Mozilla Expands 3D Support, Adds Revamped Add-On Manager In Firefox 4 Beta

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News Posted: Fri, Dec 24 2010 11:51 AM
Slowly but surely, Mozilla's Firefox continues to grow into more and more of a respectable opponent to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. As the years have passed, more people have grown tired of IE's nagging and security holes, and Firefox has been able to capitalize like no other. The company's newest version of Firefox 4 Beta adds even more impressive features, just in time for the holidays. Of course, since it's a Beta build, there's always a chance that something may react strangely, but if you have been looking for never-before-included features in a browser, installing this as a secondary one just to test the waters may not be such a bad idea.


According to Mozilla, this beta offers easier account and new device setup for Firefox Sync, expanded support for 3D graphics in the browser and a revamped Firefox Add-ons Manager. Firefox 4 Beta now includes a streamlined Firefox Sync setup, making it easier to bring Awesome bar history, bookmarks, open tabs and passwords across your computers and smartphones. There's also increased support for 3D graphics. Firefox 4 Beta now supports WebGL for most modern built-in graphics cards, making it easier for developers to create interactive 3D games, vivid graphics and new visual experiences for the Web without the use of third-party plug-ins.

You can watch some of the new features in the video here, but of course the best way is to just try things out for yourself. It's a free download, so why not?


Firefox 4 Beta Gives You an Easier Firefox Sync Setup and 3D Graphics for the Holidays

We are excited to release the latest Firefox 4 Beta. This beta offers easier account and new device setup for Firefox Sync, expanded support for 3D graphics in the browser and a revamped Firefox Add-ons Manager.

Streamlined Firefox Sync Setup
Firefox 4 Beta now includes a streamlined Firefox Sync setup, making it easier to bring Awesome bar history, bookmarks, open tabs and passwords across your computers and smartphones. Based on your feedback, we’ve made it much easier to setup Firefox Sync while still securing your Firefox data with the same high-grade encryption. Ragavan Srinivasan, Project Manager for Firefox Sync, describes the new setup procedure for desktops, laptops, Android or Nokia Maemo phones and iPhones in more detail (and with videos!) in this blog post.

Increased Support for 3D Graphics
WebGL is an open standard for accelerated 3D graphic rendering on the Web that enables developers to build applications that until now required a user to install plug-ins. Firefox 4 Beta now supports WebGL for most modern built-in graphics cards, making it easier for developers to create interactive 3D games, vivid graphics and new visual experiences for the Web without the use of third-party plug-ins. For more information on WebGL, read this post from Principal Firefox Engineer Vlad Vukicevic.

Combined with our previous work to bring open HTML5 technologies for animation, video, and sound to the Web, developers can now create amazing experiences that are rendered directly in the browser, combining themselves with live data from the Internet. Watch the video of the “Flight of the Navigator” below, or better yet, try it on your computer (it requires a modern computer with recent graphics hardware). The live demo is rendered in your browser as you watch. As Professor and Mozilla Developer Dave Humphrey describes, this is not a video – it’s built using open technologies, pulls in data from Twitter and Flickr, and puts it all together as you watch.

Automatic Updates with new Firefox Add-ons Manager
The revamped Firefox Add-ons Manager is now available on Windows, Mac and Linux with an easy way to manage and discover add-ons to enhance and personalize your browsing experience. Now, add-ons update automatically with the Firefox Add-Ons Manager enables add-ons to update automatically so your add-ons are always up to date. For more information on the Firefox Add-ons Manager, see this blog post from Jennifer Boriss on the Firefox User Experience team.

Making Firefox Add-ons Compatible
We are working with the amazing community of add-ons developers to get the gallery of thousands of beneficial and fun add-ons ready to customize the features, look and functionality of Firefox 4 Beta. For more details on how to make your add-on compatible for Firefox 4, read this blog post from Firefox Add-ons Developer Relations Lead Jorge Villalobos.

Thank you to all our beta testers for all the help building and testing Firefox 4 Beta. Please keep the feedback coming. We love to hear from you and we couldn’t build Firefox 4 Beta without you.
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3vi1 replied on Sat, Dec 25 2010 4:44 PM

I've been running 4.0b7 on Kubuntu 11.04 for a few weeks and it works great.  I've seen a few Flash related issues on a few sites (nothing show stopping), but other than that it works fine.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Inspector replied on Sun, Dec 26 2010 1:27 PM

O.o interesting vid, can we make HH a city you have to navigate around like in the vid? xD

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mhenriday replied on Mon, Dec 27 2010 12:53 PM

«... Mozilla's Firefox continues to grow into more and more of a respectable opponent to Microsoft's Internet Explorer» ? «Respectable opponent» ? Here in Europe, as these StatCounter Global Stats indicate, Firefox has now become the leading browser - no mean feat, given the many corporate users who, willy-nilly are locked in to IE. Worldwide, Firefox still has a way to go - at 31 % market share, compared to IE's 47 %, but considering that in China, IE commands a market share of over 88 % (50 % for IE6 !), that's not surprising....

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realneil replied on Mon, Dec 27 2010 2:33 PM

It's been FireFox and Chrome for me for a very long time. I use MSIE once when I set up a new computer to download an installation file from Ninite.com that installs my two browsers of choice along with other free security programs.

IE was always such a drag to use, if it was gone tomorrow, I wouldn't miss it at all.

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