Mozilla releases final Firefox 4.0

After 12 betas and two release candidates slowly let loose over the course of eight months, Firefox 4 has gone gold at last. You may grab the final, ready-to-go Firefox 4.0 release right now from Mozilla’s website. The browser is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in a variety of languages.

Much has changed since Firefox 3.6, starting with the new user interface, which boasts tabs on top and an all-in-one menu reminiscent of Microsoft Office. Just like Internet Explorer 9, this new browser also features Direct2D hardware acceleration, so you can look forward to blazing-fast rendering performance (and weird font antialiasing, which nobody ever seems to talk about for some reason). JavaScript pages should respond quicker, too, thanks to J├ĄgerMonkey, Mozilla’s new JavaScript engine.

If you need to be talked into grabbing the new release, Mozilla has put up a series of short video tours designed to highlight Firefox 4’s many other new features, like bookmark synchronization across multiple systems and “Personas,” which adorn the top of the browser’s interface like Google’s Chrome themes. I’d recommend at least giving Firefox 4 a shot, though, if only to see just how much work has gone into this release.

Comments closed
    • michael_d
    • 9 years ago

    I just installed but it appears to have made the Radeon GPU 99% bug occur more frequently so I disabled hardware acceleration in Firefox and Flash.

    • clone
    • 9 years ago

    still getting used to it but some of the default decisions just seem stupid.

    for example they have a FireFox tab on the top left and then the whole line remains empty, poor use of space and if they were trying to save space to allow for more text or whatever then move the tab’d browsing lines beside the FireFox tab at least then it’d be functional.

    it just seems very different and a little faster I’ll give it credit for that but at the same time some decisions were made just to change appearance while not improving functionality.

    seems like every other hour or so I’m right clicking and customizing to try and find a comfortable fit for it.

    • r00t61
    • 9 years ago

    I still miss the ability to give bookmark separators their own customized names. The featured disappeared when moving from 2.x to 3.x and I wish it would come back.

    • Firestarter
    • 9 years ago

    An interesting article on font rendering on screens: [url<]http://www.antigrain.com/research/font_rasterization/index.html[/url<] I had almost forgotten about how serious the font rendering business is!

    • puppetworx
    • 9 years ago

    What took ya? And why do you look like Opera 9.0

      • ThorAxe
      • 9 years ago

      Opera always seems to be a step ahead of the rest.

        • BenBasson
        • 9 years ago

        Then why does nobody use it?

    • kvndoom
    • 9 years ago

    I’m going to have to go back to 3.6 for the time being, ugh. I’ve been using 4 for about a week and it acts up any time after I log into my school website. I have to exit and restart the browser or else tabs don’t act right. I’ll revisit it a few months from now, I suppose.

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    The UI is different on XP than what is advertised on the site. I feel cheated. I want my money back.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 9 years ago

      You long ago got all of your money’s worth out of XP. You’re cheating yourself by not upgrading to Windows 7.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      And it doesn’t work at all in win98!

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    I recommend using tab on bottom, rather than the default tab on top. It just looks much better that way, to me at least. Just right click the area next to the tabs.

    In my opinion it looks much better that way, and since I switch tabs more than I type something on the address bar, it’s more convenient. Plus I tend to press F6 anyway.

      • potatochobit
      • 9 years ago

      i switch tabs constantly
      I use the mouse wheel to screen up
      it would be a pain to move my mouse to the bottom of the screen each time
      I guess if you got used to it then it could work but all the other buttons would still be at the top

        • jstern
        • 9 years ago

        Well I didn’t mean at the bottom of the screen, but under the address bar. If the tabs were all the way at the bottom then that would be a pain.

    • Ryhadar
    • 9 years ago

    Here’s something that kinda bothered me, but thankfully about:config saves the day.

    Copy & paste this into your address bar: javascript:alert(‘Tab-modal, smab-modal’)

    Then hit enter.

    Notice that instead of the familiar alert box you see a custom dialog box (probably made using javscript) that mimics the functionality of the “old” dialog box? This is a decision made by Mozilla to design firefox 4 with tab-modality. Basically, it allows a dialog box to be shown that will not prevent you from clicking on other tabs (unlike the “old” dialog box).

    Personally, I find this new dialog box unfamiliar and ugly. If you’re like me, all you have to do to change it is navigate to about:config and search for “prompts.tab_modal.enabled” (no quotes). Set the value to false and, voila, the familiar, old dialog box returns (sans tab-modality obviously).

    What do you think of this design decision?

      • ew
      • 9 years ago

      It prevents websites from DOS’ing your browser with alter dialogs. It’s a good thing.

        • Ryhadar
        • 9 years ago

        I’ve never had that happen to me, though I have seen it happen to others.

          • Zoomer
          • 9 years ago

          Opera has the best of both worlds.

      • BenBasson
      • 9 years ago

      I think this should have happened years ago. There’s nothing more obnoxious in modern interfaces than modal dialog boxes. I wish they’d be purged from everything else too.

    • PixelArmy
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe I missed something but what’s up with all the creepy carny animals…

    • Madman
    • 9 years ago

    Upgraded all PCs I work with during the last few days to RC2 (seems to be the same as final), and I really like it. GUI is compact and frees up more space, the browser is fast, after few days the font rendering seems nice too, really no complaints.

    • JMccovery
    • 9 years ago

    FF4 is what I mostly use, besides IE9 for work-related stuff. I haven’t used Chrome or Opera in a few months. I use Opera Mini on my phone more than Opera on my desktop.

    • kvndoom
    • 9 years ago

    Firefox died on this very day:

    [url<]http://www.dailypress.com/features/dp-features-panda-death,0,7735766.story[/url<]

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    I downloaded the RC last week
    I can’t tell if it auto updated and there is no check for updates button

      • Madman
      • 9 years ago

      Help -> About, RC2 seems to be the final, as it says no updates, and no mentioning about RC.

    • sircharles32
    • 9 years ago

    Does anyone know what happened to the “save all tabs” option, in the bookmark menu?

    I was able to dig on-line and find the key strokes for it (control + Shift + D), but I miss being able to just simply “click” on the option.

    Other than that, the only other annoyance is the mental midget who decided to switch the positions for “open in new tab” and “open in new window”, in the right click menu. I still open things in a new window by mistake, and I’ve been using FF4 for about 3 weeks now.

    So far, no major hiccups. I’m desperately awaiting a multi-core aware FireFox.

      • Madman
      • 9 years ago

      Yea, catches me too every-time, although I’m slowly getting used to it, and I actually like that the most often used command is closer, I’m starting to appreciate it. Clicking with middle mouse button was not really that cool, since that usually caused the wheel to scroll too. Now there is an easy to access option, and I noticed that I don’t have to aim for “Open in new tab” anymore, as it’s right under right-click.

      • PixelArmy
      • 9 years ago

      Right click any tab -> Bookmark All Tabs…

        • sircharles32
        • 9 years ago

        Thank you VERY much.
        I’m surprised that I could find the key strokes, but not this newly “hidden” feature.

        Again, thank you.

    • pedro
    • 9 years ago

    Anyone know if this badboy uses OS X’s keychain?

      • ew
      • 9 years ago

      Sadly it does not.

    • Flying Fox
    • 9 years ago

    Have they finally fixed that focus-stealing-from-another-tab bug?

    • ImSpartacus
    • 9 years ago

    if you guys use Permatabs, there’s a new version for FF4. It works with App Tabs to actually get them working correctly.

    [url<]http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=10448201#p10448201[/url<] It was built for FF4[i<]b[/i<], but works fine on the RCs and final version if you disable compatibility checking.

    • vikramsbox
    • 9 years ago

    Interface looks like its borne out of a Chrome-Opera marriage. Didn’t they have anything new rather than a ‘me too’?
    Now the big question- How many features have moved out of the browser into some add on?
    Really, its sad to see that I hardly care now for the browser that once was my favorite. Mozilla put down a load of bricks on what started as a solid base.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 9 years ago

      Don’t get so emotional, it’s just a browser. Next you’ll be spouting that your PS3 is so much better than the Xbox because it has more cores.

      Just have fun with what you use, it’s the best for you and that’s all that matters.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      When Firefox became the popular, “Don’t use IE, use this…” alternative and the average person actually accepted it, I really think it was because it lifted the familiar IE6 interface, and that actually made it more accessible to people than IE7’s “weird” new interface was.

      It’s the same deal here. They let others establish a new convention and followed in their footsteps. If they just threw a never before seen interface at the world out of nowhere, they’d scare a lot of people away and never get them back, just like what happened to IE.

      What Firefox still has going for it is that it’s more adjustable. Chrome’s minimalst interface is worked out pretty well as a starting point, but it drives me mad that by version 12, you undoubtedly still won’t be able to shrink the ginormous URL/search bar and move your bookmark icons to that space.

      • Flying Fox
      • 9 years ago

      Firefox’s original design philosophy is to cut out the bloated features so people who don’t need those features will not need to run that code and hog memory+CPU. Over the years a lot of these “features” got bloated back in so I don’t know why you seem to have so much hate over the extensions model.

      • jstern
      • 9 years ago

      I think the look has more to do with the engine which they are all using. I’m pretty positive that I read something about that. For example, Chrome was the 1st to use it, then Apple started using it and Safari became almost a carbon copy of Chrome. Which sucked, because I liked the old Safari, so in a sense instead of having 2 choices between the 2, I had one. But I think it’s related to the engine, which name seems to be escaping me at the moment.

        • Norphy
        • 9 years ago

        Safari and Chrome use the Webkit engine. Safari was using Webkit long before Chrome was even a gleam in Google’s eye. Webkit itself was based off KHTML, the engine behind Konqueror on Linux.

        The engine behind Firefox is (was?) Gecko, a completely unrelated technology.

          • jstern
          • 9 years ago

          I knew it was Webkit, and yes Firefox was using Gecko.

          But none the less, I did read that it has something to do with the engine, and I was assuming that about Safari, since they suddenly came out with a totally new browser that was almost like Chrome. Which was a shame, because not that I was in love with the other version of Safari, but I did like that it looked different than the other browsers, and would sometimes use it for that.

    • jcw122
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe they’ll focus on making Firefox fast again someday.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      it’s still quite fast, and even beats chrome 10 in some tests.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        My speed issues are more related to launch times and UI responsiveness. Chrome has it beat there hands down.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          I just checked the latest builds of IE 9, Opera, Chrome (Canary) and Firefox 4.

          I haven’t found an appreciable difference in launch times. They were virtually identical to me. It’s true that my Opera auto-opens my last 25 tabs I left there, and I have no tabs whatsoever in IE 9, and [u<]that's[/u<] how the four were equal, but I can't be sure how much that fact impacted things. Same with UI responsiveness. I can't find a real advantage in any of these four.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            I’m using what I presume to be a significantly slower machine than you are. The only PC with Firefox installed is my work computer, a Core Duo 1.66GHz with 2GB of RAM running XP Pro from a 5400RPM hard drive. It’s as if my employer WANTS me to be slow.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            lol a core 2? my last job we were still using pentium iv’s, at 2ghz. ALL OF US. AND WE MADE AND SOLD COMPUTERS.

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            I tried different browsers on a slow work machine too, but they’ve upgraded our computers since (thank a deity). Back then, my ranking was Opera, then Chrome, then Firefox, and IE 7 (we’re obviously not allowed to tinker with that, or any other updates, and you can guess why it’s the slowest of all).

            Opera was extremely frugal with CPU and continues to do so, the advantage can be pretty major unless you indeed use a good PC. Chrome was barely better than Firefox 3.something.something, but provided far better old-intranet compatibility for crap company interfacing sites (some of which had broken elements in Opera, if they loaded at all).

            My biggest butthurt, that continues to this day however, is Opera’s stupid “no, I can do it myself” approach to proxies. Ridiculous, ludicrous, repulsive and laughable. Chrome and Firefox both copied IE’s default proxy setting to the letter, gaining instant internet access via my company’s default Windows-set proxy. I didn’t even have to look at a single information box, it simply worked. Opera [u<]didn't even attempt[/u<] such a bodacious feat, instead asking me whether proxy X is surely my proxy, and asking for password input (Windows login) that I shouldn't even have to give. Worst of all, even if I picked to remember the password and things, it would still [u<]pop up every single time I restarted the browser[/u<] - every single time! - with password-and-all filled out like I told it to, but expressedly requiring me to click OK to start working. Why I have to click "OK" on something I approved and stored three times prior is beyond me, but it was unworkable. This is why Chrome Portable is my browser of choice at work, but why I continue to use Opera at home. It sucks so, so, so terribly with proxies, but aside from that one specific thing, it's simply the best.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 9 years ago

      It’s fast enough.

      There’s a point where these speed tests become dick measuring contests. We hit that point a while ago on desktop browsers.

      Mobile browsers are another story…

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      I agree with you. It’s not the benchmarks so much as just the slow start up with any pages loading up at the same time. Chrome just starts and it’s there. Firefox is a pig by comparison. Plus, Chrome’s GUI is just better than Firefox’s. It’s integration with search is superior. And it doesn’t take up gobs of resources to do it.

      IE9 doesn’t have extensions, Opera might as well not have any, and FF is a pig. Safari is like Chrome but with an inferior interface and slower. For my use, Chrome is just better. And they keep updating it to be better just as the other guys start to catch up.

      • Madman
      • 9 years ago

      It’s plenty fast. If the browser startup time is interfering with your work, most likely you have a problem with your PC. It’s even fast on my laptop that has 256MB of RAM and almost full 5200RPM drive.

        • jcw122
        • 9 years ago

        Why would browser startup matter to most people? I start up my browser probably once a day, then leave it up all day.

          • Firestarter
          • 9 years ago

          Some people don’t. I open and close tabs as I see fit, and sometimes I close the whole browser in a flurry of CTRL-W’s. Not that Firefox would be slow starting from that situation, but still.

    • Sanctusx2
    • 9 years ago

    The font aliasing(not anti-aliasing) was the first thing I noticed, it looks really terrible. I tried disabling the hardware acceleration and it didn’t seem to have any effect. Going to stick with 3.x for awhile till they get that fixed.

    There also seem to be some performance bugs with the new javascript engine. I noticed that on auto-scrolling elements(like headlines in Google Finance) have a significant stutter and jerk to the motion, where before they were silky smooth.

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      This. I saw this when I tried a earlier beta of 4.0 as well. I don’t know what wrong, because it seems to try and do subpixel anti-aliasing, but it fails horribly somehow.

      edit: Also, it’s significantly slower on the FishIE tank demo than whatever version of Chrome I’m running now.

      • Ryhadar
      • 9 years ago

      After I read your post, I thought the same thing.

      Truth is, all you have to do is restart FF after you make the change. The text looks [i<]much[/i<] better. The thing Mozilla [b<]definitely[/b<] needs to fix is to allow people to disable ClearType but still allow hardware acceleration.

        • Duck
        • 9 years ago

        Cleartype was on FF3. It looked nice with windows 7. This new text is horrible. Going to try and disable hardware acceleration now.

        Edit: Done. Much better. Liking FF4 a lot now. Big improvements over FF3.

          • Ryhadar
          • 9 years ago

          Ah I see. I had just assumed it was cleartype since my friend, who is very sensitive to antialiasing changes can not use IE 8 without disabling cleartype in internet options.. I figured FF 4 was just using the same. Thanks for the info.

        • Sanctusx2
        • 9 years ago

        Doh! Truth be told I had tried FF4 after the announcement before I got to work and didn’t get the chance to give it a restart after disabling accel. Will try it again later!

        Still not sure about the problem with the headline transitions though. I’m rather curious to see if it affects scriptaculous transitions and such in the same way.

      • NeXus 6
      • 9 years ago

      A fix here: [url<]http://www.tweakguides.com/Firefox_5.html[/url<] Scroll down to the 'Advanced' section. There's an AA tuner add-on for further tweaking. [url<]https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/anti-aliasing-tuner/[/url<]

        • WaltC
        • 9 years ago

        Thanks–good info, actually, and helps the font aliasing quite a bit.

      • Goty
      • 9 years ago

      I still don’t know what people are talking about with the fonts. The text looks identical to that in chrome on my PC, and I’ve confirmed that hardware acceleration is on.

      *shrugs*

        • Firestarter
        • 9 years ago

        [url<]http://www.picatom.com/1u/chrome_vs_firefox4-1.html[/url<] That's how Chrome and Firefox 4 look on my PC; Windows 7 with cleartype enabled. In Chrome, things look like they've always looked in Firefox 3, IE and basically every program short of games. FF4 is the exception, and it's definitely not an improvement. edit: you need to zoom in to view it properly

          • Madman
          • 9 years ago

          Try IE9

          I guess it’s hardware acceleration that is causing all this.

      • Madman
      • 9 years ago

      Yep, but I guess that’s what we’ll get in all new products nowadays. IE9 – crappy fonts, Visual Studio 2010 – crappy fonts, Firefox – the same. (All of them hardware accelerated)

      Although after I’ve worked with the FF4 for a day I have used to them, and I’d say I have no complaints anymore, looks pretty neat to me. Some bold fonts are sort of weird, but regular fonts are easy to read and looks quite good. There is a difference on different monitors though, the widescreen at home looks way different than all the others, but it’s the only one that’s calibrated.

      Overall, try to use the browser for one day, maybe you’ll get used to it.

        • Firestarter
        • 9 years ago

        Honestly, I don’t [i<]want[/i<] to get used to it, because it looks so much crappier when compared directly. Given the amount of text I usually read using the browser, I don't want to compromise anything on that front.

          • Madman
          • 9 years ago

          After a few days I’d say the new fonts are easier on eyes.

            • Firestarter
            • 9 years ago

            I guess it’s subjective then. I wonder if there is any objective measurement for font legibility..

      • swaaye
      • 9 years ago

      I had some serious uglies with the FF4 Betas but this one is looking good on my Win7 boxes with Radeons. I have to try it out on some more machines and on XP yet.

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