Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Mozilla The Internet

Mozilla Jumps on 'Lean Browser' Bandwagon 675

fader writes "Following in the footsteps of fast (and often fantastic) wrappers around Gecko (the Mozilla rendering engine), Mozilla has just released their own lightweight browser, Phoenix. Only Phoenix will still use XUL, the cross-platform markup language used for the current Mozilla interface. Will it still be fast enough to overcome the final gripe about Mozilla, namely that it's just too slow?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mozilla Jumps on 'Lean Browser' Bandwagon

Comments Filter:
  • Gripe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MagPulse ( 316 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:37AM (#4318301)
    My main gripe is that it doesn't look or act like my other Windows applications. The buttons are different sizes, the keyboard shortcuts aren't the same, and a lot of other things I don't want to think about. If they can skin/change Mozilla's behavior to act just like IE, they'll have a lot of converts.
    • Re:Gripe (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:52AM (#4318385) Journal
      The Mozilla IE Theme [mozdev.org] looks pretty much like IE to me, and I'm using IE regularly.

      Of course won't solve the shortcut problems and if it's not customizable by editing some file (anyone know?), then I hope the Mozilla team will have that in 1.3 or so.
    • Re:Gripe (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrXym ( 126579 )
      Part of the issue is Microsoft have changed the UI so many damned times that there is no consistency unless every piece of software is contemporary. IE has *never* been consistent with contemporary software.

      At least Mozilla tries to fit in. If you run it in Classic mode Mozilla looks and behaves much like any other Win32 application. On XP, it even renders widgets with the theme engine.

      As for keyboard shortcuts, Mozilla shares a large set of shortcuts with IE (e.g. cut, copy, paste, find, new window etc.), but if you're a power user the mind boggles why you'd want to use IE anyway. Mozilla has considerably more keyboard shortcuts (and shock horror) some of them are indispensible such as being able to Find Next by hitting Ctrl+G. Why IE doesn't have a Find Next shortcut is a total mystery to me. Outlook Express is particularly hopeless when it comes to shortcuts.

      • Re:Gripe (Score:4, Informative)

        by benwb ( 96829 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:44AM (#4318738)
        I'm at home right now so I don't have a windows box in front of me, but I'm pretty sure IE will find next by hitting F3
        • Re:Gripe (Score:3, Informative)

          by DrXym ( 126579 )
          I believe it used to, but nowadays it opens their search sidepanel. The IE online help lists no shortcut for doing a Find Again which is a pretty lame omission if you ask me. And this is typical all the way through IE and OE.
    • by blixel ( 158224 )
      If I.E. does what you want, then why do you feel the need to switch?
      • Flamebait? Umm... sorry guys. I wasn't trying to start a holywar about Operating Systems. The guy uses Windows and made no mention of Linux. And the TOPIC of this article was about Browsers, not Operating Systems. And my point was simple, if IE does what he wants it to do, why does he feel the need to fix what is already working? If it's purely for the sake of geekdom, that's great... I can understand that. But I'm just curious what his reasons are. It was on topic and it wasn't intended to start a flame war.
      • There would be no reason, I guess. IE just doesn't do what I want, so I use Mozilla. I also use Mozilla's email package as it has gotten pretty good. IE can't control popups or use tabbed browsing out of the box like the big Mo can. IE is also not standards complian, and big Mo aims to be.
      • Since there are new security exploits appearing for IE almost every month/week/few hours, unless you cripple the browser by turning off all scripting/java/activeX controls etc, you're likely to end up with a virus or shitload of marketing crap all over your harddrive eventually.

        I still use it, and have now added entries in my local DNS server to block out links to gator etc as I got sick of uninstalling their redirect garbage.

        Besides which, MS is the beast, as we all know and using their browser just encourages them...
    • If you're not willing to do and try new things, why did you download Moz in the first place? ;)
    • Skinned Apps (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Masem ( 1171 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:04AM (#4318895)
      Not just IE, but just provide the standard hooks into the OS's GUI control box, and use that. I don't like applications that have their own 'skinning'; I want to have consistant window interfaces that I can change across the board from one control panel or preference box. Mind you, I have no problem with being able to set what skin a specific application gets from the OS, as one can do with a program like Windowblinds, or that built into KDE or GNOME, but that should be at the OS/windowing level, and not the level of the application.

      This all started with Apple's QT 4 player, which completely broke the highly regarded Apple Human Interface Guidelines and was put onto the Interface Hall of Shame just for that. Then Winamp came out, creating one of the first in-app skinnable applications, which is cool, but led everyone to release skinnable apps, such as Windows Media Player, and a lot of similar ones on the *NIX side. Sure, it's a media player, you don't interact with it like a word processor or the like, but there's something to be said about interface consistancy when teaching computers to newbies. That's why it's odd that Apple broke that mold with QT4, as they lived and died by the HIG in their efforts to promote the Mac system.

      Now with MOz's interface scheme, as with a lot of other cross-platform libraries like Java, QT, etc, it doesn't tie into the OS control toolkit and instead relies on drawing it's own widgets. To do the former would have to break cross-platform ability (I've yet to see a fully cross-platform system that uses the system's native toolkit, mostly due to lack of certain features in some kits compared with others. Even those that try to do this typically have to hard code certain settings that the user would normally be able to change -- I have a friend (hi paul!) that typically likes light text on black, and it's amazing how many Windows-native programs alone don't use the system colors, or use them inconsistantly as to make programs unusable.) It's understandable that WORA is a lofty goal, but there should be more push to try to provide some system native level that can be easily built without too much problem. For example, Nethack is a good example where out of the entire source tree, only a few special files are needed for supporting a different interface, including text and graphic variations; someone even pasted a Diablo-like orthorhomic few on top of the Nethack code, by only adding the appropriate hooks for that GUI. I'd rather see more effort here with Moz and other programs to provide this, though with much effort, than to keep on reinventing customization wheels that are inconsistant with the OS's customization.

      • Re:Skinned Apps (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:58PM (#4320191) Homepage
        Unfortunatly your goals would prevent any innovation in GUI design. That is the problem with toolkits. For instance you cannot use the Windows API to make a pop-up menu that pops up with the cursor pre-pointing at an item. Therefore you cannot use it to make a Motif/Mac style choice (oh, I'm sorry, a "combo box"...), You cannot put buttons into the menu bar. These are all simple things but they are primitive stupid mistakes from 1985 or earlier and we are still living with them because of the inability to modify the toolkit without breaking the programs that use it.

        Now it may be possible if, instead of "widgets", people would come up with some "drawing" code. Some elements are pretty consistent: "draw a raised box", "draw a raised box I can press", "draw it pressed", etc. Then maybe systems could use it, most toolkits have calls like this inside them. Then again, even at this level I worry about a complexity and forced design, for instance the obvious implementations would not let you make non-square widgets, while a non-square one would be complex and could be rightly claimed to be too much overhead.

        Also NONE of this has anything to do with enforcing consistent shortcuts between applications. From a programming point of view it is impossible. Imagine that they said Ctrl+C will ALWAYS do "cut". Then they say you must write a program with the function cut() and Ctrl+C will call that and you cannot do anything about it. That is what enforcing a consistent set of shortcuts means (Ignore the fact that you could make cut() do anything you wanted, I'm not assumming malicious programmers here). Imagine now you make up a new function, blorg, and you want Ctrl+E to call it. They know nothing about blorg so they cannot possibly call it. Okay, perhaps there is an interface that says "make Ctrl+E call blorg()". Great but what happens when they decide that Ctrl+E means a new standard (say go-to-end-of-line). Does your program stop working in that Ctrl+E stops calling blorg()? What if you relied on this fact? Or does Ctrl+E still call blorg()? Then you have an inconsistent user interface!

        The fact is that ALL systems allow the shortcuts to be arbitrarily arranged. The fact is that programs, especially on Windows, are consistent is because the programmers have an incentive to make them consistent. This incentive is always ignored by the people who keep yelling for "single toolkit".

  • by explosionhead ( 574066 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:40AM (#4318320) Homepage
    If Gecko based browsers want to become a bit more common place, they have to give a bit of an obvious advantage to Mr. Average Windows user, or else theres no incentive to stop using IE.
    Compliance with the relevant standards means nothing to Mr. Average, he just wants his browser to open quick and render faster to get to his pr0n.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:41AM (#4318322)
    Part of why Netscape's whole browser development scheme when down the tube and had to start anew was because they kept programming lose and fast... putting features before fixing bugs.
    I know they must be under pressure to add features; someone is paying their wages. But increasingly there are important bugs that just aren't being fixed. Please learn from the past, it may look like a time saver, but it costs more than it is worth in the long run.
    • I know they must be under pressure to add features;

      You know, that was kind of the point of building Phoenix... to put an end to marketing pressures and "design by commitie". From reading the FAQ/Readme [mozilla.org], the Phoenix team's goal is to design a browser with out feature bloat, one less likely to be buggy. They have a stable engine, and are building a minimum interface around it.

      FWIW, I downloaded Phoenix last night, and checked it out on a couple of CSS-compliant sites (the kind that make IE [mozilla.org] choke [meyerweb.com]), and quickly turned it into my default browser. Standards compliance rocks, and it is faster than Mozilla.

      Oh, and for all the rhetoric about "standards don't matter"... they will once AOL starts using a gecko-based browser. They're already doing it on the Mac, it's only a time before the Win32 client will be Gecko-based too.

  • slow? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pipeb0mb ( 60758 ) <.pipeb0mb. .at. .pipebomb.net.> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:42AM (#4318327) Homepage
    i don't find mozilla slow an any platform...os x, winxp or linux. i've recently begun installing it on my friedns and families PCs also, and it's snappy as can be!

  • Only for x86??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hoytt ( 469787 )
    It seems this build is only targeted to x86 (both Windows and Linux). Does any one know if there are plans to expand the compatibilty to other platforms? I mean we have Chimera 0.5.0 for OS X now, but the more compatible browsers the better.
  • I timed it (Score:4, Informative)

    by Publicus ( 415536 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:43AM (#4318331) Homepage

    If you allow Mozilla to load itself into memory for faster startup times (only fair considering IE does it without asking) you'll find that you can get a page loaded faster with mozilla.

    I tried it using both browsers on the same site with my machine at work. The difference was on the order of seconds...

    IE is junk compared to mozilla. Also, the Orbit theme rocks! Take a look here [mozdev.org].

    • Re:I timed it (Score:2, Informative)

      by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      I can leisurely launch IE and visit a webpage before Mozilla launches. I mean, I can hit start, run, type in "iexplore", load the default page, click on the location bar, type in my page and load it -- all before Mozilla launches.

      Mozilla is the only application I have ever known under Windows to regularly produce the "This application has stopped responding.." window just because it is taking so long to shut a window.

      Once it is up and running it is fine. Windows will swap it out, and it takes a good half-minute to pull out of swap, but otherwise it is fine.

      Despite this pitiful performance on every Windows 2000 (or NT) platform I have tried(it doesn't do this to me on Linux, and doesn't do it nearly as badly on Win98.), I still use it as my primary browser.

      Trust me, it is not my machine, nor is it the dozens of other machines I have tried it on. My Win2k system is the fastest machine I have.

      • Re:I timed it (Score:2, Informative)

        by Photon Ghoul ( 14932 )
        I've never had the "this application has stopped responding" with a 1.0+ version of Mozilla. I do get it all of the time with Internet/Windows Explorer. Odd that.
      • Re:I timed it (Score:3, Informative)

        by ivan256 ( 17499 )
        Trust me, it is not my machine, nor is it the dozens of other machines I have tried it on.

        /me types this into Mozilla 1.0.1 on Win2K

        The only time I have to wait for anything on my Win2K box (Mozilla included) is when it's spun the hard drives down due to 3 hours on inactivity. With quick launch, the limiting factor in getting Mozilla on the screen is my video card, and I have a Geforce 4 Ti 4200. If I had to guess I'd say it taks 3-4 frames to come up at 1600x1200x85Hz. Granted, my machine is a little faster than most,(Dual XP1800+ w/1GB RAM) but even on older hardware, quick launch should bring up mozilla before you can get your mouse from the start menu to the address bar. It sounds to me like your probelm is that you've got like 128Mb of RAM, and a slowass hard drive, and all your system memory is being used by the OS. (Win2K uses ~100MB of memory on my system without anything loaded right after boot.)

        If you include page loads in the timing between IE and Mozilla, it's no contest. Slashdot is loaded practically instantly in Mozilla, and takes seconds to render in IE.

        You've only tried really low end Win2K boxes, haven't you?

  • Light Weight (Score:4, Insightful)

    by skrowl ( 100307 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:45AM (#4318341) Homepage
    How is an 8 MB install file light weight or lean? Opera is only 3.4 megs! Load times are still slow, but not nearly as bad as regular slowzilla. DEFINITELY a step in the right direction, this is one project to keep your eye on.
    • It is funny you say that. From my experience (YMMV) Opera is much slower. I heard how fast Opera was, so I downloaded it and watching as the images diffused before my eyes. Whereas, with Mozilla and related browsers (I normally use Galeon) and also with IE, everything is snappy. Perhaps the Gig of ram (*evil laugh*) helps in that, but should that just make Opera all that much faster too?

      On the other hand, when I'm at school and I use the linux lab's ever not so fast Pentium 3 550MHz with 128mb RAM, Mozilla has a hideous load time, and Galeon's is only decent at best. However, once loaded, the page load times are just as snappy as here at the house.

      As for this being a step in the right direction...
      It is my understanding that the Mozilla project's main goal is to produce the browser engine. So why don't they focus on bug fixes and let people like Netscape and the Galeon project make browsers? Galeon is great (along with a few other Gecko engine browsers) and it very lightweight.
      • Re:Light Weight (Score:2, Interesting)

        by GigsVT ( 208848 )
        Opera is much slower. I heard how fast Opera was, so I downloaded it and watching as the images diffused before my eyes.

        From what I can tell, Mozilla and the rest are constructing the page offscreen, then flipping it into view all at once. Opera seems to construct the page in pieces. With Mozilla and the like, It seems there is more delay before the page actually begins to display.

        I use Opera almost exclusively, but I just downloaded Mozilla 1.1 to see if it was any better than the 1.0 prerelease I tried last. Moz 1.1 is indeed much better, faster loading, etc.

        Recent versions of Opera Linux seem to crash a lot more than the 5.0 series did. With Mozilla improving so quickly, and Opera taking so long to stabilize the 6.0 series, I may start using Mozilla more.
        • Not just that though, load times for the browser are higher on my machines with Opera. And the page load latency you speak of does seem higher with Opera to me. I use IE on my Windows boots (when I boot into Windows...it isn't often lately) and Galeon in Linux. So, I'm not exactly a militant nothing Mozilla type...I've just had poor experience with Opera.
    • How is someone bitching about 8MB in 2002 lucid or rational? $20 hard disks is only 40 gigs! Load times are slow, cause I am too retarded to have mozilla load automatically in the background!
    • Re:Light Weight (Score:5, Insightful)

      by asa ( 33102 ) <asa@mozilla.com> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @01:29PM (#4320479) Homepage
      Phoenix will probably never be as small a download as Opera. You can't cram better standards support than opera into an opera-sized package. We can, however, easily trim another MB or two from our download size without much difficulty. I was able to get a local package down 1 full MB smaller just removing a few test files and unused bits and samples. We're working on some build-config changes that will allow us to pull and build less (we're still carrying the weight of Composer even though we're not using it). I expect that Phoenix could get under 7MB without too much difficulty. But it's not going to get down to the neighborhood (2-5MB) of Opera unless we throw away a lot of standards support like our DOM support and other standards that we just do more of than Opera.

      That being said, Phoenix download for windows is about 8.4 MB. Mozilla download for Windows is about 11MB, IE6 typical download for win2K is 17MB. Phoenix is by no means the biggest of that group. Opera is to be praised for it's small download size. I just wish they had the same level of support for other W3C standards as they do for CSS.

  • precompiled XUL? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    didn't I just read something about certain files in your profile that are basically precompiled XUL for your interface and side tabs?

    If not, then wouldn't that be a good idea to cut down on the slowness? The issue with XUL as far as its benefits go are great. However, I don't think you need to interpret every time it starts. It should only check for changes. As far as rendering goes, I have noticed that the rendering seems to do too much at once. Perhaps if it took a more prioritized approach and rendered the underlying layout first, then text then media (for example) as well as allowed for the user or site author to prioritize more specifically then this slowness could at least be tolerated. an example of this would be a instructional site with graphical examples interspersed within the text. Personally I would like to see the text first. In fact, what if the site author used CSS (or XSL) stylesheets and had some for lower bandwidth or lower processing computers like handhelds. I sure would like the ability to set my browser preferences to (per site) use the text only (or low res pic I suppose) version of the stylesheet while still downloading the other crap in the background. Perhaps I could even set a preference to have it ask me when it was done pulling to re-render with the new stuff (instead of shaking the screen aroudn everytime a new pic is brought up causing me to feel like someone in an earthquake.

    I am impressed with the features that Mozilla offers (and hope people start exposing more features that the reference mozilla browser did not).

  • Slow at what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bdowne01 ( 30824 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:51AM (#4318380) Homepage Journal
    Will it still be fast enough to overcome the final gripe about Mozilla, namely that it's just too slow?"

    Slow at what?

    I agree that under Linux mozilla takes forever to come up.

    Under OS X its worse.

    But under Windows, if allowed to load itself into memory pre-launch (which IE does. Only fair to let Mozilla do it as well) it is as fast or faster than IE.

    But as far as rendering, mozilla on my computers tends to be quicker than other browsers I've tried. Under OS X, mozilla (once its loaded ;) just runs circles around IE. On Windows, it's just about the same...maybe only slightly slower. And on linux...well, I don't use anything else!
    • Chimera is really making great strides in osx, the nightlies i've been trying recently are really quite fast.
  • Good timing (Score:2, Interesting)

    Only a few minutes ago, I was looking at my IE browser at work, thinking 'If only I could have something like Galeon on Windoze'. Then up pops Pheonix. Wow! I probably won't install the 0.1 release, but hopefully we won't have to wait years for 1.0 to arrive. I'm replacing IE with Mozilla right now.

    • Re:Good timing (Score:2, Informative)

      by cetan ( 61150 )
      Phoenix is based off of the 1.0 branch of code. You're already at 1.0 as far as mozilla is concerned. They call it 0.1 for the projects purposes.
  • All I want... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmu1 ( 183541 ) <<ude.uosag> <ta> <namllumj>> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:52AM (#4318389) Journal
    is for my gtk theme to take over the Mozilla theme. Widgets and whatnot, not just color. I don't mind having buttons and layout set by moz, but I'd like an integrated feel, like it's part of the system... esp since it's the app I use most. I won't use galeon, mainly because it doesn't have some of the bells and whistles that mozilla does(that I do use).
  • by Elledan ( 582730 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:54AM (#4318398) Homepage
    It feels... smoother than Mozilla, loads pages a bit faster (or at least doesn't hang for nearly a second when switching between apps while the page is loading), and it uses fewer resources:

    Currently Mozilla (1.1) is using 32,852 kb of RAM, while Phoenix (phoenix.exe) is using 25,188 kb. This without any additional tabs/windows open.

    There's only the fact that many, many preferences are not accessible yet (although many are enabled by default), but that is to be expected from an 0.1 release.

    I'll definitely be keeping my eyes on this project :)
  • I remember when Netscape was beating IE for the internet browser war. Netscape became stagnant, and IE overtook them from almost nowhere, at least that is how it seemed.

    Now Mozilla is constantly improving, while IE is stagnant this time. For all the people complaining Mozilla is too slow, or doesn't render right, when was the last time you tried downloading and installing the latest version?

    I'm using Mozilla 1.0 right now, and it works for almost all of my web browsing. Some pages do have problems, but like I said, I'm using version 1.0, and that is ages behind 1.2 alpha which is out right now.
  • This will look great on my AMD 800 system with the 64meg (Obsolete) Video Card.

    Isn't this a step in the wrong direction. Aren't new programs suppose to be bigger. (Bigger = Better) Won't this make regular Mozilla obsolete?

    Why if this keeps up, Microsoft just might retool XP and release it on 3 floppy disks and call it Win 3.11!!
  • by Genady ( 27988 ) <[gary.rogers] [at] [mac.com]> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:56AM (#4318410)
    With a little project called Chimera. Of course it's only available for Mac OS X, but the lightweight Mozilla sanctioned browser is not a new concept by any means. New to Linux and Windows, yes. New to Mozilla? No.
  • Will it still be fast enough to overcome the final gripe about Mozilla, namely that it's just too slow?

    Will the next KDE/GNOME or whatever desktop finally be user-friendly enough as a MacOS, OS X or even (shudder) a Windows desktop ?

    Without so much as even a beta to try, who knows until we get the product ?
  • by PastaAnta ( 513349 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:56AM (#4318413)
    Is this just YAGBB (Yet Another Gecko Based Browser) or will this be the start of a modularization of the Mozilla browser???

    I am a happy user of Mozilla, but i dislike the monolithic approach of integrating browser, mailreader, newsreader, composer and you name it into one executable. What happened to the old and proven Unix approach of "Do only one thing, but do it well!"?

    I hope Mozilla in the future will be split into a suite of components, that work well together and with a consistent interface.
    • What happened to the old and proven Unix approach of "Do only one thing, but do it well!"?

      It was destroyed with the release of Emacs, as you might have noticed. By releasing a text editor that also could control your toaster, the Unix philosophy was dead.

    • What happened to the old and proven Unix approach of "Do only one thing, but do it well!"?

      This philosphy worked well with command line utilities because, via the shell, they could be piped or ``ed or a million other things together to do some impressive things. It was essentially the difference between giving you the API to do exactly what you wanted and giving you a full application that kind of did what you wanted but not the way you wanted.

      But in the GUI world, there isn't any piping metaphor because output is nonstandard. Because of this you also can't `` it. So there's no real way to pull little applications together in an easy fashion.

      I disagree with the other poster's assessment of Emacs (and I personally don't use it, prefering vi). While it does a lot of stuff as it's base, you can't count all of the things it does as part of emacs. Emacs is an editor that can run lisp scripts. It's the lisp scripts that add the functionality, and so it does still fit into the doing a minimal amount of things well, IMO.
  • Screenshot (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jodrell ( 191685 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:03AM (#4318445) Homepage
    Here's a screenshot of Phoenix [mozilla.tlk.fr] (mirrored here [jodrell.net]), if you're interested (via Google).
  • In my experience (Given I have only been using Mozilla for about 2.5 years now.) Navigator installed alone is fast and stable, as soon as composer/mail/etc.. are tossed in Mozilla starts running slowly and crashing. This has become much better over time, and I have not bothered keeping a plain navigator install around since 1.0, but it is food for thought...
  • Tried it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:07AM (#4318474) Homepage Journal
    They cut out a lot of the Mozilla's best features to make a smaller browser. There is a note in the prefs under advanced saying "your favorite features will be here soon".


    • Themes. This browser has yellow buttons that look pretty good but a bit bright. You can go in the prefs and rearrange the buttons with drag and drop or choose small icons.
    • Ability to block popups without disabling javascript.
    • Fine grained cookie management. No more "alert me" and "remember this decision".
    • Sidebar
    • Chatzilla, Mail, Composer
    • Site Navigation Bar

    Still there:

    • Bookmarks and bookmarks manager
    • History
    • Javascript Conole
    • Download Manager
    • Search plugins
    • Tabbed browsing
    • Cache

    Since my computer is fast enough and has enough memory to run Mozilla, I don't notice that Phoenix loads faster. An older computer with less memory would probably be a better test. Since my favorite privacy features are missing, I have no intention of switching, but if it runs faster on older computers I would recommend it for that. (Please try it on something slow and report.) It might also be appropriate for somebody who wants "just a browser" because of the lack of other applications. The lack of these applications seems to only save a couple megs of download, again I'll take the full featured Mozilla.

    • Re:Tried it. (Score:5, Informative)

      by mwa ( 26272 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:31AM (#4318623)
      There is a note in the prefs under advanced saying "your favorite features will be here soon".

      Just for grins, I copied my Mozilla prefs.js over the phoenix version. Theming doesn't work, but the proxy and tab preferences do and it appears to ignore onLoad for popups as well. Apparently, the Edit preferences ability is not done, but using the prefs.js does.

  • Proxy settings (Score:2, Informative)

    by repvik ( 96666 )
    If you're behind a proxy, don't even bother downloading Phoenix. It doesn't have *any* proxy settings whatsoever.

    Think I'll stick with Opera still.
  • System Requirements? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teslatug ( 543527 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:13AM (#4318516)
    I can't seem to find the system requirements anywhere. Is this browser going to be more forgiving on older computers? I doubt it since it still uses XUL, but you never know...
  • I love everything open source, but yet I am the slashdot's troll's cliche since I use windows as my main OS, albeit a pirated version of XP. So, I figured I should at least switch to Moz. I made the commitment to try moz as my only browser for two weeks and to only use IE if I needed it.

    So far, Ive been very disapointed

    First, I dont know what all this hubub about tabbed browsing and mouse gestures has been. W/o a quick way to cycle through my tabs, w/o being to have a tab be automagically reloaded, w/o a keyboard shortcut to close the tab, I dont see why opening multiple windows and using the WinXP group programs feature isn't any better.

    Second, the auto-scroll Moz bug has been around forever. Every time Ive been on another computer and browsed in IE, I realiz how often I use that feature. It drives me crazy not having it in Moz.

    Third, maybe I can w/ a theme, but I can not quickly move and re-arrange my bars like I can in IE. Luckily there is a google bar (kinda) for moz now, but since it has to sit stacked w/ the other bars and I can not combine, I don't use it.

    Fourth is rendering. I know this is due to sites doing best viewed in IE, but when I need to read a bug report on microsoft.com, or a story is only at CNN.com, I need to be able to read it. Would it be so wrong to add in what is needed so IE pages render correctly? On top of that its very anoying when I go to some sites to be told I have to have such and such browser. Again, its the fault of the webmaster, but it screws me.

    Numero cinco. Mime types. It is really anoying to click on links like .rar, .wmv, etc. and just have the file not downloaded, but opened in a new window or tab. I see where I can add such mime types, but this should be done already.

    6. Form and password management. If more then one person used my computer, ever, I would think the password manager in Mozilla is great. However, I am the only user and its really anoying having to enter a password every time to save the time of entering a password. I also notice that some forms (ie the google search) do not auto fill, or show me what I have entered there in the past, even though I have that option turned on.

    7. Mouse gestures were a joke. Every time I wanted to highlight something, and then copy it, the gestures decided I wanted to close Moz. I could have saved this with a modified key, but then what is the point of the gesture if I have to hit my keyboard?

    8. Until I hunted it down, Moz would not let me use anything other then composer for mailto: links. This I was able to fix, but it was not cool.

    9. This one seems to make no sense what-so-ever but I think is my last main complaint about Moz. Last night I wanted to download a patch from fileshack. So, I started the download in Moz and noticed I was only getting 50KB/s. Normally, I get somewhere around 300. So, I fired up explorer.exe, hit fileshack, and started another download at the same time, and downloaded it very quickly at a full 300KB/s. I tried this with different sites and different downloads (inc http and ftp), and each time Moz was comming up as one slow download.

    10. One last thing that relates to this article is speed. After I have moz open and have gone through a few tabs and few windows, I check mem usage and Moz is using over 40megs and is running 20-30% cpu usage. IE never did that.

    So, I dont think this is the FINAL gripe about Moz, at least not from me. Ill finish out my two weeks, but I can't wait to get back to IE. I am just as anxious to try Moz again after the next big release.

    PS - A cookie import would have been a good feature too.
    • Would it be so wrong to add in what is needed so IE pages render correctly?

      Yes, it would. MS put these things in to make you say that, to make you WANT the standard to be given over to them and force everyone else to play catch-up with IE.

      It has to be resisted or there's no hope for quality software and sometimes that can be anoying or inconvienient but that's the price of not letting Bill decide where you want to go to today.


    • 5. Mozilla correctly uses MIME types according to W3C recommendations. If you have any problem downloading files, it's almost certainly a misconfigured server. 6. I never have to enter any passwords into Mozilla, let alone every time I run it. Mozilla just remembers all my passwords for me. Instead of just waiting for a new release of Mozilla to come out, get involved. The first time you started Mozilla, a page informing you of how to do this should have appeared. After all, that's how open source software works!
    • I can't comment on most of your points as they do not affect me on linux in general (I usually use konqueror unless I come across a website that konqueror just wont display/open, then I go to mozilla). One thing that I will comment on is memory usage gripes. It is in no way a simple thing to compare mozilla mem usage vs that of IE on a windoze box. Why? Because a significant portion of IE is (unnecessarily) in the core OS and is ALWAYS in memory on a windoze box. Thus, when you start IE proper, your mem usage will go up but not that much because a lot of it is already resident (part of the reason that IE SEEMS so fast vs other browsers sometimes). You pay for IE mem usage at initial windoze bootup, with its unneeded files going into mem from the beginning - giving you an illusion that IE, the app itself, is faster than many other alternatives.

      If parts of mozilla's core libs could be loaded at bootup on windoze then you would see a real speedy mozilla browser too.

      Oh, one more comment...it would be wrong in general and wrongheaded period to poison html standards with windoze-specific pollution of html. It is not the responsibility of browser builders to support M$ poisoning of widely accepted and correct standards with M$-specific crap code, nay, it is the web designer's responsibility to KNOW XTML and HTML well enough to actually avoid propriatory and exclusionary and useless extra coding and tagging in their web design. If an electrician installs incorrect plug outlets in your house such that you find you cannot plug in most of your appliances, you do not blame the appliance manufacturer for not going along with the spec of one standards-flaunting electrician. You demand that the electrician use install proper outlets so that all your appliances will plug in to any outlet.

      Most web designers are morons. They don't know squat about what they are doing and don't think diddle about their users. They just toss something together thinking that it will work as they want it to but instead are loading their site with nonstandard crap tags that break their site for standards-obeying browsers. It is their responsibility to code properly, not the browser creator's responsibility to accomodate stupid, erroneous web design.

    • Eh, I'm not sure if your Windows shortcuts will be the same as my Linux ones, but here goes...

      1. cycle tabs: ctrl+pgup, ctrl+pgdown. Auto Reload: (not sure. you can do it in Galeon.). Close tab: ctrl+w. No clue about the XP group feature. Is it anything like window groups in Enlightenment?
      2. no idea
      3. yeah, Galeon allows you to rearrange the menu bars. Moz doesn't appear to on first glance. For stuff like the Google bar, you don't really need the Google bar since the Location bar will fwd the request to Google and open the results in a new tab.
      4. IE-specific code: no it's not fixable. If we cede control of standards to Microsoft, Moz will forever be playing the catch-up game. It would be helpful to have a quickie option to make the browser lie and say it's IE, just like Opera.
      5. No idea how MIME is handled on the windows builds.
      6. Edit, Preferences, Privacy & Security, Master Password. Customize to your heart's content. RE: autofill, I wonder if this is an IE bug where it autofills stuff it's not supposed to cache. Not sure.
      7. One reason why I don't use em. :)
      8. Isn't that an option in the Windows installer? If not, seems like it should be.
      9. There's another post on how to fix this. You'd think this would be an installer option...
      10. My understanding is that IE lies about its memory usage. It also can cheat and use undocumented APIs and other tricks to make the kernel favor it.

      so anyway, I hope this helps, even if just a litttle...


  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:18AM (#4318542) Homepage Journal
    there are a few simple things that would make it feel so much faster....

    1) Cache a picture of a blank page instead of mucking about drawing everything from first principles every time. Show this (or whichever part the user has chosen to start up with) FIRST before doing anything else. It doesn't matter if the thing isn't clickable yet, there is plenty of time to get to that stage while the user is moving the mouse. Buffen any clicks the user manages to make before you are ready and they will never notice.

    2) Accept and buffer keyboard input while pages are drawing. I get so annoyed that I can't fetch one page and then get a new browser window to open - even Netscape 4 let me do this!

    3) Cache the way the mail window looks and restore to that when it's opened (see point 1)

    Things like this would give an impression of improved speed with practically no change in the actual code. Hell, you could even take the startup pic away earlier in the loading process and it would make the thing feel faster!
  • by ClarkEvans ( 102211 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:34AM (#4318642) Homepage
    Mozilla is a great chunk of software. I don't think that another "browser" is required, in fact this will only help to dillute Mozilla's brandname.

    Microsoft's stuff has been just great for along time. The Mozilla group should just focus on making their HTML rendering engine, Gecko, completely useable by as many application developers as possible... for example a wxWindows binding would be a great boon.

    And what's this with changing the icons? Either it's a Dragon, Sea-Monkey, a big M, or a Square thingy that is hald blue and half read. I've got four icons on my page for the same thing...

    In short... Mozilla needs some marketing oriented types instead of more nerds. For example, it needs help making Chatzilla work for people like my gf who can use AIM but get confused when chatzilla doesn't find a server and complains.

  • Mozilla (Score:3, Troll)

    by NetGyver ( 201322 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:35AM (#4318651) Journal
    I used to use IE as my browser of choice, it was there and I used it. However, a friend turned me on to Mozilla just over a month ago and so I downloaded the latest 1.1 and gave it a run on my celly 500 + 192 megs ram.

    At first I was leery about running mozilla because I have heard that it would crash often. I think i had it crash twice since I had it installed and it was when i was turning features on and off. - It didn't crash out of the blue for me (yet) anyway. It's a hella more stable then my preconceptions gave it prior to installing.

    The first thing that got me hooked was the tabbed browsing, it's the coolest thing i've seen in a long time (as far as broswer features are concerned). Also the popup control feature is very handy when you surf around alot.

    I also like how the toolbars at the top are collapsable just by clicking the side tab thing. It doesn't REMOVE it, just minimizes it, and it's always there for you to turn back on easily. - I don't know if netscape had this already but it's pretty neat IMHO.

    Gripes - I have no gripes really, But last night i was trying to load up an old aim logfile (if you remember, aim actually had logging as a feature at one point in time)...So i loaded this aim html logfile (12 MEGS OW!!) with mozilla and it liturally took for_ever to show it. Granted, it was a hefty logfile. So i fired up IE to view the logfile and it displayed it very quickly.

    I'm not sure exactly why mozila was slower with this, my guess is that moz tries to load it all at once -before- it displays the html. IE on the other hand was very quick showing it to me, so i had a chance to read some of it while it was continuing to load in the background.

    Otherwise I'm FULLY satisfied with Mozilla, and it has become my default broswer. I was no OSS fan to begin with, but if i can get hooked on a broswer, i'm sure there are other open source programs out there that can really grab my attention too!

    - One happy convert.
  • by Konster ( 252488 )
    I'm not a platform evangelist my any means; I use what works best for me.

    I want IE style shortcuts in Mozilla. I want my 5 button mouse to do the same things in Mozilla as they do in IE.

    Why do I want platform similarity between Mozilla and IE? Why do I want the mouse buttons to work in the same way? For starters, IE has been so much better than any other browser for so long that I've forgotten all the clicks, and I'm not sure that Ctrl+Shift+L is fantastically better than Ctrl+O for the open location menu.

    But, something has come along that is mostly better than IE for what I want to do, so I use it most of the time. I just want my key shortcuts to work the same, I want my 4th and 5th mouse buttons to work while browsing, and I want it not to crash hard and take out my OS in the process.

    Get the talkback version and use it, please :)

  • by TomatoMan ( 93630 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:45AM (#4318749) Homepage Journal
    This is not a finished product by any means, although the /. story says it's "released." It's the FIRST release, version 0.1, missing many features; 0.2 is in development now. Also, there's no mac version yet.
    • by jacobito ( 95519 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:27AM (#4319051) Homepage
      There will be no Mac version. The Chimera project fills that niche (with a Cocoa UI, to boot).
      • by singularity ( 2031 ) <nowalmart@nospAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @01:28PM (#4320470) Homepage Journal
        Chimera also is an 8 meg download that expands to a 25+ meg executable.

        iCab [www.icab.de], another lean browser for the Mac, weighs in at about a 2.3 meg download that expands to about five megs (not exactly sure on those figures, I am not at my OS X box).

        Feature for feature, I would put it with any browser. About the only thing that it does not have is tabbed browsing, but it makes up for that with some of the most complete filtering and security you could imagine. I use Chimera for the few sites that iCab does not work with, and I keep wanting to go back to iCab.

        Want to save your Slashdot cookie forever, reject all Doubleclick cookies, save apple.com cookies until the end of the session, and be prompted for all others? You can do that.

        Want pop-ups to work on this site, but not on that one? Done.

        Want "Open in rear window" as a contextual menu option? Done.

        Want BestBuy.com to know you as using a Mozilla client so their stupid DB pages work and everyone else to see iCab, without ever having to manually switch? Done.

        Want to never send "Referrer" headers except for the stupid sites that require it, or to just send referred headers within the same domain? Done.

        Want to completely turn JavaScript off on this site, but leave it on for all other sites without manually changing it before entering the site? Done.

        Want to reject all images from DoubleClick? Done.

        Want a browser so HTML compliant it ships with a validator? Done.

        A five meg browser can do all of this on MacOS X and Mac OS 8/9.

        This is the type of browser I want to see.
  • Admittedly this is a bit offtopic from the Mozilla angle. In regards to fast browsing, I noticed after applying IE 6 SP1 on my XP box that general browsing was a LOT faster. More responsive, pages rendered quicker, download faster, etc. I'll have to download Phoenix tonight and see how it compares. Has anyone done any kind of tests to see how both browsers compared?
  • by mwa ( 26272 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:50AM (#4318796)
    Select File->Save Page As and select Text as type of file to save and the html is stripped from the file. Great for grabbing pages to view on your PDA!
  • OK... has anyone actually pulled this off? I can get it to recognize things like my mousewheel settings... but I can't get it to use my proxy. *grumble*
  • Priorities (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:58AM (#4318854)
    It's nice that they're adding new features to Moz, it's even kinda nice that they're making new versions of it. The problem is, it isn't finished yet.

    Until Mozilla gets its updates in the form of patches, it'll never be accepted outside the IT community. You simply can't tell the average user that the only way to upgrade a product is to completely erase their old installation and download a new 50 meg version.

    We patched a security hole, erase and reinstall.

    We added 10K of new features, DL the entire thing all over again.

    Ignore for the moment the hassle involved even for someone who knows what they're doing. The avergae user won't even attempt this because they'd be afraid of losing all their email, bookmarks, etc. The FAQ even states that you have to recreate your account with each new version.

    Forget playing around with brand new browsers. The old one won't become widespread until people can patch it with the same ease as any other program.
  • Opera beta (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anders ( 395 )

    In somewhat related news, Opera released [google.com] a new beta version of their browser last night, Norwegian time. It has many new features, including improved anti-alias and Java handling. The "hidden" distribution place is here [opera.com]. Incidentally, native FreeBSD builds are provided for the first time.

  • Makes it useless at work.

    In fact, the entire "advanced" section of preferences is not present.

    Maybe next version?
  • by Topar ( 74178 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:08AM (#4318924)
    What is the point of developing another nerdy XUL based Mozilla browser? Have the lessons of the Mozilla project not yet been understood? Some of the biggest weaknesses of the Mozilla browser can be attributed back to XUL. XUL enables cross platform applications to be quickly built, but for this developer convenience the biggest trade off for your end users is that your application will never fully conform to the native user interface of the operating system it is run on. A secondary concern is the memory and processor cost of the XUL layer - no one wants a fat and slow browser, caused by having to compile and run a Java Script based user interface at runtime.

    Why doesn't the Mozilla project develop fully native user interfaces around the Gecko HTML rendering engine instead of wasting precious time and development resources on another dead-end XUL based browser. A number of separate teams have already started such projects independently (Chimera, K-Meleon & Galeon). The Mozilla team need to refocus their efforts from developing half-caste XUL based browsers toward building native front-ends for each operating system that can complete head-on with the more popular commercial browsers. An XUL based application will just never cut it for the masses.
    • by rycamor ( 194164 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:55AM (#4319258)
      This is because the Mozilla project is _more_ than just a browser. It is an application framework. (see http://www.mozilla.org/projects/ [mozilla.org]). The scope of what they have taken on is amazing.

      I personally think the XUL think was a very far-thinking investment in developer mind-share. Yes, it hasn't paid off yet, but have you actually taken a look at what XUL can do? (point Mozilla at http://www.xulplanet.com/tutorials/xultu/ [xulplanet.com]). This is a dream for web-based apps. I am so sick of the standard DHTML/Javascript cruft that I have to use to get a decent GUI. If Mozilla/XPToolkit/XUL (http://www.mozilla.org/xpfe/ [mozilla.org]) become a standard, then I will be the happiest developer on earth. It really is kind of the answer to client-side .NET even before .NET was invented.

      Yes, at first it was kind of slow, but that is because thay worked on features first, performance last. Honestly, with the hardware that is available nowadays, is performance really a problem? The average user can have a machine that only 5 years ago would have been considered a supercomputer, capable of rendering fullscreen realtime 3D at 30 fps, or better, so what's the problem compiling a little Javascript? On my "older" PIII 600, or my AMD 550, or even my Celeron 500, Mozilla seems to perform well, in both Windows and Linux. I personally don't see where the problem is. 1.5 Ghz machines now don't even cost $600.

      There is always a trade-off between performance and features, but I think the Mozilla project took the long view, and I hope we will eventually see an XUL-type interface available for any GUI, on any platform. Goodbye .NET!!

    • by Micah ( 278 )
      Agree wholeheartedly with the first reply to parent.

      XUL makes it possible to quickly develop cross-platform applications that load like web pages but look like "regular" desktop apps.

      That's great news. I for one am tired of using applications that are done with just HTML. It's not what HTML is designed for, and we need something better. XUL provides that.

      It's also a potent weapon we can use against IE. I'm convinced that we're in a very dangerous situation right now. If Microsoft can get some of the bigger sites to only work with IE, you can kiss goodbye all hopes for competition in the web browser and operating system market. With its current market share, we're dangerously close to that level. The solution, of course, is to get people to use Mozilla!

      And why would end users care about switching to Mozilla? APPLICATIONS!

      For this reason, I advocate doing new Web development work in XUL instead of HTML. Not only does it look MUCH nicer than traditional web apps, but it will give people a reason to switch to Mozilla.

      I'm currently inhaling O'Reilly's new Mozilla application book [mozdev.org]. It's available under an Open Content license. (I submitted this as a story to Slashdot but they rejected it!!! Why??? This is HUGE!) The book is a good one and it can really show you what Mozilla is capable of. It is a very slick environment. Please check it out!
    • One-UI mind (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rlowe69 ( 74867 ) <ryanlowe_AThotmailDOTcom> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @05:32PM (#4322730) Homepage
      "... the biggest trade off for your end users is that your application will never fully conform to the native user interface of the operating system it is run on."

      For the life of me I can't understand why people can't handle remembering/using more than one user interface. Are software developers going to have to make everything plain vanilla just so brain-dead web surfers can use their product?

      Turn on your brains while you use your computers, folks and take the 5 minutes to learn a new user interface. Maybe you'll see something you like better (like tabbed browsing) that's not available on your interface. Maybe you'll appreciate your "primary" interface more. If anything, it keeps your brain moving and the progressive evolution to better software going!

  • Is it really lean? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bgarcia ( 33222 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @11:01AM (#4319303) Homepage Journal
    So, I have and old Pentium 66 with 20MB ram running in my workshop. I just want to use it for some casual web browsing. It's currently running Red Hat 7.3

    I'm having a heck of a time finding a lean browser to run on this thing. I haven't even attempted Mozilla. Galeon is too big, sending my poor machine deep into swap. I tried downloading Opera, but it kept complaining about not finding the right version of libXm.so, even with the statically-linked version.

    I see lots of talk about how fast this Phoenix is, but I've yet to see *any* mention about its memory footprint. Is it really lean, or is it simply lean as compared to Mozilla?

    I now have dillo [cipsga.org.br] running, and it looks promising. Any other suggestions?

    (No, buying a new computer is not an option. I remember running browsers on my old 486, so this shouldn't be impossible!)

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling