Mozilla Firefox 4.0 Reviewed | The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Mozilla had announced their latest avatar of Firefox numbered 4.0 ! It saw the lime light around 8 PM IST yesterday. For geeks, it wasn't something like waiting in a long queue for a movie ticket or for grabbing the latest novel as they could grab the latest source from Mozilla's server (which was Release Candidate 2) and install it. But Ubuntu newbie's might have been afraid about the unfamiliar method of installation from source. They waited for the release to come up in the official Mozilla PPA.
Anyway, I grabbed the latest source code when it shows up in Mozilla's home page and installed it. Unlike other enthusiasts, honestly, I didn't try any of the future testing versions of Firefox 4. Because I liked to get my hands dirty on something new, only after it is ready! The first experience itself amazed me. Tabs on top, Single button instead of menu bar, combined Reload/Stop button and the Panorama feature reminded me of Google Chrome!
After going through the detailed feature list on Mozilla's website, I noticed that the 'Firefox Button' is not appearing on my installation. Please take note, it won't appear without a small tweak! Go to View-->Toolbars and uncheck the Menu Bar
Many had started downloading Firefox from different parts of the universe! Mozilla did a great job for popularizing the release by dedicated sections in their website like Twitter Party and Glow . Glow is terrific. It showcases how the web standard works well in Firefox as well. By clicking on the bottom left side 'arc' we can see the downloads organized down into each country and even each city. Twitter Party is for spreading the release news like wild fire in the micro-blogging platform Twitter. When each person tweets using the hash-tag 'fx4' it automatically appears in the large Firefox logo.
Now onto the main features
The first thing everyone will notice is the tabs. They are now on top of the address bar giving more space and importance to the page user is visiting. Next in line would be the tweak I mentioned earlier, the 'Firefox Button'. And there is a new 'Bookmarks' button on the top right side along with the button for 'Panorama'. It is intended for people who open a lot of tabs at a time and left cluttered with it! Panorama let's you organize tabs in a great visually appealing way!
You can create as many boxes as in the above screen shot for each group of tabs. You can also change one tab to another group by just dragging into the corresponding group. When you click on a specific group, only the tabs from that group appear on the main Firefox window. You can switch to the Panorama view again to change to another group. I felt this feature extremely useful.
Another ground breaking feature is the App Tab. It enables us to make frequently opening sites into a small button which resides before all the other tabs. It is also useful since normal tabs take more space on the screen. 'Switch to tab' comes handy in slow internet connections where people accidentally opens the same site twice which wastes both user time and bandwidth. But in Firefox 4, when such a situation arises, that is if we try to open a tab which is already loaded, the address bar will suggest to switch to that already opened tab instead of loading it again.
Some other minor noteworthy changes are the removal of the old permanent status bar. It is being replaced by a floating white rectangular bar which appears only when a page is loaded or we point the cursor on a link. Nothing innovative in it. Chrome already has it! And another one is the improved add-ons management. Unlike the old Firefox the add-on window now opens as a tab. Actually their is nothing new other than than the slight interface improvement. The 'Get Add-ons' section feature some popular addo-ons and it minimizes the hunting time for add-ons and user doesn't have to visit the Mozilla website to patch the fox! There is still room for disappointment. We still have to restart Firefox after installing an add-on. Dear Mozilla community and developers, it really is annoying and your nearest competitor has the "install on the go" add-on installation option. Please do consider it in the next release atleast.
How to install Firefox 4 in Ubuntu 10.10
If you install directly from source, the problem is that the old Firefox 3.6 will still reside in the system. even though this method is the easiest. You just have to download the source file sizing around 14 MB and just click the executable file inside the folder. You can also create a shortcut on the desktop for convenience. But installing it from an Ubuntu PPA replaces the old Firefox and give us a slight piece of mind about future updates. Follow the steps below:
1) Go to Terminal and type 'sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable' without quotes and press enter. This will add the official mozilla repository containing the latest stable Firefox release.
2) Then update the package list by 'sudo apt-get update' and upgrade the Firefox by 'sudo apt-get upgrade'. Remeber if you have a lot of other package upgrades it will How to install Firefox 4 in Ubuntu 10.10
Now for the icing on the cake, there is a list of best 10 Add-on's for Firefox 4 published in "Rock your Firefox" website. I would recommend everyone to go thorough it to experience you new fox with all it's awesomeness!
Okay, now enjoy with your new Firefox and wait eagerly for the next incarnation, Firefox 5 which is going to be shipped on mid 2011 (maybe July).