Firefox 3: first impressions

Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 5:52 | Posted in browsers, computer, internet, ubuntu | 2 Comments
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I installed Firefox 3.0b4 the other day and have been using it in parallel with 2.0.0.12. I must say that I am not very impressed. There is not much visible difference between the two.

To install Firefox 3.0b4 to my Ubuntu 7.10 I first fetched the tarball file here and extracted it to my desktop. I then navigated in Nautilus to the freshly created Firefox folder, double clicked the Firefox file and chose Run. I found these instructions here.

All my settings, including bookmarks and saved passwords, were neatly imported but I suddenly discovered that I was unable to play flash video and audio files because the plug-ins were not imported. To fix this I ran this command line in Terminal:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/* Desktop/firefox/plugins/

Now that it was all settled for surfing I started to compare the two. I soon noticed that while switching between 3.0b4 and  2.0.0.12 I was logged out of many places that I never log out of. That is a small inconvenience which will eventually go away as I am going to use Firefox 3 exclusively. I was glad to notice that bookmarks added or deleted in one version were updated when the other was turned on.

The most hype around Firefox 3 has been about its supposedly faster speed. I do not detect a difference but that might very well be bacause I have taken these steps for ages ago so my Firefox runs fast as it is, much faster than with default settings.

Some buttons in  the navigation toolbar look different but other than that, I do not detect much of a difference. I do not complain, though. It is a good idea to use the latest software versions. Many improvements are not visible but they are there, nevertheless.

I am probably going to use Firefox 2 and 3 in parallel as long as  3 is in beta. As soon as the first regular release becomes available, it is going to be goodbye to Firefox 2.

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