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July 1, 2009

First impressions of Firefox 3.5

Posted: 12:16 PM ET

Mozilla released its latest version of Firefox, the world's second-most-popular Web browser, on Tuesday. Available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in more than 70 languages, Firefox 3.5 is the browser's first major upgrade since the launch of Firefox 3 in June 2008.

Firefox 3.5 claims to be more than twice as fast as Firefox 3 and has a host of new features,
including a private browsing mode, customized downloadable fonts, the ability to show video built into Web pages without plug-ins, and geolocation technology that lets Web sites know where you are.

Early reviews have been positive. Slate's Farhad Manjoo tested a pre-release version and found it "hard to beat." An excerpt:

Though I can't call it the world's fastest browser—Chrome and Safari are just as fast—the new Firefox is no longer a lumbering beast. It launches quickly, fires up complex sites like Gmail and Google Maps without any hiccups, and runs tons of open tabs without crashing (an ever-present possibility in earlier versions).

And ComputerWorld's Preston Gralla says:

The just-released version 3.5 of Firefox is a winner, offering significantly faster Web browsing, better tab handling, a host of interface tweaks and, like just about every other browser on the planet, a "porn mode." If you already use Firefox you'll want to upgrade right away. If you're not a Firefox user, this version represents a very good opportunity to give the browser a test run.

In his review, CNET's Seth Rosenblatt is a little more cautious in his praise:

It is by no means the leap ahead that its predecessor Firefox 3 was, and it's clear that the competition isn't going away anytime soon.

How about you new Firefox 3.5 users out there? Anyone want to weigh in?

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Mike   July 1st, 2009 2:26 pm ET

Glad I'm viewing this blog with Firefox 3.5 so it doesn't take so long to load that poorly scaled 2MB 4500px × 4330px Firefox logo in this blog.


Chris   July 1st, 2009 3:05 pm ET

Speaking of weighing in that 2 meg image file of the FF logo means your doing it wrong.


Cevin   July 1st, 2009 4:28 pm ET

Although I have not tried Firefox 3.5 I have recently converted all my computers that I use to 3.011. Why? Because IE7 is a joke. IE7 is the most problematic browser I have used in several years. Crashes too often, click on a link and nothing (absolutely nothing) happens, generally like they took a step back or 3.


Jan   July 1st, 2009 5:32 pm ET

Just checked for updates and it only shows 3.0.11??? How does one go about getting the update?


J. Johnson   July 1st, 2009 7:31 pm ET

Meh. Its OK. Its better than Chrome and IE 7. IE 8 may be technically slower, but its usable. Safari 4.0 was a significant improvement over 3.x. If I weren't already a long time Firefox user, I probably would stick with Safari 4.0 and IE 8.0.


machater   July 1st, 2009 7:59 pm ET

I just tested this in my virtualized gentoo partition with vmware. yes it's marginally faster and the are well improve. I still see memory leaks and this stil is not as good as opera or IE7 and definitely not better than my beta of IE8.


edward cj molle   July 1st, 2009 9:21 pm ET

avg software said there is a bug in the 3.5 software and stop it from loading on my computer. please check this out and let me know what there talking about.. i have 3.0 and it works fine..


John   July 1st, 2009 9:31 pm ET

They must have fixed the logo because it's only 292px × 219px.


Matt   July 1st, 2009 11:37 pm ET

With this version of Firefox I've had trouble with YouTube. Firefox unexpectedly crashes whenever I try to get to certain pages on YouTube.


Chaitanya   July 2nd, 2009 1:01 am ET

The best just got better! I cannot imagine going online with anything but the Fox. It's not that other software are so bad, I couldn't care less — I am with Firefox because it's so good. It's light-weight, speedy and safe, plus it just works, no nonsense. Bookmarking, session restore, password management, anti-phishing anti-malware features, plus the new Private Browsing — Firefox is a must have! But the one thing I cannot do without, the most powerful feature of Firefox — Add-ons. If you're not on Firefox you're not really online, not really connected. Firefox rocks! Go Shiretoko!


Joshua Atkinson   July 2nd, 2009 4:28 am ET

Yes, yes, yes, finally up to speed of Safari. Faster than Explorer. I am just a regular web surfer, no power surfing here, and would say that 3.5 Firefox is now my number one choice.


Jacob   July 2nd, 2009 7:15 am ET

I have always been a fan of firefox over IE for several years... although i do enjoy a glimpse at Safari or Chrome... FF is by far my favorite browser, and I recommend it to everyone.
From functionality, to security, FF is a clear choice for me!


Andrew   July 2nd, 2009 8:54 am ET

After using the "Upgraded" Internet Explorer 8, FireFox 3.5 is a breath of fresh air. IE8 has so many problems that it isn't even usable as a modern day browser. FireFox 3.5 allows me to use an updated browser for all the sites I previously visited using IE. Gone are the html mismatches between the browsers.

Conclusion: FireFox 3.5 is a FireFix, and IE8 is an Internet Exploder.


Scott   July 2nd, 2009 10:01 am ET

3.011 and it's precedents have been extreme memory hogs. For someone who is less willing to upgrade PC's (and already at the RAM max), it's a real bear. Has that also been changed in 3.5?

I've started using Chrome more often, but it just doesn't have some of the features/add-ons that FF does.


Jeremy   July 2nd, 2009 10:01 am ET

As much as I like Firefox on Windows systems, I prefer Safari on Mac OS X. Version 3.5 has not converted me.


David   July 2nd, 2009 1:30 pm ET

As an IT Professional, Firefox has been a staple of customized web browsing. Version 3.5 is the sleekest and fastest Firefox yet. Every website I've tested it on works well. Even Netflix's proprietary playback works on this edition. Some add-ons are not yet converted, but expect them to update shortly. I recommend this upgrade to any current Firefox users for better performance and functionality.


matthew MacLean   July 2nd, 2009 10:33 pm ET

Safari 4.0 is just still the best. The new FF is like a safari clone with the typical FF skin. I'll stick with Safari, something that has been by far one of the best from the start. Why switch to something trying to mimic the best, when on my macbook I already have the best.


Tim   July 3rd, 2009 2:08 am ET

PC version of 3.5 isn't impressing me so far. Maybe it is my machine but 3.0.11 seemed to load a lot faster. As for browsing, no noticeable improvement. But I'll still take this over IE.


Bob   July 3rd, 2009 6:27 am ET

Not sure how anyone can say that IE8 is anywhere near the speed of Firefox or Chrome. I prefer to use Chrome since it appears to have the fastest startup but not as feature rich as Firefox.


Jim Jones   July 3rd, 2009 9:45 am ET

My only problem so far with 3.5 is I lost my Norton toolbar with the ID Safe. Hopefully either Firefox or Norton will correct this soon. But overall it does appear faster than 3.0, and I've experienced no crashes that some have reported. (including YouTube)


Foxuser   July 3rd, 2009 1:27 pm ET

I have NOT used IE for so long I really don't recall. It is sometime before 1999.
I have never had any problems with Firefox and it has always offered more than IE did. Some sites demand use of IE so I put up with that for the few seconds and then I get off of it. I also have switched many a person to Firefox. Because: tab-use, the add-ons, the speed, the reliability, the security. At the time I found Firefox educational institutes were requesting staff and students to use Firefox because of all the issues with IE and it seems like even as little as a few months ago there was a huge security issue with IE. It is the default on Microsoft OS computers, otherwise others would have to choose a browser, and more-wisely they would be choosing.


George   July 3rd, 2009 11:29 pm ET

I have used both IE7 and Firefox 3, and have found good and bad points for each. I recently set Firefox as my default browser, partly due to the add-on features available; in particular, the WOT feature that rates websites for how trustworthy they are. I also enjoy the feature that allows me to restore a previous session, in the event that Firefox shuts down unexpectedly. I keep IE7 on my system, as I have also run into a couple of sites that require it, although those sites are few and far between.


Geoffrey   July 9th, 2009 1:13 pm ET

Now faster than ever, I love it! I've been a Firefox user ever since it first arrived. Far safer than IE, because of the fact that it won't automatically install "signed" software while visiting a web page.

Unfortunately, for some of you, it's still a memory hog. I think more now than before, even. It's using 69MB of memory right now, to view just this page and no other tabs. I have twitterfox and Ad-block Pro running along with it. It's a possibility the Ad-block is using a large amount of memory to store its filter, however.


Liz   July 10th, 2009 6:07 pm ET

Firefox 3.5 is worse than 3 in my VERY humble opinion. I happen to have some patience, and FF3 wasn't too slow anyhow. Nevertheless, I CANNOT RIGHT CLICK ANYTHING. The morons must have disabled it in their newer precious version.

I'm not a complete idiot either. I HAVE tried disabling Java and Javascript as well as going to the advanced options from the content and disabling context menus. I have no Google or Yahoo toolbars.
Why can't I right click anything?

These imbeciles can create computer programs and somehow just can't grasp those things called simpler features.


simon   July 15th, 2009 7:52 am ET

I havent used FF 3.5 yet and im not sure i will due the consistant problems i had with earlier verisons where ff would work fine for a bit then it would corrupt or not save favorates at all. Otherwise i would still be using it . i'm Not a big fan of IE7 but atleast it will allow you to bookman things and not corrupt them for no reason.


bill   July 15th, 2009 1:56 pm ET

Liz,
I'm not sure why your right clicking isn't working but I am using FF 3.5 and right click works on everything.


Stuart C. Hellinger   July 15th, 2009 2:56 pm ET

FF 3.5 is a major disaster as many have posted on Mozilla's site and elsewhere it is a memory hog, using 100% of CPU power to open, which can take 10 minutes, when closing, which takes over 5 minutes to completely shut down, when you take just about any action, even when scolling a supposedly fully loaded page. It even uses CPU space when all you have open is an empty tab!

K-Meleon is much better and based on the same open source software.


kayla   September 6th, 2009 11:23 am ET

My right click isn't working, either. And to be honest, it's really making me mad. I've tried everything I could think of. Messed around in the options, restarted firefox, restarted my computer, and still nothing.

Is there a way to un-update firefox back to 3.0? Or whichever version it was I had before?


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