Mozilla reacts to rivals with plans to beef up Firefox 3.1

It's squeezing in another month's work on JavaScript, privacy mode

Mozilla will try to squeeze more into Firefox 3.1, the company's chief engineer said today, in part as a reaction to rival browsers from Microsoft and Google.

"Looking at where we are and the competitive browser landscape, we felt we would be doing a better job if we had another four to five weeks," said Mike Shaver, Mozilla's interim vice president of engineering.

Shaver wasn't sure what impact, if any, the additional work would have on Firefox 3.1's final release, which Mozilla had targeted as late in 2008 or early 2009. "It's too early to know what affect it will have," he said. "But that [late 2008, early 2009 timeframe] is still what we're looking at."

In a lengthy post to the mozilla.dev.planning message forum last week, Shaver spelled out what Mozilla hopes to do. There, he listed several features that would benefit from "one more 'feature cycle'" of development, including TraceMonkey, the browser's revamped JavaScript engine, and a privacy mode that was only recently slated for Firefox 3.1.

In an interview, Shaver said the move was in part due to faster-than-expected progress on some features, such as extending TraceMonkey's capabilities into other areas of the Firefox code. "We saw we could apply those [TraceMonkey] techniques to performance in other areas, like DOM [Document Object Model]. We think if we could bang on this a little longer we would get more out of this," he said.

The desire to push TraceMonkey development wasn't a reaction to Chrome, the beta browser Google released two weeks ago. "That's not a reactive thing, it's just the next logical step," Shaver said, noting that Mozilla started work on TraceMonkey more than two months before Google announced Chrome.

But Shaver acknowledged that some of the extra work Mozilla would like to put into Firefox 3.1 is because of competitive pressure. "We're not blind to the competitive landscape," he said. "We're watching other browsers as much as they're watching us."

He cited Mozilla's plans for a Firefox privacy mode as an example. Both Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), currently in beta, and Google's Chrome have tools that limit or eliminate what those browsers record during their travels.

"There's a difference between when just one browser has a feature and when it's in several," said Shaver. "There are user expectations."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags firefox 3.1

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?