Mozilla has quietly posted the first “candidate build” for the Beta 1 of its Firefox 4 browser early this morning. The “chromified” browser leaves a solid first impression with a few minor hiccups, but no surprises.
If you have been using a previous version of Firefox 3.7, which now officially becomes Firefox 4.0, you should feel already comfortable with this new version. Mozilla has not posted detailed release notes yet, but there seem to be no major changes from Firefox 3.7a6-pre, with the exception that the browser is running more smoothly and with fewer crashes.
The main issues remaining are rendering problems in the menu bar on Windows Vista, which leaves the menu bar virtually unreadable if you are running dark windows in the background, behind Firefox. Loading new Windows can result in empty browser windows that require window refreshes for the content to load. D2D hardware acceleration is still disabled by default. However, if it is enabled, it seems to work already well, as Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 surpasses IE9 PP3 in some HTML 5 hardware acceleration, for examples in Microsoft’s own Flying Images test.
You can download Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 here. Please remember that this is a first “candidate build” for the first Beta version that is still far from being released as a stable version. Mozilla, in fact, contacted us and asked to stress that this build is not an official release, but rather a nightly build. Earlier today, Mike Beltzner, who is in charge of Firefox at Mozilla, posted a note to the Firefox group discussion stating that “[Mozilla is] still a ways off from builds. I’m watching the tree, but we’re about an hour out from seeing Windows results.”
Using it in production environments or with content you rely on may not be such a great idea. That said, we are happy to see 4.0 nearing its beta phase.
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