Thursday, April 30, 2009

Testing Firefox 3.5b4

Firefox 3 has been very slow on a single CPU PPC G5 iMac. It quickly pegs my CPU.

Happily Safari 4beta has been a great improvement over Safari 3, and Google's Safari (4) support is finally respectable. So I've been using Safari -- really for the first time. (Camino runs into too many Google oddities, otherwise I'd use it over FF 3. We do use Camino on an ancient G3 iBook running 10.3 -- and it's marvelous there.)

Now, however, James Fallows reminds me that FF 3.5b4 is a real option. I've started testing ...
Welcome to Firefox 3.5 Beta 4

... This release is being made available for testing purposes only. You should read the release notes before getting started.

We want to hear all of your thoughts about this beta, especially if you encounter broken sites or other web weirdness. Drag this feedback button onto your bookmarks toolbar and click on it when you have something to tell us...
I know how to test it.

First impressions? It's fast and responsive so far, and my CPU is running at about 35-50% -- which is about the same as Safari. The mouse wheel scrolling is particularly smooth, and Macintosh copy/cut shortcuts work in the rich text editor (not sure that's new, I switch platforms so often it's all a bit automatic).

The release notes mention ...
  • There are Gmail oddities, fix by refresh
  • Uses Tracemonkey - so faster Javascript, maybe fewer memory leaks
  • Location aware browsing (I'll turn it on of course)
  • HTML 5 offline storage (like webkit and chrome)
Updates to come, but this feels like a good one.

Update: Google Gears is not compatible with the beta (unsurprisingly). So you'll lose offline Gmail if you install. Also I found one bug. In a multi-user OS X machine the install reports a privileges error if another user is active, even if FF is not in use in the the other session.

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