About this release
Firefox 4 Beta is based on the Gecko 2.0 Web platform. Please read below for more detailed information about what's new in this version of the beta release, as well as the known issues.
This Firefox 4 Beta is considered to be stable and safe to use for daily web browsing, though the features and content may change before the final product release. At this time many Add-ons may not yet have been tested by their authors to ensure that they are compatible with this release. If you wish to help test Add-on compatibility, please install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter - your favorite Add-on author will appreciate it!
Check out what’s new, the known issues and frequently asked questions about the latest version of Firefox. Please tell us what you think using the feedback tools provided as part of the beta. We appreciate your input!
What’s New in this Firefox 4 Beta
- Overhaul of the bookmarks and history code, enabling faster bookmarking and startup performance
- Per-compartment garbage collection is now enabled, reducing work done during complex animations
- See the complete changelist from the previous beta
As well as these features from previous Firefox 4 Betas:
- Firefox 4 Beta is available in 76 languages
- The Firefox Sync setup experience has been greatly improved across desktop and mobile devices
- Speed, functionality, and compatibility improvements to WebGL
- Additional polish for the Firefox Add-ons Manager
- Certain rendering operations are now hardware-accelerated using Direct3D 9 on Windows XP, Direct3D 10 on Windows Vista and 7, and OpenGL on Mac OS X
- Improved web typography using OpenType with support for ligatures, kerning and font variants
- HTML5 Forms API makes web based forms easier to implement and validate
- Support for the new proposed Audio Data API
- Direct2D Hardware Acceleration is now on by default for Windows 7 users
- Firefox button has a new look for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users
- Support for HSTS security protocol allowing sites to insist that they only be loaded over SSL
- Firefox Sync is now included by default
- A new feature gives users a visual overview of all open tabs, allowing them to be sorted and grouped
- Firefox now supports the HTML5 video "buffered" property
- Tabs are now on top by default on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
- You can turn any tab into an "App Tab" by right-clicking on it and selecting "Make into App Tab" from the context menu
- Web developers can animate content using CSS Transitions
- Responsiveness and scrolling improvements from the new retained layers layout system
- Changes to how XPCOM components are registered in order to help startup time and process separation
- You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar
- New Addons Manager and extension management API (UI will be changed before final release)
- Significant API improvements are available for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions
- The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
- The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you'd like)
- Crash protection for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins
- CSS Transitions are partially supported
- Full WebGL support is included but disabled by default at this time
- Core Animation rendering model for plugins on Mac OS X. Plugins which also support this rendering model can now draw faster and more efficiently
- Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format
- Web developers can update the URL field without reloading the page using HTML History APIs
- More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction
- Link history lookup is done asynchronously to provide better responsiveness during pageload
- CSS :visited selectors have been changed to block websites from being able to check a user's browsing history
- New HTML5 parser
- Support for more HTML5 form controls
- Web authors can now get touch events from Firefox users on Windows 7 machines
Before installing, make sure your computer meets the system requirements.
Mozilla provides Firefox 4 Beta for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X in a variety of languages. For builds for other systems and languages not provided by Mozilla, see the Contributed Builds section at the end of this document.
Please note that installing Firefox 4 Beta will not overwrite your existing installation of Firefox. You won’t lose any of your bookmarks or browsing history, but some of your extensions and other add-ons might not work until updates for them are made available.
You can remove Firefox 4 Beta with the Add/Removes Programs utility on Windows, by moving the Firefox application to the Trash on Mac OS X, or by deleting the containing folder on Linux.
By default, removing Firefox 4 Beta won’t remove your bookmarks, web browsing history, extensions or other add-ons. This data is stored in your profile folder, which can be found by going to the Help menu and selecting Troubleshooting Information.... The button next to the Profile Directory line in Application Basics will open your profile directory in your system's file explorer.
Please note that if you keep your profile, any version of Firefox that you install after removing Firefox 4 Beta will continue to use the bookmarks, web browsing history, add-ons, and other data from this profile folder.
Add-ons and Themes
Add-ons installed with previous versions of Firefox may not yet have been updated by their authors to work with this Firefox 4 Beta. If you wish to help test Add-ons, please install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter - your favorite Add-on author will appreciate it!
This list covers some of the known problems with Firefox 4 Beta which will be resolved in future versions:
- All Systems
- Users will experience many incompatibilites with bookmarks and history if they downgrade to any Firefox 4 beta before beta 8. Users can still downgrade back to Firefox 3.6 (see bug 620723 and bug 614439)
- When using Panorama, reopening a recently closed tab creates a new tab group and switches to it instead of restoring the tab to the proper existing group (see bug 624265)
- Clicking on an empty area of Panorama incorrectly creates an empty tab group (see bug 619937)
- The popular video site Hulu.com is not displaying content to beta users due to bad "user-agent" detection in their code (see bug 580843)
- For some users, entering text on Twitter will be slower than usual (see bug 579488)
- For some users, scrolling in the main GMail window will be slower than usual (see bug 579260)
- The site Formspring is not displaying content to beta users due to bad "user-agent" detection in their code (see bug 620344)
- If you try to start Firefox using a locked profile, it will crash (see bug 573369)
- Users using Firefox Sync with their mobile device will need to update to Firefox 4 beta 3 for mobile
- Mac OS X
- The 32bit Microsoft Silverlight plugin fails to load when using a 64bit version of Firefox on Mac OS X 10.6. Sites that depend on the plugin (such as Netflix) will fail to work (see bug 598406)
- For some users, the window titlebar may flicker (see bug 621762)
- This version of the beta will not work on Macintosh hardware with Power PC CPUs (see bug 587799)
- Linux and Unix
- WebGL has been temporarily disabled for Linux systems not using the proprietary NVIDIA driver (see bug 624390)
- The video control buttons may not work when viewing QuickTime videos with libtotem (see bug 625036)
- For some users, Firefox may crash when setting the beta as their default browser (see bug 624267)
- Users compiling from source might need a newer gcc and libstdc++ as the build requirements have changed (see bug 578880)
Poorly designed or incompatible extensions can cause problems with your browser,
including make it crash, slow down page display, etc. If you encounter strange
problems relating to parts of the browser no longer working, the browser not
starting, windows with strange or distorted appearance, degraded performance, etc,
you may be suffering from Extension or Theme trouble.
Restart the browser in Safe Mode. On Windows, start using the "Safe Mode" shortcut created in your
Start menu or by running
firefox.exe -safe-mode. On Linux, start with
./firefox -safe-modeand on Mac OS X, run:
When started in Safe Mode all extensions are disabled and the Default theme is used. Disable the Extension/Theme that is causing trouble and then start normally.
- If you uninstall an extension that is installed with your user profile (i.e. you installed it from a Web page) and then wish to install it for all user profiles using the -install-global-extension command line flag, you must restart the browser once to cleanse the profile extensions datasource of traces of that extension before installing with the switch. If you do not do this you may end up with a jammed entry in the Extensions list and will be unable to install the extension globally.
- If you encounter strange problems relating to bookmarks, downloads, window placement, toolbars, history, or other settings, it is recommended that you try creating a new profile and attempting to reproduce the problem before filing bugs. Create a new profile by running Firefox with the -P command line argument, choose the "Manage Profiles" button and then choose "Create Profile...". Migrate your settings files (Bookmarks, Saved Passwords, etc) over one by one, checking each time to see if the problems resurface. If you do find a particular profile data file is causing a problem, file a bug and attach the file.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do to help?
We need help from developers and the testing community to provide as much feedback as possible to make Firefox even better. Please pick your favorite way to give us your feedback at any time!
- Where can I get extensions and themes (add-ons)?
Who makes Firefox 4 Beta?
Lots of people. See Help->About Mozilla Firefox, Credits for a list of some of the people who have contributed to Firefox 4 Beta.
Where’s the Firefox 4 Beta source code?
A tarball of the Firefox 4 Beta source code is available for download. The latest development code can be obtained through Mercurial. Firefox-specific source is in mozilla-central's "browser", "toolkit", and "chrome" directories. Please follow the build instructions.
Where is the mail client?
Firefox 4 Beta works with whatever mail client is the default on your system. However, we recommend Mozilla Thunderbird, our next-generation email client and the perfect complement to Firefox.
These are unofficial builds and may be configured differently than the official Mozilla builds. They may also be optimized and/or tested for specific platforms. You can browse through the available contributed builds on the FTP site.