Firefox 4 Beta 8 Airs Today With Much Needed Bug, Performance Fixes
December 22, 2010 10:30 AM
comment(s) - last by
Sloppy performance has marred some initial releases
If Firefox 4's betas have been a vision of the future, it might just drive some to using
Internet Explorer 9
. Despite featuring a slick new look,
, and other nice new features (like tab stacking), Firefox 4's beta releases have been buggier than its past betas, in our experience. From flat out crashes, to NVIDIA driver failures, to hangups on common video sites like YouTube, the Firefox 4 test builds clearly are far from an acceptable release quality, and seemed to be adding more problems with each build rather than fixing them.
Thus the nature of Firefox 4 beta 8, which is set to air today, is not terribly surprising to us.
The new test build, which represents Mozilla inching towards its critical Release Candidate milestone, offers no new features, unlike past betas. Instead, the new beta is solely focused on fixing the browsers many bugs and performance issues. Among the performance upgrades include Firefox Sync setup experience; an overall speed, compatibility and functionality improvement to WebGL, and some "additional polish" to the Firefox Add-ons Manager.
To be fair Mozilla embarked upon a rather ambitious set of upgrades with Firefox 4, with GPU-based rendering perhaps being the toughest of them. The YouTube video problems clearly seemed to coincide with the introduction of this feature, so its entirely possible that Mozilla bit off more than it could chew. Firefox 4 has seen
a number of delays
On the other hand, if it cracks down and shores up quality, it may have a winner on its hands. Mozilla already has great brand recognition, owning approximately one third of the market, by some estimates. Firefox 4 has the features to be an excellent browser -- it just needs the polish to make browsing more of a joy and less of a headache.
The new beta is not yet live (the download link redirects to Firefox 4b7's download), but we'll update when it is. The release notes can be found
. The bug fixes list can be found
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RE: Beta Builds are not "Release Quality"....
12/22/2010 2:21:03 PM
Well, I switched from FF3.6 to 4b7 a couple of weeks ago and haven't really had the same experience as you.
I have had several crashes, but they all seem to stem from the same issue - increased memory use. (Which is causing it to hit the 2GB virtual address space limitation for 32bit apps in windows). Memory usage should go down in future betas, there are lots of open bugs on it being worked on. Just now switched to b8, so we'll see if it's any better.
I haven't had a single other issue cause crashes, though, or any problems with Youtube, etc.
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