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Firefox 4, A Huge Pile of Bugs 481

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the software-is-hard dept.
surveyork writes "Firefox 4.0 beta 9 (AKA 'a huge pile of awesome') was released on January 14, 2011. Firefox 4's release schedule includes a beta 10 and a release candidate before the final launch in late February. However, one wonders if this schedule won't slip again, since there are still more than 100 'hardblocker' bugs, more than 60 bugs affecting Panorama alone and 10 bugs affecting the just-introduced Tabs-on-Titlebar. Some long-standing bugs won't be fixed in time for Firefox 4 final either (example, example). Many startup bugs are currently pending, although Firefox 4 starts much faster than Firefox 3.6. As a side note, it's unlikely that Firefox 4 final will pass the Acid3 test, despite this being a very popular demand amongst Firefox enthusiasts. Perhaps we'll have to wait until Firefox 4.1 to have this 'huge pile of bugs' (mostly) fixed."
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Firefox 4, A Huge Pile of Bugs

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  • Why not wait? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:44AM (#34926560)

    I'd rather them wait to make 4.0 stable than release crap and hope to have it done by 4.1. I mean, c'mon, who do they think they are? KDE? But seriously, I was using the FF4 beta for a while and it was pretty slick, and faster than the last stable release. However, it had lots of issues, such as the flash plugin container freezing or crashing constantly. The new features in FF4 did warm me up to trying Chrome though, and I may have become converted despite being late to the party on that one.

  • by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:46AM (#34926582)
    What's important to browser developers is getting the upper hand in their constant pissing contest over Javascript execution speed. Nothing else matters. NOTHING.
  • by Spad (470073) <<slashdot> <at> <spad.co.uk>> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:56AM (#34926670) Homepage

    The way Firefox is going, they might as well just ship wget with addon functionality and tell everyone to write their own extensions if they want "extra" features like a GUI or mouse support.

  • No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glwtta (532858) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:00AM (#34926706) Homepage
    So, a beta version of a major new release has a lot of bugs? You don't say.
  • Re:Why not wait? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by God'sDuck (837829) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:15AM (#34926880)

    Beta 9 is more stable than previous releases, and about even with Firefox 3 in my opinion. And that's what counts -- whatever they may say about the NUMBER of outstanding bugs, it's only the bugs that hit a typical user on a typical day that matter for the perceived stability of a program. With a few more weeks of spit and polish, Firefox 4 should be even with the competition in terms of daily stability. The fact the Mozilla advertises its bug list more than, say, IE9 should not make people think its known bug list is longer than IE9's.

  • by Shining Celebi (853093) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:42AM (#34927214) Homepage

    ...they took away even the *option* to have the status bar.

    No, torn between the people that demand that all Firefox features be reduced to addons and the people who want everything in their browser, they gave in to the addon people and made it an addon [mozilla.org] if you need the old status bar back.

    At this point, Mozilla can't win no matter what they do. If they take features away and put them in addons, the people who want everything (like me :) ) complain. If they add features in, the people who want all the features they in particular don't need to be addons complain. They're in a no-win situation. They put an incredible focus on performance, and people ignore it. Firefox 4 doesn't just have a new, much faster Javascript engine - there's DOM performance improvements, the startup improvements mentioned in the summary, and the UI in general is much smoother and quicker. But it doesn't matter, because my $PET_PROBLEM_X exists. I don't understand why other browsers aren't held to the same standard. Chrome, for me, is missing tons of features and crashes all the time. It's still a decent browser, and I don't spend all day on Slashdot railing against it.

    That said, there is a really annoying bug in Beta 9 - some of my tabs, after I close them, still exist in the ether somewhere and the Awesomebar wants to "switch to tab" when I go to that URL, and there's no tab to switch to, making me press alt+enter to open a new tab.

    But I'm pretty confident that and the other major blockers will be fixed by the final release, whenever it comes out. Firefox 4 is still a major improvement over 3.6 even with those bugs, and despite my personal pet peeves like tabs-in-titlebar.

  • Re:Why not wait? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ekgringo (693136) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:46AM (#34927252)
    Same here. Now if only they would give Chrome a damn menu bar I will stop cursing it every time I use it (although it doesn't stop me from using it). The MacOS version has a menu bar, why do they deprive Windows users?
  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @11:03AM (#34927464)

    In my experience then, the performance enhancements just aren't being felt. In real world use, I can't say that Firefox or Safari is "faster" - they both perform adequately in terms of speed.

    I'm not sitting at my desk thinking "I wish this browser would just be faster!" at this stage of the game - all the browsers I have tried have been pretty good in recent years. What does affect me are large swings in usability that make a browser annoying to use - like the removal of the status bar, or whatever bug has been added to Webkit that causes the hyper annoying "no paste" in some slashdot comment boxes on Safari.

    Performance matters to an extent, but I think it's been turned into a "my browser is 30 ms faster!" pissing contest now that the "my browser scores higher on Acid!" stuff has died down a little.

    I agree that they're (FF devs) stuck between the proverbial Dwane Johnson and a hard place; a big complaint was feature bloat, so they stripped features, but that argument falls down a little when something like Pandora is rolled in as a primary feature and something as simple and useful as the status bar is taken out. Not all people like Pandora, so they can disable it. Not all people *don't* like a status bar... but you have to go third party extension to get it back.

    I wonder if the ultimate goal of the FF project should be a "roll your own" - a core, barebones browser that has a whole list of features available, and you just checkbox the ones you want at download (or install) time, or go for a few pre-defined profiles.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @11:06AM (#34927512)

    As you may notice, from your own link, you need a third party extension to bring the status bar back, as I mentioned in my post originally; necessary because YES they did take away the option to have the status bar.

    Using third party extensions to put back functionality that you removed is the very definition of "took away the option". If the option still existed, as it does in FF 3.6, then this third party extension would not be necessary.

    You can try and justify the decision with a handwavy "oh, you can get a plugin" but that really isn't the point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @11:19AM (#34927676)

    You clearly have never worked on a large software product. [...] Firefox 4.0 beta 9 is still landing features [...] the planned schedule (late February release) [...] looks reasonable

    Apologies for the selective quoting. But it seems that the Mozilla team has never worked on a large software product either.

    Landing features in Beta 9? Planning a release less than two months after feature freeze (assuming there is one)? Has Mozilla taken over the Google definition of beta? Should we wait for SP1 before upgrading to the new version?

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @11:32AM (#34927838)

    Lets look at OPs list.

    there are still more than 100 "hardblocker" bugs, more than 60 bugs affecting Panorama alone and 10 bugs affecting the just-introduced Tabs-on-Titlebar

    So, in other words, Firefox 4 will be buggy because it wont ship until those bugs are fixed. Makes sense-- wait, what?

    Some long-standing bugs wont' be fixed in time for Firefox 4 final either

    So its a super buggy version of firefox, and shouldnt be shipped because there are bugs that had been present for a long time, and are still present (flash stealing keyboard focus, etc).

    Many startup bugs are currently pending, although Firefox 4 starts much faster than Firefox 3.6

    So they made major inroads, but theyre not "good enough" yet.

    unlikely that Firefox 4 final will pass the Acid3 test,

    ....Which, AFAIK isnt really that important as firefox 4 scores a respectable 97 out of 100 (firefox 4 beta 9), and its an artificial test anyways testing how well a browsers CSS breaks. However, I will note the bug's assignee: "Nobody; OK to take it and work on it"-- so if someone feels its worth the extra bragging rights they can fix those last 3 issues in a pointless test?

    Perhaps we'll have to wait until Firefox 4.1 to have this "huge pile of bugs" (mostly) fixed."

    This is perhaps the dumbest article criticizing a new firefox release ever. Firefox 3, yes, I can understand awesome bar pissed some people off. But firefox 4 brings tons of improvements, and even from reading the summary you get the impression that it has fewER bugs than prior versions; and yet the submitter seems unsatisfied that bugs yet remain. Perhaps you can point us to a major, complex project such as an HTML interpreter that ISNT a "huge pile of bugs"? Couldnt I label Linux a "huge pile of bugs"? Perhaps Linus should stop shipping kernels until all problems are solved, or perhaps revert to using 2.6.37.0.0.1 to denote the fact that there are still many bugs in there. Perhaps we should put the pressure on for him to get on it and release a new kernel absent all these bugs.

    Its like submitter feels entitled to a pristine bug free experience. Firefox 4 doubtless took a phenomenal number of man hours to make as much progress as it did; perhaps some gratitude for what a phenomenally high quality piece of volunteer effort it is, rather than whining about bugs that remain open, would be in order.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @12:04PM (#34928208)

    Ok, so in the spirit of "removing bloat" Pandora is now a feature, but to balance it out, the status bar has to go!

    There are some UI elements that genuinely work and are useful without being bloated or ineffective - the status bar was (is) one of them; somewhere to display the entire URL when you hover on a link and any other "status" items the browser shows you.

    Your argument that the entire point is that it has extensions to get it the way you want would work if the thing was totally barebones and you had to add in everything you wanted - like Pandora, ad blocking, flash plugin etc, but that's just not the case. What you have now is a browser that has some default features that are more suited to plugins, and some plugins that really should be built in.

  • Re:Why not wait? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GooberToo (74388) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @12:05PM (#34928216)

    People seem to assume that Firefox has become insanely slow over the years but forget that they are actively using a number of plugins for Firefox which slows things down - such as Ad Block. They then go and test alternate browsers, forgetting that their alternative isn't doing the same thing or sometimes, isn't even possible to do the same thing and yet get the feeling that things are way faster than before. Unfortunately, many people don't realize they are actually doing a seat of the pants, apples to oranges comparison, which almost always yields poor and inaccurate results.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @12:49PM (#34928842)

    The way people bitch about "bloat," that'd probably a smart thing to do.

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