Fifth Firefox 4 beta enables Direct2D by default

The final release of Firefox 4.0 is drawing closer and closer. Earlier today, Mozilla outed its fifth beta version of the browser, which enables Direct2D acceleration by default and includes a handful of other, miscellaneous changes. You can grab the new beta through this page.

Direct2D acceleration was already present in the fourth beta, but enabling it required digging through the about:config page and flipping obscure settings. This time, according to the release notes, the browser offers hardware acceleration right out of the box for everyone running Windows 7.

Other changes include a new "Firefox" menu with more options, support for a new audio application programming interface, and support for the HSTS security protocol. More details are available on the Mozilla blog. (Thanks to TR reader SH SOTN for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • Pax-UX
    • 9 years ago

    Woohoo look at those little fishy GO!

    • Firestarter
    • 9 years ago

    I tried it with my laptop (Mobility X1600, 256mb). It was disabled by default and after forcing it on I could see why: font rendering was horrendous and performance TANKED.

    Before you start, I have recent drivers. It plays Starcraft 2 just fine at lowest settings and 1280×800, so I don’t see how a few translucent fish should be any problem.

    • aggybong
    • 9 years ago

    It keeps crashing my video card driver in Windows :\ Disabling hardware acceleration fixes it.

    • boing
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve read through 3-4 blogs and several newspages without finding: What are the minimum requirements for this to actually be useful? Will my Pentium M 1,7 GHz laptop with Radeon X300 gfx benefit from this? Or does it require a DX11 gfx-card?

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      reply fail

    • Silus
    • 9 years ago

    Wasn’t version 4 supposed to “solve” the huge memory usage of the firefox process ? I’m still getting the same insane usage with this Beta…

    And I can’t say I’m liking the new look either, but that’s just a metter of time I guess.

    • JokerCPoC
    • 9 years ago

    Just so the D2D acceleration can be disabled, As some people use their valuable gpus for other tasks.

    • Ihmemies
    • 9 years ago

    In case anyone didn’t know, Vista has same features as 7 so of course the acceleration works in Vista too…

    • martychubbs
    • 9 years ago

    Cyril: can you please translate?

    §[<http://videos.mozilla.org/serv/mozhacks/fx4beta5.mp4<]§ I can't understand...

    • Corrado
    • 9 years ago

    Im digging the new UI, honestly. I don’t EVER use the menus, and if I do, I can hit the alt key to get the regular menu bar.

    • crose
    • 9 years ago

    Anyone tried it? Is the accelerated Direct2D noticeable faster than non-accelerated Firefox even in regular use. Not super-heavy acquarium simulation.

      • northreign
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t notice a difference. Perhaps on crappy PCs maybe.

    • BlackStar
    • 9 years ago

    Damn, this looks like something out of a UI designer’s nightmare. What the hell, a win95-era status bar at the bottom, Vista-like glass at the top (tabs too!), huge empty space over the tabs (*larger* than the tabs themselves), non-native menu with fake drop-shadow and FREAKING GREEN UGLY FIREFOX BUTTON.

    They should have added a spinning firefox logo to make this insanity complete.

      • ryko
      • 9 years ago

      i couldn’t agree with you more…it really looks like someone randomly placed things around the page without much thought.

      why try to incorporate everything under one main button and then still have a bookmarks button and a feedback button on the right hand side? jesus, if you are trying to clean up the UI just put everything under the one main menu button already. and the giant un-used space at the top is atrocious…

      wow, i might actually switch browsers after like 5 years of firefox use

        • ChronoReverse
        • 9 years ago

        Likewise. I much prefer Firefox still over the other browsers but the UI here is beyond encroaching on the territory of poor usability.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 9 years ago

    The text looks funny whats up with that?
    Some kind of different font?
    And that big space up the top looks awful.

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    I’m not seeing the difference, not like the IE 9 preview thing. Very disappointed. Firefox Beta 4 is still my favorite browser ever.

    • jalex3
    • 9 years ago

    each new beta they kill the gui even more, atleast in b2 you could make it look like the old gui… at this rate i will go back to ie8 or maybe chrome since the main reason i liked ff more than any other browser was it gui

    • quarantined
    • 9 years ago

    After using Opera’s mouse gestures which eliminate a good portion of point-and-click monotony, I can’t bring myself to browse with anything else. Let me know when FF copies that feature, then I’ll start paying attention again.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      Features available in Opera since 2001 and Firefox soon after first point release through extensionsg{<.<}g All browsers have had this capability through add-ons and while Opera did pioneer it, it isn't unique in providing it anymoreg{<.<}g

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        To each his own, but honestly, they seem like a gimmick to me.

        §[<http://www.opera.com/browser/tutorials/gestures/<]§ For me, none of those gestures seems better than simply using single key presses on the keyboard. I guess if you have a ridiculously large screen and you keep your mouse speed slow which makes moving up to click on refresh or back actually take some time, it might be useful. But i'd still rather hit F5 or backspace.

          • stdRaichu
          • 9 years ago

          Depends where your hand is; if it’s on the keyboard I use the keyboard shortcuts, if it’s on the mouse I use the gesture – saves alot of hopping backwards and forwards.

          An additional gripe is OotB firefox’s non-existent support for remapping shortcuts; the opera shortcut tool is pretty much as intuitive as it could be.

          I’ve been using opera since 2001, and whilst I too thought the gestures were an interesting gimmick, they soon became second nature and I find it painful not having gesture support elsewhere.

            • cygnus1
            • 9 years ago

            well, i guess if you only have one hand….

            • BlackStar
            • 9 years ago

            Having been using mouse gestures to control my desktop for a few months (not just my web browser), all I can say is that they have become an essential feature.

            What’s more efficient, pressing alt-f4, hitting a tiny 20x20px close button or flicking the mouse in a tiny down-right motion? How about moving back/forward between folders? (just flick the mouse left or right)

            It takes 10 minutes to get used to the motions and it then becomes second nature. Why bother with keyboard shortcuts and annoying UI elements to navigate folders or the web? Mouse gestures are an order of magnitude more efficient.

            Regarding web browsers, Opera has the most polished implementation by far. Firefox/Chrome have mouse gesture extensions but they seem to lose accuracy during page load for some reason. On Linux, I am using easystroke to extend mouse gestures on the whole desktop – there are similar applications for windows but I don’t know how well they work.

            • indeego
            • 9 years ago

            /[

            • BlackStar
            • 9 years ago

            >>And then you have accidental gestures, especially with multidisplay tech, you might not have a window activated you thought you did which means you are doing something you don’t want or in the wrong space/area

            And with keyboard shortcuts you don’t? It’s the same thing.

            Mouse gestures provide an extra speed boost over regular UI interaction through the keyboard or mouse. They don’t cause you to lose efficiency when using a system without them – they just let you become aware of how painfully inefficient the alt-f4/shift-tab/control-shift-tab/control-t/control-shift-t combos are.

            It’s a difficult concept to grasp if you don’t have first-hand experience. Install Opera and use it properly for two days with mouse gestures, then try to go back to vanilla chrome/firefox and tell me keyboard shortcuts are faster.

            • indeego
            • 9 years ago

            /[

        • quarantined
        • 9 years ago

        Extensions and add-ons are all fine and dandy except you have to worry about compatibility when new versions or betas of the browser are released. Gestures being a core feature in Opera ensure they always work and do so smoothly.

        Another thing that keeps me using Opera is being able to put the tabs at the bottom. It’s one of those personal preferences I’ve adjusted to since the first tabbed browser I used was the Avant extension to IE which had that option. I’m not sure if FF ever implemented this though since I haven’t used FF in a while.

          • indeego
          • 9 years ago

          – Never could get Opera to put bookmarks/items exactly where I wanted them, and remember them from session to session.

          – So I consulted the help system, which was very little help. Opera’s “help” was pathetic.

          – The interface for Opera, while very powerful, was a mess and took too long to find common tasks. It is this reason I suspect that most people won’t consider Opera as a primary browser.

          – Still lacking add-on functionality that is vital for many Firefox/Chrome power users.

          – Profile migration is a mess. Perhaps this changed, but Opera required hard-coded paths to move settings between computers.

          I loved the speed and design of Opera, but I consider it a distant third after Firefox and Chromiumg{<.<}g

            • quarantined
            • 9 years ago

            /[

    • paranoyd
    • 9 years ago

    Man why does it look like Opera browser, but with the Firefox logo…

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    So am I the only one amused by the idea that — to the extent anyone cares enough about this feature for it to motivate upgrades — a performance enhancement in /[

      • mongoosesRawesome
      • 9 years ago

      Google’s chrome implementation uses either D3D or OpenGL depending on the OS.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      IE9 will still be the most compatible browser amongst the speedy ones. It was a given that IE9 would actually be the last browser to release a final version with the improvements they were bragging about. IE’s competitors just move too quickly, update with too much efficiency, and the IE team is just too damn slow.

      Microsoft will never be the best performer. They’ll be the most compatible because they’ll maintain a good enough browser to hold onto the majority of users.

    • pedro
    • 9 years ago

    I’ll second that.

    Reply to #3.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    Quite a browser showdown we have now:

    Opera 10.6 (acid3 – 100)
    Firefox 4 (acid3 – 97)
    Safari 5 (acid3 -100)
    IE 9 (acid3 – 95)
    Chrome 6 (acid3 – 100)

    Closest scores I’ve seen. Fastest speeds I’ve seen. I love this competition. Everyone remember we don’t need one company to lose/go out of business/etc. We also don’t want another company to dominate/win/etc. Lots of players with lots of market share competing like dogs against one another. Competing on products/technology/etc and not bribes/rebates/etc.

    In the end, WE are the winners (champions)! 🙂

      • TaBoVilla
      • 9 years ago

      don’t worry, they’ll promptly release a new benchmark on which all browsers fail miserably

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    Best browser I’ve ever tried.

    • Jon
    • 9 years ago

    What is that gigantic wasted space of a bar doing at the top of that Firefox window?

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      Isn’t it horrid? Might as well put ads up in that space, or a flashing monkey gameg{<.<}g Not only is it bad, it has ~10 pixels underneath it with nothing going on. Also, on my machine, if I hover over "bookmarks" and then move down a few pixels to pick a bookmark icon, it picks the book menu option and not the icon. Quite frustratingg{.}g

      • flip-mode
      • 9 years ago

      Yep, definitely offensive and for no obvious reason. IMO the tabs should be pushed all the way to the top of the window in line with the Min/Max/Close buttons and the Firefox menu should align with that – that’d be a model of vertical efficiency.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        There would be very little to grab to move the window around then.

          • HisDivineShadow
          • 9 years ago

          I see this response all the time. You realize that a similar scheme is employed by Chrome and when you maximize it, it puts the tabs at the very top. When you make it a window (which ostensibly is when you’d be moving it), the title bar returns.

          Not sure why Firefox wouldn’t be smart enough to copy that.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 9 years ago

            That’s fine, but it still probably shouldn’t go to the top when in window mode.

            • Goty
            • 9 years ago

            I grab the top of my windows when maximized all the time to drag them out of the way instead of going to the minimize button, clicking that, then mousing over and moving the window. You guys talk about “efficiency” and then make things harder than they need to be.

      • axeman
      • 9 years ago

      They’re trying to copy chrome and didn’t quite get it.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This