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back to article Firefox reveals new look: rounded rectangles

The Mozilla foundation has released 'Australis', the new design for its flagship Firefox browser. Australis is only visible in Firefox nightlies for now and Mozilla isn't saying which release of the browser it will land in. It is, however, destined to become the design standard for all versions of Firefox on all platforms. …

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Really?

They would get a much better return on their time and effort if they set their sights on fixing the mess that is their mobile UI.

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Re: Really?

Sorry that isn't scheduled until Firefox version 1045 (Next week then).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

Plastic folder dividers in Staples,there will surely be a patent held on this one!

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Re: Really?

They would get a much better return on their time and effort if they set their sights on fixing the mess that is their mobile UI.

But, then no One would use their crappy "Awesome Screen"? The Dev-Team wrote the Code so they MUST know what they're doin' surly?

OTOH thank Zarquon for the AOSP Browser though. The only useable Browser on post Gingerbread, and pre Kit-Kat. Plus it runs Flash!

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Re: Really?

Off topic but I recommend tree Style Tab FF extension, which puts the tabs in a vertical list. Much better, for the same reason shopping lists are vertical, not horizontal

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Re: Really?

Of course not, they will turn the desktop interface into the mess that their mobile UI is.

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Re: Really?

Or they could spend a little time making Firefox fast and secure (again) instead of just playing dress-up.

Not that there's anything wrong with that tab design. It's cute. Might even draw your eye to the active one a little better, but it's pretty much the exact opposite of what's really important in a browser.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

Firefox was the lean and mean browser once. It needs a tune up again.

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Re: Tree Style Tabs

Is one addon I can not do without.

So much nicer having that left hand tab stack to pick out which "page" I want to see., also, a few other tricks minimizes the vertical height of the header, also giving you more room for the page.

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Re: Really?

Firefox was the lean and mean browser once. It needs a tune up again.

Or they could spend a little time making Firefox fast and secure (again) instead of just playing dress-up.

instead of useless eye candy they should focus on making it less of a bloatware/memory hog. with the release of every new version they scream about improved memory management, and yet its getting progressively worse with each subsequent version.

v 3.6: 40 tabs (40 active loaded on start) > 350 mb ram (1 hour) > 700 mb ram (1day - 1 week)

v 25: 40 tabs (1 active, rest loads only after selecting each tabs, highly annoying, couldnt be bothered to find the setting to turn this off) > uses 500mb ram (1 hour) > 1000mb ram (1day) > 3000+mb (2days), had to kill it, just way too pathetic.

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And the relentless dumbing down of a once-great browser continues ...

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As long as they keep the separate search box, I'll be happy.

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Anonymous Coward

That's one of the first things I get rid of. Why have two boxes when you can do it in one?

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Keyword.URL

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Because it's easier to *refine* your search if it's not overwritten by the web page you visit.

If you type XYZ 123 into the adress bar, the browser will happily submit that to google for you. So you choose a link and then realise you'd have been better putting XYZ 124. With a separate search box you can edit and resubmit; with a combined box you either have to retype or you have to hit countless iterations of the back button.

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"Because it's easier to *refine* your search if it's not overwritten by the web page you visit."

and adding your own preferences of search engines makes life much easier.

(huge difference between Google UK and vanilla Google, fr'instance)

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Because if I mistype a web address I don't want to get a stream of useless, and unrelated, search data back?

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Oh brother

Can't wait for the inevitable "Apple sues" jokes...

I don't see why they should mess with the UI, unless it helps usability. I think every time a new person is in charge of a UI they feel they need to put their 'stamp' on it and change things around for no particular reason. c.f. iOS 7. I don't mind the changes, but I didn't mind how it looked before. The changes that were done had no benefit on the usability of iOS, so it was basically a lot of wasted effort.

Apple, at least, has the resources to waste effort. Mozilla does not, because there are many more pressing concerns with Firefox than the UI. Such as the fact that a decade later I still need to restart it every couple weeks when its memory usage creeps up to 3GB and it starts getting a little sluggish.

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Re: Oh brother

It's probably an add-on or two add-ons which don't like playing with each other.

Check with... https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/about-addons-memory/

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Re: Oh brother

Its just Mozilla trying to keep up with both Google & Microsoft, who also have been using this "style" for some time now. Personally I'll be grateful indeed if this is the WORST they manage.

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@Michael

I can only speak for Microsoft's Internet Explorer and you're wrong on that end. Explorer 10 actually removed the (small) rounded corners of the tabs and introduced full squared ones. So quite different from this stuff.

To my knowledge Explorer 11 still retains these "squared tabs".

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Yep. Just checked and IE11 is resplendent with right angles.

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Re: Oh brother

Nope, I've seen over 3GB too, quite frequently, and it isn't add-ons (confirmed by exploring the about:memory report). It's really pretty grim, and it gently ramps up. Mine is currently sitting at 1.6GB.

100MB taken up displaying a single PDF. 150MB for a webmail page. One of the real killers though is little buttons for sharing. For example, a freshly opened news story page on this very site consumes 43MB. Only 10MB of that is ascribed to the site itself. 5MB is js-zone (whatever that is … I guess general storage used by the JavaScript engine not for any particular page element … ?). The rest is attributed variously to Google, Facebook, Twitter and Stumbleupon. I plan to get round to preventing these things from loading. That should make a very big difference.

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Re: Oh brother

"The rest is attributed variously to Google, Facebook, Twitter and Stumbleupon."

It's why NoScript is the first thing I install for Firefox.

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Blimey, it's Chrome

No really, it looks exactly like Chrome, right down to the icons.

The only discernable difference I can see is the separate search box.

That's great for people who like Chrome, I suppose, but then if they like Chrome, why would they use Firefox?

And so Mozilla's relentless march towards idiocy continues.

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Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

The new UI bloke has got rid of the status bar, most of the options on the content tab, and CRL management, and is just about to break a load of extensions by dumbing down the UI. His answer to any perceived problem is either 'get rid of it' or 'make it look more like Chrome' (or both, which is often the case).

I've got five extensions now which are only there to bring back stuff that's been disappeared, but I imagine that eventually the authors of those extensions might get bored of having to maintain them either for personal reasons or because they're tired of constantly chasing moving goalposts.

There's no particular reason why my desktop browser has to look like my mobile browser. When I'm using my mobile I might want simple but that doesn't mean that I want a desktop browser that's been dumbed down to useless. In short, is there nobody better? Can't the old timers at Mozilla put this idiot back in his box? I take it they understand their userbase better than someone who spends their day snorting latte and pretending they work at Apple.

Rant over.

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Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

Rounded corners are already in Thunderbird and it's pap. Is Sinofsky doing secret work for Mozilla and giving them lessons on how to screw an interface ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

> I take it they understand their userbase better than someone who spends their day snorting latte and pretending they work at Apple.

Have you been to a Mozilla space?? They don't...

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Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

Exactly.

I have a (couple of, actually) 27" monitors, which gives me 2560x1440 or 1440x2560 pixels depending on how i turn it.

I DON'T want less functionality to save a couple of pixels.

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Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

...and also, expect this dumming down to save pixels to become even more apparently ridiculous in the coming years, as 4K displays will become cheap an ubiquitous.

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Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

...and removed the preference to hide the tab bar if only one tab is opened.

There's an add-on to return that fuctionality too, but as you say, these are the work of volunteers who might give up the fight.

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Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

This isn't going to save pixels, it's going to waste them as the rounded corners stop text from being displayed so the amount of text for each tab will be less.

I'm in favour of saving pixels as I use a netbook and pixels are in short supply in my little 10 inch window to the world. If you want things bigger, which is understandable with a large display, then increase text scaling in your OS and (hopefully) your browser will follow.

Agree that Firefox is becoming more and more like the intolerable Google Chrome. Mozilla need to start to improve things that actually matter like performance and resource usage.

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Re: Blimey, it's Chrome

I feel everyone's pain.

Wait a minute, I don't. I use firefox esr <http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/>. This is due for it's annual update soon, though, then will be stable for >1 year.

Ur moaning hurts my ears. Vote with your feet, install esr and be happy, it's really, really not difficult.

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Re: Extended Support Release

That's fine as far as it goes. It reduces the frequency of pointless updates which is one part of the problem, but it only delays the more serious problem of ending up with a product that somehow manages to become more and more bloated while simultaneously cutting features.

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Re: Extended Support Release

You partly misunderstand. Yeah, frequency of updates but it's also a *protest* that likely will make the moz devs give a toss if enough people switch.

But if people can't care enough to reduce the frequency of updates by installing a different version of the same browser family, I don't care either.

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Frustrating

I use IE for work apps as I can keep cookies etc kept open. I use firefox for general browsing. Just wish they'd stop mucking around and do some proper 'innovation'. Rounded boxes don't count.

Google gives me the creeps, so no Chrome. I found Iron to be unstable. Didn't like Opera, so that leaves me with IE and Firefox.

Come on - fix the plugin mess - what were they thinking when they disabled Flash without a popup to tell you what was going on? Slight change to the web address far too subtle and not visible in full screen mode.

Just wish the end result of open source software wasn't a messy UI and a massive settings/options dialogue box. Nobody wants to work on the boring stuff - rounded boxes are much more interesting!

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Re: Frustrating

re. keeping cookies open/active: Firefox: Edit > Preferences > Privacy -> Exceptions button

This lets you specify which cookies are always/never/temporarily allowed.

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@AMB

"so that leaves me with IE and Firefox"

I used to think the same, then I discovered SeaMonkey. Its sort of a continuance of a Netscape and Mozilla like environment but backed up with the Firefox engine (uses the Mozilla source code which (quote:) "powers such successful siblings as Firefox, Thunderbird, Camino, Sunbird and Miro.").

Best part is that most Firefox plugins also work easily on SeaMonkey. And unlike Firefox it doesn't get an update every month or so, and even more importantly: when it does get an update the interface doesn't change on a whim.

I've been using it for at least two years now (probably a lot longer) with the default interface and so far haven't had any change to it.

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SeaMonkey updates

ShelLuser, SeaMonkey does receive frequent updates; it’s just that its version numbering is not as “inflated” as that of Firefox. (SeaMonkey has been on “version 2” since 2010 or so. Its current version at this writing is 2.22.1; 2.21 was released in mid-September, 2.20 in early August, &c.)

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Re: @AMB

+1 for Seamonkey. It's effectively Firefox + Thunderbird + a whole load of other useful stuff, with a sensible, usable GUI & none of this translucent-menu-on-a-dark-background nonsense that Firefox goes in for. I've been using it for donkeys' years now, and I highly recommend it.

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Reduce or increase

" The browser does its best to get out of the way with a few enhancements that reduce the amount of screen space occupied by its interface."

Yet they switch to rounded rectangles which are less space efficient than the existing ones. I am all for change for improvements sake but I do think this improvement will actually be more of a hindrance due to the fact I often have massive amounts of tabs open.

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Re: Reduce or increase

These changes seem to be driven by the relentless switch to mobile interfaces for all devices, but as you point out the more rounded the corners are, the more space they take up versus rectangular ones. On my phone I use Firefox simply because it has the Adblock Plus extension. It's interesting to note that the rounding on the interface is far less pronounced in the stock Android Chrome browser though ...

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Something to remember

Firefox usage share has dropped whilst Chrome's has grown.

As with any product, be it free or not, this isn't a good thing. So, they need to improve it to compete properly. Things that most users notice are:

UI

Speed

Compatibility

Things like plugin support now exist in pretty much all browsers in one form or another, so Firefox no longer has that as a USP.

As Firefox and Chrome are near identical when it comes to speed and compatibility, it really only has the UI to work with to gain more share.

Unless it can come up with a proper new USP of course.

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Re: Something to remember

Does Chrome's growth in share have anything to do with their UI?

I'm not aware of any user that's consciously switched to Chrome. But I'm aware of many who've ended up with it on their machine from things like Flash updates!

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Re: Something to remember

No idea. I did switch to it because of the UI and speed originally. The UI was significantly smaller than its competitors - less junk in the way of showing pages.

So, potentially, yes, some of the growth could well be down to the UI.

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Re: Something to remember

So what you're saying is, Chrome is almost identical to Firefox, and Mozilla thinks they can compete by being even more the same? I can't see how that will help.

I strongly suspect the only reason Chrome has a high market share is because Google pushes it in your face all the time. People who don't know a browser from an OS see Google telling them to upgrade and figure Google's smart so lets just go with the one the recommend.

Mozilla can't do anything about that. What they can do (if they want to) is be the browser of choice for people who actually bother to make a conscious choice. That's what originally earned FF the market share it's now losing.

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Re: Something to remember

Yes, it is often distributed like foistware (I do not approve of that tactic, for any software, good or bad), but a lot of people like it. Under the hood, it's very good software. Fast, reliable and relatively self contained.

It's not only foisted on people through bundling, but every time people go to Google they see "Browse the Internet with a faster browser - Google Chrome" (or something to that effect) and they download it and are not sorry.

(I also don't approve of every stinking browser pushing people to make it their default. Many people don't understand the implications of that... that it's the one that's going to come up automatically when web content is launched)

I get people who ask for Google Chrome when I'm setting up their software on a new PC or new Windows installation. I'm only too happy to comply because they'll live happily ever after.

But no, it's not so much because of the user interface. I think most people would agree that it's lame but it also does what most people really need it to do.

I use Chromium myself (Linux)

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I checked the latest ie11 on Windows 7 the other day and was pleasantly surprised by the snappiness compared to Firefox. It was noticable, which means Mozilla are slacking.

Lets face it, the interface of a browser was `finished` a long time ago and now it's just mostly eye-candy and implementing the design vogue of the week.

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IE11 on my Win 8.1 laptop now defaults to 125% zoom by itself. Apparently this is some new 'feature' to ensure our screen space is utilized (I am on a 1600 x 900 ultrabook). Other users on different screen sizes get defaulted to different zoom levels. And there is no override, other than to manually zoom out/in each time it happens.

Opera has gone from being highly customizable to being a Chrome clone, Firefox is heading that way. Chrome is already the bench mark for basic uncustomizable interfaces, and IE has introduced a stupid auto-zoom feature. What are all these guys on? Have they really run out of new features to the point where they have to spend their time removing or screwing up existing ones?

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IE's autozoom is based on your display's DPI setting. So you can make it default to 100% by setting your DPI accordingly.

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My machine is set to 100% sizing, default settings - other browsers and everything else works fine. IE worked fine in Windows 8. In Windows 8.1 it defaults me every time to 125%.

I am not the only one:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/forum/ie11_pr-windows8_1_pr/windows-81-internet-explorer-11-zoom-settings/22b7de2f-b029-4e11-8ba0-ee087723f070

The default should be 100%. If they're going to set me at 125% all the time, they should give me a way to override it, so I can view things at 100% and not have to change this on every damn page.

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