Mozilla moves Australis-themed Firefox 29 to beta

Mozilla moves Australis-themed Firefox 29 to beta

Summary: Mozilla's has moved its new browser user interface one step closer to a final release.

TOPICS: Browser

Mozilla has moved its Firefox 29 desktop and Android browser to beta, bringing with it a new cloud sync feature, customisation mode and an overhauled UI.

The new beta Firefox is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android, and has a host of new features that come with Mozilla's new Australis user interface, which landed in Firefox Nightly in November.

Australis is Mozilla's effort to bring a cleaner look to the browser and includes a new "customisation mode" in the pop-out settings menu, which hosts standard tools and provides a space for third-party add-ons to be installed.

Some of the other design changes that came with Australis included its new curved tab shape, compared to the blockish ones it currently has, as well as faded tabs to de-emphasise the ones that aren't in use.

2014-03-21 01.13.53 pm
Firefox 29 Nightly. Image: Mozilla.

Mozilla also nudged the tabs a little higher in the browser to offer more page real estate. While the changes moved a little closer Google's Chrome, Firefox retains a separate search box in the new UI. And there are tinier tweaks, such as moving the download progress bar to the 'show all downloads' button.

2014-03-21 01.34.24 pm
Image credit: Mozilla.

The browser also ships with some major security and set up improvements to Firefox Sync, which it detailed last month.

The security tweaks include:

  • client-side key stretching, which will help prevent man in the middle attacks, even if SSL credentials are compromised;
  • the introduction of end-to-end encryption;
  • and public key cryptography and the BrowserID protocol — which separates "authentication, authorisation, and data storage servers — minimising the number of servers that handle authentication material, and reducing our attack surface", Mozilla said.

Read more on Firefox

Topic: Browser

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • No thanks.

    I'd rather stay on 28 indefinitely.
    Dear Holy Stasis
  • Looks like "Ugly is the new pretty" ...

    Yecch! I have both Win 7 and Win 8 on my home machines, using Classic Shell Menu on both (Win 98 menu style) and no transparency, so they look ALMOST identical. But I still say Win 7 is prettier -- and there's nothing wrong with that.

    But this flat bland Win 8 style does get pretty tiring. It wasn't too bad back in the Win 3.1 days when the technology was pretty limited, but nowadays it's really boring.
  • judging from screen shots

    The curved tabs are okay, i don't like the little gaps between tabs but it doesn't seem ugly.
    About time they made dulled out tabs for the non-focused tabs.
    I do like the font in the tabs.
    But the customisation tab - ugh! both in looks and functionality.
  • time to download ESR

    And to reconsider switching to Chrome.

    I gave up on 3.x 2 years ago, and lost several add-ins doing so. Then I used FF10 ESR for a year. I finally made the switch to frequent updates around FF17, but at least I could modify it to work the way I want.

    If FF29 doesn't support FF2-like themes and doesn't allow me to put tabs BELOW the other UI elements/just above the page, then it'll be time to say good bye and move on to Chrome, for which this unappealing UI is at least an original idea rather than desperate copying.
    • All over a UI

      You'd change browsers over the UI?

      I mean, you obviously don't use Firefox for anything software specific if the UI will get you to change (to a browser with pretty much the same UI).
      Michael Alan Goff
  • The "if you can't beat them, join them" mentality

    of the current Mozilla team isn't playing well with anyone I know [and, since I am in the business, I do take the time to speak to many about choices of hardware and software].

    If people wanted to use Chrome they would. Mozilla needs to take note of how Opera has lost much of its [desktop] user base, since the elimination of the good design of Presto-Opera, and the use of Chromium with an Opera skinning.
  • Agreed

    This is nothing but Chrome. Since the Mozilla foundation is MOSTLY
  • Agreed2

    funded by Google nowadays, it's not surprising. Good point about Opera.
    When Chrome becomes the only option besides Safari, or some of the less capable Linux browsers (IE by MicroSoft is not an option) I guess I'll probably decide I don't even need to be online.
    By the way, no "edit" option, and I hit the "enter" key or something and the stupid post above appeared with no way to edit.
  • You can put the tabs and look back with two plugins

    If you download the following Add On's you can about put it back to the original look. Tabs On Bottom 0.3 No Restart by Piro (piro_or) and then Classic Theme Restorer (Customize Australis) 1.1.8 by Aris Restore squared tabs, appmenu, add-ons bar, small button view and more on Australis UI (Windows/MacOSX/Linux + Fx 29+).

    If you want to almost perfectly Unchrome Firefox these two addons puts a lot back to near perfect classic look. the Classic Theme Restorer has a lot of options ...
  • Is there something wrong with menu bars?

    Menu bars are disappearing from so many applications that there must be some modern usability theory that MENU BARS ARE BAD.
    They are being replaced with ribbons with pictures - which eat vertical display space - or a button that opens a box of pictures and in other cases users can only find the hidden menu bars when they press Alt key.
    Do developers think that users can't read?
    If this is some modern usability theory then it so stupid only an expert could have dreamed it up.
    Give me back menu bars and menus and put your picture ribbons where the don't shine.
  • Firefox is dead! Long Live Pale Moon!

    I’ve just been FED UP with FF because of all of the memory leaks, etc. I've been running v16 forever because whenever I’ve tried to upgrade to newer versions, they’d all pretty much just crash after 30 minutes of heavy use, and not a single version of FF that I’ve ever used has ever fixed the memory leak problems. Not a single one.

    I actually installed a tiny batch file on quicklaunch so I could quickly kill FF at the point it’s consumed all of my RAM so I could then start over with “Restore Session” to automatically reload all of my previous tabs. After trying every “solution” to the leak problem, that’s the only one that ever did me any good. Apparently the arrogant tards at mozilla would rather tweak the UI to death rather than make a browser that actually works. They’re worse than even Microsoft because Microsoft has to listen to their customers sooner or later or go broke, whereas nonprofits can just drift along forever.

    At any rate, I just finished installing Pale Moon, including importing everything from FF with their little importer program, and everything went flawlessly, including all settings and the plethora of add-ons I use. The only difficulty was getting roboform attached, which I can’t live without. I did finally dumb around and got the roboform taskbar program to attach roboform to PM, which then worked flawlessly. It is, however, necessary for the roboform taskbar program to run all the time for roboform to continue to work on PM, but this is a very small price to pay to ditch FF forever.

    I've used PM for a week now, opening/closing/keeping hundreds of tabs a day, and I’ve been stunned at how much faster PM is than FF, as well as the VERY small memory footprint occupied by PM vs FF. Even after a week's HEAVY usage, PM has not grown beyond 1 GB, and even better, when I close tabs, ALL of the RAM is given back.

    Basically, PM is what FF ought to be. Even better, the genius behind Pale Moon, Mark Straver, has committed to keeping the PM UI fundamentally unmolested. I’ll be installing PM instead of FF on all of my client’s computers in the future as well!

    (BTW, ALL of the "recommended fixes" for the firefox memory leak problems are a sick joke. Not one of them works. And plugins DO NOT cause the memory leaks! Firefox does! How do I know? Because I switched to Pale Moon, importing everything EXACTLY like it was in Firefox and guess what? No memory leaks in Pale Moon! Oh, and I use Adblock Plus, Flash, Java, DoNotTrackMe, BetterPrivacy CookieCuller, DownloadHelper, Element Hiding Helper, IE View, ViewAbout, Visited, and roboform. So NONE of those is causing the firefox memory leak problems!)
    Metro Critic