Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Firefox 4.0 released

Mozilla released Firefox 4.0 today, with many UI changes, faster everything & improvements to open web technologies.

It appears a lot of early adopters have jumped onto Chrome, together with normal users from massive marketing efforts & other programs which install Chrome during their setup. I'm personally sticking to Firefox because: non-profit organisation with a open web vision, takes privacy seriously (the way Sync works means they never see my data, unlike Google which can see Chrome data - don't think this includes passwords though). Also, 99% of their decisions & planning is in the open, which is incredibly brave (since it opens them to continual criticism), shows how actual transparency works & lets normal people view how these processes/decisions are made.

The things that interest me for this release include:

  • New UI which should allow more space for the page (will take a while to used to the changes)
  • New Add-ons Manager
  • Restartless Add-ons
  • Inbuilt Sync
  • Quicker startup times
  • Hardware accelerated graphic layers drawing for video & pages
  • Improved page load
  • Faster JavaScript by using J├ĄgerMonkey
  • Upgrades to DOM and Style Resolution performance
  • Do Not Track feature

I won't be upgrading to Firefox 4.0 just yet. I'll wait a little while so my Add-ons are updated (is their an easy way to check?). Also, I have been using the same profile since ~Phoenix v0.3, so plan on doing some research about only transferring over needed user data & setting options (& Add-ons) from scratch. I have done a fair bit of customising, so it will take a bit of effort.

Update (2011-03-29): It took a far bit of yesterday to do it, but I'm now on Firefox 4.0. Used the list of important profile files from Mozilla Support: Recovering important data from an old profile to copy across to the new profile. Cookies wouldn't work at all, so had to export them from the Firefox 3.6 profile to cookies.txt (original Netscape/Mozilla format) using Cookies Exporter and import into the Firefox 4.0 profile using Cookie Importer, worked like a charm!! (better than my attempts to do in low level with sqlite3.exe and/or SQLite Manager).
All Add-ons had to be reinstalled, which is probably a good thing, but took a long time. The Lazarus form recovery database failed to transfer, had to reset. Greasemonkey & Stylish worked well once their data files/database was copied over.
Finally, I made sure preferences for Add-ons were transferred (manually) & I checked the profile prefs.js file to transfer any important hidden settings I had in my old profile.

Get Firefox!Download Firefox 4.0 now.