I have just updated to the recently released version of Firefox, Firefox 3.6, I’m still running Fedora 12 and at present it is not available in the official Fedora 12 repositories.
If you want to try it out you need to do the following as root in a terminal:
yum install firefox --enablerepo=rawhide
Most of my extensions work fine with Firefox 3.6, including Mozilla Weave — which has an increasing importance to me as I use it to sync my bookmarks, history and passwords among other things across installations — Adblock Plus and Flashblock, which really are the only other extensions that I consider really important to me. Unfortunately Optimoz Tweaks does not work anymore neither does a similar extension Sidebar Autohide.
I haven’t used Google’s Chrome browser and I don’t want to, I do know that a lot of tech-people are impressed with it and everybody seems to rave about its speed, perhaps it’s brand loyalty, it’s certainly some sort of familiarity and loyalty that keeps me with Firefox so I’m afraid I won’t have any base of comparison apart from the previous version Firefox 3.5, which admittedly was sluggish at times.
Quite noticeably to me there are speed improvements in general usage, especially with AJAX-ified websites, even writing this in WordPress’ default editor, it is no longer slow when backspacing or typing, it’s as fast as it should be.
Something as simple as scrolling, strangely is much faster.
Start-up time has improved considerably and it doesn’t appear to have that old Firefox hang-up of staying in memory for awhile after you close it. I can close it, launch it again with out having a duplicate process warning. Even with a large number of tabs it starts quicker and shuts down swiftly. Users of Firefox 3.5 will know that if you have it set to save your open tabs on exit it can take an age to start-up and become responsive but this really has improved.
The ‘Awesomebar’ really is awesome now, there used to be a delay when typing in search queries where I presumed it was trawling the database, especially the first time you would use it after a cold start. Now it’s lightning-quick as it should be and I can see no delay nor any disk drive usage.
Personas I have no current inclination to use but you must admit that the Personas website is awesome, just mousing over a potential persona will instantly preview it: it looks fantastic!
On a side note YouTube and Vimeo have publicly announced that they’re to test and perhaps adopt the HTML5 video tag to use as a free video player on their websites, replacing Adobe’s Flash player. However they’re still using the patent-encumbered H.264 codec to encode their videos and not the out-of-the-box supported Ogg Theora codec that is contained within Firefox 3.5 and 3.6 — this is a puzzling decision as I don’t believe the work would be that much, all I can believe is that the videos were encoded in H.264 anyway and that it would be harder to switch this video backend immediately, especially given that it is just a preliminary test. I do hope however that they move towards Ogg Theora, I see no reason not to; even claims that Theora’s efficiency aren’t as good as H.264′s are negligible compared to the massive benefits. Firefox usage commands around ~25% of the world’s browser marketshare so it is significant that these test video sites are not supported. It should be the websites bowing down to Firefox not Mozilla relinquishing its principles on this.
What a splendid release. Mozilla Firefox 3.6 is noticeably improved over its predecessor in speed and also features that we might start seeing utilised more, such as improvements to the open video support: for example full-screen mode. It’s a solid release and it’s been made infinitely more usable on Fedora 12 Linux in so many ways. I’m looking forward to trying to crash it!
Update: Since writing the review I’ve encountered a few issues. Namely the Java plugin not working. On Fedora 12 by default there is no Sun Java but only OpenJDK and corresponding plugin however there does not appear to be a way to get OpenJDK to work with Firefox 3.6 at this time. You must install Sun Java (use this link, it’s i586 32-bit) instead.
In a terminal navigate to the download directory (if using the Firefox default directory you can use the following command):
Now make the .bin file executable, you need to be root:
chmod +x jre-6u18-linux-i586
Then you can run the .bin file with:
You will need to press the space-bar till you get to the end of the licensing terms where it will prompt you. Follow the prompts until completed.
If you’ve used the download link I provided here and you’re using Fedora then the following steps should work for you. You need to create a symbolic link from the new-style Java plugin to the Mozilla Firefox plugins directory.
You do this as follows, also as root:
ln -s /usr/java/jre1.6.0_18/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
Restart Firefox and check everything is working okay. One way of doing this would be typing
about:plugins and hitting enter, into the URL bar. This will bring up a list of all installed plugins, if you can find somewhere a listing for Java then it has most likely worked.
Update 2: After further use of Firefox 3.6 I’ve decided I do not like the introduced new tab behaviour. Which is that a link will open to the right of the current tab and not at the end of the tab bar. If you want to switch back to the old behaviour then enter
about:config into the URL bar and then paste the following into the filter:
Double-click this value so it becomes bold (to reflect that it has changed from the default value) and has a value of false.