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Mozilla Unveils Firefox 4

Gordon Kelly


Mozilla Unveils Firefox 4

Could this be the much needed refresh of Firefox we've all been waiting for?

Mozilla Firefox director Mike Beltzner has announced the company's vision for version 4.0 and the highlights are where you'd expect them to be: a UI overhaul, greater speed and full compliance with CSS3 and greater support for HTML5.

The visual refresh is obviously key with Firefox widely criticised for looking dated because, well... it does. Tabs positioned above the URL bar - akin to Chrome - pinned, reduced size tabs (below - also like Chrome) and a reduction in pop-up windows in favour of discrete notification bubbles (bottom) are all planned. These are coupled with greater user control over cookies, form filling and geolocations. Meanwhile the recently rejigged add-ons may be allowed to automatically update in the background as Jetpack gathers momentum.

As for performance the big change will be a move to native 64bit support, a brand new rendering engine (JagerMonkey), start-up time optimisations, fully sandboxed tabs, Direct2D rendering, multi-touch support and full integration with Windows' Aero Peak. Meanwhile web developers will get improved tools and multimedia capabilities

Timeframes? A beta could be here as early as June with a release candidate in October and a final version pegged from anytime between then and the end of November.

A word of warning: Mozilla has slapped "Plans Might Change (please don't overreport)" notices all over its announcements so the usual fistfuls of NaCl are required. That said, if Mozilla can deliver on the majority of these it will take several important - and necessary - steps towards getting back into our good graces...

Update: Mozilla CEO John Lilly has stepped down to join Greylock Partners as a venture capitalist. Mozilla has yet to announce his replacement. How about Beltzner?


Via Mike Beltzner's Official Blog


May 12, 2010, 4:51 am

64bit Firefox would be nice, but we need 64bit flash for to be useful. Will firefox's new addon management include an auto-updating flash plugin like Chrome now has? I'd like to remove flash from my system and never have to worry about updating ever it again.


May 12, 2010, 5:17 am

Can't believe that Vista came out in 2007 and they're only now switching to a proper aero UI. Firefox has looked fugly for far too long.


May 12, 2010, 6:49 am


Plugins have their own process now (OOP) in the betas, and will be in 3.6.4 I believe, which is why it will now be possible to have a 32-bit plugin process (flash) with a 64-bit Firefox. http://mozillalinks.org/wp/...

Auto updates are part of the new addon manager and Jetpack for v4. http://www.slideshare.net/m...


May 12, 2010, 7:15 am

>>>Tabs positioned above the URL bar<<<

Oh no!!! That's the main reason i don't use Chrome. I start to consider the option to use Internet Explorer 9. My 1st Explorer ever.


May 12, 2010, 8:01 am

@stranded - I had the same fear when I moved to Chrome, but it is actually a far more elegant solution and the system of pinning commonly used sites to icon sized tabs frees up loads of space. There is also less horizontal pixel wastage.


May 12, 2010, 10:39 am

They'll have to fix some fundamental basics too, such as a restricted colour pallete in Firefox 3.x.3 when running Windows 7 64 bit. I can't use Firefox for any of my photography work because the colour reproduction is not only poor, it is corrupted.


May 12, 2010, 1:36 pm

@Greg Firefox has 3.5 can now be set to use the correct embedded colour profiles in pictures and display them accurately.

Explained here: http://www.earthboundlight....


May 12, 2010, 2:11 pm

cant wait personally the new features look really good.. After seeing the earlier report about the FF nightly builds have been using minefield and the page rendering speed is ridiculous. For me for whatever reason it loads much faster than chrome and now that it works correctly with TR again its become my main browser again.

@stranded: I am sure there will be a way to change it if you dont like it.


May 12, 2010, 4:00 pm

Since i have switched over to Chrome as my main browser I might give some of these beta Firefox builds a go. I can't be the only one who's browser seems to get nuked by Facebook (Firefox would freeze, and Chrome gets very sluggish). Very annoying.


May 12, 2010, 5:12 pm

@jopey - thanks - I'll try that and keep my finders crossed for 4.

I do not like Chrome.


May 12, 2010, 5:24 pm

Strange I flip between IE & Chrome all the time and I'd never noticed the address bar was in a different position. Looks like a much needed refresh for FF, I only ever use it these days because Firebug is such a wonderful development tool.


May 12, 2010, 11:40 pm

I tried to migrate to chrome the other day, after seeing that all of my addons now have a chrome extention. But it wasnt a success. I have it on all my computers as an option for certain things (often I use it for quidco tracking as there is no inteference from addons etc) but I couldnt get used to it as my main browser. Firefox all the way!


May 13, 2010, 12:56 am

I think that bar speed and crashes if you want a feature then (not fundamental like 64 bit etc) then chances are theres an addon for it. For example one person released a conversion pack so that firefox 3.x.x looks like firefox 4.x.x complete with little green bars at the top of the tab. If there is something about the UI you almost certainly will be able to modify it such as the tab bar position.

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