Mozilla pushes on development with release of Firefox 4.2 Alpha 1

This morning Mozilla has made version 4.2a1pre available on the Mozilla Nightly website, under their "Minefield" branding. In an effort to speed up their development cycle, we should see Firefox 5 by the last week of June.

Under the plan proposed by Mr Sayre, new features would start life in the nightly channel, before moving to the experimental and beta channels before either being disabled or included in a final release build. Features that take a long time to develop can stay in the nightly channel until ready or scrapped. New code would be moved from the nightly channel every six weeks during a development cycle.

This is the first Minefield release after 4.0b13pre which succeeded the release of Firefox 4.0 on March 22, below is the changelog for this release.

Fixed:

  1. #644139 [Toolkit:Build Config]-mozapps/preferences no longer included in omni.jar (Change Master Password dialog doesn't work) [All]
  2. #644164 [Core:Build Config]-make configure depend on the various version files [Win]
  3. #638292 [Toolkit:Add-ons Manager]-InstallTrigger is not defined when a new page is opened by clicking a link with target="_blank" or using window.open [All]
  4. #639090 [Toolkit:Startup and Profile System]-Safe Mode dialog doesn't allow the user to restart in normal mode [All]

Partial Landings/WIPs/Incoming:

  1. #636190 [mozilla.org:Release Engineering]-Change firefox version on mozilla-central to 4.2a1pre [All]
  2. #259861 [Core:XBL]-Should log errors on bindings with no id attribute [Lin]
  3. #457102 [Core:DOM]-kill nsIXPointer [Mac]
  4. #585786 [Core:XPConnect]-Get rid of slimwrapper checks in quickstubs when we can [Mac]
  5. #595785 [Toolkit:Download Manager]-Getting a download's nsIChannel appears unreliable [All]
  6. #601332 [Core:Layout]-Sunspider 0.9.1 never paints its subframe [Win]
  7. #614145 [Core:XPConnect]-Fast-path null return values in quickstubs [Mac]
  8. [BACKOUT]#617339 [Core:HTML: Parser]-window.arguments is undefined when opening an HTML file with a long-ish comment at the start. [Mac]
  9. #632904 [Core:Editor]-Editor/IME/spellcheck use content states when they mean IsEditable() [All]
  10. #636336 [Core:DOM: Core & HTML]-img/video/audio/source.setAttribute()/getAttribute() on src trims whitespace [All]
  11. #637644 [Core:DOM: Core & HTML]-adding elements through javascript to Popup windows does not work. [All]
  12. #643429 [Core:Geolocation]-Remove IsBetterLocation functionality [Mac]
  13. #640201 [Core:Geolocation]-mGeolocation should NOT be set before Init() is called [All]

Regressions/Annoying/Common bugs:

None.

This build disables most add-ons, to disable extension checking go to about:config add using boolean the following: extensions.checkCompatibility.4.2a and set to false.

Be forewarned that this is Alpha software, although based on Firefox 4.0, if you can't live without your add-ons, think twice before using it.

We also have an extensive topic about Firefox 5 in our forums, as well as member submitted custom styles and tweaks for the browser here.

Image Credit: cybernetnews.com

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Very, Very, Buggy! By the way this is a Pre-Alpha 1 Build, as the Build has yet 2 actually hit Alpha 1 so so you guys know! By the way Google Chrome Canary Builds are @ 12.0 if you are looking 4 something a little less buggy! Just 2 let you guys know!

It was my impression that Minefield was the 64bit version of Firefox. I never saw a 32bit version of minefield but I never looked that hard in the ftp site to see. I've been using it for some time and find it's great under a 64bit windows machine.

.beta said,
I'm gonna wait for the beta, that's where it's at. =)

+1 ure not alone, i will wait for the beta and i will hop on it

They skipped 4.1 because a different branch (Fennec aka. Firefox Mobile) was already using 4.1 in their build system. The numbering doesn't really matter, all that's important is that there will be a point release before FF5.

Gutierrez said,
lol. Why I dont surprise?!. And they fixed the huge memory leaks or that wont be fixed, ever?

maybe because they stated long ago that several versions of firefox will be out this year?
as for memory leaks, yea, i would say they have been fixed in ff4

patseguin said,
Why would it go from 4.0 to 4.2? What about 4.1?

They skipped 4.1 because a different branch (Fennec aka. Firefox Mobile) was already using 4.1 in their build system. The numbering doesn't really matter, all that's important is that there will be a point release before FF5.

pHuzi0n said,

They skipped 4.1 because a different branch (Fennec aka. Firefox Mobile) was already using 4.1 in their build system. The numbering doesn't really matter, all that's important is that there will be a point release before FF5.
Correct, until the end ... this could certainly become Firefox 5. As you say, it's just a number - don't read into it.

TH3ROOKIE said,

That's what I was thinking...


As others have said, this one is for the trunk branch, which will probably end up as 5. Firefox 4 started as 3.7 and was numbered 3.7 in all the alphas, up until the first Firefox 4 beta.

Yeah, but no, but yeah, but.. this article is about the FIRST 4.2 Alpha release. The link you're pointing to went live after this article was submitted (or when it was waiting in our queue).

So; 24 March release, is the second 4.2 Alpha release.

Neobond said,
Yeah, but no, but yeah, but.. this article is about the FIRST 4.2 Alpha release. The link you're pointing to went live after this article was submitted (or when it was waiting in our queue).

So; 24 March release, is the second 4.2 Alpha release.


Yeah, but no, but yeah, but.. this article seems to be about the first nightly build after FF4 but it's named 4.2a1pre, the "pre" means it's not 4.2a1 yet. There is no 4.2a1 and there may never actually be one.

The article clearly states "This is the first Minefield release after 4.0b13pre which succeeded the release of Firefox 4.0 on March 22, " and looking at my about screen on the build for today clearly shows 4.2a1pre. Hence the title of this article 4.2 Alpha 1.

Neobond said,
The article clearly states "This is the first Minefield release after 4.0b13pre which succeeded the release of Firefox 4.0 on March 22, " and looking at my about screen on the build for today clearly shows 4.2a1pre. Hence the title of this article 4.2 Alpha 1.

You missed the point, the title should included "Pre" in it because it's the first 4.2a1pre nightly build, not 4.2a1. There is no 4.2 Alpha 1 build, there are only nightlies that are Pre-4.2 Alpha 1.

Browser wars is at it's peak now then, Chrome 11 Beta, IE9 and FF4 all in a week or so.
Interesting times.

Exosphere said,
Browser wars is at it's peak now then, Chrome 11 Beta, IE9 and FF4 all in a week or so.Interesting times.

And yet there's not much difference between all of them...
What's with all the rush recently anyway?

Tpiom said,

And yet there's not much difference between all of them...
What's with all the rush recently anyway?

It's not a rush. Software development has changed over the years. Software use to be developed in the Waterfall method which amounts to long release cycles with big features. The industry is learning to use Agile methods which amount to smaller release cycles with smaller improvements.
The difference between the two:
Waterfall: Features X,Y,Z and all bug fixes will be delivered in 6 months all at once. Until then, you have to work with what you have. When it is releases, all the bugs that exist or come with the new features are there for another 6 months.
Agile: Feature X will be here in 2 months with some bug fixes. They reevaluate the priorities to include any new bugs from the features, and in two months, release feature Y with more bug fixes. At this point, if the competition has come out with this new jaw dropping feature, they can say, lets not do feature Z yet, and work on that other feature first.
They are not working any faster, they are just releasing smaller chunks of code and are able to adapt more to the constantly changing environment.

IE9 and Fx4 being close together is fairly coincidental. Chrome having a new beta out is not news, since it's happened 10 times in the last two years.

I don't really see a big rush, just more competition and an improved rate of development.

Tpiom said,

And yet there's not much difference between all of them...
What's with all the rush recently anyway?

Actually between chrome and firefox there is.

Chrome focuses on speed while Firefox focuses on quality

yakumo said,

Their is a lot of difference between some of them, IE9 is still complete crap http://people.mozilla.com/~prouget/ie9/
yes it's mozilla hosted article, but check the tests yourself.

The parts that Microsoft don't support aren't in wide use at the moment, and i'd like to remind you that HTML5 is an unfinished specification. What's really amusing is that when Opera made waves about their standards support, Mozilla fans made fun of them for it. Now that IE9 relegates Mozilla to the bottom of the performance stakes, it's all that Mozilla fans have left and now they're clinging to it. Hypocritical.

Subject Delta said,
The parts that Microsoft don't support aren't in wide use at the moment
Well that's not surprising. If they're not supported by the biggest browser, they're not going to be used much!

As for Mozilla "making fun" of people for standards support, that's is obviously a far more nuanced topic that you're attempting to present. Details please?

Kirkburn said,
Well that's not surprising. If they're not supported by the biggest browser, they're not going to be used much!

As for Mozilla "making fun" of people for standards support, that's is obviously a far more nuanced topic that you're attempting to present. Details please?

I am referring to their fans, not the company themselves

I dunno about y'all, but the performance difference between IE9 and FF4 is obvious to me. IE9 is quite a bit quicker.

Exosphere said,
Browser wars is at it's peak now then, Chrome 11 Beta, IE9 and FF4 all in a week or so.
Interesting times.

only curious and acceptable users like me benefit from all that, i like changes, modifications and stuff like that, i easily get used to major changes and i like them in almost any case, so this is good news for me, id really like Firefox to completely throw away everything that still reminds of 3.6 and become something different and unique..

the only thing that bothers me is why are they releasing all of their world to the public at such rapid speeds?
Google stole the UI from Firefox, if they have something new and groundbreaking, they will announce it, Google dev people are just waiting for this, they comprehend what they can from the early alpha/sigma/lambda/whatever and just rush and implement it into Chrome... thats what they are gonna do, im telling yall

Let's not go on about who stole from whom. Good ideas deserve to be used multiple times, and they're almost always iterations of previous ideas.

Subject Delta, since Firefox is open source, the difference isn't all that great. And can you point to specific examples?

iAltair said,
I had GPU Acceleration on for Firefox 4 but not for IE9 and IE9 runs faster. Nuff said.
How did you not have hardware acceleration on IE9, yet have it in Fx4? And what examples did you use?

Edited by Kirkburn, Mar 24 2011, 4:41pm :

Kirkburn said,
IE9 and Fx4 being close together is fairly coincidental.
i think that firefox just decided to push the update so that IE9 wouldn't eat up more market share

jasonon said,
i think that firefox just decided to push the update so that IE9 wouldn't eat up more market share
How many betas do you think they would have had otherwise? 12 wasn't enough?

Kirkburn said,
Let's not go on about who stole from whom. Good ideas deserve to be used multiple times, and they're almost always iterations of previous ideas.

Subject Delta, since Firefox is open source, the difference isn't all that great. And can you point to specific examples?

How did you not have hardware acceleration on IE9, yet have it in Fx4? And what examples did you use?

Basically I left the settings there by default for IE9, Software Rendering.