First look at Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

First look at Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

Summary: I noticed that the Beta 1 for Firefox 3.0 was made available sometime yesterday. I've been curious as to whether the Firefox dev team would do a serious revamp for this release or just concentrate on bug fixes and performance improvements. Early indications seem to suggest that it is indeed a major revamp of both the core and the UI, and that Firefox will be a much better browser for it.

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TOPICS: Browser, Security
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Check out the Firefox 2.x vs. Firefox 3.x memory test data post. 

I noticed that the Beta 1 for Firefox 3.0 was made available sometime yesterday.  I've been curious as to whether the Firefox dev team would do a serious revamp for this release or just concentrate on bug fixes and performance improvements.  Early indications seem to suggest that it is indeed a major revamp of both the core and the UI, and that Firefox will be a much better browser for it.

Check out the Firefox 3.0 beta 1 gallery.

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

I'm not a big Firefox user because I find the memory management to be very poor most of the time and the spiraling memory consumption affects both Firefox's performance and the overall performance of my systems.  I like Firefox but Firefox just doesn't like me, so, while I have it installed on most systems, I mostly use Internet Explorer 7 and Opera for day to day browsing. Every time I say this I'm faced by a chorus of users telling me that there's no problem with the way that Firefox handles memory, but this isn't what I'm seeing.  When a browser starts to edge near to consuming 500MB of RAM on a regular basis, something is wrong.  Sure, I hammer the browser and have dozens of pages open at a time, but since both IE and Opera can handle this load, I expect Firefox to do so too.  So far, it can't, and because of that the icon doesn't get clicked on that often.

Over the past few years I've felt that Firefox has lost its way and moved too far away from its roots.  Firefox used to be about security and performance, but lately I've felt that add-ons and junking up the interface with eye-candy has taken priority over security and core stability. 

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

Is Firefox 3.0 going to be better?  Given what I'm seeing so far, I think so.  Why?  Because it looks like Mozilla have gone back to basics and worked on what really matters to users - security, speed and ease of use.

Everything about Firefox 3.0 beta 1 is fast.  The download package is small which means that it comes in fast, the installation is fast, the browser fires up fast, pages and tabs open fast, the browser shuts down fast, and the uninstall process is fast and painless (I always like to test the uninstall process on applications because there's nothing worse than having a bad house guest on your system that you can't get rid of).  This is all good stuff.

Without a doubt the Firefox 3.0 UI has been dramatically improved.  Compare version 3 to version 2 and you instantly see the difference.  Everything is brighter, clearer, and easier to access.  Things that should be simple, such as bookmarking, saving passwords, and finding words and phrases in the text of a web page are now simple.  Page zooming is brilliant, as is the feature that resumes interrupted downloads. 

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

Security is also greatly improved.  Only time will tell if the core of Firefox 3.0 will be any more secure than previous versions, but without a doubt version 3 makes it harder for hackers to get a foothold into systems.  Not only have the SSL error pages been redesigned, but there's also malware and web forgery protection available.  Add-on and plugin security has also been beefed up considerably.  To top that off, Firefox integrates with your anti-virus app and with the Parental Controls feature in Windows Vista.

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

Firefox 3.0 is so far looking good!

If you're interested in taking Firefox 3.0 beta 1 for a spin, be sure to read the disclaimer:

Please note: We do not recommend that anyone other than developers and testers download the Firefox 3 Beta 1 milestone release. It is intended for testing purposes only.

I didn't have any problems but your mileage may vary considerably. 

Check out the Firefox 3.0 beta 1 gallery.

Thoughts?

Topics: Browser, Security

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159 comments
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  • I'll wait

    for the final release, but everything you described sounds good to me.
    Badgered
    • Me too

      It sounds great and i am eagerly waiting for final release.
      anikale@...
  • RE: First look at Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

    Looks good to me. Naturally, I'll wait as well. I'm not a bleeder, but this looks tempting.
    ramdac@...
  • Mozilla may have a winner

    I use Firefox quite a bit because it works on all the platforms that I do. I've found the current version to be very stable. The new version looks to be even quicker than the current version.
    WiredGuy
  • RE: First look at Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

    I use Firefox almost exclusively, and eagerly anticipate the improved 3.0! The problems with 2.0+ while annoying, are worth the satisfaction I get from declaring independence from the 'Empire'...
    guitarillo
    • so much for objectivity

      It's funny how people are willing to cast a blind eye to issues with Firefox in an effort to feel good about it but are more than willing to break out the magnifying glass and zero in on any issue with Internet Explorer. People's objectivity about software programs all of a sudden goes out the window and becomes biased as soon as there is made mention that it is a Microsoft program.
      prelude20Si@...
      • That's called "reputation"

        Quick quiz -- which has better food, Ruth's Chris Steak House or MacDonalds'?

        Those of us who strive to keep our computers Microsoft-free do so because we're tired of the institutional problems which result in security holes, code bloat, crashes and other flaws . . .then denies that there are any such flaws until forced to admit that they knew about them months earlier and are working on a patch!

        I'm using FREE software across the board, from OS (Suse) to office suite (Lotus Symphony) to web (FF and TB), and each of these is more secure and reliable than the hundreds of dollars worth of MS code that they replace. Are they perfect? Nope. Just BETTER, and that's good enough for me.

        I have Windows on ONE laptop, only because I have one Windows-only app that I can't get away from (and I'm hearing of a "bottle" workaround). Once that problem is solved, no more MS junk here -- all of our other systems are MS-free.
        critic-at-arms
        • still not objective

          So any of the issues that have been iterated about Firefox all of a sudden just do not apply? You're only worried about security holes, code bloat, and crashes as they apply to Microsoft products but choose to ignore the same issues in other products such as Firefox which this blog is about. This is exactly the objectivity that is missing to which I am talking about.

          Everyone wants Microsoft to release a bullet proof application or OS right from the get go with no need for updates or patches. This same group though will have absolutely no problem with any idiosyncasies or issues with open source and ignore the fact that these open source applications and operating systems are constantly (yes, constantly) being updated, with the need of patches to be applied requiring attention (and not updating would then leave you vulnerable). Once again objectivity has gone out the window as errors and bugs are trivialized as long as they do not come from Microsoft.
          prelude20Si@...
          • Dont you pay for M$ products ?

            Yes I can forgive certain faults with Open Source software, it's free, HELLO, have you seen the cost of M$ products.
            judgesinel@...
          • so free equals ok at any level?

            Well, by your logic then no one should have issue with Internet Explorer because it is free.

            Also, by your argument, free, in the open source arena, doesn't necessarily warrant you a better product and is held less accountable and therefore is ok to have code bloat, security holes, and crashes?

            So which is it, as long as its free it can have issues and there is no need to portray these issues as anything, they can be dismissed?
            prelude20Si@...
          • "Free" is frequently worth what you pay for it. <nt>

            nt
            M.R. Kennedy
          • Actually, it doesn't mean ok at any level

            The fact is if you can get a piece of software for free that is does most of what you need compared to a piece of software that does most of what you need that costs even a dollar the free software has a tremendous advantage. Don't forget that in the business world money actually matters and Microsoft products cost a lot of cash. And if you're paying for something you naturally expect it to work effectively and securely period. Microsoft has consistently failed to deliver on all aspects of that promise. Which means a free competing product is forgiven some issues due to the fact it's not costing you anything to aquire the software.
            maldain
          • Free" is frequently worth what you pay for it

            Is that why you love your "free" copy of
            Windows and Office so much? Because you know
            what it's worth?
            Ole Man
          • Free?

            If you think Internet Explorer is free, just try installing it, without first buying and installing a very overpriced O.S. from Microsoft.
            knightrider2@...
          • So the money is the absolute end?

            I purchase MS Office for 299.00 and it has many, many features that I use daily, and has 10 minor bugs.

            I download OpenOffice for free and can use it sometimes as it does not have nearly the features that MSO does, but it has only 5 minor bugs.

            Should I forgive the less usable program as it was free, or should I forgive the program I actually can use on a daily basis?
            GuidingLight
          • Please tell us...

            ... what features MS Office has that Open Office doesn't.
            High Sierra
          • I can actually use OO.o...

            Actually, you could try to allow time for open software development to spend as many man hours on OO.o as M$ has already poured into Orifice.

            Me, I'd probably prefer to pay $300 per seat of OO.o as opposed to a zero cost version of any M$ Orifice, but since I don't use M$ Orifice, I can't see what features I'm missing.

            With OO.o, I produce documents that suit the corporate needs; I'd guess from posts here that those extra features which M$ provides are producing documents that are vastly superior to the lame (but adequate) documents which OO.o produces.

            Yeah, you guys are right, I'm the tool for hoping for unbiased software development.
            Tech-butnotIT
          • Not About Bloat, Crashes, etc! It's Trustworthyness.! :)

            People aren't just wary of M$ created and controlled programs or their interfaces. It all goes back to the basics of why and how this company operates from the beginning. They are not truly consumer centric or even remotely TRUSTABLE!

            They don't make programs primarily for the people that use them. With M$, it's always been about them and their security, market share, control, and the almost innate desire to get one over on the public. About egos and self centered power, like a street con ripping people in the traffic of the Tijuana, Mexico border!

            If you can honestly say you trust Microsoft, then I have a wonderful deal on a Dodo Bird Farm, on an Island I'd like to sell YOU. No Dodo birds, but you'll have plenty of fellow M$ consumer Dodos to live with!

            Anything good from Microsoft always has a devious element lurking in it's basic structure. It permeates every molecule of it's Corporate beastly nature and it's not about to change even if the company's products do!!!

            With "Open Source" the mistakes and problems are transparent and solvable without killing the patient. With M$ the problem is the patient!!!

            BTW!!! Real Dodo birds are now extinct! ;)
            i2fun@...
          • the above shows no objectivity at all but just opinion

            That's your opinion and you entitled to it but it just goes back to the main point that objectivity is lost. No one is looking at the software for software's sake.

            I haven't spun anything one way or the other, I am just saying that if software is to be evaluated then don't turn a blind eye to the same category of bugs and claim victory.
            prelude20Si@...
          • Message has been deleted.

            drprodny