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Firefox 3.6 Touches Down

Gordon Kelly

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Firefox 3.6 Touches Down

It may seem like an age to those of you fond of using the latest Firefox Betas (Firefox 3.7 Alpha has been doing the rounds since November), but today sees Mozilla finally drop the beta tags from Firefox 3.6.

Perhaps the biggest news in the new release is a substantial speed boost of up to 20 per cent compared to 3.5 (which was already a big jump from 3.0) - though that still leaves it a long way behind Safari and Chrome.

What tends to be more important to Firefox users, however, are features and 3.6 does add in a number to notable new ones, including:

  • Personas: Personalise the look of your Firefox by selecting new themes called Personas in a single click and without a restart

  • Plugin Updater: To keep you safe from potential security vulnerabilities, Firefox will now detect out of date plugins

  • Stability improvements: Firefox 3.6 significantly decreased crashes caused by third party software - all without sacrificing our extensibility in any way

  • Form Complete: When filling out an online form, Firefox suggests information for fields based on your common answers in similar field

  • Performance: Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness and startup time

  • Open Video and Audio: implementation of HTML 5 audio and video support, now video can be displayed full screen and supports poster frames
Firefox 3.6 is immediately available for download (grab it from the link below) and while I have recently defected to Chrome, I'd suggest you could do a lot worse. Especially if you're using Internet Explorer 6...

Link:

Firefox 3.6

Malderon

January 22, 2010, 7:26 pm

Had Personas for a while as an addon, and use lastpass for form filling. Still upgraded but dont notice much new!

hankb6d

January 22, 2010, 7:52 pm

I will tell you what is not to like, needless updates of a browser. Bundle them all in a 4.0 - simples.

MrGodfrey

January 22, 2010, 9:18 pm

I'll give it a try; hopefully it will be good enough to tempt me back into the fold - I've been using Chrome for a while, and no doubt it's much faster but I miss actually knowing where everything is and being able to get to it quickly.

Pbryanw

January 22, 2010, 10:30 pm

@hank - Well, Mozilla have dropped 3.7 in favour of a system of incremental updates, so it looks like you've got your wish. The next big release will be 4.0 in late 2010/early 2011:


http://www.computerworld.com/s...

xenos

January 22, 2010, 11:08 pm

Facebook also seems to be working now, rather than just crashing the whole goddamn browser and forcing cpu usage to 50% making it unusable..

Chocoa

January 22, 2010, 11:20 pm

'Faster' to browser makers seems the 'thinner' of TV makers.





Personally, my speed issue is with the Internet infrastructure ie ISP's and BT providing a connection fit for the 21st Century...

ffrankmccaffery

January 23, 2010, 12:34 am

Single-click theme selection? Opera has that since as long as I can recall using it.

jingyeow

January 23, 2010, 1:03 am

@Chocoa, as fast as browsers have become, internet speed has become an issue. For a country that spends so much time online, I think it shameful that the UK isn't leading the world in speed.

red

January 23, 2010, 9:22 am

Well, updating to 3.6 from 3.5.7 has royally screwed my TR browsing experience. I don't know what's wrong with it but am gonna have to uninstall 3.6 I think since none of my add-on extensions seem to be the cause of TR's layout errors. I can't even log in to the site anymore, so switched to Chrome instead. Not a bad browser actually (once you have adblock installed)!

jopey

January 23, 2010, 1:07 pm

A tip for people, I updated to 3.6 yesterday because for years I've been updating firefox rather than reinstalling it. This time I took the opportunity to do a fresh install. I backed up only the bare essential bookmarks, cookies and passwords with Mozbackup and wiped out all the extensions and everything else. 3.6 with years of pieces of addons and all kinds of crap is a different browser to 3.6 freshly installed. So I'd recommend others doing the same. It's a bit annoying having to reallow all the no-script settings, but it's worth it.

Rickysio

January 23, 2010, 1:09 pm

I have SRWare Iron (Chrome w/o Google's tracking nonsense) and Firefox (Actually Minefield, which is just Firefox 3.7a1pre) peacefully co-existing. Minefield for when I want to surf the net, and Iron for...





Well, I've not used Iron for the past few months, so I don't remember what I used it for. >.>

Hans Gruber

January 23, 2010, 2:02 pm

A restart of my computer cured my Firefox/TR layout problems. Actually it was a Windows 7 auto-update that prompted the restart (no user input to confirm it) which just happened whilst I was typing some stuff into a web form - nice one! I lost everything of course. Must be a new feature as you normally get nagged for hours on end to restart first.

Jay4d0

January 23, 2010, 9:39 pm

3.6 is terrible pictures will not display properly or sometimes not even at all (this is after a full reinstall) and worst of all it has changed my scroll wheel so one notch scrolls double the distance that it normally did, it is not even though I care about (or it needed) the speed increase since I was not unhappy with pages loading in way under half a second before.





Needless to say I am very thankful I just happened to download 3.5.7 just before they released 3.6 because if I hadn't I would be on some other browser now





- hell I even prefer IE8 over FF 3.6 now I'm that unhappy with it!

Steve

January 23, 2010, 10:02 pm

No problems with 3.6 for me.





I don't understand what on earth Mozilla have been doing all this time though - it doesn't seem any different. I haven't noticed any performance gains either.





What Mozilla needed to do is to implement a UI that doesn't look like something from the late 90's and sort out the Bookmark system. It's clear that it's taken them an age to make changes under the hood, but v4.0 is going to be very important. They need to make the people who abandoned Firefox for Chrome come back, as v3.6 sure as hell won't.





Another thing I don't understand is why a vanilla Firefox install is lacking in so much functionality. Add-ons a few years ago were a great way of making a good browser great, the fact that so much is still missing from a standard install is a bit of a joke - it's 2010 for crying out loud! They need to get with the times and fast.





Despite my complaints, Firefox is still my browser of choice (Chrome's a very close second).

MGDdrinker

January 24, 2010, 2:53 am

The address bar or "awesome bar" in Firefox 3.6 still fails to be as coherent and functional as Chrome's. E.g. if I type "porsche" in the address bar firefox takes me straight to www.porsche.com, If I type "ford" firefox gives me search results for ford. Where is the consistency in that?? Chrome gives you search results, so you know what your going to get, this makes it much easier to use. Firefox still has a seperate bar for doing searches, but after using Chrome this seems so antiquated. Just my 2 cents, err, pence.

Retset

January 24, 2010, 2:54 pm

Upgrade went fine for me on my desktop but on the laptop it was going to disable some vital extensions (e.g. Google Gears for Gmail Offline) so I have not upgraded that. I stick with Firefox because it works fine and because it has so many very useful extensions available.





I will welcome them doing less incremental upgrades though; it was getting a bit silly.

FreQ

January 24, 2010, 5:03 pm

Eurosport Player doesn't work on 3.6!


Having to use IE :-(

profile21

January 25, 2010, 1:05 am

MGDdrinker: just tried to replicate the behaviour you reported and couldn't. If I type 'ford' in the awesome bar in Firefox 3.6 it takes me straight to ford.com. Same behaviour for 'porsche'.

TechnicPuppet

January 25, 2010, 6:52 pm

After years of using Firefox I switched to Chrome when the extension service started, couldn't make the move without Lastpass.





Speed, pinned tabs and the acutally awsome address bar where the main reason and I can't imagine going back, though it would be nice if they could do something with google bookmarks integration.

Jon Jones

January 25, 2010, 11:14 pm

What happened to the Windows 7 integration that appeared to be in the 3.6 Beta? Still can't preview and swap tabs in the new version.

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