The first disappointment was when I realized that the version of Firefox 4 that I had downloaded was only the Release Candidate, when I had been to a site that had given the news that the RTM version was up on the Mozilla FTP site, ready for the plucking, to anyone who knew about anonymous FTP transfers.
Well, that was wrong, because the people who set up the site decided to use the file name “Firefox Setup 4.0.exe” for the RC, which is very annoying, for a number of reasons. Not quite as annoying as those people who put up a program and call it simply, “setup.exe”, but close. No one has told these people that we moved away from eight-dot-three for a reason. Someone please share this with the people at Mozilla, and let’s put up a few hundred billboards about it as well, so that everyone knows that this is not acceptable behavior.
Then, after wasting the time to set it up, I went through it, looking for the “new interface”, which I had gotten really excited about, as someone had very effectively written about it, making me really anxious to see this new interface, which was going to change my life, and my socks, too.
Surprise ! The new interface is the removal of a couple of bars at the top, making the browser look like recent versions of Opera, only with metrics not as nice. (The emperor’s new clothes?) Major disappointment. I feel like I was lied to, and that a fraud has been perpetrated upon me. There is also that Manila-tan standard color scheme, which always was the very first thing that I always had to change, as it was an affront to my sensibilities. They still have not learned that lesson.
Oh, Firefox does appear to load faster – that’s certain. So anyone using it will be happy about that. The load times are much better than I remember, but, on the other hand, when I look at movement from page to internet page, the speed I see seems to be a ruse, as I see that the difference (at least on my 1.5GHz Celeron, 2GB RAM Windows XP notebook) is that the pages are rendered in stages, whereas the same pages are held in abeyance momentarily with Iron 10, and then rendered with a pop, at once. Depending on your frame of reference, this could make one or the other appear faster. All it does for me is look different, not necessarily faster. After a few page loads, I find it faster than older Firefox builds I have used, but not faster than Opera or Iron. I do realize this is all subjective, but for most who will be downloading this, it will be the same, as not many will take the time to do objective testing using timed checks, and taking the effort to eliminate things which would skew the results one way or the other. Also, I’ll admit to being biased – I like Opera and Iron. But, as I have said in these pages recently, I was very hopeful and anxious, mostly because of that glowing write up of the features and speed which I was supposed to be able to witness.
On the other hand, the setup offered to pull in my Opera bookmarks, which a few other programs offered to do, however none have actually pulled it off. Firefox is no different, though it one-ups the competition, as it fails spectacularly ( perhaps this will be fixed in the release tomorrow, but since the build I downloaded was dated 3-19-11, I tend to doubt it.). It seemed to do something while I was waiting, and the hard drive did a bit of churning, but in the end, not one bookmark was pulled over from Opera. Not one. Of course, this is a small thing, but why offer to do something if you can’t pull it off? At least the guys at SRWare have the intelligence to not offer.
So, will I be switching to Firefox? Most definitely not. Will the Firefox faithful be happy, I’m sure they will, but perhaps not as much as they might have been if they too, having bought in to the hype, see this as I do. (I’m thinking this could be why some Linux builds put up a Mozilla substitute, but built from the same code, and name it IceWeasel.)
Update – After looking around, and seeing that other sites have the same link, I came upon a site that stated that the RC2 will not be recompiled, and therefore is the RTM. Non-conformity at its finest!
Update 2 – As someone in the comments added, this might have been something that the Mozilla developers wanted to possibly release as Final, should no outstanding bugs be found. If that was the case, they should not have branded it with the RC label, which pops up during the install.