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Mozilla reaches for almost perfect 10 with latest Firefox 4 beta

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Anonymous Coward

Problem is

even as this late stage Firefox 4 still sucks balls...

It's performance isn't even half what Opera and Chrome are now achieving, and Opera is far more featuren laiden and less bloaty (yes you can have it all).

Firefox 4 will be going down as 2011 epic fail, and the release where less techie users finally give up and go look for a better (Norwegian) browser ( any techie worth their salt will obviously be already using said Norwegian browser)


Opera = win

...except that some firefox plugins are currently irreplaceable.

vimperator, for example.. makes web browsing on a netbook actually enjoyable.

I'm sure people can mention others.

For desktop and mobile, however, Opera (for me) is still king.

Nigel 11

Different horses, different courses

My favorite browser lets me block adverts and gratuitous unwanted Flash animations. Can I have the equivalent of Flashblock and Adblock-plus with Opera or Chrome? And how does having a really fast browser code help me, if I have to wait while unwanted megabytes trickle down my limited-bandwidth connection?

That's Firefox 3.6 by the way. I won't move to 4 until these plugins (and several others I don't wish to be without) are available.




extensions.checkCompatibility = False

(you may also need extensions.checkCompatibility.4.0 or something similar as well).

I currently run with a couple of "incompatible" extensions, both work perfectly in 3.6.13

a cynic writes...

Yes, you can...

"Can I have the equivalent of Flashblock and Adblock-plus with Opera or Chrome? "

I don't know about Opera but for Chrome you can get Adblock, Adblock-plus (albeit a beta) and Flashblock. They've also introduced that "opt-out" extension.

Uncle Slacky Silver badge

Chrome, yes

Adblock Plus and Flashblock are both available on Chrome, at least.

William Gallafent

Any techie worth his salt …

… probably needs to use client certificates. Sadly, these prove impossible to import on Mac OS X (as per my comment on the Firefox 4 beta 9 story), making Opera unusable. Safari crashed yesterday. Minefield seems fine.

DrXym Silver badge

FF 4 works perfectly well

It's a good browser, is pretty robust, it's fast, enjoys good support from websites and doesn't lack for extensions that extend it in all kinds of interesting and useful ways.

Opera has some nice features, e.g. turbo mode when you're bandwidth constrained. It also starts a bit faster, though that doesn't bother me.

It's also fairly standards compliant, although in the real world that doesn't always mean much. Opera lacks industry support. Perhaps premium sites have resources to test their content in every browser. Others just test in IE, Firefox & Safari. It's all well and good to have a standards compliant browser, but it 's too easy to encounter content which is broken on Opera.

The second biggest problem with Opera is that being a niche browser means that users are zealots. They take mortal offense that people dare use another browser, or that another browser DARE do something in a way similar to Opera. These idiots do more to scare people away from their precious browser than encourage them to try it.

Anonymous Coward

Problem is.

Firefox is actually still downloading all those adverts, just not displaying them.

Opera's content blocker is far superior and blocks them BEFORE being downloaded. FlashBlock has been built in to Opera for 4 years (no extension needed), as has the content blocker...

Some people are just too stupid it seems to pick a browser based on their own evaluation, and simply rely on what the vendors tell them....


@Nigel 11

"My favorite browser lets me block adverts and gratuitous unwanted Flash animations. Can I have the equivalent of Flashblock and Adblock-plus with Opera or Chrome? And how does having a really fast browser code help me, if I have to wait while unwanted megabytes trickle down my limited-bandwidth connection?"

Even the quickest of google searches would tell you that the answer is yes. Opera goes one better in that all plugins can be optionally blocked until you manually click on them.

Firefox *does* have many superior extensions, but your example doesn't prove that.

DrXym Silver badge

@AC wrong

"Firefox is actually still downloading all those adverts, just not displaying them."

The Ad block pro add on for Firefox does block content from loading. Specifically it implements a nsIContentPolicy object which is registered with Firefox and called each time the browser wants to load something. The ABP impl searches it's whitelist & blacklists to determine whether the browser should allow the item or reject it.

"Some people are just too stupid it seems to pick a browser based on their own evaluation, and simply rely on what the vendors tell them...."

Stupid is as stupid does. You does.


Catch up!

Several ad-blockers, auto-completers, password managers, etc

For plugins, there are several tricks:

1) R-click, edit site preferences, content, [ ]enable plugins

2) opera:plugins, disable anything you don't want Opera to use

3) Ctrl-F12, advanced, content, enable plugins / enable plugins only on demand

4) R-click, block content, Click/Shift-Click, done

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Problem is.

Why do ad blocking in the browser? Use a proxy like privoxy ( Then you can use as many different browsers as you like and the only configuration required is pointing them at the proxy.


An equivalent to Adblock Plus

is indeed available in Chrome/Chromium ; look for AdBlock in the list of Chrome/Chromium extensions. You might also want to install the Browser Button for AdBlock, which is a separate extension....

I, too, am retaining FF 3.6 (3.6.14pre) as my default browser for the time being, but in the event we get an update to Delicious Bookmarks which works with either FF 4.0 or Chrome/Chromium, I'm going to change, as these browsers are so much faster and slicker than good old 3.6....


DrXym Silver badge

Privoxy is a good solution

However it's harder to configure and keep up to date. Most of the configs are text files which must be hand edited. So if an ad slips through you have to discover the url that injected it (which could be a JS script), construct a reg ex and update / restart privoxy. What would make it better (and perhaps someone has done it) is an add on that allows you to block stuff from your browser and the changes are appended to privoxy's filters.

Anonymous Coward

I didnt't give it a 10...

4.0 Beta I was trying out didn't have the loading progress status bar, didn't display the padlock icon at bottom right and gave loads of issues with websites such as online calendars (forever display "Loading"). I had to use Chrome / Opera / Safari for those sites.

Dumped it and went back to previous (stable) version).

Thumb Up

Much Improved

The Firefox 4 Beta is good, I have been using it for about a month now and wouldn't go back.

It even works better on my 6 year old work PC.

It is not perfect but better than older iterations.


On the whole...

FF4 is better than 3.6. However, I've reported back several times (up to 4.0b9) that it has problems displaying VerifiedByVisa confirmation boxes - on many sites it simply loads a copy of the web page you're looking at into the VbV confirmation box after the password has been entered.

They have improved the problem with video content areas obliterating the menu bar as they were scrolled up out of the way - a problem that used to affect El Reg that now no longer occurs, so it's definitely making progress. However, I noticed with the b9 update that is also hijacked the FF3.6 install I kept for comparing FF4 issues, and dropping back to IE just to use a security "feature" like VbV seems ironic.


Firefox 4 eats Opera for breakfast

I'm really not sure what tests the anonymous coward did to compare Firefox 4 to Opera, but I've done a few. Including the great and very challenging tests that the IE 9 test site offers. Firefox 4 renders better and is substantially faster in the tests I've done. I keep finding rendering bugs in Opera when I try testing fancier websites in it (websites that work well in other browsers).

Firefox 4 will have huge adoption by virtue of the fact that Firefox already has enormous market share, and every one of those installations will prompt the upgrade to Firefox 4. Unlike Internet Explorer users, Firefox users are known for upgrading when a new major release comes out.

With CSS background SVG support, SVG animation, hardware acceleration, history APIs, CSS transitions and the like, Firefox 4 will be a huge benefit to the web, but. I still don't like it myself that much (Mozilla couldn't make their software look slick even if they dipped it in oil). I have been using Chrome, but I'm just being wowed by IE9 at the moment, we'll see if it adopts the technology I want before I think about moving to that though.

Still, Firefox 4 is great news, it's just such a shame that it's taken them so long. People are wondering if they can still keep up.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward


The problem with Firefox - and it is still a problem in 4 - is the fucking time it takes to start up and then goes on to hog system resources. They need to fix that - Chrome, especially in regards to start up time, puts it to shame.

If they fix that I will happily go back to it for general browsing.


Depends on your system

Weirdly, Firefox is considerably faster to load than Opera or IE8 on my home PC (i7 930 @ 4Ghz, Win7 Pro 64-bit, 6 gig RAM) and about the same speed as Chrome - whilst on my work PC (Intel Q9550 @ 2.83 Ghz, Win XP Pro 32-bit, 2 gig RAM), with the same FF build and extensions, Firefox is actually much slower to cold boot than Opera or Chrome and about on par with IE8.

Still - I generally recommend Opera for people who actually use their browser purely for browsing (rather than as a development tool) - though having said that Opera Dragonfly is great! Actually the IE Web Developer toolbar isn't too bad either.

Ammaross Danan

Re: Depends on your system

Win7 with 6GB or RAM at home loads faster than XP with 2GB of RAM at work...not surprising one bit. Besides the Win7 prefetch and caching enhancements, I wouldn't be surprised if your work PC runs a lower-performance "cheap" HDD as opposed to a decent performer in your home PC. With your specs listed, I'd be surprised if you weren't at least using a WD Black at home.

Either way, if your home PC was WinXP as well, I'd consider it a fair assessment, but it's not. Which means FF probably tweaked their loadtimes to target Win7 boxes over XP (likely GUI enhancements/calls).

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Chrome seems to use up a lot more bandwidth

I don't understand how or why, it makes no sense at all, all I know is that my usage is much higher when using Chrome

DrXym Silver badge

Only problem with b9

So far b9 has been pretty stable for me. Only issue I've found is the progress indicator line has a glitch that makes it too tall in the address bar.


Have they finally fixed...

...the fact that after a day's work, the browser ends up using more RAM than Crysis?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward


No, no they haven't.

Opera 11 today (I am trialing it with the intent to move away from FF) vs FF4b10, both from cold start and both with fundamentally the same plugins opening exactly the same websites resulted in Opera taking 101 Megs of RAM whilst FF tended to hover around the 160-180. Now, I know this is not a huge amount different but this was with 6 (six) tabs open, one of which was, one was the results of a google search and another was an intranet static web page.

FF4b10 response speeds have been improved greatly over FF3.6 but are still less than ideal.


"Stable" you say?

The Crashes Per User graph is still a little... lively.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Switch away from IE faster

Nice to see FF4 getting closer to release. Painfully.

Btw, can the kiddies here stop throwing sand in each others' faces, please? The problem is not using Opera or FF or Safari, for that matter...the problem is getting IE market share down to 20%.

Having said that, Opera 11.01 RC2 is out today and is shockingly fast, with a beautiful UI with Tab Stacks and a zillion ways to change what you like -- and for the BILLIONTH time, yes, an Opera AdBlock extension is available.

For the few comments about frustration with FF or other browsers' slowness, Opera has solved this years ago. Turbo mode will do 6x compression to speed-up 3G tethering or slow WIFI connections, while now, you can also do On-Demand Plugins with a simple checkbox.

It will block all plugins, except when you want to see them with a simple click (great for watching HTML5 WebM on YouTube with Opera 11).

You get a big boost in battery life for your laptop, no jet fans blowing from Flash ads, and about 30% speed-up on page loads....ON-TOP of Opera's blazing Presto engine on your computer or phone.

Don't be led astray to a lame internet experience...try Opera out, and be surprised. ;)

And, to give you an idea about the war on Opera by web site designers that are confused about why open-standards programming is critical to the Web (i.e., browser-sniffing by Google and others to break Opera), check out the Opera Browser-JS site patching list by Opera developers.

And make sure you take out the HTML code to block Opera before trying to sell your software system...or you may lose a million-dollar sale. Ouch.

Andus McCoatover


"if (is.opera)




Beggars belief. Bit like a sales person taking a client out for lunch, expecting a multi-million-dollar order - to McDonalds.

Paul Shirley

beta10 still too broken

Left wondering WTF Mozilla are thinking releasing another beta where the forward+back buttons randomly stop working and the address bar stops showing the current page. I expect crashes (though once an hour is taking the piss) but how do you leave basic UI controls unfixed?

Not the slightest chance they'll release just one more beta, too much simple stuff is still broken. I don't care how fast it renders if I can't do the simple things without restarting the browser every 10 minutes!

[The Opera astrotrurfers are entertaining but I've repeatedly tried Opera and just don't like it. Doesn't matter how magic they pack in, speed or feature wise, the UI just annoys me]

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Uphill battle

I was a Firefox die-hard and still use it at work (web dev) but for surfing I've switched to Chrome as it's simplicity and speed are very nice, Firefox is falling behind.

Jim 59

Hotmail etc

FF beta 9 made hotmail unusable for many, by constantly reloading the page twice every second. FFb10 still does it. Have been using FF for many years but tempted to give Opera a try if it does real ad blocking.


What's it like on Windows 7 64 bit ?

I'm one of those frustrated users, like many of the complainers on the forums, who finds 3.6.x painfully slow at times - Mozilla refuse to acknowledge an issue blaming anti-virus and other security measures, despite people telling them they've tried it vanilla and still have the same issues.

Think only reason I've not moved to another browser is laziness (as I know Adblock plus is available for others), that and the fact I trust Google as far as my coffee mug (about 12 inches at present)

(* note I did find turning of World of Trust made a slight difference, but disabling everything else and even stopping my security software from running still left me with a laggy experience)

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

64 bit W7

It appears to be a little better than 3.6 - I used to get terrible slowdowns, especially when typing text which I no longer get as badly, but it is still not there.

The procedure to install and remove (and re-install again if you want) is straightforward and painless so I would suggest giving it a go and seeing for yourself - after all, only you can say if it meets your needs or not and it is not that seamless to switch to a different browser.

Steve Graham

When it ain't broke...

A constant irritation for me is the way Firefox UI developers think they know better than everyone else in the industry, so they randomly drop features or make them work differently to everything else on your PC.

From 4b7 to 4b8, the status bar was dropped, for example. Not made optional, just gone. "Find" has been eccentric for some time, in a bar at the bottom of the screen instead of a pop-up window like in your word processor. The bookmarks window is fixed in size and position and doesn't remember its status (actually, it's not even a real window since it doesn't match your OS look & feel etc.). Oh, and the little downscroll arrows on 'Back' and 'Forward' have gone now. Instead, you click and hold, and wait, 1, 2, 3....

The one thing that stops me migrating to Chrome (well, Chromium, the less-spyware version) is that Firefox is still handier for managing and developing Greasemonkey scripts, and for quickly hiding or blocking ads. You can do everything with Chrome, but it's slightly more hassle.

(For anyone migrating from Firefox to Chrome, the equivalent of AdBlock Plus is "AdThwart". Someone else got in first and took the AdBlock name.)

Anonymous Coward

Opera 11 blows FF4 away

Not even close.

Opera 11 is delivering today what Firefox will be offering 5 years from now, it's got the best performance, the best security record the best standards compliance (FF4 still can't even pass Acid3), and the best onboard features.

Sure it's got a few extensions (300 or so), but the reality is you don't need them, most of the useful stuff is built in.

Infact LastPass and YouTube Downloader are the only ones I really use, Although this is pretty cool:


Ho hum

Mozilla's products have always been flaky and unpolished. ALWAYS

I used Firefox for a long time, but switched to Google Chrome about 6 months ago.

I still use Firefox on my Linux box, but that is mostly used by my grandson to play games.

I'm not going back to Firefox even though I do have a portable version available.

Jim 59

@Steve Graham

You're comparing firefox to the default look and feel of Microsoft Office. They are very different products and Firefox has the more up to date UI. I agree the status bar seems like a change for the sake of it, but the search facility is fine

Andus McCoatover

Is that a browser in your trouser?

No, it's a "WOW!! Sir!!"

Running XP, SP3 and Fox 3.6.13, the removal of the 'oops - I've crashed again' on the pub 'puter would be welcome. Happens every 2-3 hours (sho I've been thold, Ossifer) but on my win lappie, doesnt. Ever. Memtest on the pub machine? Nothing, even overnight (OK, Ubuntu's memtest, but still good). Neither machine overclocked.

Oddly, the two are identical in S/W rev's, so I hope the number of 'oops' it's sent to Mozilla have been noticed, and been fixed on the new rev.

Must be a device driver conflict.


On the Acid3 Matter

There was some madness on a Mozilla dev's blog yesterday. Here is an Opera CSS dev rebuttal:

They just don't like supporting standards (SVG Tiny 1.2) when it means having to do real work.

Mark 65 Silver badge

Quick summary

Can someone with the requisite knowledge and experience give us a quick rundown of how they feel it's shaping up with regards bloat/speed/usability compared to the current version. I'm guessing it shits on the current version in a benchmark but what about everyday use?

Thumb Up

Firefox 4 isn't bad

I really like the changes that Mozilla made to Firefox, and I've had the betas of FF4 installed since Beta 2 or 3. There have been loads of problems, but I'm glad to see they've been making consistent improvements each release. Now that the vast majority of problems have been ironed out, I would definitely switch to it over 3.6.x. It tends to perform its functions better than earlier versions, and is definitely faster at loading javascript-laden pages than its predecessor.

Also, as far as adblocking is concerned, Firefox just does it better than Chrome (I can't make comment on Opera as I don't use it). Chrome's version of Adblock Plus seems to miss blocking quite a few things that Firefox's version blocks with ease.


Plugins cause slow startup for FF?

FF was loading pretty slowly on my old machine (An Athlon with 1GB of RAM) so I decided to have a look at all the plugins and extensions. After disabling a lot of Microsoft plugins and a few others and rebooting (to make sure FF wasn't just cached in memory) it seemed to load much faster. No scientific test to determine which particular plugin it was, or how much faster, but something that might be worth others looking into.

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