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 thoughts on “Fennec 4.0 – New and Notable

  1. 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. Pingback: Anonymous
  3. 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.

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

  5. @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.

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

    You are welcome to take your time answering.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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?


  10. 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.

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

    Tried switching to locale english, but still not fixed.

  12. 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.

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