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Firefox 4 shipping on 22nd March

Firefox 4 shipping on 22nd March

The final release candidate has had a warm reception since its release. Firefox 4 follows hot on the heals of Microsoft's latest incarnation of Internet Explorer - IE9.

The next version of Mozilla's hugely popular Firefox browser will be released on 22 March. Firefox 4, which sports GPU acceleration among a host of other new features, is coming to internet connections near you slightly ahead of schedule.

The eagle-eyed folk at The Register spotted a comment by Mozilla's Director of Platform Engineering, Damon Sicore, who has said 'March 22nd is the day we would ship. Both IT and Marketing have indicated that March 22nd is an acceptable final launch date.'

The launch comes just a few weeks after the final beta was released, hinting that few problems reared their heads for the team to sort out.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has had a successful first few days with Internet Explorer 9. The browser notched up 2.35 million downloads in its first 24 hours.

However, as tech site Engadget rightly mentions, the figure is solid rather than spectacular, with Firefox 3 holding the record for web browser downloads, totalling 8 million when it was released in 2008.

What are you most looking forward to in Firefox 4? Have you tried IE9 and been pleasantly surprised? Let us know in the forum.

29 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
dicobalt 18th March 2011, 10:38 Quote
I love the increased speed in Firefox 4, it's a whole world away from 3.6. I have been using Firefox 4 so long that sometimes I forget most people still use the old and slow 3.6. Other than speed Firefox has proper script blocking with the NoScript extension, something other browsers attempt to implement but never do nearly as well.
wafflesomd 18th March 2011, 11:14 Quote
I haven't noticed an increase in performance over previous versions. Not to mention it still loads pretty slow the first time I launch it.
Ninja_182 18th March 2011, 12:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
I haven't noticed an increase in performance over previous versions. Not to mention it still loads pretty slow the first time I launch it.

My findings exactly. Same speed once it's going but slower to launch. Will have to wait for the final release I think.
impar 18th March 2011, 12:46 Quote
Greetings!

And more customization to be made to un-Chromify the UI.
Zurechial 18th March 2011, 13:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!

And more customization to be made to un-Chromify the UI.

I bloody hope so - I haven't tried the Beta but I've seen the screenshots and I really hope the interface can be changed to a 'Classic' Firefox 2/3-mode.
It's annoying how subject everyday software is to these interface fashions and design fads.
Whether or not the new design is 'better' is something up for debate and probably quite subjective, but the change to the tabs, title and toolbars is not to my taste at all.

Also, I'm baffled by people talking of browser speed and performance, and always have been when it comes to new browser releases. When people talk of 4 being faster than 3 or Firefox faster than IE, what are they referring to? Java performance?
As a non-web developer I always feel that articles on new browsers and their comments dwell far too much on something that really makes so little appreciable difference to the end user's experience compared to issues like standards compliance, features and interface design.
Especially when, as people point out, Firefox still takes its sweet bloody time opening from cold - Something I had hoped would've been fixed a couple of years ago.

Have I missed something in that regard, or is it just fanboys fighting over microsecond differences in javascript execution? Someone please explain.
mi1ez 18th March 2011, 13:12 Quote
I've just moved to chrome as the FF4 beta gets slower booting with every update.

I'll miss Firefox though...
Snips 18th March 2011, 13:39 Quote
IE9 working fantastic. Don't need FF.
mjm25 18th March 2011, 13:43 Quote
Already running it here... autoupdate! Shame my graphics card is dying a death though, means i can't rely on the hardware acceleration :(
itrush07 18th March 2011, 13:45 Quote
Hmm, looks like everybody's waiting for this thing.. can't wait to try it with my new pc.. Cool!
Hakuren 18th March 2011, 14:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by itrush07
Hmm, looks like everybody's waiting for this thing.. can't wait to try it with my new pc.. Cool!

Not waiting for it at all. In fact I couldn't care less about FF4. Any browser which want to look like Chrome is dead for me. Forever. Best add-on for such browsers is installed on every MS Windows PC and is called "Add/Remove Programs" or "Programs and Features". Works like a charm.
impar 18th March 2011, 14:30 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakuren
Best add-on for such browsers is...
Compat Menu 2
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/compact-menu-2/
Denis_iii 18th March 2011, 15:01 Quote
I'm looooving Firefox 4 since beta 10 and RC just 2 things
- starting to type an URL offers looong urls to exact sub-pages for previous visited webpages rather then said webpages homepage (opera does this awesomely)
- does not remember and highlight EZTV download links once used (IE8 + FF3 did this )
Will compare to IE9 tonight.
Amsalpedalb 18th March 2011, 15:07 Quote
I don't understand the obsession developers seem to have with hiding the menu bar. This has been going on for some time now and it annoys the crap out of me. Why must they hide things I want to use.
Jamie 18th March 2011, 15:42 Quote
All this concentration on speed whilst page loading is still limited by the network and stupid javascript adverts.
Hazchem 18th March 2011, 15:52 Quote
"Firefox 4 shipping on 22nd March"?

Neat, will they send me a copy on disk?

Didn't think so. I think "releasing/released" is a better choice of word here.
Zurechial 18th March 2011, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amsalpedalb
I don't understand the obsession developers seem to have with hiding the menu bar. This has been going on for some time now and it annoys the crap out of me. Why must they hide things I want to use.

This!
I think the prime examples of this ridiculous fad are the 'Ribbon' interface Microsoft forced onto newer versions of Office and apps like Paint; and the menu-hiding defaults of Media Player.
Why are companies suddenly trashing established, familiar interface conventions for no apparent benefit to the end-user?
If I want those extra 20px of space to view a page I'll switch to full-screen mode, thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
All this concentration on speed whilst page loading is still limited by the network and stupid javascript adverts.

And also this!
This is precisely why I asked above what difference it makes (within reason) how well the browsers perform in these unrealistic speed benchmarks, when they seem to do nothing but let the likes of Mozilla, Opera and Google swing their Java e-peen around in the 'browser wars'.
Doctor Hades 18th March 2011, 16:43 Quote
I have Firefox 4.0 RC installed at the moment and prefer it over IE9, simply because it remembers all my usernames and passwords for the sites I visit (plus has a handy Password Manager) unlike IE9. I've yet to come across any incompatibility issues with site layouts either, again unlike IE9 (even with Compatibility Mode enabled)! IE9 does load web pages faster though and I like that it has a Save As option for downloads. There's also the DivX HD option for YouTube in IE9 which is currently disabled in Firefox due to incompatibilities.

Seems like neither is perfect really so I'll likely continue to use both.
Gradius 18th March 2011, 17:21 Quote
Just cannot wait!

Lets hope is security too, and got better compatibility.
Eiffie 19th March 2011, 03:16 Quote
Still using the most current 3.6 version, gonna be nice to finally try something new.
FDAD 19th March 2011, 15:00 Quote
It asked me to update to another beta yesterday...
DocWolfe 19th March 2011, 20:21 Quote
rc2 came out today. I've been using the ff4 betas for at least 4 months now... never had a crash. I like the new look to be honest... the menu bar is an outdated concept to be honest... and I'm happy it's gone.
Phalanx 19th March 2011, 20:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amsalpedalb
I don't understand the obsession developers seem to have with hiding the menu bar. This has been going on for some time now and it annoys the crap out of me. Why must they hide things I want to use.

You can select to leave stuff on-screen with the new version aswell. Simply choose View > Menu Bar, or whatever else you want to remain on screen. Voila! :)
dyzophoria 21st March 2011, 03:59 Quote
Quote:
I think the prime examples of this ridiculous fad are the 'Ribbon' interface Microsoft forced onto newer versions of Office and apps like Paint; and the menu-hiding defaults of Media Player.
Why are companies suddenly trashing established, familiar interface conventions for no apparent benefit to the end-user?
If I want those extra 20px of space to view a page I'll switch to full-screen mode, thanks.

really like the option on hiding stuff on a minimalistic view, id say there would be a 50/50 audience that likes it and doesnt like it, its not a fad, its just the beauty of human nature, nobody thinks alike :)
Zurechial 21st March 2011, 04:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyzophoria
really like the option on hiding stuff on a minimalistic view, id say there would be a 50/50 audience that likes it and doesnt like it, its not a fad, its just the beauty of human nature, nobody thinks alike :)

Except that it's rarely an 'option' and that's the problem. It's great to be able to apply subjective taste to interface design and break from established moulds and insitutions, but only if there's an option to go back.

And when Firefox suddenly decides to start mimicing Chrome's interface layout with its first major release after Chrome's rise to popularity I think I can safely call it chasing a 'fad'.

If Firefox 4 doesn't have an option or addon to switch back to the classic browser interface style with the menu (as indicated by Ph4lanx) and tabs in their usual positions I won't be using it, simple as that.
Can anyone who has used the beta clarify whether the option exists to return to the 3.x layout or not? Googling for it returns lot of non-answers.
MrJay 21st March 2011, 09:24 Quote
Tabs are in a totaly uslesess position when using a VMware copy of Windows 7.
I know its really picky but it stops me using my browser in full screen mode : (
impar 21st March 2011, 11:17 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJay
Tabs are in a totaly uslesess position when using a VMware copy of Windows 7.
I know its really picky but it stops me using my browser in full screen mode : (
Right-click and put them at the proper bottom position.
MrJay 21st March 2011, 11:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!

Right-click and put them at the proper bottom position.

Huuuur Duuuuur!

I cant beleave i didnt try that.

+ Rep
Zurechial 23rd March 2011, 04:17 Quote
Just installed it and thankfully my concerns were unfounded. Tabs and menu bar restored to their rightful positions, so I'm happy; despite my earlier ranting. :)
impar 23rd March 2011, 09:58 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Tabs and menu bar restored to their rightful positions, so I'm happy; despite my earlier ranting. :)
Yep. It just needs more time to make it work properly.

In Windows XP:
http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/3555/38186964.jpg
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