Firefox 3.6

Mozilla released Firefox 3.6 last week. There are many noticeable improvements compared to Firefox 3.5, but two that stand out to me.

First, performance has improved quite a bit. And not just Javascript performance. Startup time is improved; the awesomebar responds instantly to keystrokes; Javascript and redraw/redisplay are faster. I no longer perceive a huge speed difference between Firefox and Google Chrome on most web apps, and the UI has become more responsive. (A few things—startup time, redraw/redisplay/scrolling, and creating/closing new windows and tabs—are still minorly annoying when I use Firefox alongside Chrome—but 3.5 and 3.6 are like night and day.)

Second, Firefox 3.6's implementation of HTML5 media, or at least audio, is superb. Having spent lots of time hacking on and listening to Zeya on Chrome, Firefox 3.5, and Firefox 3.6, the latter is the one where things most often just seem to work as spec'd. Moreover it's Firefox 3.6 (and only Firefox 3.6) that can consistently maintain the illusion that I'm using a native media player rather than a web-based one. That's colossal.

So, kudos to the Firefox developers.

PSA: the ubuntu-mozilla-daily PPA has nightly builds of Firefox 3.5, 3.6, and 3.7 packaged for all Ubuntu releases since Hardy. It's a low-hassle way to teach an old dog new tricks.


  1. Hi, in your post about how to enable thinkpad trackpoint, you said to "open a file" called /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi . What do you mean by this, i tried pasting that into the terminal and it said it was not recognised. The annoying thing is ive done it before but just had to re nstall Ubuntu and ive forgotten how I did it. A box popped up and I filled it with the rest o the code, restarted and my trackpad worked. Now I have no idea how to 'open a file' like that

    Yes im a complete newb to Linux to please any help would be really appreciated, thanks

  2. @tiger-el: try "gksudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi". ("gedit" opens up an editor and "gksudo" in front of that ensures you can edit that file as root.)

    Also, please feel free to comment on the original post, so as to consolidate discussion related to the subject of that post.

  3. Hi, thanks alot, that worked.

    As for 3.6, I had Namoroka installed (im not sure if this is identical to an official 3.6rc, Namoroka seemed to install itself one day when I was doing some update commands in terminal), I wasn OVERLY impressed with the speed increase, which was my main interest in relation to Chrome. The speed increae seems minimal at best though I have no way to actually test this. The best addition seemed to be the new way tabs open (like Chrome), next to each other in realtion to the tab that opened them, which is far better than opening at the end of the tab line, and has taken far too long to be introduced.

    They still havent applied basic usability needs though, such as an invisible status bar, that auto hides like on chrome, and the ability to remove the "file;edit;view;history;bookmarks...." bar, which all takes up space and is not needed. Especially when your working on a small screen.

    But, having said all that, I am sticking with Firefox for the forseeable future, simply because of Chrome's awful extensions and limitations applied on the extentions, most notably the softwares inability to implement a 'real' adblocker, not just an ad-hider.

  4. And now It's All Text doesn't work.
    But that's fixable.
    But Google Gears doesn't work, and seems unfixable, so no offline Gmail any more.
    And having fixed It's All Text for 3.6, I can't trivially go back to 3.0. I guess I will uninstall it and reinstall...