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back to article Firefox 3 beta is live

The Mozilla Corporation has released a beta version of Firefox 3 for download, but is warning it is not ready for "casual users" yet. You can get the browser here. It's available in 30 languages and claims several new features and improvements. The browser has architectural changes which should make page rendering quicker, more …

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Bloat

No thanks, I don't want built in virus checking and all the other crap.

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Great, but...

...when are Mozilla going to produce an actually working (I mean REALLY working) mobile browser? I only ask, because if things carry on the way they have, I may have to move to Opera on both mobile AND desktop (since the latest versions'll synch bookmarks and useful stuff like that).

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RE: Not available to casual users

When Vista's service pack was released in a test mode so scores of users could test the company's product rather than them elongating a release date or spending extra cash employing more professional software testers there was uproar!

Where are all the open source fanatics now - not posting the same remarks just because this story isn't on an MS product??

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Anonymous Coward

Mouse gestures?

Do they work yet with FF3? The relevant extensions didn't with the alphas I've tried.

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@Alex Read

Vista is an operating system, Firefox is an application.

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Tom
Boffin

As long as it doesn't become IE

I have been using FF since it was Phoenix (on Solaris when I was at Uni) and I also used Mozilla as well. I liked it because it wasn't IE.

FF is in a great danger of taking on all things that is wrong with IE and if it does it will be it's own downfall.

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@matthew re:bloat

FF3 is QUICK, Small (>7Mb), it does a couple of things to protect the user (like stop them going to sites that install malware). It doesn't install an AV Client.

For me FF3 is a must.

- Joel

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RE: Not available to casual users

It says "not ready for casual users", not that it's not available. You wanna go try it out, click the link.

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Happy

I like FF3

I've been using FF3 since the earlier Alpha days and I love it. Its been both stable and fast. I particularly like the new address bar that has a fantastic history search built in.

Go give it a try before putting it down.

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Gates Horns

when is Firefox not unstable and buggy?

I gave up on Firefox and IE a long time ago, both are unstable and insecure, with almost weekly security updates.

Opera is truely the way forward, with no outstanding security alerts, blistering performance, standards compliance, and great user experience.

The fact that Opera lead the way with features, that the other browsers end up copying, says enough, the fact that Opera does it all with a much smaller footprint, faster, and without the need for bloaty plugins is further proof.

www.opera.com

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Gates Halo

@Anonymous Coward

"Vista is an operating system, Firefox is an application."

And? SP1 is free, and so is Firefox 3. These open source fools are once again fooled into believing that when an MS project has a beta phase its bad, but when anyone else does it its good. This is why I stay completely away from open source advocates, as they are on the whole, idiots.

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@alex read

fire fox is FREE vista is £300 for £300 I expect a compny to employ some testers and decent coders

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@Alex Read

From the Mozilla page:

"Please note: We do not recommend that anyone other than developers and testers download the Firefox 3 Beta 3 milestone release. It is intended for testing purposes only."

Since when does the above mean "RE: Not available to casual users" ?

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Gates Horns

@ Alex Read again ;)

Dude, FF is free! You pay for IE, whether you realise it or not. Nowt wrong with asking a community to support the development of a product if it doesn't cost anyone in monetary terms. It's the underdog rebellion, it feels more robust than the "chargeable" alternative and personally I wish them the best of luck!

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@Nick Palmer and Alex Read

Nick Palmer: They have said they arnt i believe, although i use MiniMo which is the closest youle get and that no-longer has support i believe, also wish VLC made a mobile version as they were thinking about it.

Alex Read: One of these products is free, one is not, If its beyond you to figure why people would be angry over having to test a program that they have paid for/will have to pay for... then i guess it isn't worth explaining it.

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Go

Very nice.

Using Fox3b right now..

Fast, stable, compact, in fact, a total pleasure to use.

Highly recommended!

@ Alex Read:

Are you mental? Bore off n00b.

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@Neil

I'm sure the open source community rues your non involvement.

Here's your coat.

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@Neil

The reason that there is a difference between beta testing an OS service pack and beta testing an application is that bugs in the service pack stand a good chance of 'bricking' your computer.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, right up to date, ain't we

... given the FF3 beta has been available for download for at least a couple of months...

Way to go :-p

(It's stable, fast and generally a big improvement on 2.0 even as a beta)

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@Joel Stobart & Alex Read

RE: "FF3 is QUICK, Small (>7Mb)"

I assume you mean <7Mb? < is Less than, > is Greater than.

Maybe you didnt, maybe it is bigger than 7Mb, but it doesn't make much sense to say >7Mb

I always remember it as the small end of the arrow is the small number, large end large number. Or it "points" at the small number.

RE: "When Vista's service pack was released in a test mode so scores of users could test the company's product rather than them elongating a release date or spending extra cash employing more professional software testers there was uproar!

"Where are all the open source fanatics now - not posting the same remarks just because this story isn't on an MS product??"

Anyone who complains that a company releases a beta product is a fool, whether it's from Microsoft or an Open Source project. Beta testing is required. There is no way that a product can be tested on the infinite number of possible combinations of software and hardware that exist by any organisation, even one as large as MS. So this "outcry" is from eejits, and should be ignored. Your message shows either similar knowledge of the subject to these fools, or maybe that you are just sick and tired of these dimwits praising Open Source without the fundamental intelligence to understand the arguments. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the second.

The problem is that MS release beta quality software (see Vista, the "compelling number two"* that it is, and just about every product MS have ever made when it was first released) as a product. It then lets paying customers test it for them untill they have it right, when they release a service pack to fix the problems that should never have existed in a release product in the first place.

This product is clearly marked as a Beta, therefore there is nothing to comment about. As it is open source, the situation is different again. For a start, it is free. Secondly, if a user happens to be a developer, he will often fix any problem he finds, then send the fix back to the developer.

There is a lot more to think about than open source vs microsoft (which isnt the battle anyway, but people have started to think of it as such). Personaly, I do not like MS products, and I tend to find there are better alternatives. Some are open source, some aren't.

Mainly, though, a company is quite right to release Beta software, as long as it is clearly marked as such and warnings such as "Not suitable for casual users" or "Experimental software - this may fuck up, we are still testing the bugger" are applied.

Then again, most people who have any sort of experience take the words "New Microsoft Product" to mean the second warning above :)

*for more info on this quote from Ballmer, see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/11/microsoft_still_wants_yahoo/

And for anyone who doesn't get it (I have had to explain it to a few mates already, the thickos), the number two in his quote refers to a second place in internet search and advertising, but I have taken it out of context to mean Poo/Shit/Excement, as in "going for a number two".

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Paris Hilton

IE v Firefox

To all the whiners above:-

Mozilla don't shroud their code in secrecy

Mozilla took less than 5 years to update a major version

Mozilla encourage people to use, break and report on the product (anyone found the bug tracker for IE 7 yet on MS site?)

Mozilla encourage folks to write plugins

If FIrefox crashes, it invariably doesn't make your desktop go down too

Firefox doesn't take 15 minutes to download, validate your OS as genuine and patch itself before it installs

Most of this is true for Opera as well. Oh, and Acid 2 anyone?

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Stop

To save Alex the bother...

...perhaps I should echo Neil's point that Alex referred to Vista's service pack, which *is* free.

But we're talking at cross-purposes here. Open and closed source betas are just different animals with different audiences.

For third party developers, the beta of a closed source product is the first chance they get to find the breaking changes. Equally, the vendor presumably hopes to make real money out of the final release, so the beta will probably be too crippled to interest end-users. For an open source product, the developers will have seen all the major changes long ago (coz no-one would add a major feature just before the beta, right?) but for end-users it might be the first sufficiently stable version to justify playing with.

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Not mobile but... portable

I have recently discovered portable apps. I work on support and do a little extra on the side with a small network of people in my local area. Pays for beer anyway.

www.portableapps.com

You can install it on your USB Flash Drive and have Firefox in your pocket, including all the links and a portable version of VLC. Even portable AV client that protects your Drive.

Portable VLC is great for troubleshooting codec problems when you get to site. well I just end up telling them that they need an orange cone in their life by the end of it.

I know this is "Not the Droids your're looking for" but it is a portable FF solution

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@Neil

"These open source fools are once again fooled into believing that when an MS project has a beta phase its bad,.. "

Oh I don't know. Even Microsoft non Beta products are bad, buggy and bothersome. IE 7 for example.

Ask any web coder what they think about developing AJAX web pages that display fine in Standards compliant browsers like Firefox and Opera and then go completely hatstand in IE and you will probably see steam coming out of their ears.

Microsoft totally fsked IE up and everyone knows it. Even the new beta kid on the block Safari does a better job than a supposedly stable IE 7.

I for one am very glad that we have Firefox and Opera as a sensible alternative to the malware that Microsoft offer.

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@Mark

Do you work for the company that produce Opera or something? That sounded more like a sales pitch than anything else.

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Linux

@ Alex Read

Where are all the open source fanatics now....

Right here, downloading the source and compiling it for myself.

Since whem was any MS product open source ?

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Third

Firstly, this is the third beta they've released. The article doesn't make that clear.

Secondly, it does not have "built in virus checking" it makes a call for whatever anti-virus software you have installed to initiate a scan on your downloaded files (other browsers already do this). They know there's problems with this however, hey it's a beta, and there will be the option to disable it.

Thirdly, @Alex Read so you're having a go at them now because they have beta releases? Doesn't all software? By its very nature open source software is developed by the community, it's nothing new that beta releases are available.

I use the latest Firefox 3 nightlies as my daily browser now and have done for some time. There are bugs, there's are things that aren't in there yet, and sometimes it's just plain broken. That's why it's BETA. Expect another beta before we start with the release candidates.

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Gates Halo

@The Anti-MS Estaslishment

I dont recal saying Firefox<Opera<IE or anything like that. The point was that any time MS release some Beta software, all these people (usually open source advocates as they have some flag to burn with MS apparently) start shouting "MS shouldnt do beta software" and "Look MS are using you to test their software for free!!!!!". But when Firefox comes out with a Beta they stand up and cheer, hailing someone elses buggy software as being brilliant *because* they are releasing beta software.

Why Open Sourcers seem to have such beef is beyond me. If you hate MS so much then there are alternatives out there for you. Feel free. But the fact that probably 90% of these moaners are running on Windows in some flavour means that ultimately, for all the moaning, these people do nada, zip, zilch in showing MS how terrible they think they are and how they wont put up with it anymore. They are the worst kind of users. They complain endlessly and when given several viable alternatives their tails go between their legs faster than Steve Jobs running from a fanboy.

Feel free to hate IE. Feel free to hate Windows. Feel free to hate Office. But DONT moan when MS do something and then your precious Mozilla do EXACTLY THE SAME THING and then hail it as a brilliant idea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bloat

That was the best bit about early Firefox. It was a basic browser. Built in search, tabs and that was it.

Customise it your way with the extensions *you* want, not have everything pre-installed.

Smaller memory footprint, if nothing else.

If I could get the ad-and-script-blocking features on opera, maybe I'd switch.

Still, better to have people on Firefox than Insecure Explorer...

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Thought I'd fallen through a time warp

I've got Beta2 installed along side 2 and have had for weeks so I can simply swap between them (it takes a few seconds for the plug-ins to revalidate). So far its shown itself to be fast and stable and doesn't seem to have a memory leak any more. Couple of problems with bookmarks but apart from that its good!! I think the Smart Bookmarks are an excellent addition!

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@ken hagan

>>perhaps I should echo Neil's point that Alex referred to Vista's service pack, which *is* free.

The Vista SP1 -patch- may be free, but can you use SP1 with a free Vista OS? Regardless of whether the patch is free or not, the base application is paid for - and paid for well beyond it's real value (forget the sentiment of Vista's junk value, considering the actual sell profit margin here).

FF on the other hand has always been free, thus the comparison.

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Opera for the Mac

Gotta say that after being a long time FF user I was fed up with crashes and memory leaks that plagued the Mac version of FF. It seemed that the browser just got worse and worse with every upgrade.

I finally installed Opera and wow, there's no going back.

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Paris Hilton

@Neil

I don't recall many people complaining when MS did IE 7 beta. Most people thought it was a good idea and tried it. The issues are Microsoft's total abhorrence for standards, their unwillingness to listen to the user base, the fact that it is next to impossible to accurately report and TRACK bugs. That's what separates Mozilla / Opera from MS, not their ability to release betas. Also let's be fair, a lot of people consider Vista in it's current form to be beta and SP 1 to make it the gold release.

I love Open Source, I'm a Linux user at home, I also think OS X is excellent, and that XP is probably the best OS that MS has done. I get to use all 3, they've all got their own dis/advantages. Microsoft led the way in the 90's but their monopolistic time is rapidly coming to an end; they need to innovate on the desktop, not worry about buying Yahoo and pushing ads to peoples' desktops.

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Flame

OMFG FIREFOX SUZXX LOL!11

It amuses me a little bit that over the past year or two, Opera fanboys have started rearing up to condemn Firefox as a pile of worthless bloatware compared to their fast, efficient, Acid2-rendering offering. I guess some people just like complaining!

You hate IE? cool, so do we. You hate Firefox? you care too much.

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@Ken Hagan

<quote>...perhaps I should echo Neil's point that Alex referred to Vista's service pack, which *is* free.</quote>

So I can download Vista SP1 and have Vista fully installed on my PC, even though I don't own Vista?

I didn't think so.

You (generally) buy a product because you expect it to be supported (at least in the short term). Whilst I don't have a problem with Microsoft releasing public betas (in fact, I'd encourage them to), there is a large difference between a product you've paid for releasing betas and a product that is released for free.

I can certainly see why some people would expect a product, which they've paid a substantial amount for, to have it's patches tested properly, by professionals prior to public release.

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Gates Horns

Opera is the way forward.

Find it very annoying, that the best browser out there, gets very little in the way of press.

Opera 9, is really good, it's far better than IE and FF. The latest 9.5 beta has bookmark sync, which keeps all your bookmarks in sync on all your devices, be it desktop, Mini, or Opera Mobile. Best bit, is no buggy resource hogging plugins are needed to get the good stuff. Opera has it all in the box.

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Happy

Opera

Opera is an excellent browser my only complaint with them is I missed the edition version6 I think that Bjorked IE only sites.

I wish I could get that or that some hacker wanted Kudos not for herding bots but for doing something valuable for the free world and made a Firefox version do that.

What larks, eh? What lark!

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Happy

Seems fine to me so far.

It has a built-in spell checker that vets El reg comments, for example. It doesn't check the title though for some reason.

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Alert

Sigh.

Here we go into la-la land. So in la-la land, VAST pieces of software are completely bug free, with no security holes and work perfectly all the time. Oh wait - isnt that a Mac? Maybe not........

Now I'm no massive Vista advocate - I tried it and my printer didnt work and my DVD burner became a coaster maker, so I went back to XP, but I'm also a realist. I didnt expect everything to work. I didnt expect it to be bug free. Other than MY hardware I quite enjoyed Vista and had no other *major* troubles with it. Does that mean there are none. Absolutley not. Back in the real world, we live in a place where you CANNOT make software that runs on every machine. MS have managed a great feat in making each successive OS as compatible as it has. To complain that Vista is a beta and that you expected a system with ZERO problems just goes to show how little you understand about what is actually going on under the hood, and really you shouldnt be allowed near a Playstation, let alone a PC. If software was 100% perfect from the off, we'd be running Windows 1.0, Office 1.0, and not wanting anytihng new. Should bug fixes be a reason to upgrade to a new system? No. Should improvements be the reason - yes. Can all those improvements be 100% bug free? No. Get real.

Of course Firefox has zero problems, oh wait, no, that not right either, but because its free, a completely different set of rules apply apparently. You cant complain Eclipse is a resource hogging maniac compared to Visual Studio because Eclipse is Free. Hurray! You cant complain that Firefox is horribly unintuitive and leaks loads of memory compared to IE because Firefox is Free! Hurray! And because theyre open source I can waste my time trawling through masses of code to find out why they are so slow and improve it for everyone, and because I live in la-la land I can make it 100% bug free and we'll make the world a better place!

Please............

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Unstable & buggy???

Funny, I've been using it all day and it's been very stable and with no sign of obvious bugs.

Even the previous Betas have been remarkably stable.

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Alien

Bork Bork Bork

The last release of Opera Bork Edition was 7.0.2, see:

http://arc.opera.com/pub/opera/win/bork/std/ow32enen702build2656_bork.exe

I think there were Linux builds but I don't see one out there today :-(

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Anonymous Coward

Opera vs. Firefox

Opera's all well and good, and I used to use it, before Firefox was around. But I find livebookmarks to be a far simpler and more convenient implementation of RSS feeds, than Opera Mail. In Firefox I can just stick my livebookmarks into the toolbar and see the changes to my favourite sites appear as a list, without having to leave the current window/webpage. However, in Opera, it's like going to a different client when you want to check your feeds.

Maybe a more experienced Opera knows better?

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@Neil - grow up.

I never said anything was bug free. I merely pointed out that after 3+ years in development, Vista has issues that it should not have, and you shouldn't need to double your graphics and memory capability to run it. Everything has bugs. There's no way you can possibly take into account every possible scenario and variable to make software error free. Don't tell me I shouldn't be allowed next to a Playstation - I've been into computing for almost 30 years so I think I have a fair clue about what's going on.

The reason MS makes and OS that can run on most systems is because they compile it for the lowest CPU they want it to run on and they let the driver devs worry about hardware compatibilty. If you're DVD burner didn't work under Vista then you probably have a crap DVD burner. Vista-64 works fine for me on my hardware.

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Paris Hilton

Size matters?

@Matt/Joel: When I'm downloading at 1.4mb/s, something or anything that is 10mb in size generally has finished downloading by the time I have selected a path to save it. Go figure when I say size, in this case, really doesn't matter.

@Opera Fans: Wierldy they do sound like sales reps, but the brower is remarkably good. Fair play. I've used it and paid for it. Still do and stand by it. Still it's nothing to do with this article so trap.

@Internet Explorer Bashers: Nice. Keep it up. Expect a Yahoo! Toolbar readily installed with v8.

@FFX Bashers: Ease up guys, it's a beta. At close inspection, expect it to look like the moon does on the moon equivalent of google maps, full of holes, and if you look at it during the night, wierdly with a large chunk of it missing..

@My icon: She's just pretty and gets so underused.

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@ Phil Rigby

Apologies if my remarks offended you, as they werent particularly aimed at you. Especially as you pointed out inteligently that no software comes with no bugs. But a lot of the people out there DO say thing like that (even above in some posts) - "I paid for this - it should work 100%" mentality is what I'm berating. If what I said doesnt apply to you then you can ignore it.

But my point IS valid. People are moaning that Vista SP1 fixes bugs that shouldnt have been there in the first place. So MS release a BETA of the fixes, as a fair amount of the issues are fixed and good at MS head quarters, but unfortunately they dont own every single configuration of everyones PC in the office right now, so have to let it out to users at some point, but as theyve only tested it on a few thousand PCs they let a few million play (if they want to). But when MS do this, everyone cries foul - why should we test MS software? Well, for one thing noone is making anyone do anything they dont want. Secondly, the same people who just moaned are heralding the beta release of some other (open source) software as the 2nd coming of Jesus himself. They are so blinded by their hatred of MS that they cant see that they are being hypocritical. And thats really what I have beef with.

And your absolutely right - my DVD burner is probably the bone of contention with Vista (I did point out it was my hardware that was at fault). But as I didnt *really* want to spend money upgrading a burner that worked fine under XP I reverted to XP. All these other people that moan have a choice too. Linux, Mac, XP, C64, whatever they want.

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Gates Horns

Bork Bork Bork..

http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2003/02/14/

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Paris Hilton

All you need is love

Love Firefox, love opera, love IE, love Paris...

They're web browsers (maybe not paris, but who knows) for heaven's sakes, not the spawn of Satan. I really cannot understand why people get so hot under the collar. It's like, yeah man, whatever floats your boat, go with the flow... if IE didn't exist you'd have to invent it for the sake of balance.

I like Firefox, Opera, Konquerer, Safari (in that order) because their initials spell out something that sounds like fox.

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@Neil

I absolutely agree that people shouldn't complain about Microsoft releasing properly labelled public betas. Every major application vendor has a beta programme, because internal testing doesn't necessarily use the product in the way that real users in the real world manage to do.

But I thought the big complaint with the Vista SP1 was not its mere existence, but that

(a) it's such a pain to satisfy

(b) (I suppose at least warns you that) installing it is going to leave you with a system that won't take the final beta when that's available

(c) finished with an RTM that wasn't made available to TechNet/MSDN until a whole load of people kicked up a big fuss.

(d) took so long in coming, when pretty major problems (like the file copy performance) have been trailed as ready to fix in it for months on end, and users have just had to live with until then.

Having said all that, my box remains un-SP1ed until the rumours about the RTM triggering iTunes problems go away.

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RW
Unhappy

@ Tom

I've been trialling Linux for abt 6 months now, including Firefox. My impression, esp. fostered by the Open Office suite, is that the open source folks are so intent on mimicking every last spasm, twitch, and drool of brain-dead MS software that OS software is no real improvement over the brand name crap coming out of Redmond.

Three areas where the OS gang are falling down:

1. feature bloat (Abiword is a better WP than Open Office!)

2. sluggish performance (an ancient machine running Win98 & Netscape 7.2 is much more nimble than a machine of similar vintage running Ubuntu Linux & Firefox, but the functional advantages don't justify the loss of speed)

3. lack of a uniform user interface: something as basic as "copy" has different keystroke sequences in different apps. Having recently read "GUI Bloopers", a little known and fairly old book that teaches its grandmother to suck eggs, you have to wonder what's going on.

Let's face it, much as I hate to say it, OS software is designed and built by committees—and looks and behaves like it. The first two of these faults it shares with MS, the third it has pretty much to itself.

IOW, while the guts of Linux may be more robust than the guts of Windows (any flavor), the surface is considerably rougher.

I'm going to stick with Linux anyway, since it's the only truly viable escape hatch from the world of corporate agenda software.

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WebKit is the way forwards

Yup, you heard me. The engine that powers Safari. I got a Mac a while ago and was happy continuing to use Firefox, just like I did in Windows. Then Safari 3 came out- blisteringly fast and very, very capable. The WebKit engine that powers is great, and already has some of the HTML5 goodies announced a while back.

Of course, Safari for Windows is a load of utter crud right now, but that's because Apple rushed it out of the door so that people could make iPhone apps. There are nightly version out there that actually use ClearType rather than Apple's own font smoothing, and more besides.

There are also non-Safari versions of Webkit in the works, which might be a better solution- none of this brushed metal nonsense.

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