Print 20 comment(s) - last by icanhascpu.. on Nov 16 at 6:14 PM

Firefox's latest beta, Firefox 3.6 beta 1 has an unfortunate tendency to crash spordadically, even with minimal plugins installed.  (Source: Icanhascheezburger)
Browser test candidate does bring more speed, features to the table, though

If there's one vulnerability with Firefox, the leading third party-browser, which owns as much as a third of the market according to some estimates, it's been its tendency to crash.  Much of this owes to the fact that it allows very open access by extensions to its framework, leading to incompatibilities with new editions.

However, Firefox 3.6 beta 1 in our testing has been crashing far more than any Firefox build we've run in some time.  In fact, the last build we recall crashing this much was a rather buggy Firefox 2.0 Red Hat Linux build.  We've trialed the new test build on Vista, Windows 7, and OS X machines and in each case crashes frequently occurred.

The puzzling thing is that the crashes seem sporadic and hard to reproduce.  About once a day (sometimes every other day) during an approximately 2-3 hour use cycle Firefox will inexplicably crash.  The curious thing is that the Vista build, which has crashed more than 10 times only has one plugin -- the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant -- which seems an unlikely candidate for causing the failure.  Nor does any specific page seem to cause the crashes.

Furthering the mystery is that some beta testers are reporting similar crashes, though others are reporting none at all.  The release of the beta was delayed a few days, but released on October 31.

The beta does bring speed improvements and some nice new features, despite its rough edges.  Describes Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's director of Firefox, "The Mozilla community is proud to release Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 for download. This beta version of the next version of Firefox is built on the Gecko 1.9.2 web rendering engine, containing many improvements for web developers, Add-on developers, and users. The Mozilla community appreciates your feedback and assistance in testing this preview of the next version of Firefox. Your beta software will update itself periodically, and eventually will be updated to the final release itself."

You can pick up the beta build from here and test yourself.

The new version of Firefox does provide one nice new feature that somewhat remedies its frequent crashes.  While restore is included in the current version of Firefox and other browsers, to return you to your environment pre-crash, the new version has the ability to selectively reopen only some of the windows you had open.  This is definitely nice if you have a lot of tabs open and don't want to return to them all.  And it's especially useful if you find a specific page is crashing your browser.

Firefox's release of late have been solid, and it's still one of the best browsers on the market.  We've been loyally submitting our crash reports, so we're hoping Mozilla can lock down the underlying issues and have 3.6 more stable by the time of its official release.

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No, really?
By gmljosea on 11/8/2009 4:42:29 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think any sane person expects a Beta release to be error-free.

RE: No, really?
By Nik00117 on 11/9/2009 6:38:49 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, Beta is testing, they put it out there to find information like this out there.

RE: No, really?
By mkruer on 11/9/2009 4:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
Ditto, I must say that I know I am taking a risk using FF3.7PreA1. I find some pages that crash the browser, I submit a bug report, usually in a few days, problem fixed.

RE: No, really?
By stmok on 11/10/2009 1:05:45 PM , Rating: 3
Beta quality software isn't stable...News at 11.

RE: No, really?
By Yawgm0th on 11/11/2009 4:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
In other news:

Windows Codename "Longhorn" Alpha Slow, Unstable

Not a story
By Flunk on 11/8/2009 9:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously Jason, the fact that a beta crashes is not a story. This is bad, even for you.

RE: Not a story
By bug77 on 11/9/2009 6:18:58 AM , Rating: 5
At least it raises awareness and encourages bug-reporting as these kind of problems are among the hardest to reproduce and fix.

RE: Not a story
By Proteusza on 11/10/2009 7:36:08 AM , Rating: 2
he has no limits on the depths he will sink to in order to get reads.

The only thing he could have done worse is to give the article a misleading headline to imply that the full release had the same problems.

By Chocobollz on 11/9/2009 11:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
I rarely got any crashes when I'm still using Opera 10 Alpha 1. I usually works with a lot of tabs, maybe 200+ or so, and I got no problem running it for weeks. And the fact that it is an Alpha version, it makes me smile when reading this news LOL ;-) I find it ironic, that the single advantage FF has over Opera, which is the addons system, is its single worst disadvantage ~_~; That's why I'm not using FF anymore, because I'm tired of all the trouble the addons gave me. But I do keep it on my system, just in case that some dumb website didn't compatible with Opera.

RE: And...
By CCRATA on 11/10/2009 2:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
Fanboy much?
Seriously just disable the add-ons you don't like and only install ones you consider stable. Solves the issue doesn't it? That way I don't have to use the ugly Opera interface and I still get ABP and Echofon. I've used betas and alphas of Firefox since version .5 and never really had any issues other than the occasional bug with flash, which isn't even a firefox issue and would happen in any browser.

RE: And...
By Chocobollz on 11/10/2009 11:40:38 PM , Rating: 3
Fanboynism? Hah, you must be dreaming :p I've used FF for maybe 4 years straight and what do I get? A lot of problems, that's why I made the switch and once I switch, I'm never look back because IMO, Opera is better. But that's my personal opinion. I'm thinking, maybe you're the one who is a fanboy because as you clearly stated, you use FF since version .5, while for me, I use whatever is best for me, and for now, it is Opera. I guess if you use the addons that much, then FF is the way to go but if you don't, then I'd say Opera is better.

And the ugly Opera UI you're talking maybe true if we're talking about Opera 8 and older, but not now. Opera 9 and 10 have very good UI and very user-intuitives.

.net framework UNLIKELY CANDIDATE?
By tastyratz on 11/9/2009 8:03:59 AM , Rating: 2
not only are you blog reporting your bug report, but you mention that .net framework was an unlikely candidate for any problems.

Didn't Mozilla and Microsoft agree to shut down .net framework very recently because of a major hole? PLUS - the .net framework is likely made for production versions of firefox and RUNNING on a beta - any plugin running on a version that's unsupported is asking for trouble. active beta development will always be a step ahead of the plugin.

I agree with others as well, if your going to run minefield expect stability issues while they nail it down. When its released to production, THEN you can complain.

By Screwballl on 11/9/2009 11:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
agreed... someone seems to be more of a MS fanboi (lets find any tiny hiccup with the competition and claim it is a browser problem)... than actually read back a few days when Mozilla shut down the .NET Framework Assistant.

I keep it disabled on my FF all the time and have never had it crash on XP, Vista or W7. This has been from 3.1 until the beta 3.5 and 3.6...

So methinks the combination of the .NET addon and this "op-ed blog" takes to the seas in a failboat big time.

By Uncle on 11/9/2009 1:57:51 PM , Rating: 2
Good to hear that there are crashes in FF. I have them in 3.5.3 and 3.5.4. I hope that head office gets the reports that I send with the auto crash window that pops up. By the way the article of preloading of FF for faster start ups cut my frustration level down.

RE: crashes
By Jalek on 11/9/2009 6:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
I've been getting one or two crashes a day with 3.5.3.
Sometimes it's just sitting minimized when the notification comes up that it's being terminated.

I assumed it was a plugin but haven't spent any time looking. A framework problem wouldn't be surprising after it's stealth-installed plugin was disabled recently.

Firefox new feature
By Leper Messiah on 11/9/2009 9:19:38 AM , Rating: 2
The new version of Firefox does provide one nice new feature that somewhat remedies its frequent crashes. While restore is included in the current version of Firefox and other browsers, to return you to your environment pre-crash, the new version has the ability to selectively reopen only some of the windows you had open. This is definitely nice if you have a lot of tabs open and don't want to return to them all. And it's especially useful if you find a specific page is crashing your browser.

This function has been in firefox since at least 3.5 and possibly earlier, its not new for 3.6. A little fact checking would be pretty cool.

It's a beta...
By maugrimtr on 11/11/2009 9:45:03 AM , Rating: 2
Beta software is unfinished, buggy (probably), and release to iron out such issues. A whole news story on a beta release crashing sporadically is a little overkill. Wait for an RC at least ;).

By sxr7171 on 11/14/2009 12:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
Not a big deal with restore that works well. And the feature that allows you to not to re-open a problematic page is just great.

What kind of reporting is this?
By Quake on 11/15/2009 11:57:06 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously, beta = not stable... therefore... crashes...

By icanhascpu on 11/16/2009 6:14:23 PM , Rating: 2
Why did you write this complete junk?

Telling us unfinished software is not done.

The hell is wrong with you?

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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