March 26, 2011

Firefox 4 - A subjective opinion

Firefox 4 did not manage to beat its' older brothers "first 24 hour" record with "only" a bit over 7 million downloads. I now understand why that might be the case.. after reading a few reviews and checking out the latest benchmarks of FF4 and Chrome 10 it seems that FF4 is way behind. I guess that this might change a bit with future updates but most likely won't flip the current speed ranking.

When first installing FF4 you will notice the obvious (IMHO) resemblance to Microsoft's Office suite and Google's Chrome browser. The FF GUI has been simplified and menus have been moved to a central FF button from where you can access options, add-ons and so on. Thanks to this Mozilla managed to save some screen space and while this won't make much of a difference for those who use higher resolutions it sure will save a few vertical pixels for netbook users.

On a daily basis I use a few different browsers due to personal preference, functions and most often compatibility with a few specialized web based applications (who unfortunately often need the use of IE which I do not appreciate as much as Chrome or FF). I love the speed of Chrome and the vast amount of FF plugins, scripts (vide Greasemonkey + userscripts.org). I have encountered a few issues with the FF4 upgrade. Although I am a conscious user and don't expect all previous plug-in versions to be compatible right away with a new browser release but I would expect javascript to work flawlessly.. This was not the case with FF4. I agree that this is a niche problem as most sites display properly and are rendered quickly, especially that FF4 uses some graphics acceleration in this release but still - a bit disappointing. I must however say that the plug-in compatibility was surprising which was not the case with the previous major FF upgrade when we had to wait for new versions of add-ons and plug-ins to be released.

For the time being I have reverted my installations back to FF3.6. Hopefully Mozilla will address these issues soon. Patience is a virtue :)

You can of course download Mozilla Firefox 4 from getfirefox.com