OPEN SOURCE software developer Mozilla has big hopes that Firefox 4 will maintain the momentum of its most popular product, and so far the results are looking good.
If you are a current Firefox user, the decision to update really is a no brainer. For Mozilla, the question is whether this major release will help it maintain and grow its web browser market share. It's a question that will be answered by more than just fancy user interfaces, that is, in the underlying technology used to render websites.
For Mozilla, completing Firefox 4 can't come soon enough. In the last two years it has taken some hits from Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome and recently even Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9. Google in particular has gone down the route of almost constant beta updating backed up by an advertising campaign, which has seen it enjoy some market share growth at the bleeding edge.
It isn't the growth of Firefox's rivals that got Mozilla worried, but rather the sense that Firefox had grown bloated and slow that would have got alarm bells ringing. On first impressions it looks like Mozilla has listened.
Aside from Jaegermonkey, Mozilla's Gecko 2.0 engine improves support for HTML5, CSS3 and WebM. Firefox 4 has had hardware acceleration since its fourth beta release, however it still supports only Windows 7. That's a big disappointment for a web browser that is bundled with almost every Linux distribution.