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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


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