back to article Mozilla promises more speed with Firefox 9 beta

Mozilla has released the first beta of Firefox 9, just days after the release of the eighth build of the popular open source browser. The Firefox 9 beta, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, promises to be faster than previous builds thanks to type inference technology now built into Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine …

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  1. mechBgon

    ...but will they get on the Low-integrity/sandbox bandwagon?

    I think they should prioritize mitigation features. As it is, they're still running the browser with the user's Integrity level (on Windows Vista/7), so they're right up there with... uh... Internet Explorer 5 & 6.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Type

    Typed variables are good? Huh, who knew? Oh yeah, everyone.

    Next up? Static typing.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      LISP?

      You must be fresh from the eggshell. This discussion has been ongoing for 30y or so.

      Don't push you opinion as fact.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only with type inference, JavaScript programs still don't have "typed variables": the type of each object is known at run-time, but that was always the case anyway; the stupid behaviour of JavaScript with regard to just handing out undefined values and then silently failing later instead of immediately bailing out is a separate matter from whether type information is available, which of course it is.

      Still, at least you're closer to the donkey's rear than "monitors software and assigns new values".

  3. batfastad
    Facepalm

    v9?

    Version 9? Great, that'll be another few addons that I'll lose due to addon developers giving up.

    No doubt it will also add some baffling UI changes and a bunch of features copied from Opera/Chrome.

    I really like Firefox but this is getting ridiculous. Enterprises aren't going to go anywhere near it without any sort of LTS version. Be great if there was a way to update Gecko and the JS engine without updating the UI. So you could have the support for newest standards and improved performance, without the constant UI tinkering!

    1. mechBgon

      " Enterprises aren't going to go anywhere near it without any sort of LTS version. "

      That, and central manageability / enforcability / patching / auditing. I think Mozilla is on the record as being Officially NOT INTERESTED in the enterprise market, though. So it's IE and Chrome's game for now (on Windows).

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        LTS

        Where's the LTS in Chrome's stealth auto-updating? FWIW Opera provides paid support and doesn't quite release at such breakneck speeds, though 11.6 beta includes a heap of new features and some UI changes in preparation for hardware acceleration in 12.

        As for what the enterprise wants - we're rapidly entering the age of bring your own equipment and the migration to browser-based services (depends heavily on which your country you're in) so companies are going to have to come up with a better strategy than FF 3.6 and IE 8 as at one large company I know.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Enterpise Chrome

          By using enterprise chrome, http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/chromebrowser.html, and disabling ity via the supplied adm for group policies or via the registry directly using either scripts, via an mst or via GP also, http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=187207&topic=1064255

    2. Nuno

      they should only assign a new major version when the code changes break extension's compatibility

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Martin 71 Silver badge
    FAIL

    If they'd stop releasing new major versions

    for every tiny update, that'd be spiffing, thank you.

    Oh also, if they could listen to feedback about their ludicrous method (ie, completely RANDOM) of ordering items in lists of previously typed form entries, that'd be great too.

    And no, I'm not a coder, so "fix it yourself it's open source" doesn't work.

    1. ZweiBlumen
      Thumb Up

      Totally agree re: address par suggestions

      I've often landed on completely the wrong site because of the way it prioritises often seemingly irrelevant URLs.

      1. User McUser
        Headmaster

        IMHO Firefox does a really great job of ordering sites in the URL auto-complete list; it's sorted by frequency of access.

        For example when I type "the" into the URL bar the first thing it offers is "theregister.com" because I visit the site frequently (and use the URL auto-complete to do so.) If you want it sorted in a particular way you have to keep at it though by always typing in the full address for the first dozen times you go there. Then make sure you keep choosing what you want to be the top result when you do a partial match.

  5. Graham Marsden
    Trollface

    I think I'll wait...

    ... for Firefox 10 which, by my reckoning, should be out next week...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean..

      Firefox 16 surely. Thought they're releasing daily now.

  6. Anonymous Cowerd
    FAIL

    tag line not journalism - just opinion

    see title

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge
      Unhappy

      But it is true

      After trying FF 7, I went back to 3.6, probably permanently.

      FF starts out fine, but after a day of using it, it has all the vigor of a monster truck stuck in mud. I got tired of 3-6 second response times on a relatively large machine.

      1. Havin_it
        Boffin

        @Gene Cash

        Minor point, but do monster trucks really *get* stuck in mud? I sorta thought that was one of their selling-points...

    2. Grease Monkey

      Sorry Mr Coward, but I have to say that you're wrong. No matter what Mozilla say FF is haemorrhaging users. The stats for a (non-IT) site I administer showed FF in a strong second place a year ago. This month's stats so far show FF has dropped to fourth!

      MS IE: 52%

      Chrome: 16%

      Safari: 15%

      Firefox: 10%

      Opera: 4%

      Others: 3%

      That's spread over just short of 200,000 visitors. Yes it's just one site and not necessarilly representative of the whole internet, but the thing is that FF has dropped from over 20% a year ago to just 10% recently and it's been a pretty steady decline. And don't do the usual FF fanboi thing of trying to excuse the popularity of Chrome and Safari on smartphones - iThings account for just over 3% of visitors and Android for just below 3%. And as for Safari 2% of those users are on Windows and Safari.

      IME stats for IT sites show FF is more popular among techies than none techies, but it still lags behind Chrome. However the thing is that IT geekboys are not the largest market for browsers, not by a long way.

      1. Steven Roper

        The only reason

        Chrome has overtaken Firefox is because of Google's malware-like tactics of embedding it in every goddamned free application installer. Miss those vital checkboxes, which are ticked by default, and BAM - your new default browser is Chrome. If Mozilla sank to the same level, no doubt Firefox would overtake it again. However, the Mozilla guys have more honesty and integrity than that.

        I've lost count of the number of times I've had to scrape Chrome out of friends', relatives' and customers' computers because they installed something without looking out for that sneaky Chrome hijack first.

  7. Stewart Atkins

    The android beta certainly seems to have drastically cut down on the boot time, no loading screen just a few seconds to load the home screen

  8. Joe 48

    Firefox releases are becoming a joke. I've lost count but I think that's the 4th version change this year. Annoying thing is none of them work that well these days. Dare I say it, IE9 is better.

    1. tfb Silver badge

      Nothing has changed

      Other than them changing the version number for each release: there were always relatively frequent updates. If the version number matters that much, well...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only reason I use firefox is for the extensions, when the V4-5 "upgrade" took place they were written off since they were incompatible as per usual with a new firefox release. It took around a month until the last of them were sorted for V5. You usually then get a year before the next upgrade, however a few days later, the update box sounded for V6.

      Strangely enough, i'm still on V5. I didn't mind losing my extensions for a month every 18 months or so, but losing them for a month every 6 weeks is taking the piss. With no sign of a more sane release schedule being implemented and no support for old releases i'm in the market for a new browser.

      I can't beleive that Mozilla would shoot themselves in the foot so badly. This new release schedule has to be forcing users away in droves and it utterly prevents business use.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Strange that people don't complain about Chrome version changes (at least as frequent if not more so) but do about Firefox. Something about "resistant to change" perhaps ...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Coat

        Nope

        Greentext true story:

        > Remember just having recently gone through a forced upgrade to 7 on my windows box.

        > Oh well. Time to get used to new menus.

        > On Wednesday a Qualys security check ...

        > "This browser may be insecure - how to fix it"

        > Land at a FF8 download page.

        > Noooooooo!!!

        This browser shall be known as "Depleted Uranium Enhanced". Because it mutates so much.

      2. ad47uk
        Meh

        Most people don't even know Chrome is updated because it is a silent update, also add ons normally work from one version to another, something Firefox seems to have problems with.

        i don't use Chrome myself, I use Iron, so I got to download the updates and install them myself. I think I am still using 2 versions below what is available.

        I liked firefox, it is not the updates that is the problem for me, it is the fact that it don't improve, in fact Firefox seems to get worse with each so called update.

        I may try 9 beta and see if that is any better, but no doubt it will take a age to start up

      3. xj25vm

        "Resistance to change" my a$£e! Some of us have actual work to do - not just pander to a bunch of childish marketing types, who think that being in a perpetual state of plugins incompatibility because of their brainless version changes decisions is somehow excusable or even tolerable.

    4. jonathanb Silver badge

      Yes, you have lost count

      Firefox 4 was released in March 2011. The current stable version is 8 and 9 is on the way before the end of the year. That makes 5 new versions so far this year.

  9. kain preacher Silver badge

    I just moved to version 6 . At this rate , by the time I evaluate version 9 we will be on version 20. I'm wondering how the hell can you find bugs, fix them and evaluate what the fix does.

  10. John Deeb
    Boffin

    chrome

    One might feel confused by the skyrocketing version base numbers but don't forget Chrome has a similar release schedule. But Chrome never used any major number for release, it's just always updating from the get-go.

    In my opinion Firefox should have gone with one "frozen" version or name and then go perpetual beta with that. Just to prevent people feeling a bit confused and lost when things do not mean anymore what they used to mean.

  11. George 24
    Facepalm

    Firefox road mao

    13 Nov - FF9

    14 Nov - FF10 Beta

    17 Nov - FF10

    FF28 due on Christmas day.

  12. Grease Monkey

    How the hell can they expect anybody to believe their release cycle? So 8.0 was a major version and the beta of the next major version is already out there a few days later? Yeah right.

    As others have pointed out as soon as you install 9.0 most of your plugins will stop working until a V9 compatible version is released. And of course by the time the plugin developers have released a 9.0 compatible version FF 10.0 will be out. How long before plugin developers get tired of this and abandon FF altogether?

  13. King Jack

    Firefox, slowly killing itself one version at a time. I think the whole thing will die when it reaches the mid-teens. RIP

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Deeply disappointed with this. FF used to be head and shoulders above the rest. Now it's a bad joke.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, get over the version numbers - it's no different to how Chrome works... that's up to version 15 already, with version 16 and 17 in beta and development respectively, and it's only 3 years old - 5 major releases a year on average!

    I agree, I think Mozilla shot themselves in the foot when deciding to adopt Chrome's version release schedule, especially as people associate Firefox and versions so closely. With Chrome, people just download the latest release, without getting their knickers in a twist about what version it is.

    However, the situation is as it is, so just get over it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Um. Good work fanning the flames of ignorance with this article. I didn't think you could miss the point of the next beta release appearing a few days after the last official release quite so spectacularly.

      For one reason or another, the pipeline idea seems to be hard to grasp: first develop the new features, then release an alpha version. After 6 weeks, release a beta version. After another 6 weeks, release it as an official version. At this point there's been 12 weeks of testing and 12 weeks for plugin developers to update the plugins, if needed. You can therefore release the new version in a decently tested form (including any fixes, and/or reverting anything that's not ready).

      A fine idea. Appears to be improving product quality. A marketing failure.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Flame

      >it's no different to how Chrome works...

      IT'S NOT RELEVANT HOW CHROME WORKS, FANBOI.

    3. DZ-Jay

      >> "However, the situation is as it is, so just get over it."

      Or, you know, eave Firefx behind and use a better browser.

    4. xj25vm

      Firefox != Chrome

      Some people seem to be missing the point. Firefox is not Chrome, and Chrome is not Firefox. Chrome is a "corporate" product - be it free or open-source (by name) or both. They can release on whatever schedule they want - and it won't make that much of a difference. Firefox was supposed to be from the beginning a community - not only a product. It has been famed for a long time for the large number of developers working on add-ons for it. It was one of its distinctive traits. One of its main strengths.

      But they seem to have completely forgotten that. It's all about emulating "the big boys" - instead of staying true to their roots. And neglecting completely the needs of it's users, and specially, of the wider community who contributed to its popularity. In going all "Chrome" they are giving up one of their main reasons for existing. They are kidding themselves when they think it is only the corporate market being affected by their crazy and irrelevant versioning antiques. They are turning a blind eye to the needs of the developers of add-ons. That will come and bite them right back. Soon they will find themselves in the garbage can of history - just another browser like all the rest.

      Firefox is not Chrome.

  16. Jess
    Thumb Down

    Getting Ridiculous.

    Although I use firefox (well Palemoon and tenfourfox, usually) because of the add-ons, I've preety much given up recommending it to PC users, and normally recommend Opera to a typical domestic user, and chrome for a business user. Palemoon is good for power users on PCs. Tenfourfox is very useful for PowerPC OS X users. Chrome seems best on low power linux boxes.

    I know of several Firefox users still using 1.5 2 or 3.x due to Mozilla dropping support for their platforms.

  17. Mikko
    Thumb Up

    Incremental improvements are great

    This year, Firefox development has really brought some meaningful improvements. Firefox 6 was faster than 5, 7 was faster than 6 (and used significantly less memory too), 8 was faster than 7... yeah, I can live with the new Firefox release schedule of a new version every six weeks. Long may it continue.

    I haven't hit bugs either, perhaps thanks to the people subscribed on the beta or aurora channels testing the new versions for 12 weeks before I get the update.

  18. davidzzz

    version hyper-inflation kicked in at Mozilla

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how much real-world speed up...

    I wonder how much real-world speed up people like me, who run NoScript because we don't like the idea of running Turing-Complete code from random locations, will really see. Unless this seriously helps plug-ins like NoScript (which are, themselves, in Javascript) I'm not going to get too excited about it.

    Honestly, I think you'd see more real-world speed up if they enabled things like Flashblock, NoScript, AdBlock, etc. to prevent even loading or fetching content by allowing an earlier hook into the processing chain. Really, I see a great deal of speed up just by having my firewall rewrite requests to the bulk of the ad servers (which tend to be horribly over-committed and slow) to go to a local server (serving up heaps of emptiness), just by not having rendering delayed because wonderfuldealsforyouhonest.biz is taking forever to serve up its dreck.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Unhappy

      The use of the "Turing-Complete" adjective and lots of buzzwords, then going on about how great a firewall you have just outs you as a nerdy hipster.

      Please stop it.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good way to win back punters ...

    Might be to release a stable LTR and STOP firing out full new version numbers every five minutes to catch up with the same version numbers as IE or Chrome.

    I'll make a wager that the big marketing catchphrase at Mozilla by Christmas will be -- "It goes all the way up to eleven!"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Another Number from Mozilla?

    I wish they would go back to releasing software, instead of numerals.

    Just turn off the automatic update, or lock the version in Ubuntu, or whatever is necessary, to save yet another session of setting up all the add-ins again just to get something that does exactly the same as what you had before.

    It's become a bad joke.

  22. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    It's every six weeks a new major version - officially?

    They lose my respect. I think that doesn't bother them.

  23. General Pance

    Stop your whining - FF is better than ever

    FF has improved leaps and bounds over the last year. Completely sorted out its memory bugs. I'm happy.

  24. G-HAM 2000

    You can see why Mozilla are insisting on this asinine versioning system and release schedule though. Would there be an article here and on other sites if this version was labelled 4.5 (which is what it actually is) instead of 9.0? Chrome started the whole thing with labelling every point releases as a new version, and as a result got near constant coverage from tech news outlets whilst actually doing very little, hard to blame the Firefox developers from doing to same to try and hold on to marketshare.

  25. bazza Silver badge
    FAIL

    Firefox needs to be careful...

    ...especially over plugins. Sooner or later they're going to break Flash (probably by mistake). As soon as they do that most people will defect immediately.

    Also, they don't seem to realise that most people out there don't give a stuff for the technical advancements, etc. etc. All that most people want is a browser that just works OK in the same old way. People who use software get used to how it works and don't want it to change. Hasn't Mozilla seen the fuss over, for example, Microsoft's ribbon interface? Developers are practically the last people on earth who should be allowed to make UI design changes.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed?

    Who cares about gaining few percents on javascript execution, when the whole software takes forever to start and regularly freezes for a few seconds?

  27. Mike Judge
    FAIL

    More broken promises?

    Don't Mozilla promise this every release, yet Firefox gets slower and more bloated...

  28. Bruce Ordway

    I went back to 3.6, probably permanently

    >I went back to 3.6, probably permanently

    Me too

  29. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

    Fx still wins because you're not sending data back to Google or Apple unless you use their services. That in and of itsself is the reason I use it. So go cry all you want over version numbers, but Im not getting my data harvested by anyone but my ISP.

  30. Gordan

    Now if only...

    ... they can actually also shrink it's memory footprint by another 40% on top of what they achieved in FF7 to make it broadly comparable to Chrome, and it might actually become a browser worth using again.

  31. xox101

    Stop your whining...

    So FF release cycle will stop business using it? I work for Seagate, guess which browser Seagate recommends for work? Of course the version used in work is not the latest, has to be tested first which is the same for all software but if Seagate are happy with FF then there is no reason for other business's not to be the same.

    I'm on the beta channel on my home machine, now on FF9 and apart from the very occasional few seconds freeze I'm a very happy user. Three groups of tabs with the biggest group having around fifteen tabs open at any one time. All my add ons work with add on compatibility unchecked.

    I also run the latest FF in Linux Mint within a VM on the same box. Absolutely no problems whatsoever.

    And I agree with the earlier comment about Chrome being bundled with virtually every piece of software nowadays. That verges on spyware in my opinion. If FF did the same all you whiners would be complaining about that as well!

  32. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Live on the edge, man...

    My copy of Aurora updates daily and I somehow manage to get through the day unscathed, although with the aid of Add-on Compatibility Reporter disabling add-on version checks.

    However Mozilla are really going to have start to do something about this because it's annoying to the average user, perhaps by making a API version number starting at the current browser version number then making extensions check API version numbers, so the browser version can march ever onwards and upwards while the API version goes up more slowly as the API is added to/changed.

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