Opera moves its latest browser build out of alpha development and into beta and claims that Opera 10.50 beta is the fastest browser currently available. It's not clear at the moment whether it's faster than Google Chrome's development builds, or merely as fast as, but there's no doubt that this new beta should draw a lot of attention for its performance.
Google released a new version of Chrome for Mac OS X on Thursday that restores a key feature, extensions, that had been missing for weeks.
"With this new version, you'll be able to install any of over 2,200 extensions (and counting!) currently available in Chrome's extensions gallery," said Chrome programmer Mark Mentovai in a blog post Thursday. Extensions are a key asset for one big rival browser, Firefox.
Curiously, the beta version--5.0.307.2 for Mac OS X and Linux as well--made it to beta status earlier than the Windows version, which is still … Read more
Mozilla wants its Firefox browser to drop support for Mac OS X 10.4--the operating system also known as Tiger that was released in 2005--but the plan is running into some resistance.
If support is indeed removed, then Firefox 3.6--the current version of the browser--would be the last one to support Mac OS X 10.4, although Mozilla would still issue updates for several months after the succeeding version of Firefox is released.
"We would like to take advantage of more modern technologies on Mac OS X, and 10.4 support has been a hindrance," Josh … Read more
Google has filed at least four patent applications for technology it's building into its Chrome browser to try to make the Web a more powerful foundation for applications.
Patents can serve a variety of purposes. They can be used to keep competitors away from new technology until the patent expires. They can be licensed to others for their use or used as bargaining chips when negotiating patent cross-license agreements that let companies use each other's patents. They can be hoarded for defensive purposes, ready for deployment in a patent infringement countersuit if one company is sued by another. They can be used to gain more favorable terms in the creation of industry standards that relate to the patents. And of course they can bolster corporate chest-thumping when it comes time to boast about levels of innovation.
Thus far, Google hasn't proven to be a litigious company, but its presence is looming ever larger over the computing industry. The new patents are in a particularly fast-moving area, the development of Web browsers and associated technology for making cloud computing a more powerful foundation for applications. … Read more
On Thursday, the Symbian Foundation announced that it had completed the open-sourcing of its mobile operating system--the largest such migration in software history.
ZDNet UK spoke to Lee Williams, chief executive of the Symbian Foundation, to learn more about the implications of the open-sourcing process for the venerable OS and find out what people can expect from upcoming versions--and when they might expect to see a Symbian-based tablet or Netbook.
A few weeks after releasing Thunderbird 3.0, an overhaul of its open-source e-mail software, Mozilla has issued an early test version of a successor that smooths rough edges and fixes some bugs.
A principal change coming with the first alpha version of Thunderbird 3.1, code-named Lanikai, is the inclusion of the Gecko 1.9.2 browser engine, which is the version used in the present Firefox 3.6. The browser engine can be used in Thunderbird for extensions that do things like show Google Calendar or let people take actions in e-mail that require a Web page.
Rafael … Read more
In a decision that deprives open-source foes of some rhetorical fodder, the group that licenses patents for the widely used H.264 video-encoding technology chose to renew a streaming-media freebie through 2015.
MPEG LA licenses more than 1,000 H.264-related patents on behalf of 26 companies that hold the patents. The group's existing policy, which runs through the end of 2010, has been not to charge royalties to Internet sites that streamed video using the technology--as long as the video was free for viewers.
Many have been waiting to hear what MPEG LA would announce for the licensing … Read more
A difference of opinion among developers has become a high-profile debate over the future of the Web: should programmers continue using Adobe Systems' Flash or embrace newer Web technology instead?
The debate has gone on for years, but last week's debut of Apple's iPad--which like the iPhone doesn't support Flash--turned up the heat. Before that, Adobe had been saying with some restraint that it's happy to bring Flash to the iPhone when Apple gives the go-ahead.
But Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch took the gloves off Tuesday with a blog post that said Apple's reluctance … Read more
Who could resist the months of hype that paved the way for Apple's iPad debut last week? Apparently not Google, which has shown its interest in tablet computing with its browser-based Chrome OS.
On Monday, Glen Murphy, a user interface designer for Google's Chrome browser and the Chrome operating system based on it, pointed to image and video concepts of a Chrome OS-based tablet that went live two days before the iPad launch. Apparently nobody noticed initially, because only now did Murphy tweet, "Apparently our tablet mocks have been unearthed."
The site also shows the array of devices Google envisions for Chrome OS.
"While its primary focus is Netbooks, Chrome OS could eventually scale to a wide variety of devices. Each would have vastly different input methods, available screen space, and processing power," according to the Chromium form factors site. Chromium is the name of the open-source developer project that underlies the branded Chrome product.
It's possible that Chrome OS could be an easier sell on tablets than on Netbooks, the class of device on which Google said it plans to launch Chrome OS. Netbooks often are used as general-purpose PCs, so the browser-based philosophy of Chrome OS is a more jarring transition.
Today's tablets, in contrast, tend to focus more on a collection of specialized uses such as reading books, surfing the Net, and chores that only require light typing. With that approach, Chrome OS' break from the PC world could be less jarring. The tablet market isn't as big as the Netbook market, though. … Read more
Thank heavens for Windows 7. If you're Microsoft, at least, you may be doing that.
While most of Microsoft's businesses were flat to down year over year, Windows 7 generated record profits (and units sold) for the software giant. That's great for Microsoft. It's not so great for anyone else.
On the not-so-fortunate list: the PC makers who actually distribute Windows 7, as The Wall Street Journal reports. Windows 7 helped drive demand for new machines, but not higher prices, leaving Microsoft partners with sagging profits, according to the report.
In other words, when budget-conscious consumers … Read more