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Monday, August 23, 2010

Firefox 4.0 Beta 4 Released

Not quite s promised, Mozilla released it's fourth Beta of it's new Firefox 4.0 browser.  The Beta was supposed to be released yesterday but had to be delayed after a couple of bugs were discovered.  To download the new beta click here.  The new version offers several upgrades.  Most notable is a new hardware acceleration rendering feature which claims to harness the power of your video card to more quickly display graphics and text.  At this point, Mozilla is trying to play catch up to Google's Chrome which has established a reputation as the fastest browser on the market.  This new feature is turned off by default.  Reason being that Mozilla is afraid that this feature may not be ready for prime time.  But to turn on this feature is relatively easy and painless.  Here's what you need to do to turn on this feature:

1.  Type "about:config" in the address bar.
2.  In the search bar type in "mozilla.widget.render-mode."  Set the value to 6.
3.  Next, go back to the search bar and type in "gfx.font_rendering.directwrite.enabled."  Set the value to True.

That's it.  To see what changes you made you can always type "about:support" in the address bar.

Let us know what you think of this new feature. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mozilla To Release Firefox 4.0 Beta 4 on Monday

The Mozilla Foundation has announced that they intend to release the 4th Beta of the Firefox 4.0 browser on Monday.  They indicate that the code for this beta is "mostly frozen" and on the way to being shipped out on schedule on Monday.  The beta is planning to introduce hardware-accelerated graphics for Windows users and tab sets, which is commonly known as "Tab Candy."  "Tab Candy" is a feature that is pretty similar to something that Apple's iOS4 offers.  You can drag and drop to re-arrange all your tabs into groups, create new groups by simply dragging a web page outside an existing group and dragging another item on top of it, and rename each group based on what task is assigned to it.  The hardware-accelerated graphics feature will increase the display of text and increase graphics as well.  However, this graphics feature will not be turned on by default.  Users will be required to go into the about:config page and adjust some of the settings to turn on this feature.  Mozilla's developers are concerned that this feature is not ready for prime time and want to see it rolled out slowly.  Mozilla is indicated that they expect many betas to be released prior to the final release of the new browser.

Mozilla is hoping that the newest version of their browser will help them get back on track.  For several years, Firefox was gaining ground on Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  In the past several months, Firefox has been losing ground to Internet Explorer and to Google's Chrome Browser.  Next month, Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing a public beta of their new Internet Explorer 9.  The browser wars seem to be hearing up, with each contestant trying to one-up the other.