Fennec 4.0 – New and Notable

Just Too Damn Good to be a Version 2.0

in case you haven’t heard yet, Firefox for mobile (Fennec) is bumping it’s version numbering to more closely match desktop releases of Firefox. This means “Firefox 2.0b1 for Android & Maemo” is becoming “Firefox 4.0b1 for Android & Maemo” and will be released as “Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900“. We are aligning mobile Firefox and desktop Firefox since the web rendering engines used in both browsers are the same. Treating them as the same version seemed like the right thing to do.

Any add-ons hosted on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) that are marked as compatible for Fennec 2.0b1pre will automatically be bumped to support Fennec 4.0b1pre. If your add-on worked in Fennec 2.0b1pre, it will work fine in Fennec 4.0b1pre.

Goodbye Tiles, Hello Browser

Desktop Firefox uses a XUL <browser> to display web content. The user manipulates the browser element when clicking, scrolling, dragging or typing. The same was not true in Fennec. In order to achieve acceptable panning and zooming performance, Fennec 1.0 started using a set of <canvas> tiles to render the web content – which was still loaded into hidden <browser> elements. It was a complex system with many quirks to go along with the performance improvements.

Thankfully, a lot of platform work in graphics, layout and multi-process has happened since Fennec 1.0 and recently we removed the <canvas> tiles and switched back to use only <browser> elements to render web content. The front-end code is much cleaner and more simple. In addition, it’s much faster than the previous code so panning and zooming are even better than before.

Go try a nightly release for yourself: Android or Maemo

Note to the faint of heart: Nightly release contain bugs – don’t be frightened when you encounter them. Tell us about them instead!

35 Comments

  1. Soh Kam Yung said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 2:15 am

    Mark,

    Will Fennec for Maemo still work on the N810?

    I saw on bugzilla some Fennec issues with the underlying system libraries so I understand if Fennec for N810 is no longer supported for the new version.

  2. Anonymous said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 5:47 am

    [...] [...]

  3. Fennec 4.0 – New and Notable | Maemo Nokia N900 said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 6:55 am

    [...] for Mobile Fennec 4.0 – New and Notable – http://starkravingfinkle.org/blog&#8230; 6 hours [...]

  4. Firefox for mobile version bumped to 4.0 • Mozilla Links said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 8:38 am

    [...] mobile team has announced that the next major update for Firefox for mobile will be bumped to 4.0, to align it with its [...]

  5. Fabian said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 9:00 am

    It was a very good decision to drop those tiles. At last some pages weren’t really shown and if so, it was solow.
    So thanks, everything is fine and fast with the single-browser-element-solution.

  6. AndroidAbh said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 11:25 am

    i love the name Fennec more than the name “Firefox Mobile” . plz dont change the name of Fennec (Android version)

  7. Fennec re-versioned to bring it in line with desktop Firefox | Motorola Droid X said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 11:54 am

    [...] Fennec, the codename for Mozilla'z mobile version of Firefox, is getting a bit of a name change to bring it in line with the current version of Firefox. Fennec 2.0 is currently in alpha and is still being updated with nightly builds, but the "web rendering engines used in both browsers are the same" according to lead developer Mark Finkle. As such, Fennic will be now have its official name changed to "Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900" for it's eventual release. The current 4.0b1 version is identical to the 2.0b1 version apart from the version number change. These changes should help Mozilla out with marketing the browser so people aren't confused as to why Firefox mobile is only 2.x, but their desktop version is 4.x. [Mark Finkle's Blog] [...]

  8. Fennec re-versioned to bring it in line with desktop Firefox | Android Phone said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

    [...] Fennec, the codename for Mozilla’s mobile version of Firefox, is getting a bit of a name change to bring it in line with the current version of Firefox. Fennec 2.0 is currently in alpha and is still being updated with nightly builds, but the “web rendering engines used in both browsers are the same” according to lead developer Mark Finkle. As such, Fennic will be now have its official name changed to “Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900″ for it’s eventual release. The current 4.0b1 version is identical to the 2.0b1 version apart from the version number change. These changes should help Mozilla out with marketing the browser so people aren’t confused as to why Firefox mobile is only 2.x, but their desktop version is 4.x. [Mark Finkle's Blog] [...]

  9. Lowest Prices on iPhone Stuff » Post Topic » Fennec re-versioned to bring it in line with desktop Firefox said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    [...] Fennec, the codename for Mozilla’s mobile version of Firefox, is getting a bit of a name change to bring it in line with the current version of Firefox. Fennec 2.0 is currently in alpha and is still being updated with nightly builds, but the "web rendering engines used in both browsers are the same" according to lead developer Mark Finkle. As such, Fennic will be now have its official name changed to "Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900" for it’s eventual release. The current 4.0b1 version is identical to the 2.0b1 version apart from the version number change. These changes should help Mozilla out with marketing the browser so people aren’t confused as to why Firefox mobile is only 2.x, but their desktop version is 4.x. [Mark Finkle's Blog] [...]

  10. Fennec re-versioned to bring it in line with desktop Firefox | Pumper143's Blog said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

    [...] Fennec, the codename for Mozilla’s mobile version of Firefox, is getting a bit of a name change to bring it in line with the current version of Firefox. Fennec 2.0 is currently in alpha and is still being updated with nightly builds, but the "web rendering engines used in both browsers are the same" according to lead developer Mark Finkle. As such, Fennic will be now have its official name changed to "Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900" for it’s eventual release. The current 4.0b1 version is identical to the 2.0b1 version apart from the version number change. These changes should help Mozilla out with marketing the browser so people aren’t confused as to why Firefox mobile is only 2.x, but their desktop version is 4.x. [Mark Finkle's Blog] [...]

  11. Mark Finkle said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

    @Soh Kam Yung – Sorry, we are dropping support for the N810. As you saw we have a nasty little bug keeping Fennec from even running on the N810. We’d take patches to fix it and keep it running, but we don’t have the resources to keep the N810 supported ourselves.

  12. Mark Finkle said,

    September 30, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

    @AndroidAbh – It’s Firefox, not stopping that. Fennec is only our codename.

  13. Anon said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 1:33 am

    Will we get Xulrunner 2.0 (Gecko 2.0) after Fx release?

    You are welcome to take your time answering.

  14. Mozilla changes name of mobile browser from “Fennec” to “Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900″ | Android Arena said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 1:55 am

    [...] The idea is to align the version numbers of both browsers so that no one is confused that the desktop version of Firefox is at 4.x and the mobile version is at 2.x. As Mark Finkle, a member of the Mozilla team working on Firefox simply puts it on his blog, “Treating them as the same version seemed like the right thing to do.” source: MarkFinkle [...]

  15. Stephane said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 5:07 am

    Does the Maemo version have OpenGL rendering acceleration turned on ?
    Despite the progresses I still feel the user experience slower than with Opera Mobile.
    I still hope you will be able to raise something as smooth and quick.

  16. sygys said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 6:09 am

    man is that all you guys were working on? i expected flash support 10 atleast. this way people will actually use firefox instead of the standard browser on the n900.now i dont see a reason why i should choose the half finished buggy, flash lacking browser wich now finnaly can zoom right…

    disappointed …. big time

  17. Fennec, RingLeader és társai – heti apró « AndroidApps.hu said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 6:27 am

    [...] immár a küszöbön áll. Ahogy az Mark Finkle, a Fennec vezet? fejleszt?jének blogjában olvasható, a Fennec verziószámát a Firefoxhoz igazítják, ezért a 4-es verzió gyakorlatilag ugyanaz, [...]

  18. Mark Finkle said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 8:40 am

    @Anon – You can get current XULRunner 2.0 nightly builds from here:
    http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/xulrunner/nightly/latest-trunk/

  19. Firefox 4 pour Android - Le nouveau nom de Fennec | Android-France said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 9:00 am

    [...] Source. Wikio [...]

  20. kkito said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    I am unable to make fennec nightly build run on my n900. when i run it i only get a blank window with this text:

    <window id="main-window"
    ^

    What am I doing bad? Are the nightly builds for n900 working?

    regards

  21. Le navigateur Fennec est renommé « Firefox for Android » | FrAndroid said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 11:43 am

    [...] apprend depuis le blog de Mark Finkle que le navigateur mobile Mozilla « Fennec pour Android », sera finalement [...]

  22. Fennec 2.0 Android Firefox Browser becomes 4.0 to keep pace with Desktop browser | Android Community said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

    [...] [Via Mark Finkle's Blog] [...]

  23. Anon said,

    October 1, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

    Thanks Mark.

  24. pierre said,

    October 2, 2010 @ 8:11 am

    I tried a couple of the latests builds on my Windows XP tablet PC and these won’t open a new page like “google.com” … by the way I like fennec a lot on Windows tablets and I’ve put some info about it there : http://forum.pocketables.net/showthread.php?t=4501 :)

  25. Fennec change de nom « High-info.fr said,

    October 2, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    [...] via starkravingfinkle [...]

  26. Mark Finkle said,

    October 2, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    Sounds like you are using a locale which is not fully localized. If you installed the multi-locale version of Fennec, you probably have your device set to a locale that is not fully localized. You could try downloading the en-US version. Or you could switch your device to English and start Fennec. Then switch the Fennec locale to English, which should force it to stay English. Then switch your device back to the desired language.

    When we ship beta 1, we should be more fully localized.

  27. pierro78 said,

    October 3, 2010 @ 4:25 am

    Thanks Mark for your answer.
    I tried http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/mobile/nightly/latest-mozilla-central-win32/fennec-4.0b2pre.en-US.win32.zip on a fully en-US WinXP 32 machine and I couldn’t open google.com or any other webpage either …

  28. pierro78 said,

    October 3, 2010 @ 4:26 am

    (it worked with a mid-september build though … and it’s working good with the 1.2beta)

  29. Gunni said,

    October 3, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    I got the same problem like kkito. Blank window with:
    <window id="main-window"
    ^

    Tried switching to locale english, but still not fixed.

  30. Fennec muda de número - Revolução Digital said,

    October 4, 2010 @ 7:51 am

    [...] XUL. Ainda bem: quanto mais rápido melhor, não é? (Pelo menos nestas coisas da navegação web )Fonte             Esta notícia já foi lida 0 vezes Outras [...]

  31. Marcus said,

    October 7, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

    File size is way to large…. 40mb+ way to big for these phones.

  32. Gabbianone94 said,

    October 9, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

    If I download Fennec 4 beta 1 for Windows from here: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/mobile/download/ it doesn’t load webpages, with the console window saying “Channel error: cannot send/recv”.
    Can somebody fix this?

  33. hordak said,

    October 10, 2010 @ 4:05 am

    I’m not a developer, but what can I do to encourage someone (inside or outside of Mozilla) to fix the N810 bug? Many of us are huge advocates of Mobile Firefox, and we wish to continue testing the latest betas.

  34. Firefox Mobile salta a la versión 4.0 « Mozilla Links en español said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

    [...] equipo de dispositivos móviles de Mozilla ha anunciado [en] que la próxima actualización mayor a Firefox Mobile saltará a la 4.0, para alinearse con su [...]

  35. pierro78 said,

    November 7, 2010 @ 4:18 am

    the above windows issue is fixed in the Beta2 which was out this week :) … thanks !

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