Browser

Firefox 3 on the way, but will it live up to its hype?

Mozilla will be releasing the final version of Firefox, its open source browser, in June, according to company officials. During a roundtable discussion with various tech news bloggers, Mozilla CEO John Lilly also announced that the first release candidate will be available in early May.

Mozilla will be releasing the final version of Firefox, its open source browser, in June, according to company officials. During a roundtable discussion with various tech news bloggers, Mozilla CEO John Lilly also announced that the first release candidate will be available in early May. Over 700,000 people are using beta versions of the popular browser, far less than the installed base of 160 million, but more than enough to work out the worst of the bugs.

Mozilla: Final Version of Firefox 3 Will Ship in June (Wired blog)

Mozilla has made a number of improvements with its newest release, but one of the most compelling is improved memory management to plug up the memory leaks that have been rampant in Firefox since version 1. Security changes are also prominent, with an anti-malware tool likely to join the anti-phishing filter that was put into Firefox 2. The Mac version is also being enhanced, with the new version looking far less like a direct Windows port than previous releases.

Firefox 3 beats IE7 and Opera in memory tests, Mozilla claims (Computerworld)

With Firefox 3, Microsoft has reason to worry (News.com)

Hands on with Firefox 3 (Macworld)

I used Firefox as my primary browser up until IE 7 was released, and I was thrilled with some of the revolutionary features it gave me, the biggest example being tabbed browsing. We also moved to install Firefox on all of our staff PCs in order to give people a choice. However, a few months after IE 7 was released, I started using Microsoft's browser because of the substantial memory leaks in Firefox. I hope that Mozilla's product lives up to its hype, because I think Microsoft needs to have a strong rival in this space. Do you think Firefox 3 will live up to Mozilla's hype?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stay on top of the latest tech news

Get this news story and many more by subscribing to our free IT News Digest newsletter, delivered each weekday. Automatically sign up today!

45 comments
Meesha
Meesha

I never experienced the "memory leak" issues on any of our office equipment or even home equipment. I have used FF from the early days to present and have been very content. I did use/test IE7 but found it was slow to launch and most of it's "add-ons" were at a cost. This meant that I could not "build" the IE7 to meet at least the basics that I have in FF. So yes, I will most definitely stay with FF and avoid IE regardless of what version.

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

For those "armchair" website builders like myself, Firefox is just a %15 marketshare headache. Websites I have built with Frontpage (I know about the transition) dont show up well on firefox. None of the bells and whistles work (page transitions, etc) but I digress... The primary reason I had used Firefox WAS for their tabbed browsing, when IE7 offered that option, I see NO REASON to go to Firefox. As long as there isn't any money changing hands, I don't BUY my browser, I don't care... IF IT AINT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT

noorman
noorman

It 's M$'s fault that your stuff created with their Frontpage doesn't work 100% in a FF webbrowser ! FF adheres to W3C completely, M$ never has and always try to get their own way ! Kick M$, not FF (Mozilla) ! .

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

again, %15 of the market (and that's a gracious estimate) that FF represents is not worth the effort of trying to accomidate it. True MS works best with MS and to the devil with 3w...if it aint broke...

DanLM
DanLM

Let us go back to the days of different measuring(more then 2). Lets go back to the days that you couldn't buy replacement parts for your car(bolts, washers, tires) unless you buy them from the manufacture. I can see jets, house's, mail not adhearing to standards. Building standards, who needs them. Throw them out.. Let every manufacturer build by their own specs without eating building codes(read standards). Yup, standards are bad. Just listening to your argument makes me want to move away to standards and everything propietary. Thats right, MS does not adhear to standards. And by your own statement, you agree with them. And if your moronic enough to say that the web is different. Then crawl back under your rock. You want diversity on the web, you need standards so that everyone can be involved... But, by your own comments.. You don'w want that. Dan

todd
todd

that's what that is, that and stubbornness to open up to web standards. FP is a load of junk that was made by M$ to view web pages in IE when IE was the only major player in town before Netscape took off. Front Page is for hobbyists and only display sites the way they are coded in IE only, your beef about FF is moot and you're shutting out about 20-25% of viewers (perhaps more). If you're a hobbyist, you don't care, if you're in the profession, you should care and learn cross-browser compatibility. Now that there are SEVERAL browsers, IE is bound to lose people on a daily basis because not only of its major flaws, but it's quirks as well. Firefox, Opera, Safari, Camino, Lynx & Konqueror (text-based) and let's not forget *nix users and how the browsers in *nix machines render different from Mac or PC. Don't forget too, there are users with impairments or disabilities. Accessibility and usability are also key factors when making and designing websites, but you don't care about that either if you're a hobbyist. So larrie_jr, you keep designing/developing in a monolithic WYSIWYG while the rest of us stay current and in this century, you keep splashing sites with that "Made for MSIE 4.0" animated gif and we'll be creating sites like these galleried sites: http://www.cssbeauty.com/gallery/ You be stubborn and think about the ever dwindling MSIE users I'll be using a more secure, updated, modern browser like Firefox, Opera and even Safari. Granted, IE8 is supposed to be coming out and embracing the newest and most up-to-date web standards, but that's what was said about IE7, so I don't hold my breath until i have IE8 in testing and QA. Browser stats don't mean squat. 35.2% of browsers that claim to be MSIE aren?t. 84.2% of browsers that use a faked MSIE UA string, are using Opera. So this "IE owns the browser market" is a bunch of bunk. Firefox is allegedly at "15-17%" of the market share. A fair chunk, if you follow stats that are inaccurate. I consult, I design and develop and I also service computers... I get people DAILY to switch to Firefox or Opera. Why? because they're tired of the same junk happening to them and they need to be educated about a machine they use and are not aware of what is going on. I hope for big things from FF3. The memory leaks right now are my biggest issue. My sites will be made for ALL browsers, not just a monolithic piece of tripe. and to those using Go Live, FP, or Dreamweaver... I think the best WYSIWYG I can suggest switching to is 1st Page 2000. http://www.evrsoft.com/1stpage2.shtml It doesn't add all that bloated code and garbage that the prior 3 I mentioned do. Unless Adobe and Microsoft cleaned up their acts, which I doubt. I could be wrong though.

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

I have also done a fair bit of web development in Frontpage, and if you're having compatibility issues, my first suggestion would be that Fontpage is the likely culprit. I dreaded the situations where I had to delve into the awful, bloated HTML code that FrontPage would generate. I have since shifted to GoLive, which is much more elegant than Frontpage in its HTML. (I also tried using Dreamweaver, but every time it launched I kept getting that awful Gary Wright tune from the '70s stuck in my head every day, so I had to abandon it...it was driving me nuts... :-)

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

I have also done a fair bit of web development in Frontpage, and if you're having compatibility issues, my first suggestion would be that Fontpage is the likely culprit. I dreaded the situations where I had to delve into the awful, bloated HTML code that FrontPage would generate. I have since shifted to GoLive, which is much more elegant than Frontpage in its HTML. (I also tried using Dreamweaver, but every time it launched I kept getting that awful Gary Wright tune from the '70s stuck in my head every day, so I had to abandon it...it was driving me nuts... :-)

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

I have also done a fair bit of web development in Frontpage, and if you're having compatibility issues, my first suggestion would be that Fontpage is the likely culprit. I dreaded the situations where I had to delve into the awful, bloated HTML code that FrontPage would generate. I have since shifted to GoLive, which is much more elegant than Frontpage in its HTML. (I also tried using Dreamweaver, but every time it launched I kept getting that awful Gary Wright tune from the '70s stuck in my head every day, so I had to abandon it...it was driving me nuts... :-)

ke_gordon
ke_gordon

My irrelevant post. For everyone that was not a teenager in the 70's here is a link to the Dreamweaver lyrics. http://www.lyricsfreak.com/r/reo+speedwagon/dream+weaver_20115733.html At least you did not mention Lost in Love by Air Supply. I would hate to have that swimming in my head for a week. Crap to late. :)

RFink
RFink

On alot of the websites I use when I click on a link that opens a new windows in IE7 it opens a new instance of IE7 instead of a new tab. Plus IE7 is a memory hog. FF2 was too but FF learned the errors of its ways.

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

Both browsers have their own "internal" quirks and issues regarding resource usage, but most of those issues pertain to us in the IT field (Bandwidth, Memory, Whatever) and not to the general consumer or Internet surfer. Security issues? Same, both have issues... just a matter of how big the target base is... and again, I digres... It comes down to you're going to have to "show me" why I would want to (or need to) change. Firefox IS a catalyst for Microsoft to not become to complaicant and to be OPEN to market feedback... Until then I will continue using IE7 as my PRIMARY browser and just use Firefox to see how my pages are displayed to the %15 that are using it.

noorman
noorman

You keep on using the Windows integrated webbrowser that gives good access to the system. I 'll keep on using FF ! .

noorman
noorman

You keep on using the Winsow

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

Please clarify something for me here...I see that in the original posting, Andy leads off talking about Mozilla's "final version" of Firefox. Maybe I am just reading too much into the choice of words, but to me "final" implies that there are no plans for more versions. Am I misinterpreting this? Is there a plan to discontinue new versions of FF?

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

Sorry, I wrote this at 5:30 in the morning, and my proofing leaves something to be desired at that time. Nice catch!

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

Sorry, I wrote this at 5:30 in the morning, and my proofing leaves something to be desired at that time. Nice catch!

jrosewicz
jrosewicz

Calm down. Its implying that it is the completed (non beta) version of FF3. There will of course be newer versions.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

One day, we will have relevant posts on Techrepublic, until then , expect the "will do ?" and "my top 10 lists to continue. Yes, I realize my post is in itself irrelevant. I wanted it to fit in.

bigjerm.nicholson
bigjerm.nicholson

If all authors are going to do is speculate, lets talk about FireFox 6.8 and it's really cool features. Like will it really know what you are searching for and automatically send to you in the correct tab sequence.

Victoree
Victoree

I will be happy when it stops erasing my sign-in seal out of Yahoo. Mozilla really should never have let Netscape die. I really miss Netscape.

brianh
brianh

Missing Netscape?-Have U Tried Seamonkey??? Not Netscape but it is like Firefox and Thunderbird as an Integrated package. It even has the Webpage composition component in there...

ITSecurityGuy
ITSecurityGuy

but I probably wouldn't use it if only FF could "Send page via email" as IE and SeaMonkey do, instead of only sending the link. I've tried a few extensions that claim to offer that capability, but they required too much setup to bother becoming used to it. I work on many different & changing systems, and I won't bother with extensions that require too much setup. That's why I keep a FEBE backup handy.

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

Firefox has been a much needed rival to Microsoft in the browser space. Since the release of IE 6 back in 2001, Microsoft has only released one major version, and the improvments in IE 7 were many of the features introduced in Firefox 1. I certainly hope that Mozilla continues to put out such strong products if for no other reason than to spur Microsoft into innovating their products. Do you think Firefox 3 will live up to the hype?

cathar.gnostic
cathar.gnostic

Nobody ever lives up to it's hype. Tell me which Microsoft or anybody else's product does. Spin doctors used to be the realm of politics but since the world is dumbing down it seems to become main stream.

lj011
lj011

I do not believe that Firefox and IE can be compared at all. IE is available only for Windows, while Firefox is available elsewhere too. When IE becomes browser of choice on Linux and Mac I would consider it a software worth paying attention to. In the meantime Firefox is only decent choice around that works pretty consistently across the platforms, whatever functionality is available it is more than fine, and it is already great if you do not overstuff it with 3rd party extensions. I am using it as main browser on linux and windows and as main compatibility browser on Mac (I prefer Camino on Mac). Maybe it could be compared to Safari, at least Safari is available for Mac and Windows.

jspurbeck
jspurbeck

Firefox has shown me some speed advantages over IE, when executing javascript loops, and other methods. Firefox, has met the W3C spec, as far as I can tell. Code developed to that specification, works fine in FF, and IE, with IE being faster to load, but slower in execution.

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

Don't REALLY see what all the hype is about. I have ZERO complaints with IE7 since the introduction of many of the features which made (past tense) Firefox unique. Now that they have "absorbed" the concept (which is what firefox REALLY did for the market) I see no need to "fix it" with firefox

DanLM
DanLM

I have no script and no flash loaded into my fire fox... I have yet to find an option like that for IE. I also have a translation tool loaded into F.F. for when I find web pages on topics I am looking for, but in a lanague I do not know how to read... This is extremely important to me... Ever searched for something, had a hit, but it was in Japanese? You have no idea how to check out the page? Now I can. You notice not a single add on I have mentioned is fluff? It is either used for security or for viewing material(typed) in other languages. Sorry, IE still is broke in my eyes untill they address issues such as that. Dan

hariprasad.kek
hariprasad.kek

Guess we all have likes and dislikes, but FF is definitely a browser to stay. I have been using FF3 beta 4 since over a week and find it to be better than FF2.x. Though I have run into trouble while opening some secure sites, I still guess it is worth a try. As for IE, version 8 is open for Beta testing. And I ran into more troubles on IE8 Beta than on FF. I finally had to use emulation of IE7 that would automatically solve problems.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

So far, some weird errors with TR in FF2 seem to be fixed in FF3B. Also, FF3 seems to open pages faster, but, it also has no extensions loaded, so that could easily be the reason. Will have to see how it does over time with multiple tabs.

hablake
hablake

To date, I've been very pleased with FF and believe it will only get better.

RFink
RFink

I've been beating on it for over a week now. They changed a few things like the managing bookmarks is different. I'm able to have 17 tabs open at once without killing my machine. I'll be going for 20 tabs this weekend. The memory management is way better than FF 2.

DanLM
DanLM

I like it alot... And even though not all plugins I use arn't compatible yet, noscript and noflash are. Which are the important ones. Dan

TrentV
TrentV

That has always been my biggest complaint about FF2.

ITSecurityGuy
ITSecurityGuy

I am usually running with at least 25 tabs open, until I get around to reading them. Often I have 50 or 75 and Firefox 2.x.x remains open with all of them for days, as I open and close other tabs I need right away. I've had as many as 100 tabs open at once with some slowness. This is on a 32-bit Vista Home Premium system (HP m7760n) with only 2GB of RAM, and a Core 2 6400 CPU (2.13 GHz). The only thing I added (to bring the Windows Experience Index up to 5.1) is an nVidia GeForce 8600GT with 256MB of dedicated memory, in addition to the 767MB of shared system memory it can access. All of this allows me to run at 1680x1050 in 32-bit color on a 22" Flat Panel with good performance. That's a lot of bits for FF to display, along with so many tabs in the background, but it does fine for me. From what I'm reading FF3 will probably allow me to double the number of open tabs, but I already have trouble getting around to reading the ones I open before the information is stale. BTW, IE crashes almost every other time I use it on this system. Firefox only crashes when I have really stressed it with a lot of tabs containing video, sound or java. That's probably about twice a month.

ITSecurityGuy
ITSecurityGuy

This should help a lot with so many tabs open: http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2008/03/firefox-3-troun.html Stuart Parmenter, a Mozilla developer, has written a detailed analysis of how the team went about slimming down Firefox. The main areas that have been improved include much reduced memory fragmentation ? a common issue with long-running apps like a browser ? better cache handling and better image management. The last item, improved image management, is particularly significant. Firefox 2 stores images in memory even if they?re in background tabs that haven?t been viewed in hours. For Firefox 3 the storage and retrieval of images was changed so that background elements are dumped from memory when the image isn?t in the focused window.

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I had more problems w/ memory leaks in FF1 than I have in FF2. I have 2 windows open all day, 1 w/ at least 2 tabs and another w/ at least 3 tabs. Often I go up to 5 or 6 tabs on 1 or both windows. It hasn't been as much of a problem as it was w/ FF1, but then I also always exit FF at the end of every day, so maybe that makes the difference. I haven't downloaded FF3 yet, but I expect it to be even better than FF2, though I will likely wait a little longer. (I only occasionally download the beta versions, at least, the early beta versions.)

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I have to restart FF much less frequently, but it still does happen =\

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I tend to keep two tabs open, but for many many hours at a time, so any memory leak will soon show itself in reduced response and performance.

network admin
network admin

I tend to have the same open 5 days a week. I'm not having any problems, you should try it out. Never hurts to try!

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

I stopped using FF as my primary browser because I tend to keep 3-8 tabs open all the time and, though IE leaks some too, the memory leak in FF caused me to have to restart my browser and reopen those tabs at least once a day. If they solved the memory leak issue, I will probably go back to FF as my primary browser.

Editor's Picks