson

      This title should be auto filled with "Re: Needs working plugins."

      Dunno about NoScript, but I've had AdBlock working on V4 for quite a while now.

      1. Cameron Colley

        Could just be me.

        NoScript and AdBlock worked fine until I downloaded the latest nightly -- then NoScript lead to "stopped" in the status bar and nothing on the page, and AdBlock lead to annoying "302 Page Moved Temporarily" errors for a great many redirected pages and "301 Page Moved Permanently" errors for other -- one of which gives a link to follow and the other doesn't.

        Should point out my comments are aimed more at plugin developers than Mozilla and I am aware I ought to grab the source and fix them myself.

        1. Mike Kamermans

          Of course, you sent mozilla your feedback

          I assume that you have, naturally, communicated this information to both mozilla and the plugin devs. If not, while you should have done that before telling us about it, there's still time, hit that feedback button today!

        2. Fatman

          RE: Could just be me

          It appears that when you said: "NoScript and AdBlock worked fine until I downloaded the latest nightly"; you made it quite clear that you do not know what a `nightly` is.

          A `nightly build` is literally bleeding edge.

          The code fixes that were applied to the tree were compiled and a `nightly build` is available for those who want to see if those changes WORK. Nightly builds may not be stable, and can crash. If you use your regular profile with a nightly, then YOU take the risk that your profile may get hosed.

          So, it is expected that addons MAY NOT be up to date on a nightly. If you want to play with Firefox 4, then use a BETA. The most current BETA is 3. Addon authors need time to digest the changes made to Firefox, and make the necessary changes in their addon. One would hope that by the time Firefox 4 is released, most of the addon compatibility issues have been corrected. BTW, most addon authors have a `day job`.

          FAIL because you failed the test.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Slow start up issue resolved ?

    Personally I couldn't give a monkeys about a lot of these features, so it processes some java thing in the low 10ths of a second instead of the high 10ths of a second woopeedoo. What I care about is , have they done anything to speed up the excruciatingly slow startup times in the high 10's of second that FF 3.5.x and 3.6.x threw my way , I've tried all the usual advice of getting rid of plugins ( didn't have many anyway) and recreating a profile ( great thanks ) and cleared out the cache ( pretty routine anyway) , but it is still quite literally a waste of my time as it is.

    Went back to IE , however the developers feel about it ( suck it up , if life was easy you wouldn't be paid as much ) it works on all the sites I care about and doesn't keep me hanging about just trying to start.

    Let the flames begin.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Ah well...

      Should have tried Chrome...

    2. Tom_B

      And the shut down

      With FF 3.5 onwards closing the browser on my work PC would leave the firefox.exe process running for about 10 minutes consuming 100+ mb of ram (The reason I usually close it anyway!) and not let you open another.

      Firefox started off beautifully lightweight and fast.. now it seems incredibly slow especially compared to the likes of Chrome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Chrome? Lightweight?

        With just two versions installed it takes up over 200MB of hard drive space and with a couple of plugins and 3 or 4 tabs open will quite happily consume in excess of 250MB of memory.

        Nippy it might be. Modular it might be. Lightweight it is not.

    3. Pink Duck

      Anything but IE

      If you want start up speed go for Chrome. If you want standards then opt for Opera. If you want IE then see a clinical psychologist.

    4. Juillen 1


      They could always insert a startup service into Windows that automatically preloads all of the DLLs necessary for Firefox, and make it a little more modular (leaving only the initiator executable for the user to click on).

      It'd add a couple of seconds to your Windows boot time, but hey, it'd certainly speed up the load times of Firefox.

      What do you mean that's not acceptable? That's what IE does..

      1. Test Man

        They already do, don't they?

        When you install it, you're usually asked if you want to install some startup item to make it faster. So your attempts at trolling failed.

        1. Jordan Davenport

          Re: They already do, don't they?

          No, they don't. offers a quick loader to run at startup, but Firefox doesn't. It does a clean start each time. The only things speeding up its launch a tad in Windows are the Windows prefetch and SuperFetch in Vista and 7.

    5. AlexV

      Why don't you let us know?

      Would you mind spending the 10 minutes to download and install the beta and let us know, then? If you're just concerned about startup time with a fresh install, then that's surely the easiest thing in the world to test!

      I can tell you that FF 4b3 starts up in 1.5 seconds for me (with AdBlock Plus, NoScript and a few others installed), if that's any help. I am running a fast PC, though.

    6. CD001

      I'm sorry...

      You appear to be under the misapprehension that web developers are paid a lot - in the IT development heap, web developers are normally considered one, maybe two rungs above pond-slime. Unfortunately, in many cases, this seems justifiable.

      Anyway - back on track - from my experience, Internet Explorer only loads the UI quicker; opening web pages or new tabs actually takes considerably longer than in Firefox. It's a smoke and mirrors exercise.

      On my work desktop (WinXP) Firefox is one of the faster browsers to load up to useful state - quicker than IE, Opera and Safari (even with plug-ins) in fact it's only beaten by Chrome and Lynx (hardly surprising on that one). On my main home PC (Win7) it's hardly worth worrying about since none of the web browsers take much longer than 1s to load ("from cold").

      Having said that though, FF on my partner's WinXP laptop is appallingly slow to load up - in fact, I've only ever encountered issues with Firefox on laptops and Macs weirdly enough.

      1. Wisteela

        Re: Lynx

        Oh Lynx, the text based classic.

  4. JaitcH

    A lot of work to do, yet

    A couple of my employees are testing out FF4 but the damn browser keeps on collapsing - even on fresh XP OS installs.

    Pity they can't keep some of the add-ons current especially Tree Style Tabs.

  5. live2give
    Thumb Down

    addons update

    it says no script 2.0.1 is fine, put adblock is incompatible(sob sob). web pages keep throwing up these horrible animated adverts now.

  6. richard 69

    in-depth results reported...

    "mostly for entertainment and communication" do realise that the internet is dead cos prince said so.....wake me up when it's all over....

  7. Tim Jenkins

    Private browsing, anyone?

    "men who use the web between two and six hours each day, mostly for entertainment"

    and who are busy *ahem* 'buying gifts for their wives' *ahem*

  8. Jim Coleman
    Thumb Up


    Nice to see some multitouch love. Good to see Firefox catch up with IE8 on that - I've been pinching, flicking and poking IE8 for a while now on my Win7 tablet and it works very very well.

  9. Mountford D

    Why do "upgrades" go to shit?

    Perhaps the more enlightened readers can tell me why software manufacturers ultimately fuck up perfectly good products in the name of upgrades? Not only do "newer" products inevitably contain more bloat but backward compatibilty also goes out the window.

    Firefox was born out of the idea that the web needed a lean, mean browser, free from bloat and would run circles round other browsers. What has happened now is that it has gone to join all the other overweights, eroding whatever unique advantages it used to have and the vision has turned into a simple crude market-share grabbing competition with IE. Did I read somewhere that Firefox developers share development with the IE lot? Does this means Firefox is really a non-Microsoft IE or heading that way, with warts, crap and all?

    1. mittfh

      "Built in" vs "Add On"

      Sure you can build a lean, mean browser, with virtually everything other than basic browsing handled through add-ons. The trouble is, hardly anyone would use it as functionality that may seem like frivolous add-ons to an experienced web user may be viewed as core functionality to someone less experienced, who'd prefer a browser that could do everything all the other browsers can do "out of the box".

      Besides, I seem to recall reading somewhere that part of the reason for FF's lethargy is because it uses SQLite databases rather than flat files to handle bookmarks, history, potentially malicious sites etc., and it presumably takes a while to load them.

  10. DrXym Silver badge

    Is this a beta or an alpha

    I've used FF 4b2 for a few weeks and it seems pretty decent. I just wish that they would abide what the term beta actually means. Beta code is meant to be feature complete. Why is it they are still chopping and changing stuff so much? Why are certain features turned off, when I assume they should be getting tested *now*?

  11. Wibble


    They're only developing the 'interesting' stuff and not focussing on the important but boring suff such as re-writing the broken printer engine. There's loads of bugs outstanding for years that remains unfixed because it's percieved as dull.

    Dull and important. No, lets play with the toys.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      I guess importance is a matter of opinion, then. I'd regard printing as pretty close to lowest importance, personally. It's not something I ever use, or see myself as likely to use any time soon.

      1. Test Man


        That's just you though. As a developer, the programmers of Firefox can't just simply do little to nothing on a particular feature. The feature is in there for a reason so therefore they need to get it up to an acceptable standard in a reasonable timeframe, not just leave it because of a forum poster who says that THEY don't use it.

        1. LaeMing

          They have to do nothing of the sort

          Unless they are being paid to work on a particular feature (and some OSS devs are, but many many more aren't) they don't have to do any damned thing they don't feel like. You are neither the boss of them OR their customer. Unless you are paying for a feature/fix, you are a hanger-on who they are happy to have along for the ride because the seats are going spare.

  12. Updates
    Thumb Down

    Firefox 4

    I installed this Firefox-4, reverted to Firefox Setup 3.6.8_2 but ultimately I am back to Firefox Setup 3.6.8. Mozilla Firefox could not carry forward its original credentials like Yahoo Toolbar etc. I am on beta Google chrome, beta Windows Live all are with original features + new features: yes Live is patching up with new features. Mozilla my favorite home page is lagging behind, except its advertisement on internet. Best is Google its pursuits to betterment.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Printing, please

    I can't get FF3 to print properly. That seems a pretty basic and crucial problem - certainly in this house.

    My personal problem focusses on my Tesco on-line grocery order - which misses whole pages or vital information out. So my wife does not know how many bananas we ordered.

    Tesco has recently 'improved' its web site, which triggered this off, but I learn from various forums that the problem is inherent not in Tesco but in FF3. Lots of other people have the same web printing problem.

    As it is, I have to 'PrtSc' or to use Explorer, or to use Sainsbury [ whose printing is also a bit 'iffy].

    Dear testers - any chance that FF4 has this [?elementary? ] problem fixed?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Runs like crap still

    Much slower than Chrome and Opera.

    It also steals Opera's UI. So why would I want to use a naff-Opera wannabe?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    It's like grease lightning!

    Erm..oh no.. it isn't......again.

    But thats never been what Firefox is about is it. Firefox for those tin foil hat sessions and Chromium (not chrome) for everything else. (opera doesn't count - it doesn't even work properly on linux)

    As others have mentioned, the only real issue here is the 'Beta 3' label which quite clearly Minefield isn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Obviously a numpty

      As Opera 10.61 is working just fine here on Linux for me.

      Perhaps you would be better off with Windows if you don't know what you are doing with Linux.

      Opera is the best of all worlds, it's allround a better browser than Firefox, has Chrome's performance without any of the privacy problems.

  16. I_am_Chris

    Where's the Linux version with the new UI?

    No mention of changes to the linux version. Does this mean the linux build *still* doesn't have the new UI? Come on mozilla, get with the program...

    I'm currently testing it on my Mac as my main browser and it's working well. Really the like the User Studies. Loads stats on how the browser is used, interesting...

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