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Mozilla's Firefox browser moves closer to its official 2.0 release

For you Firefox fiends out there, Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 RC has been released. Microsoft has been garnering a lot of attention recently with the public betas of its Internet Explorer 7.0 browser, so the Mozilla Foundation can now steal a bit of that limelight.

According to Steve' Bryant's blog over at eWeek, there are versions of the new browser available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X even though the official announcement isn’t expected from Mozilla until tomorrow. Features included with this latest release include anti-phishing technology, built-in spell checking, session restore, Undo Close Tab and scrolling tabs.

The people over at CyberNet have already posted a tweak guide for Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 RC, so be sure to check it out to see all of the latest perks and quirks with the new browser. And as always, be careful as this is still experimental software.

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By fubarbundy on 7/10/2006 12:11:56 PM , Rating: 4
There are several ways in which Firefox could be improved, and by that I don't mean bloating the current feature set (which would be a bad idea(tm)).

- More intelligent cookie handling - e.g. refusing cookies silently unless a specific cookie from a specific site is whitelisted. That way, you can still log into your gmail without google's everlasting tracking cookies, or third party advertisers' cookies (somewhat fulfilled currently by the CookieSafe extension).

- Whole page zooming, ala Opera. This should be pixel by pixel scaling, as any css-based scaling falls down in some situations (see what happens when you augment the ctrl+ text zoom with the Image Zoom extension).

- Script whitelisting (see NoScript)

- Cross-session downloads (resuming after re-opening the browser)

- Fixes for some atrocious page rendering times with associated UI freezes. To test, open several tabs from DailyTech in quick succession, and see how long it takes for the browser to return to responsiveness. Maybe each page should have its own thread, so that rendering one tab doesn't freeze the whole lot.

- More intelligent onclick handling in terms of tabs - middle-clicking or ctrl-clicking a javascript link should inherit the previous tab's environment so that for instance a middle-clicked javascript pop-up image actually works!

- Per-tab alerts that don't hold up page loading or drag the user over to the tab that creates the alert. This could be implemented any number of ways, including something like the current find/plugin strips.

- More prevention of anti-user scripting - onclose alerts should be tightly controlled, and right-click/middle-click alert() should be absolutely, totally killed. NO-ONE has a legitimate, user-serving use for the latter (it is only used to try and stop the user from saving an image by throwing up a ridiculous copyright message which only serves to annoy the determined user anyway.

- Allow the user to disable the autocomplete=off tag. This is supposed to be used by banking websites to stop the user's password from being saved, and so there was a bunch of politicking a while ago leading to Firefox ignoring user's wishes on this one, and as a consequence now any website can disable Firefox's form completion whether or not they have a legitimate and serious security concern (e.g. Yahoo Mail).

These are all either fixes for serious/legitimate problems, or refinements of existing functionality, and I've only cited 3 of the 9 extensions I use, as others add features that might be considered outside Firefox's core functionality (Adblock Plus, Plain Text Links, Download Statusbar, RIP, SmartSearch etc.)

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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