Firefox 7 beta now available, final build due next month

By on August 19, 2011, 6:11 PM

A beta version of Mozilla’s Firefox 7 is now available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Despite releasing version 6 of the popular browser earlier this week, it’s the next iteration that many expect to solve persistent memory leak issues that have plagued the software for years.

Firefox 7 will introduce MemShrink, an initiative that began in June to eradicate the browser's memory inconsistencies. Mozilla developer Nicholas Nethercote claims that Firefox 7 uses less memory than the past three versions, between 20 and 50 percent less in some instances.

In addition to MemShrink, the new build also features better Javascript garbage collection. It's said to work more frequently now and should free up more memory when multiple tabs are open. The upcoming browser also implements Azure Direct2D for Canvas which increases canvas-based animations in HTML5.

There are also tools built into Firefox 7 that will help developers measure load times. Synchronization of bookmarks and passwords is said to be faster, too.

Version 7 is part of Mozilla’s recent rapid deployment of browsers. The developer released Firefox 5 in June and earlier this week it quietly launched Firefox 6 a day ahead of the planned release date.

Mozilla’s browser has been criticized for needing large amounts of RAM and then not freeing that memory once windows or tabs have been closed. Nethercote acknowledges these shortcomings, indicating that some versions were more efficient than others. He praised Firefox versions 3, 3.5 and 3.6 but said things deteriorated with version 4 partly because of all its new features, aggressive JavaScript garbage collection and image decoding.

The final version of Firefox 7 should be available by September 27.




User Comments: 31

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---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I noticed after completely closing Firefox it was silently running in the background taking up 285MBs of RAM. I went to open it "from scratch" and it said another instance was already running. Pretty bad coming from a browser we trust and went to for performance.

Guest said:

^ beta is BETA.

RH00D RH00D said:

Guest said:

^ beta is BETA.

That exact problem he stated has happened on FINAL versions of 3.6, 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 for me. Although 6.0 is miles better than both 4.0 and 5.0.

Mindwraith said:

yeah every version of firefox continues to run in the background for a minute or 2 after closing, for me at least

Guest said:

On 8.0a2 (Aurora) atm, and loving it.

FF7 is quite good, I had been using it since it first popped up on the Aurora stream and i haven't had too many issues with it. A few compatibility things, but that's to be expected with pre-beta software.

FF7 is definitely a step up from FF6.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

guess i should pay better attention... i'm still using 5.0 lol

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

Well if FF7 is so much better and just a month away . . . I'm not even going to bother with FF6!

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

That exact problem he stated has happened on FINAL versions of 3.6, 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 for me. Although 6.0 is miles better than both 4.0 and 5.0.

Yes, it is. I have none of the freezes and long load times as I was experiencing with that dreadful version 5.

RH00D RH00D said:

Guest said:

On 8.0a2 (Aurora) atm, and loving it.

FF7 is quite good, I had been using it since it first popped up on the Aurora stream and i haven't had too many issues with it. A few compatibility things, but that's to be expected with pre-beta software.

FF7 is definitely a step up from FF6.

Can somebody, maybe you(?), tell me if using the pre-final versions of Firefox is advisable for simply day-to-day activities? I understand they will have bugs, that's okay, I just don't want to have it crashing all the time is all.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

At least with six I am not having any of the above problems, with 10 tabs opened right now it is using 242 MB memory and when I close it, it disappears from running processes within 3-5 seconds.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

At least with six I am not having any of the above problems, with 10 tabs opened right now it is using 242 MB memory and when I close it, it disappears from running processes within 3-5 seconds.

That is really good to hear. I hadn't tested it like you did but as I said earlier I am no longer experiencing issues.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

I remember Firefox 4 was really sluggish so I tended to use Chrome most of the time. Since I tried the new Aurora and Nightly channels, the old issues hounding Firefox have pretty much disappeared. I'm currently using Aurora 8.0a2 and Nightly 9.0a1 and both are stable enough for day-to-day use. You might, however, want to keep an older version around especially if there are add-ons that you need to run on a regular basis. My experience is that the fast release schedule tends to break add-ons installed by your antivirus program and surprisingly, even Mozilla own in-house add-ons.

Guest said:

Fx 7 beta 1 is great version. And beyond, gonna be truly, even greater.

I use this version as my default. Stable as rock.

No one mentioned that from this version, the fonts became perfect again, like older versions ( 3.6.x ) ? But still Hardware Accelerated. Even the last little blurriness issues, gone. Apart from the greater Memory Management and Hardware Acceleration. Also, with every version, Fx becomes even more optimised. Truly fast. And many good things coming. In a while, will be the most perfect browser in every aspect.

Guest said:

fire fox needs to fix there new patch eversince i downloaded the new security patch 2 days ago my fire fox hasnt worked for crap internet runs really fast but anything that uses a video player java script seems to be buggy as hell its i havent used any other browser for 5 years no but am finding internet explorer 9 alot better and less buggy lets go fire fox and get this strightend out

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That is really good to hear. I hadn't tested it like you did but as I said earlier I am no longer experiencing issues.

I think there is another dimension to this, from what I have observed so far, the memory usage fluctuate depending upon the site I am on. Anyway, I am going to give a full test to FF7B1, see how things work out

Guest said:

Absofsckinglutely yes; I have been on Nightlies for quite a long time, and the most important ones in my book (Adblock+, Noscript, Session Manager) will work just fine. Too bad Tab Mix Plus isn't on that list, since the devver of that extension apparently syncs it with the beta and final channels. That's the main reason that keeps me from running x86-64 builds on Win64.

StrayEagle said:

RH00D said:

Guest said:

On 8.0a2 (Aurora) atm, and loving it.

FF7 is quite good, I had been using it since it first popped up on the Aurora stream and i haven't had too many issues with it. A few compatibility things, but that's to be expected with pre-beta software.

FF7 is definitely a step up from FF6.

Can somebody, maybe you(?), tell me if using the pre-final versions of Firefox is advisable for simply day-to-day activities? I understand they will have bugs, that's okay, I just don't want to have it crashing all the time is all.

Hi, this is my Techspot account (just posted on guest because i was lazy and didn't want to sign in :P)

I find that there are very little issues with the Aurora builds. I use it as my default browser atm, and I don't seem to have any crashes or anything like that. I have found that since Aurora 7.0a2, they have been really stable, and the only problems are things like hotmail reloading continually. But that problem was fixed within a day or two of me reporting the bug though the feedback system.

The only real issue is if you run a large amount of add-ons, most of them won't be compatible with the latest versions of the build. As i only run a few add-ons, and most of them get updated rather quickly, i don't have too much of an issue with it.

Hope this helps

Guest said:

i am experiencing problems with FireFox 6. I use sites like:

1) www.cricinfo.com

2)www.fantasypremierleague.com

both of these sites are not refreshing since yesterday evening. Cricket site is showing the score of yesterday when england were still batting. similar with fantasy site, its stuck to yesterday, precisely 16:30 India time when i first opened it and logged in.

here do i report it to firefox team ?

RH00D RH00D said:

Guest said:

i am experiencing problems with FireFox 6. I use sites like:

1) www.cricinfo.com

2)www.fantasypremierleague.com

both of these sites are not refreshing since yesterday evening. Cricket site is showing the score of yesterday when england were still batting. similar with fantasy site, its stuck to yesterday, precisely 16:30 India time when i first opened it and logged in.

here do i report it to firefox team ?

Use this link here. http://input.mozilla.com/en-US/feedback

You can get to it in Firefox by Firefox button > Help > Submit Feedback

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I would sure love to see what the "hub-bub" is all about with this new Firefox version 7 beta. But alas, I can't, it appears that Firefox version 3.6.20 is all that came with my Linux Ubuntu 10.10 O.S. and Firefox since using Ubuntu has never offered me an option to update, upgrade or offer me beta browsers to choose from. It's been dead stuck with version 3.6.20, when I've tried to upgrade, it always reports that I have the latest version that is supported by my O.S.

Kind of sucks, but it's rock solid stable.

bioflex said:

now using firefox 7 beta and boy am i glad, very fast and responsive, and memory issues are in check too. Good work mozilla, just keep them coming.

Guest said:

The best version of Firefox I've ever used. It's fast, font rendering is awesome again, the hardware acceleration is still there, the few addons I use are compatible, it starts in a flash, it uses less memory than before... Good job, Mozilla, keep it up.

Guest said:

Today i download firefox 6 and then you tell me 7 will release in next month .come on .Do you know ?when i open firefox 6 i was shaked by your skin.it is worse than avant browser and some plug-ins can't be used in it .i can't stand it .back to 3.6

WinXPert WinXPert said:

I tried FF 7 and it's great compared to ver 4 & 5. Haven't got a crash up to not. And it's fast and responsive.

jonny702 said:

Am I the only person that thinks it's really dumb for these guys to release a new version every month??

tomcolgan said:

Ah here they said that about the firefox 4 version nothings ever final with Mozilla

WinXPert WinXPert said:

With the pace they are updating, maybe we'll have version 11 by December.

p51d007 said:

Other than some plugins not working unless you force them, it ran ok in a virtual machine. I'll wait til it is released to be my daily driver...

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Route44

I've switched to FF7B as my default day to day browser and generally it is very responsive and stable so far.

Guest said:

As stated in an earlier post. beta is BETA. Think untested, in development, unreliable...

If it were finished and stable it would not be called a beta release. As a casual user you will be much happier with final releases of this and other products.

Guest said:

It doesn't seem to matter what version but every time Mozilla issues a new version, some very helpful add-ons are no longer usable which makes both FF and Thunderbird less useful.. No matter how much faster they make it, losing time saving add-ons only make them slower.

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