Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Firefox 3.5 - A Really Impressive Release

Firefox 3.5 was released just a couple of hours ago and it comes with great new features and a new version of Gecko, the rendering engine. Firefox is currently the most popular browser on the Linux platform and the top choice on Windows after Internet Explorer (although there are statistics showing it beats IE in terms of popularity in some countries).

Firefox 3.5 running in Ubuntu 9.04

Maybe the most important new feature in this release, at least for the open-source community, is the support for the video and audio tags, which make possible to view movies in the open video format Ogg Theora. These can be embedded in web pages just like YouTube videos are, but without the need of Flash. Besides, you can also directly download the video by right clicking on it. Mozilla has put up on their homepage an example of how this works.

Firefox 3.5 comes with support for open video formats - notice that you can save the videos to your computer

Another new feature is the presence of a plus sign next to the tab to the left, just like Google Chrome and Opera 10 have, this button allowing you to open a new, empty tab.

New tab button

According to the official website, 3.5 is twice as fast compared to 3.0.x, and that is due to the new version of Gecko, the rendering engine used by Firefox, which reached now version 1.9.1.

Another new feature introduced in Firefox 3.5 is the private browsing mode (accessible via the Tools -> Start Private Browsing menu entry), which allows you to browse the web safely, without leaving any browsing history behind after exiting this mode.

Private browsing - another new feature of 3.5

Another new feature is the ability to clear just the browsing history of the last couple of hours, which is very useful when you want to get rid of this history, but keep things like the number you accessed a web page for faster access in the awesome bar.

Firefox gets more powerful with each new release, and this one made no exception. To mention some other cool features, there is the RSS reader, over 60,000 available add-ons on the Mozilla add-ons site, the awesome bar which makes accessing web pages very fast, the integrated search engines (available via Ctrl+K), support for themes, session restore, spell-checker, not to mention a huge community and available documentation.

I liked Firefox 3.5 very much, especially the open video format support, and the fact that it didn't get more bloated with this new release.


Mothersh1p said...

Firefox 3.5-Linux sucks. Simplest HTML-Websites like chip.de or adwords.google.com doesn't work. Delicious doesn't work. iframe's and text inputs doesn't work.

ddreggors said...

I have just been trying to see what you are talking about but honestly I tried all 3 examples you give (adwords.google.com, chip.de, and Delicious) and they all work fine for me.

I am using FF 3.5 and Ubuntu.

Luya Tshimbalanga said...

I tried to reproduce the issue with Firefox 3.5 running on Fedora 11 and did not have any problem with either listed website. Beside, you can use help-> report broken website instead of pointless complain.

Anonymous said...


I don't know what you are meaning. Here, everything works with Firefox 3.5 on linux. No website looks different compared to 3.0.11.

Furthermore, I enjoy it very much that Javascript applications don't block entire firefox in 3.5. E.g. doing a bibliographic search in Zotero sometimes blocked 3.0.11 for a few seconds. With the new version, you just can visit other webpages at the same time.

Mothersh1p said...

@Luya: Ok, thanks, I will try this out.
@all:Please try this site: http://www.chip.de/news/Hitze-Bug-Apple-gibt-iPhone-Nutzern-die-Schuld_37142558.html and see what happens. Also Delicious doesn't work.
It is nearly impossible to compile Firefox from the source. They have so many options you must be a damn expert.

Mothersh1p said...

Just an example for compiling: Even Linux has more Kernel-Options and you can choose what option you want - it works. Or at least it compiles. Don't try this with the Firefox source - it's quality is worst.

Discrete Vortex said...

ummm... that site you posted works for me, cant understand it though..looks like german. I use Linux mint.

Anonymous said...

I am using Mozilla Minefield version 3.6a1pre x86_64 on Mandriva 2009.1 and have no issues with those sites. What exactly are you looking at that no one else seems to have issues with. Be specific. Also, I didn't have to compile. i just downloaded, extract to home folder, set firefox as executable and off I went with it (./firefox)in home directory. I had to uninstall 3.0.11 first.

Anonymous said...

Re: http://www.chip.de/news/Hitze-Bug-Apple-gibt-iPhone-Nutzern-die-Schuld_37142558.html.

I've got 3.5 running side by side with 3.0.11 right now, and that site renders EXACTLY the same in both. That is, I've set a minimum font size of 16, and with that setting the site looks awful in both, but when I remove the minimum font size setting it looks fine, and once again identical, in both.

Anonymous said...

It's great until you try to disable font antialiasing in ~/.fonts.conf. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Yep, it's faster with rendering than 3.0.11. That's both with JavaScript-heavy sites and with static pages. And the Ogg Vorbis/Theora playback works great!

This is true on both Kubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty" and MS Windows Vista.

Thank you, Mozilla dev team!


vj said...

I am using kubuntu 9.10 x86_64, and whenever I open a live radio stream using kaffeine, firefox blocks the pc (I am using 3.5). It goes into endless loop, and is very hard to close it down or do anything.

hanum said...

still has many bugs but Firefox 3.6 has just launched recently ;))