Firefox 4.0 alpha 2 brings out-of-process plug-ins

By on March 4, 2010, 12:45 PM
Mozilla is looking to crash-proof future versions of its Firefox browser by developing a new feature called Electrolysis that will compartmentalize processes on a tab-by-tab basis -- similar to Google Chrome. But that's not the only angle they are taking. Also like Chrome the just-released Firefox 3.7 alpha 2 (which will actually be released as 4.0) has added out-of-process plug-in support, allowing Flash and the like to run in a separate memory compartment so that the browser can gracefully handle any crashes instead of going under itself.

The new Firefox preview also incorporates a number of JavaScript and HTML5 performance improvements, adds support for the WebGL standard and Content Security Policy, partial support of CSS transitions and several other features intended for developers.

Those interested in giving the new features a go and reporting back to Mozilla can use the links below to download. Mac support for out-of-process plug-ins is not available yet, however. Keep in mind that this is a very early preview intended for developers only and should not be used as your primary browser.

Download: Windows | Mac OS X | Linux




User Comments: 40

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klpowell said:

This is a much needed feature and something that I have noticed works very well in Chrome. And now if Microsoft would implement this on IE7 it would be nice. Here at work today, where I only have access to IE 7, I have had my browser section lock up twice today because of a combination of flash on one page and the company webfilter screwing up the scripts for that site. If this feature were availble I would have only lost that tab and not my full browsing session.

Docnoq said:

@klpowell:

If I'm not mistaken, I believe IE8 has the ability to run separate processes similar to Chrome. You should look into having your work update its browser.

I'm not much for alpha/beta testing when it comes to browsers, but these features seem nice. I have been waiting for Firefox to implement the separate process feature because it has worked so well in Chrome.

Any word on how this is supposed to compare to the new Opera speed-wise?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm just hoping the revision in the code of Firefox will help alleviate some of their slowdowns in recent versions. It's sad when the relative newcomer Chrome beats the pants off my old favorite Firefox when it comes to loading and executing speeds... Guess even Mozilla can become victims of bloat at times!

CodePhoeniX said:

Firefox or any of the plug-ins have not crashed for me in a while, but this is a great feature for Firefox.

osuebucks said:

These are definitely needed to keep Firefox user-friendly. I regularly install Firefox as a secondary browser for my users. They can often get agitated with me when firefox crashes. If crashes can be isolated to individual tabs, that would be great. Looking forward to the updates.

manintech said:

the current version i'm using (3.6) often gives me problems on shockwave plugin on linux system, and when it does, the whole browser crashes. hope this new version will solve this problem

LightHeart said:

Adobe

Sounds like a good feature, so now Adobe will only crash the tab. Maybe someday Adobe will make great software that will be slim, fast and just work...

Ah sorry, I was dreaming there for a moment.

tonylukac said:

What are all these crashes? Are these installations strung together by toothpicks? My browserS NEVER crash, and I do a lot of surfing. Only my mac browsers would crash, and I got rid of the mac. Perhaps you should stick to browsing Techspot only.

tonylukac said:

If you have a lot of crashes, perhaps you should stick to Toshiba computers or Asus motherboards like I have. I've got xp, vista, and linux. NO CRASHES.

tonylukac said:

What are all these crashes? Are these installations strung together by toothpicks? My browserS NEVER crash, and I do a lot of surfing. Only my mac browsers would crash, and I got rid of the mac. Perhaps you should stick to browsing Techspot only.

buendia said:

It's great to see they are trying to keep up the pace with their rivals!

IE8 already has a tab per process feature, so does Chrome.

gobbybobby said:

@klpowell U should get on to IT services @ ur Workplace and tell them u want to use Firefox or the like. IT services at my college have agreed to Install Firefox on every PC! (they not done it yet :/) Anyway, I never have Firefox crash, have mnay plugins and have 20+ tabs open sometimes, 0 crashes. When I tried Chrome It crashed all the time, SO I switched back. The stable Browser just got even more Stable! Good Job Mozilla.

Chazz said:

I'll wait until beta hits. I always use firefox's beta releases. They are pretty stable and I get the shiny features earlier. And on a sorta unrelated note. I tested out opera for a few days after the techspot news. And I see absolutely no improvement in real time use. You tube crashed on me actually.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Man this sounds great. Don't get many crashes in FF, but enough that I really like this idea.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

With IE, Firefox, Chrome and Opera "copying" each other's innovations, it won't be long before they'll all be the same browser. :p

Serag said:

Much needed feature, Would wait for the final release as always and I hope this works out well for Firefox's huge library of add-ons

jjbeard926 said:

"crash proof" doesn't exist. I'll be interested to see what they do with this. I actually had FF 3.6 crash repeatedly the other day, the first time I've had that happen since FF 3 came out.

But, even though I'm interested in the update, does anyone else think the speed at which some of these releases are coming out at makes "keeping up-to-date" difficult to say the least? As an IT professional each of these releases means an update I must run on over a dozen computers at the office plus my 3 at home.

supyo said:

Firefox is great but i'm really starting to fall in love with Safari. It renders pages very quickly.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

FF has been and always will be my favorite browser but chrome is starting to grow on me i like them both a lot and ff 3.6 is the sh?? ya know but this is a very nice update to ff.

Recycle said:

I tried switching to Chrome a few weeks ago.

Then I found out that running 3 tabs in Chrome took up ~200MB of ram on my machine. And was lagging while doing that.

Firefox runs at about ~250 with 5+ tabs and pretty smoothly. I am running 50+ tabs now at 350MB and after the initial loading, it's perfectly fine!

So I switched back to Firefox, and I'll stay there.

My point is, I don't want this 'each tab to be a separate process' thing in Firefox if it'll cause the lag I experienced in Chrome.

pipopaz said:

I'm not sure if it's a concurrent problem but in my old desktop chrome takes quite a lot of resources (what can you expect with 1gb of ram?) so firefox is a must use in my case, which brings me to this issue, the new features sound good upgraded but I hope that won't consume a lot of sources like chrome does.

TechDisciple said:

I wouldn't like Firefox incorporating Chromes tab feature to some degree. Due to the fact that chromes tab feature is a memory hog. On the other-hand, I like the sound of the crash-proof feature.

ashwingeek said:

Lets hope FireFox 4 is better than 3.6.

FF 3.6 is too slow.I am currently using the Flock browser, which is a modified version of FF 3.0.

Almost all the latest FF add-ons work with Flock

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't remember when FF crashed or froze on any of my computers, or IE for that matter; its that long !!

Having said that, I believe there is very strong need for improvements in the area of performance, its good already but it can be much better IMHO. Although I have no issues in this respect as well, probably because mostly I have Flash content turned off, so usually pages render much quickly

Secondly, if they can somehow find ways to further reduce memory footprint of the FF it will be fantastic for most users.

.

zaidpirwani said:

HAIL FIREFOX.......

that is all I can think of.... though I have been using CHROME for a while now, but still the ADD-ONS just attract me so much that I HAVE TO GO BACK TO FF and now this CRASH PROOFING will help FF gain back the market what it lost to CHROME, not that CHROME gained market from FF, but it gained from IE, which FF should have GOT....

Kovach said:

All browsers will come at same at the end...I like that Mozilla is involving people all around the world to cooperate and make their browser much more safer and faster than other. It's pretty good that everyone is working and are based on security, which is the main problem nowdays. It's just metter of time when zero exploit will be announced.

Puiu Puiu said:

They need to improve the speeds a lot. Curently the lastest builds of Chorme and Opera are a lot faster than FF 3.6 (i personally use FF and Opera), but it's really nice to see how much FF improved in the memory department (remember FF 2.0? ^_^ ).

Viandroto said:

I switched to Chrome, but i still have FF, as well Safari. Chrome has really grown on me, but it does still have it's quirks... but more importantly it doesn't crash as much. Maybe I'll make FF my default again, if Chrome starts acting up.

fref said:

Great news! It's very frustrating to lose all your pages because one is misbehaving. I didn't know Chrome had that feature already. That browser sure has grown up in the little time it's been out.

pyari said:

my first priority is FF then IE7 or higher.......coz in most case we need IE for viewing the web page some organization's web page only support IE, I just hate that.....why they just force to use sucha a crap(IE)......I don't have any plugins for FF and have updated stable v of FF so I never get crash......may be some of u have modified v of os then get crash or have some bad scripts on java or adobe.....hope u all understand.

Zenphic said:

Looking forward to FF 4.0. FF 3.6 really needs some work to stay competitive with Chrome (I use ChromePlus) and Opera 10.50.

kazarm said:

Crash proofing is very nice, but I would like to see HTML5 finished more quickly. Then it will be possible to get rid ot the proprietary plugins like flash and silverligth.

With html and java script  it is possible to have some control over how the webpage behaves. e.g. it is possible to block pop-ups. With flash the user have no control.

NightAngel79 said:

zaidpirwani said:

HAIL FIREFOX.......

that is all I can think of.... though I have been using CHROME for a while now, but still the ADD-ONS just attract me so much that I HAVE TO GO BACK TO FF and now this CRASH PROOFING will help FF gain back the market what it lost to CHROME, not that CHROME gained market from FF, but it gained from IE, which FF should have GOT....

+1

All hail the king, Lord FF

NightAngel79 said:

zaidpirwani said:

HAIL FIREFOX.......

that is all I can think of.... though I have been using CHROME for a while now, but still the ADD-ONS just attract me so much that I HAVE TO GO BACK TO FF and now this CRASH PROOFING will help FF gain back the market what it lost to CHROME, not that CHROME gained market from FF, but it gained from IE, which FF should have GOT....

+1

All hail the king, Lord FF

waterytowers said:

I have tried all the major browsers and FF is still king. I can't see how people can use the MS browser. It is the browser promoted at my work because they are in love with Windows and MS technologies. I still use FF unless the site absolutely requires IE due to the MS lock-in of using active x. I rarely come across an IE only site nowdays. Yay!!

RockandRepublic said:

Sigh. I don't know what to say, I recently downloaded 3.5 and am already having problems. I've lost my history and had it(browser) crash more times than im willing to publicly count. Nonetheless, I wouldn't trade it for IE.

levar said:

Serag said:

Much needed feature, Would wait for the final release as always and I hope this works out well for Firefox's huge library of add-ons

right now neither of the browser are not even close to alike features like Private browsing, skins, addons I'd say those are essentials browsers should have now'a days each browser has something unique to offer to there users Opera that got released this month brought in Opera Unite and Turbo browsing which a feature I've tested and proven to work well for slow connections. I don't want to go all blabering but you get the idea even though there are some aspects of each browser everytime another browser comes out with a new feature another will be bound to do the same either the same, differently but iimproved thats what Mozilla is doing and I think this will really help Mozilla/FF running as stated Flash in a different process. Even though Google first had this feature in Chrome so kudos to them.

techsp10 said:

Firefox is great and they continue this time in overcoming the fast pace of the technology.

Maybe they have to make firefox more reasonable to be used by the internet users.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

While going through all you guys comments, I was wondering wouldn't it be good for Microsoft to jump in, and when Mozilla's agreement with Google finishes in year or two's time, take that opportunity, sticking in Bing as default engine with FF. After all, thats how google got big in the first place i.e. by forging alliances. Just a thought you know, which could turn out to be good business

techsp10 said:

The new feature feature called Electrolysis is quite interesting... Actually in Asia most of the internet users are using firefox because it cool and faster to use. The only problem that they encounter is that it takes time to open it for the firefox to load. Maybe it is because of lot of add-ons that needs to be loaded. Sometimes firefox while browsing in the internet will easily crash.... It frustrating sometimes most especially if you are in the middle of searching... Sometimes also firefox would easily hangs-up especially if you open up many tabs.. Maybe this is just one of the common problem of firefox nowadays. But firefox is great to be used actually in the first place it open source and very well developed firefox.

Sometimes together with our classmates could ask. Where this firefox organization get some money for the upgrades of their products since they offered this one as an open source software... Maybe somebody could answer me over there..

Thanks....

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