Firefox 3.0 final - First thoughts

Firefox 3.0 final - First thoughts

Summary: The official release of Firefox 3.0 is still a few hours away (that's due to happen at 10.00PDT today) but the final build of Firefox is now available for download as long as you know where to look for it. I've grabbed my download and carried out a few installs and I'm ready with some initial thoughts.

TOPICS: Browser

The official release of Firefox 3.0 is still a few hours away (that's due to happen at 10.00PDT today) but the final build of Firefox is now available for download as long as you know where to look for it (clue - look here). I've grabbed my download and carried out a few installs and I'm ready with some initial thoughts.

IMPORTANT: Downloads from FTP server and direct links will not count towards the Guinness World Record attempt for the most software downloads in a day. If participation in this event is important to you, wait for the official release.

ff3_logo_sm1.pngNote: If you've already had your hands on Firefox 3.0 RC3 then the final build isn't going to bring with it any surprises - in fact, it seems that the RC3 and the final build are identical - the MD5 hashes match up exactly (c971bb2273d24d62dd15dcdbd6030ea3).

Firefox 3.0 final installation walk-through gallery.

So, what's new?

In short, a lot. First, there's a newly redesigned interface. I'm guessing that these interface tweaks are going to be loved and hated by people in equal measures. Me, I quite like the new look, but I've already read plenty of of very critical reviews to know that this is a contentious issue.


On top of the interface tweaks are a whole raft of new and improved features. There's an easier to use password manager, a download manager that is a pleasure to use (which supports resumable downloads), better find system, and a totally revamped and very intuitive address bar.

Firefox 3.0 is the first true browser's browser.


Then there are the beefed up security systems. Firefox 3.0 tries its best to keep the user away from bad sites by giving them the information they need to come to an informed decision about the validity of a website.

Added to this is the ability to integrate with antivirus software and parental controls so grown ups can reign control over little Johnny's browsing.


Under the hood the Mozilla dev team have worked hard to improve the speed, memory usage and reliability of the browser. Firefox 3.0 is not only the fastest browser available, its memory footprint has been dramatically reduced.

Even if you have superfast Internet connection, you'll notice a huge difference if you compare say, accessing your GMail account using Firefox 3.0 and Internet Explorer 7. Firefox 3.0 isn't just faster, it's noticeably faster.


Well, those are my initial thoughts on Firefox 3.0 ... feel free to share your Firefox 3.0 Download Say thoughts here.

Further reading:

Topic: Browser

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  • Think again. It's RC3 not FINAL.

    I have RC3 and it's the SAME build. so it's not what you're thinking of. They're keeping track of the location and someone decided to play a little prank and change the RC3 name to the actual one.

    I have RC3 running. it's the SAME BUILD.
    • Yep, those links currently bring down RC3

      what the man said
      • No, it is the final release!

        Doesn't anybody actually read any more? The article clearly stated that FF3 will appear as Release Candidate 3 until FF3 Final is officially released at 10 am Pacific time today. So in a few hours your RC3 will appear as FF3 Final. Be patient -- and work on improving your reading comprehension.
        • That could mean one of two things!

          Either as you suggest, that RC3 and the Final version are one and the same, or that the latest version of FF3 will be RC3 until the Final version is released at 10am today! It all depends on how you interpret it. Patience is a virtue. Hold on long enough and we'll all know for sure. :-)
          • Either way...

            The only reason I have kept IE6 so long is because my fingerprint reader just work with it for all my passwords. Fingerfox 1.0 and Fingerfox (SE) 2.10 are incompatible with FF3, whether it is called RC3 or Final. I tried RC1, went back to FF2, then RC3 and back, because of this. Oh well.
          • rc3 and final are the same

            only the branding has been changed.

            Mozilla runs a proper beta/rc/release method, the last release candidate that passes all tests gets rebranded as the final and delivery is set into motion.

            If you have rc3, the only difference is the branding. If anyone was expecting a surprise, it doesn't (and shouldn't in the OSS world) happen.
    • Which is why the MD5 matches (nt)

      • Verdict: MD5 *does* match. It *is* RC3, after all...

        I have downloaded Firefox 3.0 at the equivalent of about 11:30 PDT (3:30 p.m. in my time zone, GMT-3:00), from the official site, with indicating the download for Firefox 3.0 - all "comme il faut." I have no doubt that I have "the real thing."

        And the MD5 hash matches [b]exactly[/b] the one Adrian had supplied...

        So, Firefox 3.0 final [b]is[/b] really RC3, unchanged.

        This is not the first time something like this happens: Vista SP1 RTM was also the same as RC1 Refresh 2.

        By the way, I'm writing this from Firefox 3.0. On install, it hung up during the plug-in compatibility verification (after verifying the Brazilian Portuguese spelling checker), but as soon as I clicked on "Cancel" it opened normally and has been working great since then. (I don't use that spelling checker often and haven't even tried it yet.)

        Differences? Nothing dramatic so far. But it does appear to be a bit more responsive - I don't know if that means exactly "faster." And I've just tried a Web site that used to be correctly displayed only under IE, and it loaded flawlessly. Thumbs up so far.
  • My favorite new feature: delay on password save

    Waiting until you have successfully logged into a password site before asking you if you want to remember the credentials. GREAT news for those of us with a fistful of passwords, not sure which will work where!
    • so true

      it's amazing how a simple logical feature change can make so much difference to the everyday browsing experience...
    • oh yeah

      hell to the yes!!!!!!!!!!

      how many times have you not been sure if you just typed in the correct username and password and then sat there scratching your head for a few seconds when it axes you to remember the info. excellent improvement.
  • RE: Firefox 3.0 final - First thoughts

    I have used the beta for quite a while. My email server heavily uses JavaScript and Ajax (Zimbra). The difference between FF 2 and FF 3 is quite noticeable.

    Let's hope the plugins will be updated in a timely fashion.
  • RE: Firefox 3.0 final - First thoughts

    I have a few Add-ons that didn't work until this morning so I guess that my RC3 is the final version (no need to download again, huh?)
    • Noticed that too...

      Several add-ons were updated this morning and i have no doubt that more will be released in the coming days...
  • Hope Add-ons catch up soon

    3.0 is a nice product, but it's tough slogging without the add-ons a user has gotten used to. They're beginning to catch up, but there are still some outstanding add-ons that aren't available for the new version yet.
    • Definitely the greatest problem so far...

      I'm missing Fasterfox, Extended Toolbar and IE Tab. At least FlashGot and DownThemAll, the other two I used most often, are compatible... And my favorite theme (Nautipolis, which I like because it's extremely narrow, yet functional, and recovers a lot of screen "real estate") works flawlessly on Firefox 3.0.

      The search for add-on updates also hangs, but this may be due to Mozilla's server overload today. Let's see how it goes after things calm down.
      • Are you sure about IETAB?

        I have been using it continuously (with the updates FF located) since RC1 with no problems. Currently using 1.5.20080310.
      • IETab is working fine for me

        Maybe you've got an older version? Download the latest at
  • RE: Firefox 3.0 final - First thoughts

    I downloaded 3.0 this morning. Everything was working well
    except that most of my Bookmarks were missing. Anyone else have this problem?
    • Never had that problem...

      You should use Foxmarks add-on or one of the other add-on bookmark managers to make sure that doesn't happen again. I have 5 computers running firefox and foxmarks, and 3 of them dual boot a linux distro also running firefox (that's 8 copies of firefox between them)...I use foxmarks in all of them so when i update one set of bookmarks i update them all. Even if you only have one computer it's useful to save your bookmarks online as a backup in case of problems such as what you've encountered. Plus i have access to my bookmarks at work as well...