Firefox 4 roadmap unveiled; beta expected in June

For quite some time, Mozilla has been hard at work on Firefox 4. What was initially planned to be Firefox 3.7 has officially been rolled into Firefox 3.6.4, which is currently available in beta form, featuring out-of-process plugins. Firefox 4 is expected to be an all-out overhaul and evolutionary version of the world's second most popular browser.

On beltzner.ca, an early product plan for Firefox 4 has been made public. The roadmap is not set in stone, however, the slide show gives the world an unheard of, detailed, glimpse into what will make up Mozilla's next major release. As seen in slide 27, the first beta is expected towards the end of June, with the final release coming in November. Keep in mind, this is all subject to change.

Here's some of what we can expect from Firefox 4:

  • Speed - it will be "super-duper fast"
  • Power - it will support "HTML 5 and beyond"
  • Empowerment - users will be allowed to fully control their browser, its data, and their web experience
  • Completely re-vamped user interface allowing layout customization and less chrome
  • Improved stability and security
  • Ability to install add-ons without restarting browser
  • Better tools for developers
  • 64-bit support
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Multitouch support

 

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61 Comments

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LUser said,
I hope they fix the memory leak in it which actually renders the system unstable.

Of course they will. They have only waited 5 some years and a couple versions to fix it /sarcasm

I switched to Chrome plainy because of the fact that closing tabs in it actually reduced the amount of mem used (closed an entire process).

Recon415 said,

Of course they will. They have only waited 5 some years and a couple versions to fix it /sarcasm

I switched to Chrome plainy because of the fact that closing tabs in it actually reduced the amount of mem used (closed an entire process).

And that is how it should be - something some browser developers can't seem to get through their thick heads.

Recon415 said,
I switched to Chrome plainy because of the fact that closing tabs in it actually reduced the amount of mem used (closed an entire process).

Flip side: When you *don't* close a tab, i.e. keep a lot of tabs open all the time and have a lot of extensions installed than Chrome uses *much* more memory than Firefox. This is the price Chrome pays for its architecture. So I would be more careful with blanket statements which browser uses more memory. As usual the answer is "It depends."

Erunno said,

Flip side: When you *don't* close a tab, i.e. keep a lot of tabs open all the time and have a lot of extensions installed than Chrome uses *much* more memory than Firefox. This is the price Chrome pays for its architecture. So I would be more careful with blanket statements which browser uses more memory. As usual the answer is "It depends."

There's no reason to open that many tabs though, even if you do, AppTab them, then Middle Click, it shows the tab still but it doesn't use any memory from that tab. Just click the tab to re-activate it when needed.

Seems bold, but they can't even seem to get native Aero right in 3.7a5 so I don't know if we'll see the UI improvements in time.

so 3.7pre a5 will now turn to 4.0a 5 any sooner?
June is not far , and they are saying Beta, man!!!I dont want them to commit same mistake what opera did with 10.5 (remember March1 ?) and chrome does every now and then

BTW im waiting for jaeger monkey to land soon (drool)

matrix64 said,
No H.264 support in HTML5 though, making it a fail and behind competition in that area.

H.264 can be a plugin like just like Flash even though that would defeat the entire purpose of the video tag in hmtl5. But it can never be included with Firefox.

opensuse said,

H.264 can be a plugin like just like Flash even though that would defeat the entire purpose of the video tag in hmtl5. But it can never be included with Firefox.

Nothing has ever stopped Firefox developers from using Media Foundation (Windows), QuickTime (Mac) and GStreamer (*NIX) to provide such functionality. The decision isn't about what they can and can't legally do, its all about politics.

i wonder what they mean by "super dooper fast" as 3.7 alpha 5 nightlies are only around 10% faster in most benchmarks than 3.6.3. I hope they seriously improve the speed as chrome is upto 3x faster for certain things.

torrentthief said,
i wonder what they mean by "super dooper fast" as 3.7 alpha 5 nightlies are only around 10% faster in most benchmarks than 3.6.3. I hope they seriously improve the speed as chrome is upto 3x faster for certain things.

Speed is more than just a bunch of synthetic benchmarks. The Mozilla team did a lot of work to increase interface responsiveness, launch time has been reduced (but not to the level of Chrome yet), they'll probably be using Direct2D for rendering of the browser chrome (the interface) and content, etc.

The current obsession with JavaScript benchmarks borders on the absurd, as if a browser would not consist of many more parts.

yawn... when it's released we'll find out if they can back up those so-called goals. Right now I'm on 3.7 Alpha 5... but I want 4.0 already. About to switch back to Chrome though!

thealexweb said,
What so the Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 is becoming 3.6.4?

No. Only process isolation, containing messy plug-in crashes, has integred in FF 3.6.4.
FF 3.7 is FF 4.0.

Christophe LAVALLE said,

No. Only process isolation, containing messy plug-in crashes, has integred in FF 3.6.4.
FF 3.7 is FF 4.0.

And sadly just for Windows. Linux and OS X users will have to wait for Firefox 4.0 to receive the benefits of out-of-process plug-ins.

dead.cell said,

I'll believe it when I see it.

It is already faster than Chrome in D2D-reliant benchmarks.

EDIT: To be fair so is IE9, but FF3.7 is faster than IE9 in D2D reliant benchmarks. (Excluding the alpha stage bugs)

Edited by Udedenkz, May 11 2010, 5:28am :

Udedenkz said,

It is already faster than Chrome in D2D-reliant benchmarks.

EDIT: To be fair so is IE9, but FF3.7 is faster than IE9 in D2D reliant benchmarks. (Excluding the alpha stage bugs)


And? That's not exactly what I care about, otherwise I'd be all over Firefox again. Please, when you've got more to go on about, let me know. In the meantime, you can quit jumping around like the N64 kid.

For the record, I still very much like Firefox and use it whenever I'm developing a website. I'd simply rather see improvements, not read about them.

Why do people refer to insulting others by calling them "Kids"?

Always been a decent browser but something has been lacking as of late. Will be keen to see how this develops.

Udedenkz said,

It is already faster than Chrome in D2D-reliant benchmarks.

EDIT: To be fair so is IE9, but FF3.7 is faster than IE9 in D2D reliant benchmarks. (Excluding the alpha stage bugs)


D2D benchmarks sounds like a major subset of the typical benchmarks you run however, mostly pertaining to poorly used features like HTML5 Canvas. Which won't get very used until IE supports it. MS has said they will do better on HTML5 in IE9 - I wonder if they've announced anything there, as for Canvas support?

Edited by Northgrove, May 11 2010, 7:28am :

Northgrove said,

D2D benchmarks sounds like a major subset of the typical benchmarks you run however, mostly pertaining to poorly used features like HTML5 Canvas. Which won't get very used until IE supports it. MS has said they will do better on HTML5 in IE9 - I wonder if they've announced anything there, as for Canvas support?

D2D accelerates pretty much *everything* you see. It gets used automatically.

64 bit support <-- will this version support flash like on Linux? If the answer is yes, then this version might actually get me to switch back also from chrome. Then again, I am kind of used to using Avast 5 with Chrome virtualized and I still can't do it with Firefox. Come on Mozilla catch up, Please!~

waldenasta said,
64 bit support <-- will this version support flash like on Linux? If the answer is yes, then this version might actually get me to switch back also from chrome. Then again, I am kind of used to using Avast 5 with Chrome virtualized and I still can't do it with Firefox. Come on Mozilla catch up, Please!~

That's up to Adobe to provide a 64-bit Flash plugin. So far it only exists on Linux for some reason.

Edited by Rob2687, May 11 2010, 5:58am :

waldenasta said,
64 bit support <-- will this version support flash like on Linux? If the answer is yes, then this version might actually get me to switch back also from chrome. Then again, I am kind of used to using Avast 5 with Chrome virtualized and I still can't do it with Firefox. Come on Mozilla catch up, Please!~

Wait with that bold move until you notice actual performance improvements with that 64-bit Flash and 64-bit browser. I can't emphasis that enough, since the bottleneck with heavy Flash applications is actually the CPU. Well, yes, it consumes like 500 MB RAM too if you're unlucky, but still nowhere near the addressing limits of 32-bit apps. Speed improvements from being a non-math intensive app could be neglible.

Edited by Northgrove, May 11 2010, 7:08am : spelling, clarifications

Rob2687 said,
That's up to Adobe to provide a 64-bit Flash plugin. So far it only exists on Linux for some reason.

Well, Firefox 4.0 brings plugin isolation which means you'll be able to have a 64bit browser and 32bit plugins.

Rob2687 said,

That's up to Adobe to provide a 64-bit Flash plugin. So far it only exists on Linux for some reason.

exactly. that does not make any sense to make flash for Linux but not the vastly more popular and common Windows.

rawr_boy81 said,

Well, Firefox 4.0 brings plugin isolation which means you'll be able to have a 64bit browser and 32bit plugins.

Yeah, plugin isolation is going to be HUGE I think...

Oscar Salinas said,
Sounds Like heaven!! at least 64 support!

Yeah, it all sounds great. I think this is going to be a really good release.

fixxxer2010 said,
Completely re-vamped user interface allowing layout customization and (less chrome)

^ i laughed

Oh, har haaaaar

fixxxer2010 said,
Completely re-vamped user interface allowing layout customization and (less chrome)

^ i laughed


Yeah, we'll see if their release will end up meaning less Chrome, haha.

Northgrove said,

Yeah, we'll see if their release will end up meaning less Chrome, haha.

Probably meaning less things similar to Chrome. Less chrome-like features, not usage.

fixxxer2010 said,
Completely re-vamped user interface allowing layout customization and (less chrome)

^ i laughed

Yeah, I know that's not what they meant, but it's still funny...

fixxxer2010 said,
"super duper fast" huh? can't get much faster than it already is but ill buy into it!

Depends on what kind of "fast" they mean, I think they can actually improve on some fields...

Anyway, this looks VERY promising. Might get me switched back from Chrome.

Edited by Descartes, May 11 2010, 4:59am :

Looking good, was a long time Firefox user but in recent years it got quite stale for me and switched to Chrome. That said Firefox 4.0 could be enough for me to switch back, wait and see