Firefox 4 Beta 6 Lands

Mozilla has moved quickly to release beta 6 of its highly anticipated browser, originally planned as the last before a code/feature freeze, but users will be able to enjoy a more stable version of Firefox 4 as well as the IE9 beta which will be released to the public later today.

A post on the Mozilla Developer News yesterday confirmed a "small" interim update to fix issues with both Windows & Mac OS X users: "We’ve decided to issue a small beta update in order to fix a stability issue on Windows and some rendering and keyboard/mouse focus issues on OSX related to plugins. This small update should be ready late tomorrow, and will be presented as “Firefox 4 Beta 6“. Beta 6 has now been renamed to Beta 7 and is expected to land in the second half of this month before a Release Candidate is made available sometime in October.

A post on The Mozilla Blog also praised the thousands of beta testers who have assisted in feedback and diagnosing of the issues addressed in this update.


Image credit: Mozilla Features website

Whats new in this Firefox 4 Beta

View the full release notes here. Keep up to date with our community discussion right here on Neowin, you can also view our extensive forum post on stylish scripts for Firefox 4 here.

Download: Firefox 4 Beta 6 | ~8 MB

Alternatively, if you are not prompted to update within Firefox 4 Beta 5, press "Alt" > Select "Help" in the menu bar & "Check for Updates" (or Apply update).

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51 Comments

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This is cool, only...memory. 3.6.10 or whatever the latest stable is uses 49mb RAM for me, two tabs. 4b6 - same computer - seems to have enabled set the Eat.All.Memory config setting to 'NomNomNom' as it's rocking 270mb. What, exactly, does it require a quarter gb of ram for extra?

dancedar said,
This is cool, only...memory. 3.6.10 or whatever the latest stable is uses 49mb RAM for me, two tabs. 4b6 - same computer - seems to have enabled set the Eat.All.Memory config setting to 'NomNomNom' as it's rocking 270mb. What, exactly, does it require a quarter gb of ram for extra?

you can't afford 270MB o f memory? do you know what memory size do new computers have these days?

any chance that the Flash x64 will be released in time for the Firefox v4 final?

because it appears they got a x64 Flash player out for IE9 etc

Nice, but still too buggy for my likings. I'm looking forward to the main release though. Sticking to Firefox 3.6.9 and maybe IE9 when it gets released.

I just downloaded Beta 6 and I have only one gripe: what's with the font on web pages? For an example, check out any youtube comment or video description. It's not bold enough and is hard to read. The comments in this news article are okay, but some sites are hard to read.

Kyle A said,
I just downloaded Beta 6 and I have only one gripe: what's with the font on web pages? For an example, check out any youtube comment or video description. It's not bold enough and is hard to read. The comments in this news article are okay, but some sites are hard to read.

thats the D2D hardware acceleration / antialiasing. looks aweful. i filed a bug for it months back.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=574976

it will be fixed before final release

Maybe I'm just in the minority, but I don't care if web pages render in 1, 2, or even 5 seconds. I prefer my browser to be as customizable as possible & with extensions Firefox gives me features that aren't in any other browser.

I respect those who value speed above all else, but there are some of us who focus more on extensive features & are willing to give up some speed for that luxury.

I used to use Firefox exclusively for years. Then Chrome came out, and I haven't looked back since. From everything I've read, I don't see anything about Firefox 4 that will make me switch back.

spacer said,
I used to use Firefox exclusively for years. Then Chrome came out, and I haven't looked back since. From everything I've read, I don't see anything about Firefox 4 that will make me switch back.
Me too. The only thing that peaked my interest was hardware acceleration but I'm sure Chrome will be getting that too.

Let's forget about stupid JavaScript-engine only tests while they concern just a few milliseconds. About the true speed of full loading page, Firefox 4 has the fastest among all. We can already see miracles! At beta 7, when a new part "JaegerMonkey" will be implemented, Firefox will get wings!

@thenonhacker if you don't like the big "back" button, why don't you just perform the option "use small icons" with right click -> customize?

@Smigit you're right. Firefox's behavior has changed. But still you can set it up as you like through about:config. You can bring back the old behavior: to get the "I'm feeling lucky" results.

For those who don't like the extra "previous title bar", just be patience... You'll be able to find themes without that bar... If you hurry, you can find scripts through "stylish" addon that already have removed the bar... The orange button placed at Tab-Bar.

I'm sure there are alot of tweaks they need to do. I've been considering on making the jump but not sure when I'm going to do it.

techguy77 said,
So now with display drivers we can get broken browser, how stupid really.
One would hope that display drivers don't do stupid things like that.

techguy77 said,
So now with display drivers we can get broken browser, how stupid really.

And you could get broken games and other programs too. What's your point?

The IE launch eclipse this beta release. Can't wait to test the new IE.

I noticed a huge improvment in the javascript performance at firefox, but I'm waiting too see how the new IE will act.

I'm glad this came out. My PC version freezes regularly on start up (I'm assuming it's from D2D since that's the most logical answer), and on my Mac flash items make weird boxes everywhere.

I still cannot type in flash objects on my mac yet... it's been this way for the entire series of betas... and I sent in a report too.

It still doesn't run that great on my laptop via a ATI 4650 GPU. The slowdown happened when they introduced Beta 5. Let's hope the new catalyst 10.9 that will get released tomorrow fixes it (if it is a GPU/hardware acceleration problem)

Zain Adeel said,
so firefox comes out with another beta.
i heard IE9 beta was to come out today. is it?

I'm a Firefox user who is also excited with IE9.

I told the IE9 Developers that I wouldn't switch to it unless they support Firefox-like add-ons. I have 50+ addons and 12 Greasemonkey Scripts that enhance my browsing experience. I can't give up on those in one day.

All I have to say about Beta 6 is that just like in beta 5 the need to fix the menu interface. Really ugly and rather unclear in hot to use it. For the rest I love it, and recomment it to everyone wanting to use a browser other that IE, even if IE9 makes it debut today!

Co-ords said,
All I have to say about Beta 6 is that just like in beta 5 the need to fix the menu interface. Really ugly and rather unclear in hot to use it. For the rest I love it, and recomment it to everyone wanting to use a browser other that IE, even if IE9 makes it debut today!

I recommend people at least try out the IE 9 beta today. They may be pleasently surprised

Hm. There are still a lot of factors from the mockup which are missing... if they only have one more beta to go before a release candidate, do they have time to include these? It's going to be disappointing, if not.

I hope they will tweak a bit the touch and TIP support...
It seems a bit flaky for now. Sure it's a huge improvement over unofficial support via ad-dons tho.

Loads a little faster with direct2d turned on, and my homepage no longer resets to custom value anymore. Bugs I was having with Bank of America's website appear to be fixed as well. Happy so far.

I'm a Firefox user, that favors the Chrome UI.

My feedback on Firefox 4 Beta:

- I like the Firefox button. I already saw the "Start Menu"-like dropdown, and I like it too.

- The back button is too big.

- Why not occupy the rest of the titlebar space at the top? Go all-in on the titlebar.

- Search Box should go. Most Firefox users already know that they can use the Address Bar to make searches, too.

- Can't wait for the Hardware Acceleration.

thenonhacker said,

- Why not occupy the rest of the titlebar space at the top? Go all-in on the titlebar.

- Search Box should go. Most Firefox users already know that they can use the Address Bar to make searches, too.

- Can't wait for the Hardware Acceleration.

- The titlebar is there for dragging / aero snap and what not.
- I only use the search box, I find searching via the address to cluttered.
- Hardware acceleration has been enabled since beta 5?

The only annoying thing about hardware acceleration is it results in Firefox taking longer to start up. I guess its probably DirectX's fault.

thenonhacker said,
I'm a Firefox user, that favors the Chrome UI.

My feedback on Firefox 4 Beta:

- I like the Firefox button. I already saw the "Start Menu"-like dropdown, and I like it too.

- The back button is too big.

- Why not occupy the rest of the titlebar space at the top? Go all-in on the titlebar.

- Search Box should go. Most Firefox users already know that they can use the Address Bar to make searches, too.

- Can't wait for the Hardware Acceleration.


Some Firefox users already know they can remove the search box themselves, just like any other part of the UI. Like you have been able to for years.
Now favor the Chrome UI, lol.

thenonhacker said,
- The back button is too big.

- Why not occupy the rest of the titlebar space at the top? Go all-in on the titlebar.

- Search Box should go. Most Firefox users already know that they can use the Address Bar to make searches, too.

- Back button is fine for me
- The title bar is the easiest way to move the window around the OS
- By default, typing a search query in the url box has a different behavior to that of the search box (one is a "I feel Lucky" search essentially, other takes you to a search result page)

edit: tested the third one there and it seems both are going to the search results page. I'm sure this wasn't always the behavior but.

thenonhacker said,
I'm a Firefox user, that favors the Chrome UI.

My feedback on Firefox 4 Beta:

- I like the Firefox button. I already saw the "Start Menu"-like dropdown, and I like it too.

- The back button is too big.

- Why not occupy the rest of the titlebar space at the top? Go all-in on the titlebar.

- Search Box should go. Most Firefox users already know that they can use the Address Bar to make searches, too.

- Can't wait for the Hardware Acceleration.

You can make the back button smaller from the same place you can remove the search box.....

Smigit said,
- Back button is fine for me
- The title bar is the easiest way to move the window around the OS
- By default, typing a search query in the url box has a different behavior to that of the search box (one is a "I feel Lucky" search essentially, other takes you to a search result page)

edit: tested the third one there and it seems both are going to the search results page. I'm sure this wasn't always the behavior but.

It depends.. The title bar acts as I'm feeling lucky button only in certain cases e.g. wiki Google will take you to Google's wikipedia page but if the query doesn't return an obvious result it goes to the search page. I am not sure how that is determined.

Pc_Madness said,

- The titlebar is there for dragging / aero snap and what not.
- I only use the search box, I find searching via the address to cluttered.
- Hardware acceleration has been enabled since beta 5?

The only annoying thing about hardware acceleration is it results in Firefox taking longer to start up. I guess its probably DirectX's fault.

Hardware acceleration was there in Beta5, If you go into options and then advanced tab where you select smooth scrolling and stuff the option for hardware acceleration is there. Its working very well on my radeon HD3600, I especially love the Direct2D font rendering; thats just sexy. I think you need a DirectX10 class card to use it though, but don't quote me on it.

I'd thought one of the points of Firefox 4 was to give us a more powerful address bar with search and Taskfox and stuff so we could get rid of the search bar. I have beta 5 and very few of all the concepts I saw being discussed for FF4 are in there. Yeah we have the new menu and the in-tab dialogs, but where's all the work on where to put extensions, or the fancy buttons to get to Downloads, etc?

thenonhacker said,
I'm a Firefox user, that favors the Chrome UI.

My feedback on Firefox 4 Beta:

- I like the Firefox button. I already saw the "Start Menu"-like dropdown, and I like it too.

- The back button is too big.

- Why not occupy the rest of the titlebar space at the top? Go all-in on the titlebar.

- Search Box should go. Most Firefox users already know that they can use the Address Bar to make searches, too.

- Can't wait for the Hardware Acceleration.


SQ1 said,
Code freeze? There are a lot of features missing!

Article was updated, there is going to be a beta 7, which replaces beta 6!

tunafish said,
This quick release ahs nothing to do with IE9 Beta 1 release....... Naaa not possible.....

Or it's the other way around. The release schedule has been in place since several months back. If anything, I think the feature freeze for Beta 7 was even delayed a bit to get the new JS engine in.

Northgrove said,

Or it's the other way around. The release schedule has been in place since several months back. If anything, I think the feature freeze for Beta 7 was even delayed a bit to get the new JS engine in.

I was under the impression that beta 6 was the last before RC1? Has that changed?

Neobond said,

I was under the impression that beta 6 was the last before RC1? Has that changed?

beta 6 merely stablity patch for beta 5

there real 'beta 6' is now beta 7

so two more betas to go (beta 7 ,8)

tunafish said,
This quick release ahs nothing to do with IE9 Beta 1 release....... Naaa not possible.....

They rush this out the last minute for tomorrow. They know there are gonna be demonstration and comparison btw ie9 and firefox. Even with beta 6, firefox is still trailing to IE9. The most visible thing is that:
1) It is not 100% (full) hardware acceleration. Just partial while IE9 is full. The score comparison of IETEST show clear evidence.
2) Firefox 4 b6 still can't play mp3 natively.

Neobond said,

I was under the impression that beta 6 was the last before RC1? Has that changed?

Yeah, beta 7 is now the feature freeze beta. The freeze wasn't pushed back this time (with the added beta milestone) though, but I recall that it was pushed back earlier.

satus said,

They rush this out the last minute for tomorrow. They know there are gonna be demonstration and comparison btw ie9 and firefox. Even with beta 6, firefox is still trailing to IE9. The most visible thing is that:
1) It is not 100% (full) hardware acceleration. Just partial while IE9 is full. The score comparison of IETEST show clear evidence.
2) Firefox 4 b6 still can't play mp3 natively.

Being multi-platform is part of the reason why they may not have full hardware acceleration yet. I'm sure there are many parts that need to be recoded and then verified that it compiles properly on many platforms to enable full hardware acceleration. Internet Explorer only runs on Windows and therefore they only had to check one platform. Windows itself.

tunafish said,
This quick release ahs nothing to do with IE9 Beta 1 release....... Naaa not possible.....
Ridiculous comment. Mozilla have been releasing betas pretty much every week (or every other week) for the last couple of months.

Kirkburn said,
Ridiculous comment. Mozilla have been releasing betas pretty much every week (or every other week) for the last couple of months.

Guess you chose to skim read the news article then. As This release was not scheduled for today. So no i stand by my comment.

tunafish said,
Guess you chose to skim read the news article then. As This release was not scheduled for today. So no i stand by my comment.
It was a quick, quiet release to fix a stability issue. I fail to see how that could crash anyone's party.