Firefox 4 Beta 8 released, new Firefox Mobile beta on the way

Another month, another beta release from Mozilla as Firefox 4 lumbers toward an early 2011 release.

The good folks at the open source foundation today released the eighth beta version of Firefox 4, around five weeks after the release of beta 7 and around three weeks after a planned, though admittedly tentative, ship date.

While last month's beta was considered ''feature complete'', beta 8 not only squashes more than 1400 bugs but also makes a number of noteworthy feature refinements. Set up for Firefox Sync, a tool that allows access to history, passwords, bookmarks and even open tabs across multiple devices, has been simplified, while the add-ons manager has received a polish and WebGL 3D rendering got a number of tweaks and improvements. Those of you with a penchant for lists can check out the full list of bug fixes in the beta 8 release notes. Heavy Hulu users should steer clear of this release, with issues relating to user agent detection preventing the site's content from being displayed to Firefox 4 beta users.

Two more beta releases are expected ahead of a final release of Firefox 4 early next year. As of 5AM PST, there were 479 ''blocking bugs'' to be fixed before a final build could be signed off.

Firefox 4, based on the Gecko 2.0 engine, will bring an updated user interface, new ways to organise tabs, a revamped add-on manager, support for HTML5 video standards, multitouch support on Windows 7 and a range of performance and security enhancements.

As of early this morning, the Firefox 4 beta page was still linking to beta 7 as the latest available version, though beta 8 was available via a number of official mirrors.

In the meantime, Firefox Mobile 4 Beta 3 for Android and Nokia's Maemo are also expected to be released shortly, with a Mozilla page indicating a December 21 release. The release notes for the latest desktop Firefox 4 beta also point out that, to continue using Firefox Sync after updating to Firefox 4 Beta 8, users will need to also update to Firefox Mobile 4 Beta 3. The second beta of the mobile browser was released on November 5.

Image Credit: viritech

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Verizon apps show up in WP7 Marketplace

Next Story

Xoom: This could be the MotoPad Android 3.0 tablet

47 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

most people have firefox 3.6 installed, why arent any instructions/recomendations on installing FF4?

i mean can they be installed side by side?, should i remove 3.6 first? if installed side by side and i dont like v4, can i uninstall it without mesing 3.6? (found the hard way, NO.)
if installed side by side, when ff4 reaches final, what to uninstall, or there's no need to...

Its been 6 months and only betas so far. when they are going to release stable version. I tried using beta but fonts looks lo light and ugly that i immediately uninstalled it.

Cool, multi-touch, maybe will give it a try as a main browser again...

Being that Win7 has been out for over a year and half, the timing is sadly late though.

It sometimes makes me wonder if developers even pay attention to OS betas anymore and even attempt to implement features of the new OS before it comes out.

It seems like yesterday when developers scrambled to get access to OS betas so their products were on the cutting edge of the new features available and could have a shipping product when the OS released.

I love the new alert boxes (just try javascript:alert(0) in the title bar or visit notw.co.uk and try and right click on an image). They've done well on User Experience there.

yowan said,

2 more betas and one more RC left

with Opera's 11 later release cycle that would be about one or two days. With Firefox that might just take us into 2015

StevenMalone77 said,
2015 sounds about right. The interest in firefox is waining by the day.

i rather them take their time and do it right instead of rush it. plus it seems Firefox 4 actually uses the GPU more than Chrome (8) does (and yes, i actually manually turned it on in Chrome 8) as you can see my GPU's Mhz on the Core/Memory fluctuate (i am on 'Radeon HD 5670') when i am loading websites and the load on GPU etc.

because i don't know about you... but i think Firefox has generally been the overall most smoothest browser out there with overall speed etc.

ThaCrip said,

i rather them take their time and do it right instead of rush it. plus it seems Firefox 4 actually uses the GPU more than Chrome (8) does (and yes, i actually manually turned it on in Chrome 8) as you can see my GPU's Mhz on the Core/Memory fluctuate (i am on 'Radeon HD 5670') when i am loading websites and the load on GPU etc.

because i don't know about you... but i think Firefox has generally been the overall most smoothest browser out there with overall speed etc.

I have to agree with Firefox's GPUs usage in comparison to Chrome.

However it is still disappointing that Firefox's GPU support is rather limited to rendering aspects.

It still falls behind the IE9 beta on virtually every graphical test. With the difference being over 100 to 1 times slower than IE9 on many of the tests.

----

So this brings me to my next line of thought, that is not a direct response to this post, but something others may have already considered and might have some insight into that I cannot find.

Chrome and Firefox still seem to think the alternative to HTML5 graphical performance is to use WebGL.

So far, I'm still not a fan of the WebGL concept.

By shoving graphics to WebGl, it leaves HTML5 slow and heavy on every browser but IE9. This will either make IE9 the must have browser for everyone, or will hurt HTML5 for rich web applications, and oddly, HTML5 is the 'standard' and WebGL is not.

Another concern with regard to abandoing better HTML5 and other standards all around performance for WebGL is the inconsistency of OpenGL and inherent issues with OpenGL GPU scheduling.

Even though the OpenGL application yield based scheduling doesn't affect Vista or Win7 because of the WDDM GPU scheduler, on other OSes the GPU locks can literally grind the display and system to an unresponsive flickering madness. (Especially on an OS that uses a GPU based rendering system/composer.) I don't understand how this isn't causing concern, especially when we are have a lot of users on OS X and Linux that are already facing problems of GPU scheduling issues as the GPU is being used by more applications and in more ways already.

My final and main concern with WebGL, is that it is basically a wrapper for OpenGL, that even allows shader code. So by doing this, it is opening up the web to the full access that OpenGL has, which includes direct hardware access, and even access to the kernel via video drivers on some OSes.

However, WebGL and security are rarely even discussed in the same conversation, when I think it should be the main point of discussion considering that it is exposing what OpenGL can touch to any web page a person might visit.

This exposes a lot of known security holes and creates the possibility of a massive security nightmare unlike anything we have ever seen. WebGL opening up OpenGL to the web and web exploits could make the unfettered ActiveX days of IE5/IE6 seem really secure in comparison.

And yet it is hard to get the sponsors of WebGL to even talk about security in general, let alone the potential threats it could create. It is almost like bringing up a dirty word in chruch.

What am I missing with regard to WebGL?

Why is WebGL just 'accepted' by almost everyone, without questions of the security implications or GPU scheduling problems it adds or the impact it will have on the progression of HTML5 and using the true standards we have been fighting for?

It almost seems like the reason WebGL is being shoved so hard and fast is because no one but Microsoft has been able to get good performance out of HTML5 and other new standards.

So instead of improving the performance of the other browsers to process and dynamically render graphically rich HTML5 and other 'standards' content, they are instead focusing on a way they can get performance by riding on the back of OpenGL and just abandoning everything but the HTML Canvas that they draw the OpenGL content onto via WebGL.

>>beta 8 not only squashes more than 1400 bugs

Geesh, that's a lot! A lot between beta 7 and 8, it's not like it's between alpha 2 and 3.

They sure don't hide to anywone ALL the fixes they apply... cannot be more transparent than this.

I kinda have lost interest in Firefox 4 now. It have taken too much time to hold my interest. But I guess I will try it when the final lands.

x-byte said,
I kinda have lost interest in Firefox 4 now. It have taken too much time to hold my interest. But I guess I will try it when the final lands.

Yep. If Mozilla think people will wait around forever for updates, they've made an error in judgement. I've moved on.

denne said,

Yep. If Mozilla think people will wait around forever for updates, they've made an error in judgement. I've moved on.

I agree. They really need to step up updates, because they do lose users when they feel that development has stagnated...

Firefox beta still has problems with status.net based blogs. Locks firefox up hard preventing all tabs access to sites and requiring killing off the Firefox process.

Dibbler said,

I too like the image. I guess that Opera is way too insignificant to be a part of it.!

Opera was filming...

Dibbler said,

I too like the image. I guess that Opera is way too insignificant to be a part of it.!

Opera's market share was too small to qualify for the cage match :-P

Tarrant64 said,

so far IE 9 has been solid for me too.

Crashes so much for me.. but I do hammer it quite a bit, and I do use a lot of things most people wouldn't.

Matt Hardwick said,

Crashes so much for me.. but I do hammer it quite a bit, and I do use a lot of things most people wouldn't.


Also don't forget that Firefox 4 at the Beta 1 stage had just as many issues and bugs as IE9 does at Beta 1.

yazb123 said,
im tryin the ie 9 beta, its pretty gud !

Yeah, works great for me, crashes sometimes on facebook, but that's it. Hoping for a stability fix sometime soon with the newer version. =D

dancedar said,
Cool. How does this compare to Chrome 10 dev?

What is it you're trying to compare? Do you mean in terms of performance or features?