Firefox 5 Beta Released

Eight weeks after Mozilla rolled out Firefox 4, it has launched a beta version of its fifth edition of the Firefox Web browser on Monday. Firefox 5 is faster and fixes plenty of bugs left over from Firefox 4. It’s new features include performance and stability enhancements, a channel switcher and CSS animations standard.

Firefox 5 Beta

The channel switcher lets users move between aurora, beta and final releases of the browser and test features at each level of development and quality.

CSS animations allows users animate transitions from one CSS style configuration to another.

Firefox 5 beta also includes opt-in location-aware browsing feature. This feature can tell websites where you’re located so you can find info that’s more relevant and useful and improve your browsing experience.

Mozilla’s first mobile release of Firefox 5 is an Android version of the browser. Both the desktop and mobile versions of Firefox 5 have a Do Not Track feature that lets users browse anonymously.

You can download Firefox 5 beta.  If you’ve been using Firefox 5 Aurora, you can switch the channel to continue to use Firefox 5

The final version of Firefox 5 is scheduled for roll-out on June 21.

Private Browsing In Firefox For Android

Yes, you now have the right to browse privately on your Android phone with Firefox Beta. Firefox has introduced the “Do Not Track” feature in their latest build for Android. It is the first mobile Web browser to offer the “Do Not Track” privacy feature.

The Do Not Track feature gives more control to users over the way their browsing history is tracked and used online. The feature behaves just like private browsing and enables users to tell websites if they prefer to stay anonymous or not.

Do Not Track - Firefox for Android

To enable the feature, open Settings and click on the button that says Tell sites not to track me. Once you’ve enabled the Do Not Track feature, you can test it by using  Microsoft’s Do Not Track Test Page.

Firefox Beta for Android is available for download from the Android Market. Download the browser and test the next version of Firefox on your phone.

The update also includes some speed improvements and better compatibility with the SwiftKey keyboard for Android.

Firefox Racks Up 100 Million Downloads in One Month

Mozilla might have come under heavy criticism over the past few months; however, clearly a lot of people still love Firefox. Within a month of its release, Firefox 4 has managed to cross 100 million downloads. Firefox 4 was a major update for the popular open source browser from Mozilla. Not only did it modernize Firefox’s interface, but it also (mostly) fixed the performance issues that plagued Firefox 3. Unfortunately, the massive overhaul also made it a challenging update to ship. Firefox 4 slipped from schedule on multiple occasions, and ultimately, some of the planned features had to be dropped.

Firefox-4

According to StatCounter, nearly 8% of global internet users currently use Firefox 4. While that’s an impressive figure, more than 18% users are still on Firefox 3.6. So, there’s still plenty of room for Firefox 4 to grow. Internet Explorer continues to dominate the charts, with IE 8 commanding nearly 30% of the browser market. With nearly 17% market share, Chrome 10 is the third most popular browser out there.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Version Market Share

Firefox 4 could well be the last big release for Firefox. Mozilla has decided to ditch the old update model in favor of a newer release cycle with faster iterations. This means that future versions of Firefox will have fewer new features in every release; however, we should get a new version of Firefox every 6 weeks. To facilitate this process, Mozilla recently launched a new channel called Aurora.

Even as Firefox continues to enjoy massive download figures, Chrome has managed to establish itself as a serious competitor, and is turning on the heat on Firefox and Internet Explorer. Opera Software has also stuck to its reputation of delivering innovative new features; however, it hasn’t quite manage to break free and make significant inroads. With Microsoft also upping its game, Mozilla truly has its work cutout. Checkout our earlier coverage to get a lowdown on the new features being considered for Firefox 5, and don’t forget to let us know if you have downloaded Firefox 4 or not.

Ultimate List Of Firefox 4 Tips; Tricks And Hacks You Should Learn Right Now

is definitely one of the best versions of Firefox I have seen over the last couple of years. Firefox is one of the browsers I use since it was launched, but there were a few features and annoyances which needed to be fixed. Some of these were high memory hogging, no easy sync of bookmarks, passwords or browser preferences, no feel of a modern browser, unnecessary UI clutter and so on.

Firefox 4 Tips and Tricks

Thankfully, the Mozilla team has learned that this is the age of cloud computing and have introduced some rich features in Firefox 4. This includes Firefox Sync, Site tagging, Instant search, smart folders, tab groups and more.

Last time we tipped you with a comprehensive list of Internet Explorer 9 tips and tricks. Now here is another featuring Firefox 4 tips, tricks, hacks and more which will help you get a better and flawless Firefox experience.

Download, Installation And Getting Started With Firefox 4

Download Firefox 4

If you haven’t tried the newer Firefox 4 yet, we suggest you download Firefox 4 final version or try the RC download here (our review of Firefox 4). Yesterday, along with the final version of Firefox 4, Mozilla also released the RC version of Firefox for Android and Maemo on the Android Market.

Prerequisites For Installing Firefox 4

It’s always a good idea to first check your system requirements and the prerequisites of a software program before installing it on your operating system. This system requirements page at Mozilla details all the software and hardware requirements required for Firefox 4 to run on Windows, Mac or Linux.

Firefox 4 Installation Guide And Screenshot Tour

If you’re no geek and need step by step instructions for installing Firefox 4 on your computer, the screenshot tour by Howtogeek should be a good start.

Firefox 4 For Android And Maemo Released!

After numerous months in beta testing and a couple of RC releases, Mozilla has finally gone ahead and released the final version of Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo.

Firefox 4 for Android features a streamlined interface, support for more than 150+ plug-ins, themes to change the look of the browser and the ability to sync your data with your desktop FF browser.

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The mobile version of Firefox is based on the JaegerMonkey JavaScript engine and supports HTML5 as well. The app is multi-thread as well so as to take advantage of dual-core Android phones. The app also supports Offline browsing and has an inbuilt download manager as well.

I have been using Firefox 4 since its beta version, and I must say that the final version is much better than the betas, which were bloated, slow and took ages to load. Compared to the stock Android 2.2/2.3 browser, Firefox is still slow and takes more time to start-up.

Another major disadvantage of FF4 for Android is that it does not support Flash 10.1, which might be a deal-breaker for many. The text rendering of the browser is not up to the mark as well!

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The only advantage FF4 for Android has over its major competitors Opera Mobile 11 and the stock Android browser is the support for plugins.

The desktop version of Firefox is popular among the users because of its high level of customizations offered by the plug-ins. The same holds true for the mobile version of Firefox 4.

Mozilla Engineer Calls IE9 Launch Miserable & Starts Abusing When Asked For Stats

If there’s something that ticks me off the most, it is the marketing/PR of a company fudging statistics to suit their needs. Both Microsoft and Mozilla announced new versions of the browsers this month and number of downloads in the first 24 hours were used to showcase how awesome the browsers are.

Microsoft did a blog post claiming 2.35 Million downloads for IE9 and Mozilla announced 7.1 Million downloads. Woah! That’s a huge difference! I mean really that’s almost 3 times but. Yes, there’s a capital BUT here. IE9 is only for Windows Vista and Windows 7 whereas Firefox is available for all desktop operating systems. This little piece of information has been conveniently skipped by all. Why IE9 is not available on Windows XP is Microsoft’s decision, they’ve talked about that and I shall not get into that since it has nothing to do with the download numbers.

Today Romit Mehta asked Asa Dotzler if he could share OS specific numbers for the downloads since that would give a clearer picture as to who wonif the first 24 hour download numbers were the scale. The discussion had several analogies exchanged but Asa did not talk numbers, much like a PR professional he danced around but not being one he lost his cool and shit hit the roof. Here are some quotes:

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Since I follow @Rawmeet and these statistics have been something of an issue for me since everyone started talking about them, I jumped into the discussion and here’s how that went:

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Getting a PR response meant I had to take a dig at Mozilla:

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I just got complimented by Asa for my persistence (and my blunt truth):

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With that done, I decided to look at numbers. They weren’t going to come from Asa or Mozilla so the next best public source, Statscounter and here’s what I found:

The 28 days of March 2011

  • Windows Vista 13.74%
  • Windows 7 30.63%
  • Total download base for IE9 = 44.47% (2.35 Million Times)
  • Compared to the 100% marketshare Firefox had, they managed 7.1 Million downloads.
  • This is 55.53% more and they got 3 times the downloads.

Windows XP has 47.22% of the marketshare which means if IE9 were available on Windows XP the download numbers would’ve well been close. Or in other words, Firefox 4 didn’t exactly do a hell lot better than IE9 despite the 3x downloads.

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So much for the BS Mozilla and you might want to get your engineers some anger management therapy. Maybe the congratulatory cake Microsoft sent Mozilla wasn’t his  favourite  flavour.

Firefox 4 Officially Released, Crosses One Million Downloads Within Hours

After a dozen betas, and two release candidates, Mozilla has finally released the public build of Firefox 4. It took nearly a year to come, but now that it’s here, expect it to break all records. With well over five thousand downloads per minute, at the moment, Firefox seems well poised to go past the ten million mark. You can tack Firefox 4 downloads in realtime from glow.mozilla.org.

Firefox Although, several planned features were dropped from Firefox 4, as it struggled to stay on schedule, Firefox 4 is a meaty update, which boasts of some pretty significant enhancements.

The user interface has been refined to give the website higher priority. Tabs are now on top (as they should be), and the menu bar has been replaced with a single “Firefox” button.

Firefox 4 is significantly faster than its predecessors, courtesy of the new JagerMonkey JavaScript engine, and should be able to hold its own against the likes of Opera 11, Chrome 10 and Internet Explorer 9. Also new to this build is hardware (GPU) acceleration and WebGL support. Unfortunately, hardware acceleration is currently not supported in Linux. WebGL compatibility means that Firefox is ready to meet the demands of the new age, graphics intensive web-applications and games.

Other new features in Firefox 4 include in-built synchronization option, “Panaroma” tab organization, app tabs, multi-touch support, DNT (Do Not Track) header support, WebM video playback, crash protection for popular plug-ins (Flash, QuickTime, Silverlight etc.), HTML 5 parser, and open type fonts support. The full changelog for Firefox 4 is available here.

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Firefox 4 for Windows, Mac and Linux is available in more than seventy languages from firefox.com.

Firefox 4 Release Date Confirmed for March 22

RC has been out for a few days now and the new UI looks pretty good. Also, there aren’t any important bugs in the Release Candidate. Yesterday, Internet Explorer 9 was also released to the public. So when will Firefox 4 be available?

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According to a Mozilla posting on Google Groups, 4 will be made available to general public on March 22 or thereof. The date has been confirmed by both the IT and marketing team at Mozilla.

All,

Firefox 4 RC1 has received a very warm welcome; it’s time to make a decision to ship.  As of now, there are no known issues that would stop us from shipping RC1 as final.  At the conclusion of our regular 11:30AM triage session on Wednesday, March 16th, release drivers will decide whether to ship RC1 as Firefox 4.

March 22nd is the day we would ship.  Both IT and Marketing have indicated that March 22nd is an acceptable final launch date.  If at any time we discover issues that would block final release, we would issue an RC2 as soon as possible, reset the ship date, and communicate to everyone.

All my best,

Damon

The Firefox 4 RC1 will be frozen and released as the final version of Firefox 4, so users who are already using the RC will not see any changes. This is definitely good news for Mozilla, because Firefox 4 has been delayed numerous times and the competition has heated up with the launch of Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome 10 and Opera 11

Firefox 4 RC Review

Update: Some sections of this article have been modified from their original form

The Release Candidate for Firefox 4 has been out for a few days now and I decided to put it through the paces. Though there wouldn’t me much to write about since my Firefox 4 Beta review, there are definitely some speed tests and other things I have done to compare it with other offerings available today.

UI Changes

As I had mentioned in my beta review, the user interface for 4 is completely different from earlier versions. It is similar to what other browser look like including Internet Explorer 9, and .

Firefox 4 User Interface

This is definitely good because users will have a unified experience across multiple browsers. Firefox 4 has combined all the menu items into a single menu item. However, individual menu items are available when you press the Alt key.

Firefox 4 though hasn’t gotten rid of the search box and continues to use it for dedicated searches. However, you can still use the address bar to perform searches.

More New Features

Other than these, Firefox 4 also has a new tab manager which allows you to manage open tabs. A new add-on manager, a new feature where you can search the address bar and switch to an open tab and more integration. I had covered all of these in my earlier Firefox 4 review so I would not want to repeat them again.

Firefox 4 RC Benchmark – How it Stacks Up?

Coming to my favorite part in this review, I ran a couple of benchmarks on Firefox 4 RC to understand how it stacked up against the several other browsers I use. These benchmarks were run on a hot instance of all the included browsers (the browsers were already open once before running the tests).

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Sadly, the tests did not backup Firefox 4 here. Firefox 4 was rated the second lowest in the Peacemaker tests after Safari of course. Way below Internet Explorer 9. By the way that Safari 4.0.4 is actually Google Chrome 12, somehow it identifies it wrong. I have made sure to make it apparent in the test results image too.

The winner of course was Opera 11.10 which is still in alpha stage and Google Chrome 12 which will be released soon. It goes to show where Mozilla’s efforts are.

Firefox 4 Acid Tests

Firefox 3 RC fared worse in their Acid3 tests than the beta versions. This was not unexpected, but I have hardly seen any browser go higher that this.

Of course, Firefox 4 might have higher ratings elsewhere, but this is definitely not something I would want to see Firefox 4 in the ratings. Alas, we can’t get everything we want can we?

Summarizing

Firefox 4 is a huge leap for Mozilla, it makes a lot of UI changes which will be unacceptable to many users so you can expect a lot of backlash when this goes live However, it is a move in the right direction and will pay off in the end.

However, there are quite a few things which lack in Firefox 4 and were supposed to be in Firefox 3.5. Do feel free to talk about your thoughts out here, in fact I would be very appreciative if you could share your benchmarks of different browsers too.

Redundant Section

This part of the article is redundant and it might have been a bug in my profile, please disregard it. You can click here to see this section.

Mozilla Moves to a New Release-system For Firefox, Features Now Coming with Updates

Mozilla has a tough year ahead of it. The Firefox roadmap boasts of gamechanging updates and it will be a pleasure to see them come through. However, people are apprehensive about the roadmap, since it claims four major versions in a year which is so unlike Mozilla. Though, recent updates have outlined how Firefox will achieve this feat.

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For those not familiar with the context, you can check this coverage for Mozilla’s plan of releasing version 4, 5, 6 and 7, all by the end of this year.

Following Google’s announcement of releasing new features as and when they are ready, Mozilla has decided to put Firefox through the same process. The addition of features will be made irrespective of versions and this eliminates the need for all the hoopla around major version releases. The new system will be put in place only after the release of Firefox 4. That makes Firefox 4 the last major release in its true essence.

Jay Sullivan, the VP of Productions at Mozilla responded to pcpro saying,

What we want to do is get the power into users’ hands more quickly. For example, the video tag was shippable in June – we should have shipped it. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for this whole package. Why wouldn’t we ship the video tag when it’s ready? We’re moving on web time now, and we’ve been shipping a little bit on desktop time. It’s not necessary, so we’re undergoing some process changes, and we’ll do smaller bundles more quickly.

The new system, in Sulllivan’s words, is all about “fewer features and more releases, like Chrome“. This can be seen in Firefox 4, which had 12 betas. Mozilla plans to release a new version every three weeks in this new process. What remains to be seen is how many actual features and fixes go into those releases or whether the system is just a  faux pas. Firefox has seen extremely slow development over the last one year and the new system should at least bring some transparency into the development of Firefox, if not pace it up altogether.

If you would like to speculate further, catch some info on the Firefox 5 concept here.