Test Drive the Firefox 4 beta release now

The 1st beta of the new and upcoming major version release of our beloved web browser – Mozilla Firefox – is already out.   Head on over to the Mozilla Firefox beta page if you want to take it out for a spin.

Firefox 4 beta is deemed stable for day to day use.  Do take note that since this is a beta release don’t be surprised if something unexpected suddenly happens.  Bugs will probably be creeping around and if you do notice one don’t try to squash it yourself.  Instead it is best to report it to the Firefox team.

That is the reason why the beta release, 4.0b1, is bundled with a Feedback Add-on that has an easy to use Feedback Button.  Don’t hesitate to report bugs or tell them what you think about the state of the software in general.  Who knows they might like your suggestion and it could be in the next Firefox release.  You can also file a bug.

Firefox 4 boasts a lot of improvements.  It is currently running on the new Gecko 2.0 web engine.  There is a major face-lift in this new version with many of the ideas being inspired by Chrome.  (Personally I don’t like this very much but seeing as Chrome did borrow some of it from Firefox, hell why not Firefox borrow from Chrome too?!)

Some of these aesthetic improvements are obvious.  For example, see that orange Firefox button at the top? That’s the new menu bar replacement.   The stop and reload buttons have been merged.  The tabs are on top by default.  Sorry for Mac and Linux users since this will have to wait until the themes have been updated to support it.

For the not readily seen changes, Firefox 4 will have a new Add-Ons Manager, support for HTML5 and CSS3.

More features can be found by reading the release notes and feature page.

That new menu bar is my favorite. Not only is it fancy looking, it also saves an extra few pixels of space for a bigger view.  A very welcome idea for smaller monitors and netbooks.  Oh, did I mention it was orange?

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Notice: This article was published on July 7, 2010 and the content above may be out of date.