Firefox 3

Matt just recently posted a blog entry about Opera 9.5, so I figured I would post an entry about the also newly released Firefox 3 (external link). Be forewarned, I am a hardcore Opera user, so I am not super familiar with Firefox. However, on a whole, I can say that Firefox 3 seems like a step in the right direction and it improves on a number of issues that plagued Firefox 2. The general changes include:

  • New theme
  • Implementation of Gecko 1.9
  • Page zooming
  • New bookmark manager
  • New download manager
  • Improved password manager
  • New address bar
  • Numerous memory and security fixes

I can say that Firefox 3 appears to handle memory much better now. It is evident quickly when you open twenty tabs or so, which would previously have brought Firefox to its knees. Now, I will not go much into the backend fixes, because I am not at all familiar with them. However, from what I understand, Firefox 3 handles memory much better and a lot of security issues were addressed. Also, Firefox finally officially passes the Acid2 test!

Firefox 3\'s new theme

When you open Firefox 3, the first thing you will notice is the new theme. The theme has been tailored for each operating system (Mac OS X, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Linux) to give it a more native look and feel. Firefox 3's new theme is largely different from Firefox 2's look and feel. I have to say I do quite like the new Mac theme, but it looks an awful lot like Safari now. Also, the Mozilla team has made a much more convincing Mac-style theme than Opera.

The other updates with bookmarks, downloads, and passwords seem to put them all on par with what Opera has had for awhile. Plus, Firefox finally has page zoom, a very nice feature Opera has had nearly forever (well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point anyhow). The address bar is nearly identical to Opera's new address bar, but it seems to not find things as well as Opera's.

Overall, Firefox 3 is a nice update to the browser, but I still find it lacks in functionality compared to Opera. Nevertheless, Mozilla does know how to make a Mac-style theme, whilst Opera Software does not.


  • I prefer using one theme consistently across desktop environments, so I ended up choosing a theme that I liked (Phoenity Reborn) instead of the default.

    Speaking about the improved password manager: I have come to understand that it is still not the match of Opera's Wand feature, so an extension like Secure Login should be used if one wants such a feature.

    Posted by Eugene Wee on Sun 22 Jun 2008 at 3:47

  • I wouldn't mind the themes being slightly different as long as it fits in with all the environments. For example at the minute the new default Opera theme looks really out of place on widnows XP, but looks good on Vista. They should have tired to make it blend in more of change the colours so it does. I think the Firefox team have made a better job of this as it fits in with most environments pretty well.

    Posted by Matt Oakes (external link) on Sun 22 Jun 2008 at 4:49

  • Well, the Firefox theme is the same idea, just styled a bit different on each platform. If you see on Wikipedia ( you can see how each of the themes is not entirely different from each other. It works well I think and looks nice.

    Posted by Ethan Poole (external link) on Sun 22 Jun 2008 at 12:47

  • The keyhole forward/backward buttons were a distinctive change, in my opinion, and since I usually switch between Ubuntu Linux and Windows XP, the lack of this "keyhole" on Ubuntu Linux means that the theme feels considerably different. For those who only ever use Firefox on Mac and Windows, the feel of the desktop integration could well be more important.

    Posted by Eugene Wee on Mon 23 Jun 2008 at 2:48