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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags firefox 3.1

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?