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back to article Firefox 3.6 goes live and final

Mozilla has officially released Firefox 3.6, the latest incarnation of its open-source web browser. After little more than a week of testing on a pair of release candidates, the browser's final version can now be downloaded here. It's available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's director of Firefox …

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20% Improvement?

My run on SunSpider makes it more like 30% performance improvement on my setup. It's improved from a bit better than a third as quick as Chrome to a bit better than half as quick as Chrome, or from four times the speed of IE8 to nearly six times the speed of IE8. Gecko is still the second-quickest engine after WebKit - faster than both Presto and Trident.

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Happy

Nice to see that Windows 2000 is still in...

But first (although I'm sure other commenters will have brought this to your attention): there appears to be a typo in the link leading to the Firefox download page. It looks like there is an errant "L" (lowercase).

Anyway...I'm so glad to see that Windows 2000 users are in at least as per the System Requirements page. (I haven't run it there yet.) Yes, some of you may think this is silly, but there are some people still around who feel that Windows 2000 still stands out as the best job Microsoft ever did on a Windows release. They may have to pry it from my cold, dead hard drive...

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Agreed...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who still uses Windows 2000. I've been using it for about 7 years now (it took me quite some time to give up Win 98SE), and I've yet to see my first BSOD . Also I refuse to buy any operating system that requires "activation", no matter how much eye-candy it has.

OTOH, if I really want to use an up-to-date system, I just boot up Linux from my other partition.

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Ditto

Given how little difference there is between Windows 2000 and XP there really is no reason (at least not for a browser) to not support Windows 2000 if XP is being supported.

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No change?

I didn't uninstall my previous version and saw something flash by really quick about upgading. No faster, all my add-ons still work. The only change I can see is that the version number incremented.

I might try an uninstall/reinstall on one of my home boxes to see if that makes a difference.

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Yay

Not as exciting as the heady days of the 'old' browser wars, but a significant release none-the-less.

As a developer, I'm excited about the dev features - aside from that, looking forward to a speed improvement.

... right, cue inevitable barrage of 'bloatware' 'I use xx because' 'firefox sucks because' ...

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The ACID test

taking the test

http://acid3.acidtests.org

in FF3.6 runs in 21.11 secs and fails 8 tests. Chrome runs in 2.18 on my setup and fails 5. So not perfect but waaaay quicker...

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The ACID test

Odd isn't it.

FF3.5.7 only fails 7 here.

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The ACID test

Odd isn't it.

FF 3.6 only fails 6 here.

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Fails 7 in 4.89s

Firefox 3.5.7.

Actually, some tests passed, but took too long.

If you didn't already know, click the capital 'A' for a report.

--8<--------

Failed 7 tests.

Test 26 passed, but took 808ms (less than 30fps)

Test 40 passed, but took 50ms (less than 30fps)

Test 54 passed, but took 793ms (less than 30fps)

Test 65 passed, but took 120ms (less than 30fps)

Test 70 failed: UTF-8 encoded XML document with invalid character did not have a well-formedness error

Test 71 failed: expected '1' but got '2' - wrong number of children in HEAD (first test)

Test 75 failed: anim.beginElement is not a function

Test 76 failed: expected '0' but got '100' - Incorrect animVal value after svg animation.

Test 77 failed: expected '4776' but got '5560' - getComputedTextLength failed.

Test 78 failed: expected '90' but got '0' - getRotationOfChar(0) failed.

Test 79 failed: expected '34' but got '33' - SVGSVGTextElement.getNumberOfChars() incorrect

Total elapsed time: 4.89s

--8<--------

Note, incidentally, that the test uses some things that have not even been standardised yet, which makes me question its usefulness as a web standards compliance tester!

Still, given the MS bashing going on right now, Wiki reports "IE8 scores 20/100".

Yup - IE 8.0.6001.18702 took 11.89 seconds to FAIL 80 of the 100 tests (no, I'm not posting that lot...).

Now, need we say more about IE? Ever? <smug grin>

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Chrome dev channel 100/100 in acid test

@Jacko - interesting, I'm using Chrome 4.0.295.0 from the dev channel and it passes the Acid test perfectly.

Good luck to this FF release, I still use FF quite a bit and there is still much to like - this release definitely feels more responsive, esp. at start up. I was also getting about a 25% boost in the Sun Spider test.

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FAIL

now includes a data cache, so it doesn't have to hit your hard drive each time you use it.

Erm... so more RAM usage?

This is exactly what I hate about FF... RAM usage is getting stupid now.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it?

I keep FF running on my 1GB netbook, and it gets put to sleep when not needed.. and I never have any memory use issues.. The only time the browser is shut down or restarted is when it's updated (and my distro doesn't track updates too slavishly).

I'm genuinely curious as to what causes this, as I don't see it.. is it a windows thing, and how low does the memory in a machine have to be to notice? I only have the one doze machine (for games) with the bog standard 6 GB triple channel setup, so it's hard for me to test.

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FAIL

Personas

The new Personas (see the welcome screen) are very impressive. Over 30,000 ways to make your toolbars illegible!

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Which is why.....

....you can preview them and see if it makes you want to return your lunch for inspection!

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Troll

#includeOperaUserHate

I'll just lurk around in anticipation of the spew of bilious hatred from the Opera user community.

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WTF?

... @moaners about RAM usage

My current session - Under 100m - with two addons and 6 tabs open.

It all depends how many plugins you've got and what the heck your viewing!

If any of your open tabs are laden with adverts, flash animations, poor ajax implementations etc., it's going to impact memory usage!

On mac, Safari, with 4 tabs open is pushing 100k - and running 2 additional processes (WebKitPlugin)

Have a gander at how Opera and ie fare under the same load and then complain about RAM usage, OR check how many addons you've got running!

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100 MB of memory for a browser with six pages open

That's good is it? Aye, how times have changed...

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Alert

There's already a solution to the flash problem

It's called NOFLASH -- though if webmasters would use a bit of common sense and not bloat their pages with unecessary flash, spyware, scripts, adverts and other annoyances and stick to plain simple HTML, most web pages would be a lot faster and a lot easier to read without the distractions.

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About Opera user community.... ;)

Opera 10.10

Failed 0 tests.

Test 26 passed, but took 69ms (less than 30fps)

Test 69 passed, but took 28 attempts (less than perfect).

Total elapsed time: 0.54s

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Joke

Opera - well done, but...

Opera? - 2.3% of the market, less than Safari... you have to question why that's the case.

Yep, part is down to marketing, but the most telling factor is the 'tried it, didn't like it' factor.

Whatever, it's at 2.3% for a reason as far as I'm concerned - it's just not hitting the right notes... oooh, excuse the rotten pun...

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Tried it?

Most people will use the default browser for their OS unless they are technically adventurous or they trust someone else who is and installs them for it. Of those who do install it 10:1 they regularly try all available browsers and use "the best tool for the job". It turns out that for standard browsing Opera is the best tool for the job. Very much looking forward "hot chocolate".

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Lies, damned lies and statistics

Well done for Opera indeed! Nothing can touch it for speed.

Browser usage statistics can be very misleading. Opera does not generate additional page hits when navigating back through page history, because unlike other browsers the cached content is reused so no requests are sent to the server. One of the reasons it's the fastest browser out there.

Also as Gecko browsers, such as Firefox, pre-fetch linked web pages, this will increase hits which will lead to overestimation of usage. Link fetching in Gecko-based browsers is used on pages with enhanced markup, including Google search results.

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I love Opera, but...

I use Opera as my main browser. For me it is a browser for power users who don't care about plugins. However, not everyone is a power user and they will care about the following things...

1) all the skins are terrible, except Carthago and BeOS (though I used to flirt with the old Safari-style skins). On the other hand, Carthago, while it itself is boring and may be considered ugly, it is extremely discreet. Only Chrome on the Mac comes close. I quite liked the Safari 4 beta 'top tabs' - which I think was the most minimal standard browser UI yet.

2) the default UI is stupid. I have to strip it down, getting rid of the 'New Tab' button, getting rid of the close button on each tab, getting rid of the new visual tabs, getting rid of the status bar and putting hyperlink destinations in tooltips and a few others. Maybe the default UI is what many people use, but Chrome's default UI makes me think otherwise, because despite a couple of differences from my Opera setup and me not telling Google how I like my browser set up, they seem to have almost read my mind.

3) if you're not a power user and you know IE, something else, which looks quite similar but is slightly different will confuse you. I wouldn't switch my parents to Opera from IE8. Or Safari. Though I would recommend Chrome, which saves browser sessions and starts up very much faster than IE on their hardware.

In my view, Google saw Opera, loved it and decided they could spread the Opera goodness more effectively than Opera themselves. Google hasn't quite got there yet, but it is pretty damn close and getting closer each release. Perhaps with the latest Unity feature, Opera is actually pimping itself for a Google buyout. I can't quite see a personal need for Unity yet, but it looks cool and deserves a wider audience that only someone like Google or Apple can provide.

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Why don't I use Opera

I tried Opera. And I actually preferred it. I loved how much faster it was (both start up and page loading times). So how come I don't use it? I tell myself that it's because of Firefox extensions that I'd miss, but the real reason is a very minor complaint - there is no way to make ctrl+click open a link in a new tab like every other browser. I don't even ctrl+click very often, I mostly use mouse gestures, but when I do try it, and find that the page opens in the current tab, it really pisses me off. It always seems to happen when I'm writing a long post.

And more recently Opera Unite, which is automatically bundled with it, put me right off it. Sort of lost its unique selling point imo by bundling unnecessary bloat with it. Please don't tell me that it's disabled by default or that I don't have to use it. It's the fact that it is there, part of the program, being loaded into memory but never used. I want my browser to browse the web only. If someone wants it to do something else, they can use an add-on of some kind.

I wouldn't want my chair to have a table mode included just in case someone out there wants to use it as a table. Even though I never have to enable table mode, it would still annoy me, and I'd be more likely to use a chair that is just a chair.

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RE: Why don't I use Opera

There's no need to CTRL-CLICK to open a link in a new window...

just press the middle mouse button.

Easier, and you don't have to lift a hand to the keyboad.

Back to Opera, now?

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Coat

Part of it is the charmless interface, doubtless..

..and the faff involved in setting up decent ad blocking (seems to be style sheet kludges in Opera to hide ads)...

The main reason, however, may well be because Opera users keep popping up and being so annoying and smug- turning into one of those might be unfortunate.

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Not sure about the buttons

But I do sympathise - used to Cmd + Click on Mac OS to open a new window in Opera, Safari, Firefuck and Chrome. Haven't found consistent keys on Windows so I suspect this is down to OS guidelines rather than browsers themselves and seeing as Opera pioneered browser tabs it might be worth cutting them some slack for such "unexpected" behaviour.

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Opera Unite

Oh, yes. I saw that on the Opera site. While the world and their uncle is starting to (tragically slowly) wake up to "security is important", Opera provides something to stream music and share files from your computer...

...streaming your own music (in fact, doing anything with music) is mostly likely the biggest legal minefield of this decade (other than the mandatory colonoscopy required prior to all transatlantic flights in a US-inward direction).

...and files. Granting access to files. On my harddisc. Gee, why not just open up a Windows share to the world? If I need to share files, they are either 'hidden' on my website or stuck on a private ftp drop. The world and my filesystem do not mix. Absolute rule.

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Promoted from RC2

I went looking for an update before realizing that it's the exact same build as RC2.

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Been using Shiretoko by accident

Hooked the wrong repository into Ubuntu, got nightly builds by accident, and I have to say, if not for the different name, I wouldn't have noticed. Even under development it's been stable. Haven't really noticed any speed increases yet, but to be honest my machine at work desperately needs a nicer GFX card for the res it runs at, so it's probably down to that.

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Grenade

java grrr

All well and good, except that Java applets all of a sudden quit running. Apparently need at least Java 6 Update 10:

http://java.com/en/download/faq/firefox_newplugin.xml

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Re: java grrr

Fsck me, even if you're running Update 9 your only nine updates out of date. And seeing as some of those updates fixed security issues, I can't say I blame Mozilla for not running such old versions of the Java plugin.

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Flame

Update 10....!!!?

They've recently released Update 18, so you are just a few versions behind.

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Happy

about ram usage...

Mostly @@Daniel Bennett, remember why you buy that RAM? It's there as secondary memory to the cpu's primary mem. You buy loads of it so that it can be filled up, as a way to not have to use the two or even three orders of magnitude slower tertiary memory (harddisk, flash drive, NAS, what have you).

A machine running slower because you have "less ram free" makes about as much sense as a company claiming they're going to have to cut cost because profit has gone down. You have that ram *so that it can be used*. Firefox (or any other browser or utility program you run along side your normal apps) taking up even something as ridiculous as 500mb of ram means you probably still have a good 3GB free for other applications.

Computing 101 time: you buy ram so that it can be used. Not so that it can sit there without being used. memory that's not in use isn't like racing stripes. It doesn't make your computer faster.

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Anonymous Coward

Riiight ...

That's just ridiculous. Generally the two camps are people who buy memory because their apps demand it, and the spotty oiks who want to play Top Trumps with their mates. RAM being cheap doesn't justify apps using it willy-nilly. Maybe when you get to your second term in school they'll tell you about 'throwing silicon (i.e. money) at a problem. Sloppy. Inefficient. Amateurish.

"taking up even something as ridiculous as 500mb of ram means you probably still have a good 3GB free for other applications."

Probably? Ah - from Programming 101? My program needs this much RAM. Maybe it could be improved, but why bother? People probably have 6 time that for other stuff. Don't need to check for this major crash-inducing condition. It'll probably never happen. Probably is a word best avoided when you're being supercilious. It shows you're arm-waving.

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que?

"That's just ridiculous. Generally the two camps are people who buy memory because their apps demand it, and the spotty oiks who want to play Top Trumps with their mates"

My machines all came with RAM. I would like it to be used optimally to power my apps. I've never seen any spotty oiks playing Top Trumps. Do spotty oiks even have mates? Ones that can read? To reiterate.. all that memory doing NOTHING can be used to make your browser go faster. In other news pope, branch of Christianity. Bears, wood.

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Well, there is RAM usage, and then there is RAM usage.

There is a major difference between using RAM by the application itself and by using it for a cache. The first type of usage may be problematic in a scenario where there is a shortage of available RAM, while the second type (cache) simply will reduce itself to make room whenever requested to by the OS.

Provided that the application and the cache management is well-behaved of course, but that goes for any application.

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FAIL

What?

People whining about losing 400Mb out of 2 or 3 gigs of RAM are being anal, or stupid, or both. RAM is there to be used, is there some kind of propeller-head competition for having the most amount of free RAM while having the most number of web pages open?

Fucking /Outlook/ is using as much as Firefox on this machine, just to display a list of frakkin emails. Get lives, ffs.

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Tabs

They changed the tabs behaviour that's existed since FF featured them.

Now all tabs open relative to the current tab instead of to the right of the last tab.

No option in the Tabs section of the options dialogue to alter this (you have to go into about:config > browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent and set to false).

What is it with the arrogance of Mozilla? They impose changes from above and then leave the users to figure out how to change things back without giving anyyone an easy way - via the options.

The 'awesome' barwas the same - it took some time and many complaints before they relented and allowed us to easily switch off its (anti-)functionality.

Anyone would think they didn't rely on grassroots support and good word of mouth to get where they are today and that all that mattered to them now was Google's $$$s and dictating their latest idea on their users.

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Re: tabs by bluest.one

@bluest.one

I must admit that I'm surprised more people haven't complained about the ever-changing behavior of tabs. (And while I'm at it, the extension model. Having an extendable browser is *nice* but Mozilla really need to stop making extensions incompatible with every major release!)

First we had the close buttons moving around. And then we had the "close the last tab and watch your browser disappear entirely. (This one really annoyed me. I like to close all my tabs rapid-fire when I'm done with them and then "tear off" a new browser window by closing the last tab.)

I'd better not even get started on the change of locations that the downloads folder experienced in 3.5...

The good news is that Firefox is a great browser if you ignore the quirks or can reconfigure them. And thankfully, it appears that you can. (Oh, and I'm stil thrilled that it runs on Windows 2000!)

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Go

FF3.6 failed 6 in 0.13s...

while IE8 on the same machine (i7 870 oc'd to 3.4Ghz) failed 80 in... oh I dunno, the error dialog box wasn't large enough to give me the elapsed time. Shocking performance from IE8! :)

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Nah FF is buddies...

what, me hate FF??? only as much as a fancy car owner looks at a van driver....

Just installed FF36 - it imported adblock, ant download, chatzilla, zoomlevel, java from ff35..

zoom set to 120%, 30 items in adblock..

Failed 8 tests. (92/100)

Test 26 passed, but took 1718ms (less than 30fps)

Test 33 passed, but took 38ms (less than 30fps)

Test 37 passed, but took 58ms (less than 30fps)

Test 39 passed, but took 56ms (less than 30fps)

Test 40 passed, but took 113ms (less than 30fps)

Test 43 passed, but took 84ms (less than 30fps)

Test 46 passed, but took 52ms (less than 30fps)

Test 65 passed, but took 50ms (less than 30fps)

Test 69 passed, but took 59 attempts (less than perfect).

Test 71 failed: doc.open is not a function

Test 72 failed: doc.images is undefined

Test 75 failed: anim.beginElement is not a function

Test 76 failed: expected '0' but got '100' - Incorrect animVal value after svg animation.

Test 77 failed: expected '4776' but got '5560' - getComputedTextLength failed.

Test 78 failed: expected '90' but got '0' - getRotationOfChar(0) failed.

Test 79 failed: expected '34' but got '33' - SVGSVGTextElement.getNumberOfChars() incorrect

Test 80 failed: linktest link couldn't be found

Total elapsed time: 8.78s

-----------------------------------------------

Opera 1010, 120% zoom, java, full adblock list with 1700 items..

see here -http://www.fanboy.co.nz/adblock/

Failed 1 tests. (99/100)

Test 26 passed, but took 1688ms (less than 30fps)

Test 40 passed, but took 47ms (less than 30fps)

Test 65 passed, but took 203ms (less than 30fps)

Test 71 passed, but took 156ms (less than 30fps)

Test 76 failed: expected '0' but got '100' - Incorrect animVal value after svg animation.

Test 79 passed, but took 62ms (less than 30fps)

Test 80 passed, but took 47ms (less than 30fps)

Total elapsed time: 4.69s

:) .... and then leaves them standing at the lights...

But yeah, they are rather isolated, hate making a big show, then moan about others, reducing their reputation even further... :( :(

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"Awesome Bar"...?

Dear ghod no. Not another load of teenage-developer-loaded-on-own-coolness bollocks. I don't want to be reminded of all my typos and one-time visits - if I don't bookmark it, chances are I don't care to see it again. Ever.

On that note, they should fix the bloody bookmarking usecase. I have not yet created any bookmarks where I didn't click the Folder-dropdown to put it into a structure. What kind of morons are they coding for who don't organize their bookmarks?

This piece of bloatware crap is getting steadily worse and now they're pushing even more into memory. "Not accessing your harddisk" my hairy ears - ever heard of a thing called "swap"? They're painting a bit fat target on themselves for Chrome to nuke, that's for sure... It works, leave it alone and go muck up something else please. *grumble*

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You can always not use it, you know

It is an option.

Personally I like the new address bar. If I forgot to bookmark something and I can't remember the address, I can type in a few vaguely related keywords and feck me, there it is. No rooting around in the history, just use the address bar.

And this is FF - if you don't like it, switch it off. Or go onto a news website and have a good old moan about "bloatware".

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if you make a typo

You can use the up and down keys to select something in the address bar, and then press the delete key to remove it.

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Anonymous Coward

But the point is...

...I *have* to do something to get rid of singletons instead of just having them go quietly into the good night when I close the browser. Manual noise filtering is not a good idea. What's next - "awesome email control, just delete spam as it arrives"? :-)

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looks good to me

Downloaded and installed (upgrade) in seconds, runs great, obviously faster, on Reg's site anyway.

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Now if they could fix the bookmarks

For me the only thing left to be fixed is the bookmarks, I find very annoying that when you search for a bookmark once you find, it it doesn't show its location within the bookmarks tree.

If like me you have hundreds of categories under hundreds of folders, if you lose a bookmark, you need to know where the hell it is.

Opera is top notch on that respect, sad they removed the menus on the last beta.

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