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back to article First public Firefox 3 candidate shoots out the door

Mozilla has pushed out the initial release candidate of Firefox 3 for download. The new Firefox code of the firm’s increasingly popular web browser is available in 45 languages as a public preview for developers, as well as anyone else who fancies tinkering around with Internet Explorer’s closest rival. Firefox 3 is based on …

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Gates Horns

Now with FREE hidden useage tracking..

You would have to be a total hypocrite to use Firefox after ranting about Phorm....

www.opera.com

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Jay

Re: Mark

Not so. The beauty of Firefox is in its transparency. The trouble with Phorm is in its lack of informed consent; Firefox tends to be rather up front about what it's doing, and those who're more knowledgeable can audit the code to ensure that there aren't any nasty surprises.

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Linux

Re: Now with FREE hidden useage tracking..

"hidden useage tracking" [citation needed]

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Stop

Hidden usage tracking?

Depends on just how 'hidden' it is.

If there is an option in the 'custom' install asking if you would like to participate etc, then that would be moderately OK.

If there is an option in the Standard/express install asking if you would like to participate, which is unticked by default, then that would be better.

I don't care about data pharming [arf], provided I have the option to, quite clearly and expressly, opt out of it.

Your argument is a bit moot however, seeing as it hasn't even been implemented yet as far as I know, and is still in the early consultation stages - the negative press attached to it may well either kill off the data harvesting idea in it's infancy.

Anyway, it installed on my machine this morning with an update, and it seems to be happy enough, fairly zippy and generally running without any issues.

Steven R

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That's right Jay...

it's lovely and transparent, they are happy to tell you they are going to track every move you make, but then again, haven't Phorm, pretty much said the same....

Don't worry, nothing to hide......

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@Mark

Oh, so you would rather trust a closed source, formerly adware, browser like Opera?

Get back under your bridge.

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Stop

Re: Now with FREE hidden useage tracking

Well I for one won't be downloading it because of this. As far as im concerned any company who even has ideas of this kind of thing has lost my business.

It sadens me that a company like Mozilla who are meant to be free and tax exempt are even thinking about making more money by selling peoples data.

a lot of people who use Firefox use it because they think its safer & to avoid things like this. In my op, Mozilla are very close to shooting themselves in the foot.

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Unhappy

phorm an like

ive been a fan of firefox for some years, im disgusted that they would even joke about tracking me or my kids usage online, shame really - looks like i will be heading over to opera in the not so distant future - as will many users i suspect

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Unhappy

RE: Hidden usage tracking?

"If there is an option in the 'custom' install asking if you would like to participate etc, then that would be moderately OK.

If there is an option in the Standard/express install asking if you would like to participate, which is unticked by default, then that would be better.

I don't care about data pharming [arf], provided I have the option to, quite clearly and expressly, opt out of it.

Your argument is a bit moot however, seeing as it hasn't even been implemented yet as far as I know"

Nononononononono NO.

If there is any data farming, it should be expressly opt in only, not hiden opt out. How will you know it is there otherwise? I dont tend to go looking through every piece of documentation and menu of every program I have, and dont think I should have to.

As for "ah well, thell never use it", that argument just dosen't wash. The very fact that it is there is the point.

Can someone please tell me why people are angry at BT for form, but happy to accept this from Firefox?

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Re: Now with FREE hidden useage tracking..

@Mark:

Is this what you are referring to?

http://firefox3download.blogspot.com/

"In particular, support for the controversial"ping"attribute in and HTML elements is implemented and enabled by default. The only purpose of this additional attribute is tracking clicking on links. LWN.net notes that "ping" has advantages over current click-tracking techniques because it can more reliably get the user to their intended destination and the user has the option of turning the "ping" feature off."

If so, it hardly seems "hidden" if the user can turn it off.

-dZ.

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Now with FREE hidden useage tracking {opt-in}

That's the main difference between the two, Phorm is opt-out whereas Firefox is opt-in

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Let Mozilla know how you feel:

Trot over to their feedback page at:

http://hendrix.mozilla.org/

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Flame

Won't somebody think of the children !

WOW how fast can people over-react to an opt in option ?

Opera was ad-ware orginally, IE probably scans your DNA knowing M$

But jesus someone might track your child looking up porn and bomb-making tutorials oh my GOD what is the world coming too ?

I can't wait for FF3 and after you install Foxmarks your bookmarks are safe forever.

But for gods sake mozilla if there is this much over-reaction on somewhere like the Register, take out all the ad tracking crap before all these upstanding community members get a story in the Times/Daily Mail/the Sun and FF3 & Mozilla bombs into oblivion and IE & safari take over the web completely.

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Such a pity

I would have sung Firefox's praises over Internet Exploder until hell froze over but if Phorm is a non-optional feature of Firefox 3, I'll just stick with 2 despite it being a pig with memory usage or migrate to Opera.

I have nothing to hide but I still like my privacy. I have nothing to hide regarding my bank details or personal details but I only give either out on a need to know basis.

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@Eponymous Cowherd

There is a difference between 'adware' and 'ad supported.' If people didn't feel the need to pay for Opera, then they could have the pleasure of looking at ads while they browsed, but that isn't adware, which is normally software that installs silently and does nothing but spam you with ads. The idea that it is some how wrong to sell software just because it happens to be a browser is insane.

Anyway, anyone that wants to try something really quick should give the newest Opera 9.5 beta a whirl.

And how was a browser so damned popular when it had 14,000 things to fix?

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@DZ Jay

I think THIS may be a bit suspect as well: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/19/firefox_data_snoop/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Now with FREE hidden useage tracking..

If they do then someone'll start a tracking free branch.

Hey presto, no problem.

Yay Open Source!

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You should read this

http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/section-links.html

Conclusion (from the link provided):

The ping attribute is redundant with pre-existing technologies like HTTP redirects and JavaScript in allowing Web pages to track which off-site links are most popular or allowing advertisers to track click-through rates.

However, the ping attribute provides these advantages to the user over those alternatives:

* It allows the user to see the final target URI unobscured.

* It allows the UA to inform the user about the out-of-band notifications.

* It allows the paranoid user to disable the notifications without losing the underlying link functionality.

* It allows the UA to optimise the use of available network bandwidth so that the target page loads faster.

Thus, while it is possible to track users without this feature, authors are encouraged to use the ping attribute so that the user agent can improve the user experience.

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Opt Out

"is implemented and enabled by default"

That's opt out. I hate Firefox. I have to have all 4 of the major browsers (IE, Safari, Opera, and Firefox) to test the sites I work on. Out of all of them I get the most problems from Firefox, even more than the frankly dire Safari.

I don't know why anyone like's it. The interface looks like something that was made for a school project in Delphi, and it doesn't support basic features, like CSS on scrollbars.

To be honest, I don't know why anyone bothers switching browsers from IE in the first place. Far more websites render properly in IE anyway, and it's not like you can uninstall IE anyway. (It'd be fun trying to use Windows without it)

With more and more security holes being exposed, and now this data pimping, hopefully this is the first step towards the end of this hateful piece of software, and I'll only have to debug sites for three languages. (Although Opera is generally fine anyway)

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Paris Hilton

Maybe I am a bit slow... but

Why would anyone want to opt into a thing like that?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh Dear ...

That's me then. Back to Safari, IE7 or perhaps even Lynx.

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Linux

Opt out

according to the blogpost (see dz-jay) it is enabled by default.

So firefox is optout as well

Stupid fsckers

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Dead Vulture

Ruuning the RC as we speak

and the tracking is not enabled. After browsing the about:config page last night all the settings pertaining to any sort of annon info collection are set to "false". And we all know that with the way Firefox developers are that it will be about a decade from now before they can agree on how to impliment the tracking and what colors to use for the buttons that go with it.

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Unhappy

But what about

(regarding the usage tracking) places like terminals in schools, universities, etc., where you may not be the one installing it? It's going to be a sad day if using IE becomes the safer option...

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Anonymous Coward

Hidden usage tracking? @ Steven Raith

"...............I don't care about data pharming [arf], provided I have the option to, quite clearly and expressly, opt out of it."

A scary logic.

Much safer, is for a user to have to positively 'opt in'.

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Alert

Well not much choice left is there?

So lets round up browsers we can no longer use....

Firefox - now thinking about data farming, ala Phorm...

Opera - Closed source, can't be trusted...

Safari - Ditto ( Evil Steve! )...

IE - Ditto and follows standards, just not anyone else's standards!

Lynx - No piccys, but OSS and pretty safe

Konquerer - Gonna need to jump ship to another O/S, to play...

Any readers care to add to rapidly diminishing list?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Now with FREE hidden useage tracking..

Link tracking is hardly anything new. Do a search via e.g. Google and all the links actually point back to the search engine. There's no way of turning that off. I'd be happy with an alternative mechanism for reporting links clicked if it means that you don't have to wait an eternity for the redirect to occur when running on a narrowband or latent connection.

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Flame

Adverts

Why on earth do you need adverts? If you are really looking for something Google's there, I don't need someone to track my usage and show me adverts based on myusage!!! I use Opera and nice thing is it can give you option to block contents (i always put adverts domains on the block list).

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J
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RE: Hidden usage tracking?

Opera? You clowns... How can you flame about a "hidden" thing (which is not even there yet, if you mean that other Reg story from today) in software whose source code is *publicly visible*, and then go on and stupidly recommend software that is CLOSED source. Get a clue, you can't "hide" anything (at least not for long) when the source is free. Who told you Opera hasn't been harvesting your data all along? Check their source code to be sure they haven't been, go ahead, I'll be waiting (sitting)...

Man, and I thought this site was frequented by IT types.

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Coat

Before everyone gets their panties in a twist...

Yes, if Mozilla decides to spy on me, I won't use their products any more. And if my girlfriend cheats on me, I may look elsewhere, and if my car pisses me off enough, I'll be looking for a different one. Hell, if my pinky toe gives me pain every single day, I may look for the bolt cutters... But why the wildfire response to something that hasn't even been implemented, and probably will never be implemented? And if it is, you'll likely either have to opt in, or be able to easily opt out. Firefox is still one of, if not the best (and free) browser out there. God (almost only) knows what data MS is harvesting from your computer as a matter of course.

Everyone relax a little :)

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freetard?

hmm, sorry, someone who uses firefox is labelled as a freetard?

but I cant recall paying for IE6 or IE7 - it came free too - with the Windows OS.

does that make me a 'freetard' if i use that too? great!

perhaps I'm supposed to PAY for a web browser? What I CRAZY idea. Its the sort of stupid thing I did when when Voyager browser became available on the Amiga.

hello. 1998 called. they want their 'pay for the browser' mentality back now.

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Flame

Why NOT to download Firefox

Anyone wondering what the fuss is about, try reading here (and the comments):

http://john.jubjubs.net/2008/05/13/mozilla-firefox-data/

I speak as a Firefox user. Not a happy one any more, and maybe not one for much longer.

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Paris Hilton

is it just me?

So yesterday, Firefox updates to shiny new 3. Cool, works well, though i lost a few add ons. As I leave the office, my old mate Bill told me he was going to "Automatically" update my windows. OK i say. The this morning, I come in and open up Firefox to be told i have been update to the latest shiny version; 2.0.0.14 and all my add ones are back?

Huh?

PH coz thats just how i feel.

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Who can we trust?

I've been recommending Firefox/Mozilla for many years now. If they did something like this, I'd be recommending an un-install and issuing an apology to my entire family and most friends ('cept by bro, who's a Mac user and wouldn't know if he was being shafted). God knows what I'd recommend in its place though. Perhaps IE?

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Re: But What About...

@Peyton: "(regarding the usage tracking) places like terminals in schools, universities, etc., where you may not be the one installing it? It's going to be a sad day if using IE becomes the safer option..."

<huh>You kidding me? schools and universities (and work places) don't bother logging at the browser-level. Why should they, when it's much easier for the Gateway to do the logging for them and avoids the whole "what OS/browser is the user running" problem?

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@ Will

Will, Firefox can install as 2 instances, you can have FF2 and FF3 installed at once. I know this for a fact because my lappy has both.

@ all the people jumping on the Hate bandwagon:

Honestly folks, don't react untill it actually happens. I'll be happily using firefox, and even if they do it there will soon be an addon that kills it. Also see the fact that the FF install will probably tell you it's doing it and ask you to opt in or out. It's not like they've conducted some form of secret trial, and they've actually told everyone ahead of time to see what the reaction will be.

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Go

What privacy?

Whom may exposit that "browsing" was ever 'private'?

I suppose all that FF3 does is to make the implicit explicit?

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Alert

Is nobody paying attention?

http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/section-links.html

The particular feature everybody is getting so worked up about is part of the new draft HTML 5 Specification. It is not some evil feature dreamed up by Mozilla to sell your browsing data to third parties, they are just adding support for the new standard.

The w3c page related to the ping attribute can be found here:

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#the-a

If it worries you, use Opera,Safari or, god forbid, IE.

If it really worries you, use IE. It will take MS years to implement this!

Personally, I think it is a storm in a tea cup!

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@ Chris

"(It'd be fun trying to use Windows without it)"

Actually, it is! http://www.litepc.com/ My Win PC runs just fine with no IE.

(Gah! this sounds like a commercial,) The only reason I still have a windows machine at all is that I need a couple of closed source programs (non-microsoft) that don't have proper UNIX analogs.

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Rob
Flame

I really wish you could down-vote comments on El Reg...

That way you could actually filter out the sensationalist claims of the ignorant and uninformed before they hi-jack the entire thread of comments.

For those interested in seeing what Mozilla are really saying about "data mining" read this:

http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.planning/msg/1fed1514e5c5dc64

And for Gods sake El Reg - please stop mindless FUD drivel like this article (which has somehow hit the front-page headlines without anything more than misconstrued fluff):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/19/firefox_data_snoop/

Come on people, let's not let El Reg go to the dogs, let real journalism take the reigns :)

I would've posted this on the drivel article above but the coward author has disabled comments :(

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More FUD

Jesus, what is it with the BS FUD journalism at El Reg at the moment. It's starting to feel like I'm reading the Daily Mail.

1. If you are talking about the WhatWG ping attribute. Why should it not be enabled by default? Should <canvas/> be disabled by default? What's the difference between a Javascript AJAX call and the ping attrib - they do the same thing and you can't disable just the JS call.

2. If you mean mostly the Mozilla "Data" project. It's 1st stated goal: "Collect & share data in a way that embodies the user control & privacy options which are at Mozilla’s core."

Huh? how is this anything other than open, fair and reasonable?

..and that totally ignores the value that individual users may get from aggregated mashups - del.ici.ous on speed.

3. Who pays for Firefox 3 development - you certainly don't. You think the default Google Search page in Firefox is there because Mozilla just think Google are a lovely search engine? Get real they earn revenue from it. You don't like that - fine set a different homepage. Your choice.

Anyone wanna start paying for Firefox?

Please, could we have some balanced journalism back at El Reg.

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Re: More FUD

>>> 2. If you mean mostly the Mozilla "Data" project. It's 1st stated goal: "Collect & share data in a way that embodies the user control & privacy options which are at Mozilla’s core." Huh? how is this anything other than open, fair and reasonable?

It simply is hypocrisy when viewed in light of what was said when the browser was originally developed.

>>> 3. Who pays for Firefox 3 development - you certainly don't.

Who pays Miss Baker $500,000 / year? The thousands of voluntary contributors certainly don't get any reimbursement for their troubles.

It seems Lord Acton is again proven right.

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Unhappy

@ Chris

Since when did scrollbar colour have anything to do with any CSS specification? IE is notorious for its poor interpretation of the CSS specification. It scares me that people so clueless can pretend to be IT professionals and get away with it.

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Paris Hilton

simply opt out?

Almost everyday you have to opt-out of something or other so what's one more?

PH, because her data's already been farmed...

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@Neil Stansbury

"1. If you are talking about the WhatWG ping attribute. Why should it not be enabled by default?"

Because it's yet another hidden setting you need to turn off in order to protect your privacy. Too many of these and the task becomes impossible, especially if, as many are starting to believe, Mozilla wants to make it hard for you to do that. Anyway, that's not the main issue as I see it.

"2. If you mean mostly the Mozilla "Data" project. It's 1st stated goal: "Collect & share data in a way that embodies the user control & privacy options which are at Mozilla’s core." Huh? how is this anything other than open, fair and reasonable?"

Well the stuff that John Lilly has been putting in his blog sounds quite scary, and several people are now trying to play it down. That's the pattern we saw with Phorm, including the reassurances about privacy and personal choice (which all turned out to be fake of course). So either Mozilla is going the same way, or they haven't been paying attention and don't realise just how sensitive this issue is with users. I hope it's the latter and that they'll listen before it's too late.

"3. Who pays for Firefox 3 development - you certainly don't. You think the default Google Search page in Firefox is there because Mozilla just think Google are a lovely search engine? Get real they earn revenue from it. You don't like that - fine set a different homepage. Your choice."

I have Google as my home page (my choice), so I guess I do pay for Firefox then!

However, it seems to me the Mozilla crowd pay themselves plenty already for a "not for profit" organisation. What we're talking about now is greed. They want to exploit other people's efforts and data to make even more money. Why else would people be making comparisons with Google, Alexa, Hitwise, etc. if that wasn't where this is all going?

The main point as far as I'm concerned is that Mozilla has revealed that it WANTS to get at our data. That raises a huge issue of trust. It means they are no longer on our side. It means we now have to treat all their reassurances with a big pinch of salt, because we know what happens when people get seduced by the promise of all that cash.

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FF3 is great!

Pages render faster, the tabs are wonderful, and above all, I LOVE the improved and intuitive auto-complete address bar.

Ignore the propoganda spouted by a few retards on this comments page - FF3 is the best browser ever.

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Don't ever lose a bookmark again

I recommend the Foxmarks add-in and service to store and synchronize your Firefox bookmarks between machines. Also has a web interface for when you're away from home. A1. And, O Reg Beertards, free, as in beer!

http://www.foxmarks.com/

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Paris Hilton

What?

I've rarely seen so many people over-reacting... quite funny really. Firefox is one of the best and most interesting pieces of software in the last years.Especially the add-ons make it a versatile piece of kit.

As it is open sourced, I can't see any problem with this opt-in/opt-out whatever, as you can take it out or just sideline it if you don't like it.

How anybody can suggest using IE with a straight face is beyond me. IE is everything that Firefox is not, in a bad way.

Favourite add-on: Google Browsersync - pure genius. Paris, because she'd be right at home in this conversation.

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Go

Is ping serious?

Certainly it is conceptually annoying, but given that users can turn it off, no-one who is serious about user-tracking will give up the cookie/URL redirection mechanisms they currently use which you can't opt out of.

Its a light-weight system for non-critical use. Just turn it off if you don't like it. Phorm certainly won't be relying on it!

Move along, nothing much to see here.

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Paris Hilton

What's the issue?

Let BT use Phorm, let Mozilla 'collect' data. Why should we care? This is nothing compared to what your bank, credit card company, supermarket, government, employer, etc, etc already know about you.

Whatever Ad's they target at you, I'm sure there'll be an Adblock or similar add-in produced to block such traffic.

If you want to be really scared - just consider that the UK government is suggesting that ALL (that's ALL) browsing history, email traffic, blogs, usenet visits, voip calls, etc etc will be recorded for their use for every user - and of course they'll treat it with the same confidentiality as they do our tax records!

These plans make Phorm, Mozilla and the like look complete amateurs!

Paris, 'cause she's free and easy with her data

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