First Impressions of Firefox 3

Firefox 3 is finally here. I've been testing the betas and release candidates off and on and there's no doubt it's an improvement on Firefox 2, probably a big improvement. I'm moving over to it. This is a good upgrade to a good browser, but it's not the godsend many make it out to be.

For me, the biggest improvement in Firefox 3 is that it no longer (at least not yet in my testing) consumes huge amounts of memory. As I work right now, with 4 tabs open including some Flash content, it's consuming 130MB, which is the most I've ever seen. Firefox 2 regularly consumed several hundred MB on my systems, and usually much more than Internet Explorer 7. Mozilla seems to have solved that problem.

But not everything about it is wonderful. Even if I'm basically happy with it, there are a few things I definitely don't like about it. For example, I use the Clear Private Data feature now and then, which clears the browsing history (when you drop down the address bar), among other things. You can select Tools-Clear Private Data or press Ctrl-Shift-Del. When you do this in Firefox 3, it does not clear any browser history where the domain is in a bookmark, so your address bar drop-down may still have addresses in it. This seems wrong and confusing, and I bugged it in Bugzilla during beta. To the developers, it's one of those "it's not a bug, it's a feature" things, and they provide no way to turn it off in about :config or anywhere else. I think this was a bad choice.

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wow some of you are the most ignorant sh*ts ever.

People say:
"FF with 5 tabs open consumes 50mb.. "
"NO! FF with 5 tabs open consume 130mb!"


This is so obvious, just that nobody has EVER said it: It all depends what websites you have open on each tab. It's not the same to have 5 tabs each with google.com on them then have 5 tabs with 5 pr0n galleries with 70 pics on them each.


Next time you guys say that this browser uses more or less ram then the other, do a comparison with the SAME websites on each.

I never post on Neowin but this was driving me crazy.

For me, the biggest improvement in Firefox 3 is that it no longer (at least not yet in my testing) consumes huge amounts of memory. As I work right now, with 4 tabs open including some Flash content, it's consuming 130MB, which is the most I've ever seen. Firefox 2 regularly consumed several hundred MB on my systems, and usually much more than Internet Explorer 7. Mozilla seems to have solved that problem.

so you're saying FF3 using "only 130MB" is a good thing?

IMHO i like FF3.

awesomebar: at first i was intimidated by the awesome bar but after a few hrs of getting used to it i found that the awesome bar is indeed awesome.
new bookmarks: love the tagging feature.
extensions: luckily only 2 got disabled on my list of which 1 fortunately had a compatible alternative so i'm just waitng for the other one to update to FF3.
themes: i never use the default theme so i have no issues with how fugly it is. 3 out of 4 themes in my list worked.
plug-ins: all worked.
speed: i keep getting surprised when i am waiting for something but it was already there in front of my face.
as for the vulnerability issue, frankly i trust FF to have this addressed asap. they always do.

attention extensions and themes authors get off your butts and update your stuff.

I have to agree with you. I just don't care one way or the other for the awesomebar, though. I never use the default themes either. Right now I'm using the Microfox theme. I have a 22" LCD, so I don't need the room, I just prefer it. Clean and simple. All my extentions are working and I have many, 14 right now.

For some extensions folks should go to the extension writers web page. At times they will have betas or dev builds that work fine, replacing their FF2 extensions. When I was using the FF3 betas I got some extensions working that way, by now they have been upgraded to finals.

For the rare page that insistes you have IE I simply use the IE Tab extension or the Open In IE extension...anymore the latter does not get used, it may go soon.

I guess my biggest problem with Firefox on Mac OS X is still the interface. The fake Aqua look just feels off compared to the rest of Mac OS X and its applications. And it can't be that hard to update the icon to 512x512 pixels so it doesn't look like crap in Cover Flow and Quick Look.

Overal it does make a pretty nice browser and version 3 is a welcome update, but in its current state I won't use it on my Mac. I'm using it just fine on Windows XP though.

Not sure why this guy's ****ing all over FF3 in this article.

He shows his ignorance right off the bat by being completely wrong about the address bar (a simple about:config option exists to eliminate the "problem").

Then he goes on to bitch about EV certificate display (the latest scam in the SSL world), handling of Certificate Revocation Lists (how many users even know what those are?), and problems with outdated plugins. Seriously?

Yeah, he's misleading on a few points

"For example, I use the Clear Private Data feature now and then, which clears the browsing history (when you use the drop-down in the address bar), among other things. You can select Tools-Clear Private Data or press Ctrl-Shift-Del. When you do this in Firefox 3, it does not clear any browser history where the domain is in a bookmark, so your address bar drop-down may still have addresses in it."

--> Bookmarks aren't history. Clearing your history using Clear Private Data clears all your _history_ as expected.

"For instance, today I still have problems with some plug-ins."

--> I will guess he means extensions, as Flash, Java, Quicktime, etc, should all work.

"Incidentally, if you plan to stick with Firefox 2, don't plan on doing so for very long. Mozilla has a policy of providing security updates for old versions for only a few months and then you're on your own."

--> At least 6 months

Steven Parker
As I work right now, with 4 tabs open including some Flash content, it's consuming 130MB

LOLOL... And thats is not consuming a huge amounts of memory?? HA-HA
Opera uses 5 times LESS.

I have 18 tabs open at 118 MB's for Firefox, including several YouTube tabs and gmail. What is Opera running at with 18 tabs?

To all those having problems: check your extensions.

A fair few extensions are not compatible with Fx3, or are badly written. Check for updates, remove them, or get new ones. Don't automatically blame Firefox itself.

Well, unfortunately, I'm blaming Firefox, considering that I don't have any extensions installed. I'm getting crashes like no other on a clean install.

The biggest problem I have is it consistently crashes when running on Windows Vista, visiting web 2.0 sites (gmail etc).

clean install of firefox 3 from scratch (i.e. uninstall, delete firefox install folder, and then delete profile folders) and my gmail never crashes on Vista SP1.

People are still complaining about opera? The firefox team has the ability to "mobilize" millions of geeks over the internet and make a massive ball of hype with every release. Whereas opera... well, you know what I mean.

Even if opera was so super duper mega great, there's nothing wrong in giving more "Importance" to a browser that holds a lot more market share than opera ever has or ever will.

Opera is a GREAT product, a great browser that I use from time to time, but that doesnt make it popular. Firefox's got the people on its side. Opera being 'shareware' for so long irremediably hurt its user base.

(Julius Caro said @ #15)
Opera being 'shareware' for so long irremediably hurt its user base.
This is an excellent point. They also did the same crap with the mobile versions which ultimately made me ignore it. Why pay for a web browser, when there are many other good alternatives? Even now that it's not shareware I've pretty much removed it from my radar.

9.5 was a MAYOR release - new rendering engine, new mail client etc.
As someone said - Opera has always to Mayor releases - the 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 and the .5 version, every other
.01/.02/.51/.52 etc. is considered a minor release bugfix/security fix release.

And FYI - Opera 9.5 suprased 5 milion of downloads, so fuzi0719 - you are sooo wrong.
I hope you'll find a cure for your fanboyism.

(PrEzi said @ #14)
9.5 was a MAYOR release - new rendering engine, new mail client etc.
As someone said - Opera has always to Mayor releases - the 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 and the .5 version, every other
.01/.02/.51/.52 etc. is considered a minor release bugfix/security fix release.

And FYI - Opera 9.5 suprased 5 milion of downloads, so fuzi0719 - you are sooo wrong.
I hope you'll find a cure for your fanboyism.

You Opera Fanbois are funny, especially when accusing others of being fanbois

Face it Opera is good but just not good enough, it's always gonna be third, unless you can somehow convince the IE sheeple that IE is as bad as it is

(z0phi3l said @ #14.1)

You Opera Fanbois are funny, especially when accusing others of being fanbois

Face it Opera is good but just not good enough, it's always gonna be third, unless you can somehow convince the IE sheeple that IE is as bad as it is

Firefox fans, Opera fans and IE fans are so goddamn stupid. Every person has an opinion, every person is different. There's no way everybody will like the same stuff. Just stop bitching and complaining. If you still like opera over firefox, awesome, let me give some some couple of trophies and diplomas about that. You like Firefox over Opera? Really sweet too.

Either you are going to comment about Firefox release (which is what this topic is related to) or don't even post. KTHXBAI.

Now about the release, really cool release I love it

(yottabytewizard said @ #14.2)

Firefox fans, Opera fans and IE fans are so goddamn stupid. Every person has an opinion, every person is different. There's no way everybody will like the same stuff. Just stop bitching and complaining. If you still like opera over firefox, awesome, let me give some some couple of trophies and diplomas about that. You like Firefox over Opera? Really sweet too.

Either you are going to comment about Firefox release (which is what this topic is related to) or don't even post. KTHXBAI.

Now about the release, really cool release I love it

+1 as that pretty much sums it up! ;)

and i think this is the best browser release from Mozilla since the very first official release which was v1.0 a long time ago... cause from what i can remember/tell it seems like there's overall more of a difference between v2 to v3 vs v1 to v2.

You mean open-source Zimbra or closed-source Zimbra?
And don't blame Firefox for Zimbra's failings. That's like blaming Microsoft for AOL just because you can install AOL on Windows.

(In case you didn't know, Yahoo bought Zimbra last year.)

This uses far more RAM now. FF2 used to use between 55-75mb after a while. FF3 has only been open for just around 10mins and already it is over 95mb!
Niot good enough really after all the hype.


(artnada said @ #12)
This uses far more RAM now. FF2 used to use between 55-75mb after a while. FF3 has only been open for just around 10mins and already it is over 95mb!
Niot good enough really after all the hype.
You really think that is a problem? Would you prefer your RAM go unused, just sitting there doing nothing for you? I would wager that if the developers had chosen to NOT use some RAM for storing webpages or thumbnail images or other necessary items, but instead reload them on every repaint, you'd be complaining that "FF3 is so slow! Why can't they make it faster?!?!" 8)

OK, first off, Firefox will use more RAM the more pages you have open. Well DUH! The pages have to be stored somewhere, so it might as well store them in FAST RAM instead of the slow hard drive. Right? Right. And those extensions you installed, hey, guess what? THEY USE RAM TOO! Computers do not work by magic, surprise surprise.

If you run Firefox 3 by itself with just Adblock and Flashblock running as extentions, it only uses 60 megs or so.
But you known what? It could use 2 GB of RAM and I still wouldn't care. Yeah, that's right: I've got 8 GB of RAM. Welcome top the wonderful world of x64.

Now go buy some RAM and quit your whining.

i dont know but overall for me Firefox 3 seems to use LESS memory than it used to on FF2 when a lot of tabs are open and for fairly long periods of time.

i wonder if the people who claim it eats up 200+MB of memory are the ones who had random extensions installed that are causing conflicts etc etc to make it eat more RAM.

cause me personally i only have basically 3 extensions installed (Adblock Plus - NoScript - Tabscroller) and my Firefox works great.

so bottom line for me is i have no complaints as it seems like a overall solid upgrade over firefox 2.

(betasp said @ #10)
Why do people look at memory consumption if it is not impacting performance? Unused memory is wasted memory.

In older releases of firefox I had it sometimes get into situations where it would have a spaz and begin consuming upwards of 1.4GB of memory and while that was about the worst time, it did go over 1GB on close to a dozen others.

Sure a few hundred megs may not kill your pc, but the memory issues I was having occasionally with Firefox was sure as hell crippling my systems performance.

Also, while memory is there to be used its not there to be wasted. While idle memory ise useless memory, thats not an excuse for the browser to use more than it needs. I could give that extra memory to another app/process rather than mozilla to make better use of it.

(betasp said @ #10)
Why do people look at memory consumption if it is not impacting performance? Unused memory is wasted memory.

Because it smacks of lazy coding.

Firefox using that ram is wasteful - the only software I want "saving" my RAM is my O/S. None O/S software should be using as little RAM as possible.

Well...

Pros:
1) It does render a bit quicker, I think.
2) Linux gets the XUL file-picker back, no more of that GTK abortion (see below).

Cons:
1) Horribly messed-up install on Windows. Crashes on closing, which effectively means I can't install/uninstall any extensions or themes. I suspect this is because the profile folder is on an Ext2 partition, but that's really no excuse :/
2) My favourite theme isn't ported yet :(
3) The "improved" integration of your Linux GTK theme is great if you're a Gnome user, but if like me you use KDE (because you think GTK sucks balls) then this probably sucks balls.

(Havin_it said @ #1)
I can't install/uninstall any extensions or themes. I suspect this is because the profile folder is on an Ext2 partition, but that's really no excuse :/

I think you'll find that is rather a good excuse seeing as Windows doesn't recognise or acknowledge ext2 partitions. Can't blame Mozilla for that!

IMHO, GTK sucks balls and KDE is a mess. One has the "simple" and "polish" look, and the other is the responsive and sleek one, yet a mess.

We're all doomed

(Zoom7000 said @ #9.1)

I think you'll find that is rather a good excuse seeing as Windows doesn't recognise or acknowledge ext2 partitions. Can't blame Mozilla for that!

Oh but it can, with a driver :P I've been using this for ages and it never caused probs for Firefox before. Though I realise MoCo can't be blamed for not foreseeing this, I wonder what's changed? I may ask them...

(Havin_it said @ #9.3)
Oh but it can, with a driver :P I've been using this for ages and it never caused probs for Firefox before. Though I realise MoCo can't be blamed for not foreseeing this, I wonder what's changed? I may ask them...

I had a feeling you were gonna say it can recognise ext2 partitions with a driver. But well, as you said, Mozilla can't be blamed for not adhering to a non standard issue. :P

It's OK, after I revisiting the driver site I noticed they had a new version out. Installed that, and the profile works fine now =)

FWIW the reason I continue using Ext2 for my profiles is I have the Windows and Linux profiles in neighbouring folders, and symlink a number of files e.g. bookmarks.html, cookies.txt etc. I've yet to see which of the new equivalents to these files I can do this trick with, but now I'm all set to explore that ;)

Oh, two more cons:
4) Horizontal-scroll on my touchpad no longer works for going back/forward in Linux (it never worked in Windows). This used to annoy me because I kept going backwards inadvertently (sausage fingers blog), but I realise now it's gone I miss it :(
5) There's a JavaScript bug on eBay where the 'quick refresh' feature on almost-ended listings no longer works. This doesn't bother me much, but my gf is really busting my balls about it as it makes it hard for her to snipe auctions!

Does it even matter? If you don't want to read it then don't - It only takes up a couple of inches of the front page :)
It may not interest you personally but that does not mean some of us aren't interested :)
Besides, he of all people should be allowed to post whatever he wants

(hektik said @ #8.2)
Does it even matter? If you don't want to read it then don't - It only takes up a couple of inches of the front page :)
It may not interest you personally but that does not mean some of us aren't interested :)
Besides, he of all people should be allowed to post whatever he wants :)

The issue is that other browsers doesn't get the same attention. Why wasn't there any front page news about the launch of Opera 9.50? But a little impression of Firefox is.

Of course Firefox is a good browser. But the hype and attention is just over the top, in which Neowin seems to fall for. A tech site should report any important news. Not filter the ones "they like".

(x-byte said @ #8.3)
Why wasn't there any front page news about the launch of Opera 9.50? But a little impression of Firefox is.
Of course Firefox is a good browser. But the hype and attention is just over the top, in which Neowin seems to fall for. A tech site should report any important news. Not filter the ones "they like".

Opera 9.50 is a point release. Fx3 is a version release. Sorry if you think this is wrong, but a version release is considered more important than a point release. Point releases tend to get threads in the Breaking News or Software forum, not FPN entries.

(mrbester said @ #8.4)

Opera 9.50 is a point release. Fx3 is a version release. Sorry if you think this is wrong, but a version release is considered more important than a point release. Point releases tend to get threads in the Breaking News or Software forum, not FPN entries.


I understand that, but I still think 9.50 is a major release. It have a few new features. Opera have two importan updates for each release. The initial release and the .5 release.

(x-byte said @ #8.3)
Why wasn't there any front page news about the launch of Opera 9.50?
Maybe because the 10 people who use Opera already would know about its new release? :nuts:

(x-byte said @ #8.3)
The issue is that other browsers doesn't get the same attention. Why wasn't there any front page news about the launch of Opera 9.50? But a little impression of Firefox is.
Well I think the issue here is some people think all browsers should get the same amount of attention where the site staff do not. I think you just need to concede that Opera is a lesser used browser and probably sits well behind Firefox and IE in terms of usage and popularity. It's good, don't get me wrong, but the install base isn't the same.

And to that end thats why it isn't posted every time it gets a new release. The front page, nor Neowin, is not trying to advertise all browsers equally nor should it otherwise then we'll end up with dozens of post on every one of the dozens of browsers out there. If Opera had the same following and managed to generate the same level of hype doing advertising campaigns to rival Mozillas recent stint then I'm sure it would be on the front page, but as the lesser of the big name browsers it's understandable that it doesnt get posted in the limelight at every release as it for better or worse probably isn't of as much interest to as many users.

There was a time when firefox/bird/phoenix wasn't getting the front page love either.

(Smigit said @ #8.7)
There was a time when firefox/bird/phoenix wasn't getting the front page love either.

Yea. But when even betas of Firefox gets on the front page more than a major release of Opera, it's just lame. Just because it's not as widely used it should either way be promoted. It's a great product.

Firefox 2 beta 2 was on the front page:
http://www.neowin.net/index.php?act=view&id=34838

IE 8 beta was on the front page.

Opera 9.5 nope

Sad stuff.

(x-byte said @ #8.8)

Yea. But when even betas of Firefox gets on the front page more than a major release of Opera, it's just lame. Just because it's not as widely used it should either way be promoted. It's a great product.
well like I said, Neowin isn't here to do their promoting. Imagine how much news would get to the front page if EVERY good piece of software was posted there.

It's not like Neowin is anti opera, it still made the software news section like many other great apps that arguably could go to the front page could do.

But hell, doesn't stop you enjoying it right and just because it isnt a constant front page item doesn't say anything about the products quality.

(x-byte said @ #8.8)

Yea. But when even betas of Firefox gets on the front page more than a major release of Opera, it's just lame. Just because it's not as widely used it should either way be promoted. It's a great product.

Firefox 2 beta 2 was on the front page:
http://www.neowin.net/index.php?act=view&id=34838

IE 8 beta was on the front page.

Opera 9.5 nope

Sad stuff.

Not that I personally like Opera, but the only reason Firefox even has the market it does compared to Opera is because of the whole politics behind Mozilla, as having taken over from Netscape and making a big deal about open source, so people can use Firefox as a way to get back at Microsoft.

I'm mainly using Firefox now, but I think their best features they either copied from either Opera or IE. The number of extensions and themes doesn't matter when 95% of them suck. I skinned Firefox to look more like IE, to have glass and a new page tab.

I really like the Awesome bar though and the new way of adding bookmarks.

As I work right now, with 4 tabs open including some Flash content, it's consuming 130MB

LOLOL, Am I the only one that thinks that this is ridiculous ?? 4 tabs and consumes 130MB of memory ?!?!
I don't think that this issue was ever fixed. Right now I'm with about 25 tabs and I've more than 200MB of memory. And I don't remember FF 2 being worst. Equal behavior but definitely not worst.

I work in an internet cafe and I've just finished installing it on all our machines! YAY!

It works fine on 5 and crashes on the other 3 as soon as it starts! (No error messages or high CPU or anything Firefox just doesn't respond to anything and I have to kill it)
I've tried completely removing it and have deleted all relevant folders and have reinstalled it but still the same
A few people have said it doesn't play nicely with Google Desktop/Toolbars but I don't have any of those installed

Works fine on my home and work PCs though - They're the important ones ;)

** FIXED ** It was a problem with one of the extensions we had installed on Firefox 2.0.0.14 ** All working fine now! **

I think they removed the option to turn off the new Location Bar autocomplete feature around the time of RC1/2.

(Chipshop said @ #1)
If i remember rightly the 'Awesome Bar' can be turned of within About:config

Yes, this is correct. I have already done it..

After you do about:config, filter results with the text "urlbar" and you will get something like 10 results. Look for the one named "browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped". Set it to "True" and you will never see Bookmarks or History in the drop-down menu for the awesome bar.

I too hate this feature with awesome bar. I dont need my bookmarks or history showing in the drop down menu, that is what the Bookmarks menu and the History pane are for, thanks.

I went a bit further and installed the Firefox addon called "oldbar" which reverted the Awesome Bar back to the look of the pre-FF3 days, where everything was on just one line.

(Tokar said @ #1.1)

Yes, this is correct. I have already done it..

After you do about:config, filter results with the text "urlbar" and you will get something like 10 results. Look for the one named "browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped". Set it to "True" and you will never see Bookmarks or History in the drop-down menu for the awesome bar.

I too hate this feature with awesome bar. I dont need my bookmarks or history showing in the drop down menu, that is what the Bookmarks menu and the History pane are for, thanks.

I went a bit further and installed the Firefox addon called "oldbar" which reverted the Awesome Bar back to the look of the pre-FF3 days, where everything was on just one line.

And you just crippled one of the neatest features about this new browser. During development, I was at first very unimpressed with the "AwesomeBar", but I relented and gave it a chance. After less than a week of using it, I could not imagine being without it. Using a friends computer that didn't have it felt very lacking. Now, after many months of using it and having it learn (yes, it learns what you prefer and adapts over time) my browsing style and choices, I would never go back to using a browser without it.

(Chipshop said @ #1)
IAnd you just crippled one of the neatest features about this new browser. During development, I was at first very unimpressed with the "AwesomeBar", but I relented and gave it a chance. After less than a week of using it, I could not imagine being without it. Using a friends computer that didn't have it felt very lacking. Now, after many months of using it and having it learn (yes, it learns what you prefer and adapts over time) my browsing style and choices, I would never go back to using a browser without it.

Aren't opinions neat?

I believe the purpose for it is for those that have a lot of bookmarks to easily find what they're looking for. They should make it easier or even more customizable though for those who don't find the particular feature to be useful. Then again, I too didn't really care for it until I kept using it as well.

Things like this make me wonder how on earth I'll be browsing the internet 5 years from now, considering Firefox alone has changed so many browsing habits of the past for me. :P