October 24, 2006 2:10 PM PDT

With Firefox 2, Mozilla touts security and speed

Mozilla officially released Firefox 2 on Tuesday afternoon, adding security features and a new interface.

Firefox 2 was made available for free download at 2:15 p.m. PDT. Mozilla has set up two download sites for the udpate, which it said it has optimized for the expected high volume of traffic, at Getfirefox.com and Mozilla.com/firefox. (Firefox 2 is also available for free via CNET Download.com.)

"The key focus in Firefox 2 is making sure that what we are focusing on is tightness and efficiency--with the ability of turning that browser into exactly what one needs, focusing on security, stability and speed," said Mike Beltzner, who Mozilla describes as its "phenomenologist."

The revamped Firefox includes a new interface theme and more security protection such as built-in phishing protection. It also has session memory, which, when the browser is re-opened, brings back the set of Web pages that were in use when it was last closed. Changes have also been made in the technology to import RSS feeds, which now offers a feed list view with title and first lines. (Click here for the CNET Review.)

related coverage
Mozilla unleashes Firefox 2
Reviews, images and video of the open-source browser, which puts premium a on security.

The camp in favor of having a "close" button on each tab has won over the majority who argued against them, Beltzner said. Previously, there was one "close" button at the right of the bar. Clicking on this closed only the one last viewed--but it could be difficult to work out which one this was.

"Google did usability studies with eye-tracking tools and determined that people actually look to the tab first, and it would take longer to determine if they had the right tab and were ready to close it," Beltzner said. "NASA Ames recently did cognitive modeling for us on tabs. Not only was the 'close' button on a tab quicker, but people would be more accurate. They also gave us good data on how wide tabs had to be before people clicked on the wrong one."

The NASA results also convinced Mozilla developers that people will inevitably close the wrong tab at some point, no matter what. That led to the creation of an "undo close tab" feature. "It will reopen the tab you just closed, and if you had written anything into a form on the site with that Web tab, it will restore that info as well," Beltzner said.

The new theme for the Firefox 2 interface has a cleaner look, resembling Opera 9, with similar Web feed features, rounded buttons and more opalescence.

Elsewhere on CNET
Download it
Get Firefox 2 and more information at Download.com

The Firefox 2 launch comes just days after Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7, the first update to its browser in almost five years.

"We see the release of IE7 as a great thing. It was in maintenance mode for several years. Our browser and others made people think that the Web browser could do something more for them, and that spurred on new (developments and interest in Web browsers)," Beltzner said.

Unlike IE7, Mozilla's Firefox 2 is available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines.

Early buzz
Buzz surrounding rumors of early access to the final version of Firefox 2 via an FTP to a Mozilla directory link went round the Internet on Monday and Tuesday, as fans and bloggers hoped to get an early look at the free software.

Mozilla earlier asked people not to attempt to download the update from a direct file link, saying that it would not guarantee "that any set of files currently found within its Web site or elsewhere will be the final release."

Mozilla asked that users be kind to the people who donated servers for the launch and wait until the release Tuesday afternoon.

"No, we have. Not. Released. Firefox. 2. Yet," Paul Reid posted on his Mozilla blog on Monday evening and pointed to a list of problems with obtaining an FTP link copy of Firefox 2.

"Digg and Reddit posts linking to direct FTP mirrors could be costing the operators of those mirrors hundreds to thousands of dollars in bandwidth bills, or may cause them to crash by linking directly to them," Reid wrote. "This could cause them to 'un-volunteer' their services as a mirror, making it even harder to obtain Firefox on release days."

"We are asking this as a favor. We are very flattered that people are so excited about Firefox 2, but we don't want to crash machines," Beltzner said.

See more CNET content tagged:
Firefox 2.0, Mozilla Corp., tab, Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer 7

45 comments

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What Happend To The Email Icon?
With the default skin and/or using Noia 3.30 they've lost the "check email" icon in the tool bar, where did it go?
Posted by geekpro (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Email icon
It didn't work for MANY people and has been removed by Mozilla.

You can see the notes on that here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=1104280#1104280" target="_newWindow">http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=1104280#1104280</a>

If you wish to have one you can use this extension:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/3591/" target="_newWindow">https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/3591/</a>
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
What about the memory leakage?
One of the main problems I find with FireFox is that it starts to suck up an inordinate amount of memory if its not shut down each day. Any word on whether 2.0 addresses that problem?
Posted by Johnny Huh (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: What about the memory leakage?
Yes, this was one of the specific things they said they've fixed. I haven't run across that problem so far while using Firefox 2 (and the betas) so it seems to be no more (yay!)
Posted by praetorian909 (34 comments )
Link Flag
couldn't handle an .asx file
i clicked on a link to an asx file. normally it should open the file in Windows Media player, but FF just showed the text in the file and didn't transfer the URL to WMP
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Have you reviewed FF Standard Diagnostic steps?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://kb.mozillazine.org/Standard_diagnostic_%28Firefox%29" target="_newWindow">http://kb.mozillazine.org/Standard_diagnostic_%28Firefox%29</a>
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Interfacing with Windows Media Player...
Windows Media Player files and interaction has always been an issue in Firefox. This is because Windows Media Player's interactions with Website is dangerous, or at least concerning. Usually this is only with embedded players though (where the player is locked in the website). You should be able to get it to launch in a new window or download for viewing (if not a streaming file).

However, FF does rely on the proper MIMETYPE for the file. A lot of times, the webserver will give out the wrong MIMETYPE for streaming media files. This is usually the top reason for FF to not pass the object to the right application.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
Firefox Myths
How many new Myths does this version introduce?

www.FirefoxMyths.com
Posted by OptimizeGuides (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
get over it
Seriously. I don't know what got into the author of that page but it's clear he has a chip on his shoulder
Posted by adasha76 (250 comments )
Link Flag
Truth
First off, FirefoxMyths.com has some good information in it. However, of the "Myths" that are represented most are not from Mozilla or any official source. They are assumptions and misinformation of general users. Every product that has a following has this type of stuff.

What I don't like is the tongue in cheek attitude of the site. It is very biased and represents the data in a biased manner. Source material provide can also be viewed as biased and opinionated as well.

I would say Firefox users have nothing to fear of this site. There is information on some Myths that should be understood by Firefox users. However, if you are going to take the time to blow all the Firefox Myths, you should target all those related to IE, Opera, etc as well. I find it funny they show Firefox's failed attempt at the Acid2 test along with Opera's successful one; however, do not even show IE6's or IE7's attempt on the same time. Why? Load IE and go find out... <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.webstandards.org/action/acid2/" target="_newWindow">http://www.webstandards.org/action/acid2/</a> :)

In the end, Firefox is a very secure and stable browser, and far superior to IE.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
www.FirefoxMyths.com is full of lies
We're not talking about "stretching the truth" like Microsoft usually does, some of these so-called facts are all out wrong. So much so I see the site as a bunch of lies.
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Name a specific lie
Or be known as a liar yourself.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
You Expected a MS Astroturfing Site to Be Full of Truthines?
What's really twisted is that some glom at Microsoft is arguing with his boss about what putting this site up will do for his review and his score card.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Link Flag
I doubt that... but not 100% truth either
Is his information correct? It looks like it has been backed up well. An objective representation of all the facts? It seems not. It does state firefox failed the acid test, but makes no mention that IE also failed this test. If I was trying to make an objective comparison between the two browsers, I would want accurate and objective information from all sides and not just "vote for me because my opponent sux" attitude.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Browsers
When it comes to browsers, it's about choice. If I wanted a super fast browser, I would use Opera. It's very fast and it's now free.

If I want a browser that is flexible, uses themes and extensions, I would use Firefox.

If I want to just quickly show someone a webpage, I use IE.

When I'm on a mac, I use Safari.

It really doesn't matter which browser you use, they all connect to the same internet and if you're happy with the performance of your browser, why switch? Keep your browser and enjoy.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agree in general but
I agree with you in general but ease of use also includes freedom/lessening of viral threats. There are CLEAR choices if this is included in the 'ease of use' equation.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Firefox 2.0 Rocks!!!
The good people at Mozilla have nailed it IMO.
- Firefox 2.0 feels faster than 1.5 and is noticeably faster than IE 6.
- Firefox 1.5 had some holes in its pop-up blocking which have been fixed in 2.0.
- Image blocking worked like a charm in Firefox 1.5 and works even better in 2.0.
- The upgrade process was quick and seamless (as expected).
- It's very nice to see the developers focusing on performance, privacy and security. As a user that's exactly what I want. &lt;rant&gt;What kind of lunatic thinks it's a good idea to integrate a web browser into the OS? That's an approach that's practically guaranteed to lead to security issues. And I want to keep the Internet in my browser, I do not want it spilling over into my desktop environment.&lt;/rant&gt;
- And hey! There's a built-in spell checker in Firefox 2.0 text fields. Note my typo-free post.
Posted by bw94382 (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE 7 has spelllcheck too
Firefox is not the onlly broweser that has a spell check IE 7 has one too. I like it beter.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Switched From Firefox to IE7
I used to use Firefox, but I like IE7 a lot better.

Compared to IE7, Firefox 2.0 has a clunky, old fashioned, interface.

Lots of other reasons too...
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Firefox to IE7
I never liked the stupid unintuitive interface of Firefox, but I used it for last 6 months, because I liked the tabbed browsing feature.

Now after IE7 is here, I am back to IE again, and I love the total look &#38; feel of it.

Even after applying themes, Firefox looked ugly, as if from previous generation.
Posted by slaha11 (8 comments )
Link Flag
Probably Not A Good Example
You know, your claims of Firefox being a "broken browser" might be more credible if you weren't suggest INTERNET EXPLORER of all things as a solution. Despite a new update, IE is still the worst browser on the market today, and is still limiting the web (and MS refusing to release updates for earlier Windows versions means web designers will be dealing with the horribly broken IE6 for at least the next few years).
Posted by DarkPhoenixFF4 (206 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Odd
Most of the new features, like session memory, close button on tabs, undo close tab, Opera has had for some time. I gave up on Firefox because it was so unstable, and these "new" features hardly motivate me to try it again.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Reply Link Flag
CNET biased against (fill in your preferred product)
After reading CNET review and rip apart IE7, calling it one of the worst secured products ever and that everyone should use Firefox for all web browsing, it's curious that they weren't that positive about this release either.

I'm not sure who CNET is supposedly biased against when they seem to believe all the new generation of browsers have serious issues and they aren't all that pleased by any of them.

I used to think that CNET was MS biased, but Apple is one of their largest advertiser (just check out all those Mac video ads), so I'm not sure on that count.

Is it possible they are actually trying to be indifferent and unbiased instead? Treating everyone the same way?

Curious.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
hmmmm
Many of his facts are in error.
Posted by wysiwyg22 (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Firefox Brain Game 1.0
Do you think faster with Firefox? Well, you browse faster. Find out with this game:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://cognitivelabs.com/firefox_promo_game.htm" target="_newWindow">http://cognitivelabs.com/firefox_promo_game.htm</a>
Posted by untethered (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Firefox Brain Game 1.0
Do you think faster with Firefox? Well, you browse faster. Find out with this game:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://cognitivelabs.com/firefox_promo_game.htm" target="_newWindow">http://cognitivelabs.com/firefox_promo_game.htm</a>
Posted by untethered (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Its Time, Dr Schmidt
Make FF the default browser for Google.

Break the searches that come in on IE.

Direct users to download Firefox and instruct them that searches through IE will no longer be supported.

Do it, Dr Schmidt, do it now!

Hand magilla his Dresden and light your first cigar of the morning on an empire in flames.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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