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The new interface prompts the user with certain questions after install, to set up security preferences.  (Source: Mozilla)

It'll be easier to manage lots of tabs in the new interface, and the interface now allows new "app tabs" for web applications like Gmail (see bottom right).  (Source: Mozilla)
Fans get an early peak at the company's plans

Those waiting for Firefox 4, the upcoming latest and greatest browser from Mozilla, might not have to wait long.  Speaking at Air Mozilla today, Mike Beltzner announced that Firefox 3.7 will become 4.0.  The first alpha build of 3.7 was released on February 10.

With the switch, Mozilla will likely be much more able to meet its goal to release Firefox 4 in Q4 2010.

The biggest improvements coming in 3.7/4.0 is the Gecko 1.9.3 layout engine, which should bring improved support for new standards such as HTML5 and CSS3.  In the vision outlined in a blog post corresponding with his announcement, Beltzner says the Firefox 4 will be "Powerful: enabling new open, standard Web technologies (HTML5 and 
beyond!)."

He also says that the new browser will be much faster – "super-
duper fast", to be precise.  The biggest speed improvement is the new JägerMonkey JavaScript engine, which speeds up repetitive scripts.  Other speed improvements include 64-bit support, a streamlined main thread, and DOM improvements.

Firefox 4.0 will bring a new look to the browser with overhauled UIs across all platforms -- Windows, Linux, and OS X.  Beltzner writes that the new layer will grant users "
full control of their browser, data, and Web experience."  Among the UI improvements are an overhauled tab interface that allows hundreds of tabs to be easily managed, and allows new web app tabs.  The new UI also prompts the user with security questions earlier, so they don't have to ask as many questions later on.

A final important point to note is that with Firefox 4.0, Mozilla will be the lone player pushing a very different and truly open implementation of HTML5.  Apple and Google both support HTML5, but they both have thrown their weight behind h.264, a proprietary video codec.  Opera and Internet Explorer (sans Chrome frame) don't yet have working HTML 5 implementations that can be used with the handful of HTML5 sites out there (like the YouTube HTML 5 beta).  Microsoft's early preview build of Internet Explorer 9 uses h.264 as well.

That leaves Mozilla as the only promoter of a truly open HTML5.  Mozilla is promoting Ogg Theora, a free codec.  In fact Mozilla put up a slide presentation about Firefox 4.0 that should be available in your Firefox 3.6 browser.  The video of the slide presentation can be found here.

Beltzner gives a bit of a dig, stating, "If you have Firefox or a modern web browser that supports fully open HTML video, you can watch the presentation."

Mozilla looks to be headed in the right direction with Firefox 4.0; it should be exciting to watch the product mature through the beta phase.



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To Mozilla developers
By Drag0nFire on 5/11/2010 10:28:15 AM , Rating: 3
I don't mean to minimize your accomplishments with regards to open standards. I've been a fan of Firefox since the early days, and will be for life.

But as Firefox has become a mature product and a strong force in the market, it becomes important to focus on cleaning up long standing problems. My Firefox 3.6 build uses 300MB of physical memory and 300MB of virtual memory with only 10 tabs open (with flashblock running!). It accesses my HDD nearly as much as my anti-virus software. Performance suffers.

Please, fix this first before gallivanting off to support new standards!




RE: To Mozilla developers
By joedon3 on 5/11/2010 10:51:50 AM , Rating: 2
I am currently running the 3.7Alpha (3.7a5pre). The java is already much better handled, but the HTML5 is slow compared to IE9 preview. I'm sure that will change in the coming weeks though.


RE: To Mozilla developers
By heffeque on 5/13/2010 2:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
Also interesting how in the title of this article it says multi-touch yet nothing is said about it.

Oh, and FF has had multi-touch enabled on Macs for a while now. I guess that it means that multi-touch will be added for Linux and Windows versions too?


RE: To Mozilla developers
By Hyperion1400 on 5/11/2010 3:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
Really, I have 14 tabs open and FF3.6 is barely taking 200 physical and 0 virtual, and a few of those tabs are pretty media intensive.(NEWGROUNDS!) It also runs like a dream, especially compared to FF3.0 @.@


RE: To Mozilla developers
By sapiens74 on 5/11/2010 6:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
Windows version?


RE: To Mozilla developers
By Hyperion1400 on 5/12/2010 3:55:05 PM , Rating: 1
Take a shot in the dark based on market-share alone and you will probably get it. ;)

x86 version btw


RE: To Mozilla developers
By AnnihilatorX on 5/12/2010 7:28:49 AM , Rating: 1
I love Firefox but Firefox has notorious memory leaks. Sometimes even closing it takes ages (hung as a hidden process).

On my 10 years old crappy laptop my mom uses, just using adblock alone as addon, opening a standard website consumes 50MB. Closing it after updating Adblock addon for some reason literally took 15 minutes.

On my much better Windows 7 desktop, I usually have couple of addons and 10-30 tabs open. It can consume more than 300MB. Sometimes with prolonged usage of the app (over few days open), flash or javascript heavy sites may sometime hang the app with CPU saturating a core for 10 secs a time, slowing down browsing a lot. Restarting FF remedies the problem. There must be some kind of leak going on.

FF also should try to include multiprocessor support since multi-tab interface is essentially parallel


Search Bar
By Josh7289 on 5/11/2010 1:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
I tried Chrome, but the lack of a real search bar was too much of a hassle, so I've switched back to Firefox. I'm glad to see 4.0 looking pretty good, with search bar intact.




RE: Search Bar
By Mojo the Monkey on 5/11/2010 4:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
you can add one quite easily with the extensions. besides, the main bar IS the search bar, as long as you dont type www before your term, its a standard google search.


RE: Search Bar
By xthetenth on 5/11/2010 9:14:57 PM , Rating: 2
And if you don't want a google search? I search wikipedia about 15 times for every time with google from it, and youtube about as frequently. That's the problem with chrome's default search. Then of course is the lack of tree style tabs and with that I'm done looking at chrome.


RE: Search Bar
By jlips6 on 5/11/2010 5:28:19 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it all depends on what you're used to.

I've been using Chrome for a month, and I don't even like clicking on the firefox icon anymore. If you're used to a separate search bar, then you probably won't like the transition to one main input field, but now that I use the main bar for searching, I really dislike having two separate bars on my overhead, it feels cluttered and wasteful.


RE: Search Bar
By jnolen on 5/11/2010 10:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
Really? I didn't realize anyone was really fond of have a separate search bar.


RE: Search Bar
By FredEx on 5/12/2010 6:57:07 AM , Rating: 2
I like the separate search. I have 15 different sites for searches. It is nice to just use a drop down menu to select what site I want to search via. I can't get Chrome to do tabs the way I like, even with extensions. Also I have had some videos not work in Chrome. I like the speed, but little things I can't do or change frustrate me.


Firefox' codec support is irrelevant
By Guspaz on 5/11/2010 12:15:13 PM , Rating: 2
In the end, it doesn't matter if Firefox does or doesn't support h.264. Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome are all supporting h.264. Together, these represent at least two thirds of the market. Google also has significant leverage in YouTube. IE/Chrome/Safari supporting h.264 alone should be enough to secure the win. If that's not enough, Google switching YouTube entirely to h.264/HTML5 would force Mozilla to choose between adding some mechanism for support (be it via plugin or relying on OS support), or dying off.




RE: Firefox' codec support is irrelevant
By adiposity on 5/11/2010 12:59:08 PM , Rating: 5
I disagree. While it certainly is significant that 2/3 of the market will support h.264, it is hardly irrelevant that the second most popular browser will not. Most websites now try to be Firefox compatible whereas years ago they did not. As Firefox's popularity grew, more and more "big" sites explicitly supported it.

You think they are going to dump Firefox support when it comes to video, and risk alienating (arguably) the most tech-savvy browser users out there?

I don't know the answer, but ignore 1/3 of the web users at your peril.

In the future, chrome may knock out Firefox (I know it's getting close to being good enough to switch for me). But we will still have to deal with Firefox loyalties for a long time.


By icanhascpu on 5/18/2010 2:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
Ive been a FF/Mozilla/Netscape user for 15 years now, and Chrome is actually gaining footing. -nothing- else has yet and its because of what I have been ranting about for ages

extensions extensions extensions

Chrome has a very good smooth scroll now (a couple in fact), Pinning of tabs, adblock, etc. It desperately needs to refile its (very good base) UI (seperation bars in bookmarks please?) but other than that its becoming a well hammered forged browser.


Awesome!
By Chaser on 5/11/2010 10:35:36 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds great. I'm definitely looking forward to 4.0!




Nice
By damianrobertjones on 5/11/2010 12:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Cool, this along with Win7 set to 125% display dpi makes it even better for touch.




Bleh
By aznjoka on 5/11/2010 12:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
If out performs opera i would most likely go back to firefox.




opera and html5
By charrytg on 5/11/2010 3:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
Why does this article claim that opera does not have an html5 video implimentation, and that FireFox is the only one specifically pushing theora when opera also has html5 video, theora no less. What am I missing here guys?




Old Fx girl > new Fx girl
By zero2dash on 5/17/2010 3:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
Why even consider posting a different photo?
I mean I know the 'shop of her photo has been whored out way too much, but come on.

I expect to see Fx girl when there's an Fx post, and not this non-cleavage showing wannabe.




No h.264?!
By danobrega on 5/11/10, Rating: -1
RE: No h.264?!
By Integral9 on 5/11/2010 11:17:56 AM , Rating: 2
umm... it's a web browser, not a media player.


RE: No h.264?!
By jhtrico1850 on 5/11/2010 11:24:57 AM , Rating: 3
What is Youtube?


RE: No h.264?!
By Integral9 on 5/11/2010 11:52:11 AM , Rating: 2
Youtube is a website with a collection of videos that you can't play w/out Flash or WMP. The videos are played in a flash player or WMP inside of the browser. The browser just calls the app associated w/ the content via plugin to play the content.


RE: No h.264?!
By B3an on 5/11/2010 10:38:16 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, he clearly meant that the video will still be GPU accelerated, it does not matter if the h.264 video is in a browser or media player.

And i'm all for open standards, if they are actually better... but h.264 offers way better compression over the alternative, which is an ancient codec as far as codec tech goes.


RE: No h.264?!
By niaaa on 5/11/2010 11:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
a media!


RE: No h.264?!
By zmatt on 5/11/2010 2:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
Firefox isn't a media player, it's a we browser. media players primary function is to play music and video, a web browser's primary function is to decode and render web pages. Said web pages may have multimedia content on them, but that does not make a web browser a media player.

The only piece of software that falls into your category is songbird. It is a dedicated media player that has web browsing functionality in it.

Also, screw H.264, it's proprietary, and the web if anything is anti proprietary. The entire web culture revolves around open standards and coding in general. Way to go Mozilla, they are doing the right thing here.


RE: No h.264?!
By sprockkets on 5/11/2010 6:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
HTML5 browsers are going to playback media in the browser. That's the entire point: freeing your browser of external plugins or programs like Flash.

In fact, Mozilla can play ogg vorbis already in the browser, which can be found as audio files on wikipedia.org.

If mozilla integrated the mplayer code right into the browser they would have the best playback on the planet. Just not include the libraries that are patented and they are set to go.


RE: No h.264?!
By funkyd99 on 5/11/2010 11:33:12 AM , Rating: 2
Mozilla would have to pay licensing fees to the MPEG-LA if they included a H.264 decoder in Firefox...


RE: No h.264?!
By danobrega on 5/11/2010 11:35:18 AM , Rating: 1
Are you sure? What if they just use the hardware to decode it? Haven't the hardware manufacturers already payed that license?


RE: No h.264?!
By funkyd99 on 5/11/2010 12:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
Older video cards don't support H.264, so you'd still need a software decoder. I believe H.264 codecs are included in Windows and OSX these days, but that still leaves out Linux (see my comments on X264 below.)

In the end, I think this is more of a show of principles on Mozilla's end. The fact is, we don't know what's going to happen to H.264 come 2016. If content providers are forced to pay licensing fees on all their videos, Mozilla can give them a big "I told you so!"


RE: No h.264?!
By jonmcc33 on 5/11/2010 12:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
x264...

I can play H.264 encoded .MOV files without a problem using x264.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X264


RE: No h.264?!
By funkyd99 on 5/11/2010 12:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
X264 is just a different implementation of H.264 though... if a commercial company used X264 to encode and decode video, I'm guessing they'd still have to pay royalties; it's still H.264 video in the end. You can argue that Mozilla is a non-profit organization, but there ARE indirect profits that can be made by browsers (think Google/MS and their search/ad infrastructures.)


RE: No h.264?!
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/11/2010 11:55:57 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
With so many hardware h.264 decoding implementations, not including support for this codec is a major mistake.


I don't think they ever said that they were expressly not supporting h.264. They are PRIMARILY pushing ogg Theora as their web video format, though.

I think the real mistake though would be to do what MS, Google, and Apple are doing -- claim they're freeing customers of a "proprietary format" (Flash), when in reality they are handing them another proprietary format (h.264) in an open source package (HTML5).

That's not only deceptive marketing, it's a step backwards for the web. Standards should be open to public use and modification -- that's the whole idea behind HTML or CSS in the first place!

Ogg Theora is a very competitive format and I think with some time it can be made every bit as good as h.264.

I think Mozilla is showing true leadership here.


RE: No h.264?!
By icanhascpu on 5/11/2010 2:48:02 PM , Rating: 2
I like Ogg Theora too, but they should be pushing both. By the time Theora is as good as h.264, we will have h.265.


RE: No h.264?!
By islseur on 5/11/2010 3:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
+1
You are right about them being deceptive. They used all their weight and pressure to change the initial default recommendation to use Ogg Theora as the standard video format in HTML5. Ogg Theora was chosen because it was not affected by any known patents, is royalty-FREE and a good performer.

Don't you see the footprint of companies like M$oft trying to hold off the increased use of open source and open standards that benefit all of humanity in an attempt to force the people to pay for something royalties that you can get today for FREE!


RE: No h.264?!
By sapiens74 on 5/11/2010 6:48:26 PM , Rating: 1
Jason

You are wrong on this. "Open" doesn't really mean open on most systems. Linux is open but it is not capable of doing things that you could program for a Windows box.

We just want video offloaded to the already built-in codecs we have on our machines, and not leave it up to a plug-in which needs to be supported by one company (abobe).

Flash is the main reason we are still using 32bit browsers on 64 bit systems

That is unacceptable.


RE: No h.264?!
By the goat on 5/12/2010 9:47:50 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Linux is open but it is not capable of doing things that you could program for a Windows box.
. . .
Flash is the main reason we are still using 32bit browsers on 64 bit systems

Weird!? I've been using a 64bit web browser with a 64 bit Flash plugin on Linux for over a year (first released November 2008). And before that I used a 64 bit browser with a 32 bit Flash plugin. How did that happen if Linux is not capable of doing all the things that windows can do?


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