Brothersoft: Firefox 4 - a Refreshing New Breed

Finally, Mozilla Firefox 4 has been released for the Microsoft Windows, Mac and Linux systems and is available in 81 languages with the codename Tumucumaque, and has been confirmed as the last big release cycle Mozilla will do. The Mozilla team will instead opt for smaller and quicker releases as other browser vendors have been doing. The primary goals for this upgrade include improvements in performance, standards support, and the user interface.

Mozilla Firefox 4 includes many new features since version 3.6, and the first thing the users will see in their eyes, is a brand new user interface with a similar look as Chrome. New features include improved “doorhanger” notifications, Firefox Panorama, application tabs, a redesigned extension manager, Jetpack extensions support, integration with Firefox Sync, and support for multitouch displays. Many changes were made to the user interface. By default, tabs are now on the top of the window. The “stop” “refresh” and “go” buttons have been combined into a single button, placed on the right side of the address bar. The button dynamically changes based on the current state of the page. On Windows Vista and Windows 7, the menu bar is hidden by default with the most common actions moved to a new “Firefox” menu in the upper left hand corner of the browser (similar to the menu button found in Opera). Users can create persistent “app tabs”, and customize the tab bar, as well as the bookmark and navigation bars.

Firefox 4 has definitely learnt from the Chrome on at least two new features: There is a new add-ons manager. The usual add-ons window now opens a separate tab in the browser window which give more space to manage the various add-ons, themes and plugins. Firefox 4 also includes a simpler process for add-on developers. They can now develop add-ons that don’t require a restart when they are installed. There is also experimental support for the JetPack software development kit which makes it faster and easier to develop new add-ons.  Currently, more than 70 percent of its add-ons are now compatible with Firefox 4. As another important new feature for Firefox 4, Sync allows you to synchronize your settings, passwords, bookmarks, history, open tabs and other customizations across multiple devices so you can take Firefox with you wherever you go.

Firefox 4 also includes the new open source WebM multimedia format which includes the ability to play HD video natively in the browser. This is also part of the HTML5 video specification which means it is possible to embed video in a web page without needing Adobe’s Flash player. If you are a die-hard Firefox user, you may have found out that the browser has a very annoying method of handling crashes. For solving this problem, Firefox 4 features Crash Protection to deal with the growing popularity of web applications. This means that each open application, or tab, is run as a separate process. If one plugin or application freezes or crashes, that tab can be closed and the other open tabs are not affected. The updated browser also includes a “do not track” option. The “Advanced” screen in Firefox Options will now include a box that, when checked, tells Web sites that you want to opt-out of tracking used for behavioral advertising. Mozilla added the feature to a pre-build version of Firefox in January, and added it to the beta in February.

Aside from HTML5 support which will offer some performance improvements Firefox 4 also includes the JägerMonkey javascript engine which is starting to make some significant speed improvements. Firefox 4 contains huge performance enhancements, including brand new JägerMonkey JavaScript engine. JägerMonkey is a new JavaScript engine, designed to work alongside the TraceMonkey engine introduced with Firefox 3.5. It improves performance by compiling “non-traceable” JavaScript into machine language for faster execution. From faster start up times and graphics rendering to improved page load speed, you’ll notice the difference instantly. Firefox 4 has marked a major change in performance in comparison to former versions 3.6 and 3.5. The browser has made significant progress in Sunspider JavaScript tests as well as improvements in supporting HTML5. Since Firefox 4.0 Beta 5, hardware acceleration is enabled by default on Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines using Direct2D. Using hardware acceleration allows the browser to tap into the computer’s graphics processing unit, lifting the burden from the CPU. This allows pages to be rendered much faster.

These articles are brought to you in partnership with Brothersoft.

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Firefox is awesome. So awesome that I am already using IE9.

The current state of FF simply isn't good compared to the other browsers.

KavazovAngel said,
Firefox is awesome. So awesome that I am already using IE9.

The current state of FF simply isn't good compared to the other browsers.

and how exactly did you reach that conclusion? even maxthon 3 is better than IE9

I've been waiting a long time for this. Very happy with Firefox 4 on Mac. Performance increases with rendering are noticeable.

Not sure why people have so many problems with Firefox 4, but it's running like a champ on both my laptop 32-bit and desktop 64-bit. I can't but help give kudos to Mozilla for this browser. I have no problems going to websites, the speed, the layout, nothing... nothing at all to bitch about.

Amodin said,
Not sure why people have so many problems with Firefox 4, but it's running like a champ on both my laptop 32-bit and desktop 64-bit. I can't but help give kudos to Mozilla for this browser. I have no problems going to websites, the speed, the layout, nothing... nothing at all to bitch about.

agree... maybe only opera can give me the features, customization, and a better browser experience without sacrifices, without forced changes with UI and a good acceptable performance

Amodin said,
Not sure why people have so many problems with Firefox 4, but it's running like a champ on both my laptop 32-bit and desktop 64-bit. I can't but help give kudos to Mozilla for this browser. I have no problems going to websites, the speed, the layout, nothing... nothing at all to bitch about.

I can't login to neowin with FF4. The browser hangs on "Loading...."

tuxplorer said,
Why on my W7 and Vista PCs, IE8 scrolls more smoothly than FF4?

Smooth scrolling is not on by default in Firerfox. Go into the options menu, select Advanced and you will find the option under the general tab.

soonerproud said,
Smooth scrolling is not on by default in Firerfox. Go into the options menu, select Advanced and you will find the option under the general tab.

Of course I turned it on but even 3.6 was smoother. This was supposed to be a rhetorical question for Mozilla.

Just to give them something to count, I downloaded this thing twice yesterday. Forgot to install it on the first machine I downloaded it on.

Installed it on second machine and this thing is a total POS!! While I was typing a reply to one of the stories about this fantastic release in a different article here, the cursor was lagging so far behind what I was typing, I thought I was on a REAL bad acid trip!!

Maybe they should've released this thing a long time ago instead of doing so much testing?!

Uninstalled it from that one machine after typing that one message. Hopefully, Mozilla doesn't screw up my Seamonkey like they did Firefox. Of course, I NEVER have liked Firefox anyway, but am willing to give it a fair trial.

I've been using FF4 since the RC came out and have had no problems whatsoever, Admittedly the beta's were very problematic but well that's the whole point in beta's? All the problems have been fixed i don't have any personal issues with font rendering. Don't understand why people complain about the new UI when you can customize it to how you like it. It seems slightly slower than chrome but its hardly noticeable, I'll be sticking with firefox i think mozilla has done a good job considering all the criticism it was getting by impatient people.

alright, so I posted a couple comments about how this is too little to late compared to chrome's movement, and everyone got deleted, whats up with that?

i Just switched to Firefox 4.... I have no idea why..but i felt comfortable using it.. I don't seem to be having any memory issues.. atleast not yet.. lol ...nywys.. i'm really liking the new firefox.

Firefox 4 has definitely learnt from the Chrome on at least two new features:

Which Chrome learnt from IE, where these originated.

I honestly wonder if some people build actual shrines to Chrome and Google in their yard. If you are going to stroke a product or company, you might want to do some fact checking.

thenetavenger said,

Which Chrome learnt from IE, where these originated.

I honestly wonder if some people build actual shrines to Chrome and Google in their yard. If you are going to stroke a product or company, you might want to do some fact checking.

exactly, firefox was the luke skywalker of browsers who first opposed ie, the darth vader of browsers and firefox has more users than chrome and now that 4 is out, they will get some users back from chrome and will get more from ie, while chrome can only get users from ie now, and the only good thing about chrome that i like is that it helps firefox defeat internet explorer, i wish ie could be brought to crawl... that would be the best

allwynd said,

exactly, firefox was the luke skywalker of browsers who first opposed ie, the darth vader of browsers and firefox has more users than chrome and now that 4 is out, they will get some users back from chrome and will get more from ie, while chrome can only get users from ie now, and the only good thing about chrome that i like is that it helps firefox defeat internet explorer, i wish ie could be brought to crawl... that would be the best

Firefox is moving in the right direction again. Their time licking up money from Google several years ago was a major mistake, and they need to recover. Google gave them a song and a dance and some cash, but it was not worth the Vampiric relationship where Google not only shoved the product in a different direction, but also used that time to suck a lot of information and braintrust so that they could pick up WebKit, slap on their name and cater to the minimalist users, all which collecting even more information on the users.

Firefox was smart to hit back by using Direct2D on Windows Vista and 7, where in the past they might have rejected the technology since it was very platform specific.

Now they need to move forward and keep focus on the Windows users, without harming their product on other OSes.

There is a lot more they can be doing with GPU assistance like the IE9 team is doing. IE9 also uses Direct2D, but this just speeds up rendering. IE9 also takes advantage of DX10 and DX11 specific technologies like DirectCompute, so not only are they using Direct2D for 3D assisted rendering, they are also shoving code through the GPU for general processing. IE9 is also more layered allowing it to shove code to the GPU/CPU and multi-CPU Cores/Processors by using Async mechanisms.

This is where you see some good products competing again. Sadly I see Google doing their own thing without regard to their users, or the internet ecosystem, let alone competing by shoving out legitimate new technologies or use of technologies.

so we arn't alowed to say we think FF is behind chrome now? I don't know who keeps deleting my comments saying this but gawd, let us have our opinnion

neufuse said,
so we arn't alowed to say we think FF is behind chrome now? I don't know who keeps deleting my comments saying this but gawd, let us have our opinnion

dont worry, there is no chance that chrome will get bigger than firefox, they can be equal rivals, while the internet suxploder suffers from them, but chrome wont be bigger, i dont see how

neufuse said,
so we arn't alowed to say we think FF is behind chrome now? I don't know who keeps deleting my comments saying this but gawd, let us have our opinnion

I was having problems yesterday with my posts not showing up in IE9. I also thought they were being deleted but then I opened the page in Firefox and there they all were. I don't know if it's a forum issue or what.

neufuse said,
so we arn't alowed to say we think FF is behind chrome now? I don't know who keeps deleting my comments saying this but gawd, let us have our opinnion

Lol. Well, I see all your comments. Maybe it is time for a new web browser....

I have 10 tabs opened, in minefield/FF4 64bit on windows 7 professional 64bit 8gb Ram AMD phenom II x6 and CPU usage is 2 and memory usage is 655,436k (655mb). Chrome Canary 12.x , with same tabs stand at about 295mb.

Totalaero said,
You all must Remember, Firefox 4 has Hardware Acceleration Turned On so it will always use more Memory Than the 3.6 Firefox

Hardware acceleration should have little bearing on memory usage, if any. They are using Direct2D in place of GDI for rendering directly to the DWM composer. This doesn't cost more memory.

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