Firefox 3.0 had to be good, and for the most part it is, assuming you didn’t try to download it on launch day. After falling into a hole of mediocrity with version 2.0, it’s back on track with bark. We can even forgive it its first vulnerability scare...
Any version of Firefox 2.0 drank RAM like a fox coming down with rabies, but a few days with 3.0 has convinced me that this behaviour – and the regular reboots that went with it - are a thing of the past.
The minimum Firefox needed with a handful of tabs was around the 130MB mark, a figure that climbed to 200MB or more quite quickly. Closing tabs made no difference. That memory-swallowing now starts at 84MB, and stays around the 100MB level throughout the day.
It got so bad I’d started using Internet Explorer again.
Security enhancements galore too, mostly falling into the category of subtle but important.
1. Address bar favicons now offer information on site identity though I couldn’t help noticing that Mozilla’s own site doesn’t offer anything. Explain that one.
2. Tells users when they’re visiting sites known to be associated with past malware attacks – intrusive but useful for the non-expert I suppose. Missed one or two I trialled it against.
3. Windows version now allows AV programs to check downloads for malware.
4. Much improved download manager, in fact, including noting file locations.
5. Remembers passwords after a successful login, not before as with v2.0. That seeded a small harvest of incorrect password messages for later visits after mis-types.
6. V3.0 is compatible with the overwhelming majority of Firefox’s wonderful plug-in population, which also don’t seem to slow it down the way some used to.