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Minefield Shows the (Really) Fast Future of Firefox

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the zipping-right-along dept.

Mozilla 412

zootropole writes "If you are using Firefox 3 (or even Chrome) you should consider taking a look at Mozilla's Minefield. This browser (alpha version yet, but stable) would give a new meaning to 'fast browsing experience.' Some Firefox extensions aren't supported, but riding the fastest javascript engine on the planet definitely worth a try. Minefield's install won't affect your Firefox, so there's no risk trying it. It's fast. Really. And I'm loving it." Reviews popping up around the web are overwhelmingly positive, calling the upcoming browser crazy fast, blisteringly fast, etc.

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Firefox Replacement (-1, Redundant)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540155)

If it is that much better, why arent they just replacing Firefox with it?? I suppose I havent tried it yet, so I may be way different, but how much different could a browser be?

Re:Firefox Replacement (5, Informative)

PenguinBob (1208204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540207)

These are the nightly builds, once they like how the nightly builds work, they will release them as a "Firefox" update.

Re:Firefox Replacement (1, Informative)

MiKM (752717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540229)

"Minefield" is just the development codename for the 3.1 series.

Re:Firefox Replacement (4, Informative)

kbrosnan (880121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540527)

No it is the name for the unstable trunk, Shiretoko is the code name for Firefox 3.

Re:Firefox Replacement (3, Informative)

kbrosnan (880121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540539)

err 3.1

mod parent up (4, Informative)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541121)

ffs. This story has been making the rounds about "Firefox Minefield" being an awesome browser. Well the next release of Firefox may be awesome, but this is a nightly build that was given the name Minefield so people might get the idea that, as the parent pointed out, it's unstable.

Re:Firefox Replacement (4, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540233)

They will, it's an early beta and is therefore considered unstable...
Today's nightly for mac crashes on http://www.pentestmonkey.net/jsbm/index.html [pentestmonkey.net] which is a javascript benchmark, i was trying to see if it really is as fast as the article claims... Currently the webkit nightlies seem to be the fastest on this benchmark, by quite some considerable margin.

Re:Firefox Replacement (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540315)

Just gave it a shot running Minefield on a G5 iMac and it did it with no problems (1.41, 0.87, 1.312 vs 2.999, 1.955, 3.023 for Camino on the same machine). Maybe it's just a problem when running on x86 hardware at the moment?

Re:Firefox Replacement (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540467)

But has the JIT code been implemented for PPC?
It works for me if i turn the JIT off, but the results are nothing special.
I let the crash reporter do it's work and report the bug, it crashes every time without fail if jit is activated so hopefully they will be able to debug the issue fairly quickly.

Re:Firefox Replacement (3, Informative)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540755)

But has the JIT code been implemented for PPC?

No. They seem to be planning to have PPC support eventually, but work is in very early stages [mozilla.org] .

Re:Firefox Replacement (4, Informative)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540273)

If it is that much better, why arent they just replacing Firefox with it??

They will, though it will be called Firefox when that happens. "Minefield" is just the code name for Firefox 3 nightlies, and it's called that for a reason: as a developer-intended build, it's prone to blowing up.

It will be released when it is ready. That time isn't yet.

Re:Firefox Replacement (4, Informative)

gwking (869658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540281)

Minefield isn't very different from FF at all.... because Minefield *is* Firefox. The main development code is called Minefield. At different points they branch the code off to become the versions of Firefox that we all know.

So they branched Minefield several months ago to become Firefox 3.0 but continued work on Minefield and now a new branch from Minefield will become Firefox 3.1.

This is a step up (1, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540165)

From the first release of minefield I messed with a few months back. That thing was god awful on the speed side of things. however my speed tests show minimal improvements Is it ready?? No Will it be great??? Oh yeah

Re:This is a step up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540589)

Jesus, dude, get you hand off my cock.

Re:This is a step up (5, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540629)

Seems pretty quick to me, but that's probably cause it's not running my 15+ extensions.

Re:This is a step up (5, Informative)

happyDave (155169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540793)

Please remember that if you messed with minefield "a few months back" then its been through dozens of iterations since then. It's a nightly build.

First Post! (4, Funny)

mincognito (839071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540175)

thanks to minefield :)

Re:First Post! (5, Funny)

paintballer1087 (910920) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540331)

Hmmm. It looks like there's still some speed issues that need worked out. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be able to get first post by Beta 2.

Re:First Post! (3, Funny)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540349)

I guess I won't try it out than if it's that slow.

Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540181)

Are you crazy? If you want to be a little risky, try the 3.1 beta. Nightlies shouldn't be used by those that want to use extensions or avoid crashes.

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (4, Interesting)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540265)

I dunno. I use the nightlies at work and the stable at home, it's very rare that anything is really broken in the nightlies and it crashes about as much as the stable version.

I don't use any extensions though.

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (3, Funny)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540635)

Nightlies shouldn't be used by those that want to use extensions...

I dunno. I use the nightlies at work... I don't use any extensions though.

+1 Missed the point but still sounded vaguely insightful?

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540877)

Nightlies shouldn't be used by those that want to use extensions or avoid crashes

I dunno. I use the nightlies at work... I don't use any extensions though.

+1 Missed the point but still sounded vaguely insightful?

You missed out the 'or' operator. The original statement was that IF (you want to use extensions OR you want to avoid crashes) THEN you shouldn't use nightlies. The followup said that he used the nightlies and avoided crashes just as well as with the stable release, although he didn't use extensions. So: wants to use extensions FALSE, wants to avoid crashes TRUE, and as it turns out nightlies work just fine. Hence OP's theorem is disproved by counterexample.

Really, this is basic Boolean logic. Anyone reading /. ought to understand this stuff...

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (3, Interesting)

ljgshkg (1223086) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541099)

Friend, nightlies is working build. It's sometmies very very stable. But sometimes, especially during some massive checkin period, it can be extremely unstable and may even be dangerous.

I definitely won't recommand it to you. I remember there was an incidence in Firefox(bird?)'s history when some guy's C:\Progra~1 is deleted while installing an early testing build (can't remember if it's mindfield, but it's early testing build for sure).

Personally, I usually start using new version of Firefox during Beta 1 for small version jumps like 0.1; and for those 1.0 version jump, I usually start using it after at least beta 3 (which, in my experience, is not stable enough for my taste neither). But then, it's just personal preference.

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (2, Interesting)

Potor (658520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540503)

i've been using minefield at home for a few days now - it does crash once and a while, enough to be noticeable. but it is fast. man is it fast.

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (1)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541161)

Don't cry when it eats your data. Nightlies can have major changes that will destroy data and corrupt your profile. When it comes to the Release Candidate stage then there shouldn't be any destructive bugs left.

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540827)

What's more, this is the same thing we hear every 2 years. "Browser X is really fast!" Then six months later you hear, "Browser X was lagging behind the pack because it didn't have support for A, B and C, but now it's getting them." After that you get, "Why is Browser X so slow these days?" And inevitably, "Browser Y is really fast!"

When are we going to realize that browser maturity and performance are going to be on opposing curves and jumping ship to an immature browser just sets you up to lose functionality for a short period of time until the performance can be gobbled up by it.

This is exactly why I'm not using Chrome. Chrome is very nice, but it doesn't have most of what I require of a browsing experience. Once it does, THEN I'll evaluate its competitiveness, not before.

Re:Suggesting nightlies to regular users?! (5, Insightful)

JTorres176 (842422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541113)

Speed seems to be determined by a lack of bloat... and by bloat, I mean features. Firefox, back in the days it was referred to as phoenix, was exceedingly fast. Since then, fancy bookmarking, spellchecking, rss feeds, etc, etc has been added to it, causing slow startup and loading times. With the addition of a few thousand lines of code, not surprisingly, anything will take a bit longer to start up and go.

Chrome doesn't have many features, so it runs amazingly fast. Minefield doesn't have many features, so it runs amazingly fast. If either of them are weighted down with features (code bloat) then they will slowly grind to a halt much along the lines of IE or current FF.

Competition and economics (1, Interesting)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540223)

Competition is great isn't it?

I'm not a capitalist (or even a real supporter of "markets"), but actually when it comes down to it, in situations such as these, competition is good.

And what's amazing, and completely against capitalism, none of these web browser makers are charging any money for their products! All this great software is being developed and given away for free!

That's gotta be evidence that capitalism isn't the be all and end all...

------

On the topic of the actual browser under discussion, how many people are actually going to try it out? I guess because it won't fuck up your current FireFox install a few people will. And considering that I use Epiphany sometimes, maybe I could swap it out for this?

What features is it missing for those who have tried it? What can't you do? Is it better then Epiphany UI-wise?

Re:Competition and economics (0, Redundant)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540627)

Competition is great isn't it?

I'm not a capitalist (or even a real supporter of "markets"), but actually when it comes down to it, in situations such as these, competition is good.

Competition...? Minefield is just a nightly build of Firefox 3.1, when it's stable it will be released as the newest Firefox version.

Re:Competition and economics (1)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540975)

Why do you think that the Moz team is working so hard to make FF faster? Perhaps it's so they can keep up with other browsers on the market.

Re:Competition and economics (1)

kbrosnan (880121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540651)

Mozilla's JIT javascript work has been in the works since Adobe's open sourcing of ActionScript [mozilla.com]

in late 2006. So this has been in the works for almost 2 years. Considering that Google kept Chrome under wraps fairly well, this is not a great example of competition driving the market.

Re:Competition and economics (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540719)

The firefox business model is to give away the software for free and collect money from google searches, amazon sales, etc. Most of their devopers are paid employees. Not exactly anti-capitalist.

Re:Competition and economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540787)

None...none of my extensions are working in this.

Re:Competition and economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25541041)

Not sure if I'm imagining it or not, but I am also noticing that my Google homepage is working really fucking fast. I was really disappointed with the new homepage, but with it running so fast it's not that bad. I still can't stand not having working All-in-One-Gestures, though.
-icecreamguy

Where do you think the devs get their money from? (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540837)

Its either via donations made by companies who earn their money via the capitalist system you so dislike or its students writing code for free while they earn money through other jobs or , more likely, are supported by their parents.

You need to get real - nothing in life is free apart from the air (and not even that if you work under the sea!)

Re:Competition and economics (5, Informative)

hraefn (627340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541009)

The browser war heated up when Google (and others?) started paying out on ad revenue created by in-browser searches. Apple makes some nice change on Safari. So does the Mozilla Foundation, apparently [clickz.com] .

There would be very little competition if there wasn't money to be made.

Re:Competition and economics (3, Insightful)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541035)

You've just learned an important lesson:

Capitalism has room for socialist enclaves. It all works well as long as there is a choice. Sometimes, as in this case, the competition is good for everyone.

It's the socialist society that can't survive without eliminating choice.

Re:Competition and economics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25541105)

You're right, give peace a chance! And communism, give communism one more chance too!

faster than Chrome (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540225)

Is it faster than Chrome? Seriously, this isn't a troll. I'll try it out and see.

Re:faster than Chrome (5, Informative)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540289)

It has the potential to be, at least for interpreting javascript. The gui still feels a lot more sluggish though, and general rendering still seems quite a bit slower as well. Just remember to do the about:config thing, then search for jit, and turn the two options on to get the speed boost.

Re:faster than Chrome (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540775)

Well, it's certainly faster than Chrome for OS X or Linux, since neither of these are available yet at all. Chrome fades more into irrelevance the longer they delay releasing versions for non-Windows platforms. This is not because the browser particularly sucks, it is because unlike Firefox, it has missed the boat for endorsement by the geek community.

I've said this before, but it bears saying again: Google is not short of resources, so their ignoring other platforms only suggests deliberate policy. In other words, they might as well take their browser and stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

Re:faster than Chrome (5, Informative)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540457)

Of course, you have to enable the TraceMonkey JIT JavaScript compiler before you'll see any reasonable speed increase (in theory). Just go to about:config, search for the 2 items with "JIT" in their name, and enable them.

My stress tests have shown it to be 10-50% faster than Chrome *when* JIT works. However, it's still buggy as hell, it eats its own memory heap and grinds to inexplicable halts kinda randomly whenever my code does anything repetitive and strenuous, bringing the average execution speed down to almost FF2 levels, meaning it's faster for me to leave JIT disabled. It's a no-go for me until they fix that.

Re:faster than Chrome (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540807)

Weird - I keep hearing people about unstability, but I'm using the nightlies with the JIT enabled and I've had no problems so far...

Re:faster than Chrome (1)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540881)

Try this [googlepages.com] (or, if you're brave, this [googlepages.com] ), and compare speeds with JIT on/off, and Opera, Safari (nightly), or whatever other decent browser you're interested in.

I haven't had *stability* issues with FF3.1 so much as it falling over itself and limping to the finish line every time it has to run something intensive like this.

Re:faster than Chrome (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540857)

My stress tests have shown it to be 10-50% faster than Chrome *when* JIT works.
.

Your scripts run 10% faster.

But - given all the things that can bog down a user accessing your web site - will anyone know or care?

Re:faster than Chrome (1)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540891)

Well yeah, we're talking about JavaScript here specifically. The rest of it is still bloated and slow :)

But Chrome wasn't the fastest! (5, Informative)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540461)

People are talking as if Chrome's V8 was the fastest JavaScript engine around, but it wasn't - WebKit's SquirrelFish Extreme was faster [slashdot.org] . Is Minefield's engine even faster? Ars Technica's tests [arstechnica.com] show that TraceMonkey runs the SunSpider benchmark in between 78% and 84% of V8's time. However, according to earlier tests [blogspot.com] , SquirelFish Extreme completes the benchmark in 74% of V8's time, making it even faster than the newest TraceMonkey. So it looks like Minefield, though fast, is not the fastest browser in JavaScript.

Re:But Chrome wasn't the fastest! (5, Funny)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540911)

My ManBearPig smashes your SquirrelFish and your silly TraceMonkey.

Since I am not going to RTFA, I am going to speculate that Minefield is Mozilla's answer to Microsoft by way of having a faster, more modern version of Minesweeper.

Take that Evil Empire!

Re:But Chrome wasn't the fastest! (4, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541013)

I'm interested in using Javascript as an embedded language, it's too bad most of the current JS engines assume they will be running in a browser. Yes, you can build standalone TraceMonkey and SquirrelFish shells but it isn't very easy on all platforms (no Visual Studio project, etc) and they aren't very easy to embed.

For general application development outside of a browser I have found V8 to be faster than the others. It's also a lot easier to build standalone or embedded in other applications. It's also very easy to add extensions to (written in C++), especially compared to the other choice.

I'm keeping my eye out but right now V8 fits my needs the best. If the other projects would do a little work towards focusing on general application development in their respective JS engine then I might switch. Switching will be a pain in the butt though because my C/C++ extensions will have to be ported to each engine. I kind of wish there was less diversity because right now it's hard to tell which engine is going to take off (eg. Google could abandon V8 for one of the other engines like SquirrelFish since they are using WebKit anyway).

Unfortunately all of them, including V8, are pretty large compared to cleaner scripting languages like Lua which makes embedding them in mobile applications kind of annoying (although we're getting more and more space on these things).

Please! No more direct links to Mozilla FTP! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540283)

From the last time this happened [mozillazine.org] :

"That's ok," you say: "I link directly to ftp.mozilla.org!" That can be even worse! Killing the project's FTP server does not help anyone, least of all people trying to obtain Firefox builds. And it makes for a grumpy IT group. And nobody wants grumpy IT groups. Especially a day before a release.

Re:Please! No more direct links to Mozilla FTP! (0, Flamebait)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540471)

Yes. Idiots like timothy who "edited" the summary are the reason everyone on Slashdot is banned from linking to bugzilla bugs.

Re:Please! No more direct links to Mozilla FTP! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540645)

Actually, that restriction got lifted about two years ago, after bugzilla survived being on the digg frontpage without breaking a sweat. Things at Mozilla have been beefed up quite heavily since the days when that ban was originally instituted.

Re:Please! No more direct links to Mozilla FTP! (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540753)

Yeah, it's bad etiquette. Use Coral Cache instead [nyud.net] , the downloads are coralized and the coral cache can provide .6 megabytes per second.

Java v. Javascript (4, Insightful)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540295)

OK, it's time for us to start educating users and the media of when to properly use the monikers Java and JavaScript.

The article linked to from the summary says "Handles Java Well" in the subtitle, but then never mentions it again - only JavaScript.

These are NOT THE SAME.

This is, of course, CBSNews.. but I have seen the same mistake in so-called "tech" media lately, too.

Who's bright idea... (3, Funny)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540297)

... was it to code name a perfectly fine browser that's both fast and stable "Minefield"?????

Re:Who's bright idea... (2, Funny)

ashtophoenix (929197) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540693)

I agree. A name like that gives the association with "Blowing up". Thats not what you want from a browser or any software. If every things get competitive, I can see competitors using that association to affect people's minds and form an association of Minefield with "crashing". Although most of the bright, non-nonsense people won't fall for that sort of ads, unfortunately the masses will. FireFox, Explorer, Navigator are all good associations for browsers.

Re:Who's bright idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540829)

The same bright spark who can't tell WHO IS from WHOSE?

Re:Who's bright idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540953)

Probably the same guys who realized this is an ALPHA VERSION, of course it's an f-ing minefield.

Minefield? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540303)

What the hell kind of codename is that? Maybe an attempt at 'truth in advertising'?

Re:Minefield? (4, Informative)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540373)

What the hell kind of codename is that? Maybe an attempt at 'truth in advertising'?

That's exactly what it is. Minefield always refers to the current alpha-release of the upcoming "major" release.

Don't use it unless you know what you're doing. Suggesting end-users use this, without briefing them on why it will crash [frequently], is irresponsible at best and does a disservice to the alternate browser movement.

Oh goodie!!! (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540313)

Another browser to test on!!!

"Hey Rockie, watch me put a gun in my mouth!"

Re:Oh goodie!!! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540353)

Another browser to test on!!!

"Hey Rockie, watch me put a gun in my mouth!"


Again?!?

Re:Oh goodie!!! (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540381)

This time for sure!!

Re:Oh goodie!!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540785)

YouTube link?

Is it really fast enough to make a difference? (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540319)

I just wonder how often the speed of javascript matters vs the network connection.
I tried to Chrome but never really noticed much difference.

Re:Is it really fast enough to make a difference? (2, Informative)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540431)

You won't see a difference because pages are designed for slow browsers (IE6/7, FF2, etc). So they don't tap into the power of javascript as much as they could be, for performance reasons. You'll see the difference in a fully client side (aside for json REST service calls) javascript app made in ExtJS or similar toolkits (there's a few). Then performance matters.

So which is faster (3, Funny)

Nodamnnicknamesavial (1095665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540321)

Which is faster, crazy or blistering??

I dont think crazy sounds all that fast - I mean most crazies I've met have had trouble moving around much without taking timeouts to wipe drool and yell at the birds.

Jupp, (2, Informative)

Rhabarber (1020311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540341)

its fast, its stable, my extensions work ;)

Especially Zotero (SVN) rocks !!!

mozilla minefield? (-1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540355)

minefield? really?

open source may rule over traditional development in many ways, but one way corporations beat open source is in the marketing department

if they open sourced cars, would we get the chevy deathtrap?

open source candy bars, we have the hersheys kidney stones

in this day and age of subtle exploits and privacy gotchas around every url, someone at mozilla decides to call their browser the "minefield"

i know its just a pre-beta preview, but still, its a marketing. hard. fail.

Re:mozilla minefield? (4, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540525)

That was their intention.

It keeps idiots like you who look at the name only away from the nightly builds, and anyone with enough of a clue to not judge it by its name is also by extension usually intelligent enough to read the fucking warnings not to use it in the first place.

Re:mozilla minefield? (2, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540801)

It's a codename for the Firefox development branch. Nothing will ever be released with that name, it's a moving target that gets branched out to Firefox for release.

Reading FTW!

Re:mozilla minefield? (3, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540861)

Remember how they used to say that if IBM marketed Kentucky Fried Chicken, they would have called it "Warm Dead Birds".

Re:mozilla minefield? (3, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541111)

Actually, that's a Jerry Pournelle quote about AT&T, and it was "Hot Dead Chicken".

Re:mozilla minefield? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540979)

Idiot.

In a commercial software environment, nobody would see this. It's a nightly developer build of the development trunk, so nobody outside the company would see this thing, and anyone testing it would have special instructions to the effect that it's a work-in-progress, will have problems, and instructions on how to report them.

Mozilla obviously doesn't have the luxury of doing all the development in secret, so of course nightly builds are publicly available. You can't really distribute that same information, since many people won't pay attention to the warnings, they'll try the nightly builds anyway, and then they'll get all angry when it doesn't work properly, and start bitching about it. Can't have that.

The idea behind calling it "Minefield" and stripping off all the Firefox branding is to prevent confusion with release versions of Firefox, to communicate something about the expected quality of the nightly builds, and to scare off anyone but testers.

To that end, it works very well. Look at the icon, for example - a Firefox globe icon (used when the official Firefox branding is disabled), modified to look like a cartoon bomb. The whole thing is trying to get across the message that this software contains all kinds of unseen problems, and will blow up in your face. Possibly taking a limb off with it.

For reference, the beta versions are known as "Shiretoko". They'll be released under that name, not Minefield, using the unofficial branding. Again, that's to prevent confusion with a release version of Firefox. Only the release candidates, and final releases are called "Firefox" and carry the Firefox logo.

Minefield (-1, Redundant)

savala (874118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540469)

I've already seen a ton of posts thinking that this browser is somehow distinct from Firefox. It isn't. Minefield is the application name for any version of Firefox currently under development (just like Shredder is for Thunderbird). These names have been specifically chosen to sound scary, as these builds have gotten virtually no testing, and using them is not recommended for the general public. They are not in any way considered stable, and might (as the old joke goes) set your computer on fire or eat babies. It was a really bad idea of the submitter to promote using just any old nightly build - at least without explaining what nightly builds are. (They're basically automated builds created daily; testing them is highly welcome (which is why they're made available), but expect to find bugs (and please report those bugs!) - they are most definitely not vetted for general use.)

If you do want to experience the recent developments and see what Firefox 3.1 will be like when it's released, Beta 1 [mozilla.org] was recently released, and has at least gotten a nominal amount of testing to ensure that the risk of fires and devoured babies is small.

Hyperbole (2, Interesting)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540511)

Sorry to nitpick but is anyone else turned-off by the hyperbole in these write-ups?

ARS estimates the browser to be 10 percent faster. I mean, if it was three times faster than my current browser, then I'd say blistering is appropriate.
I mean, if you were driving on the freeway at 60 mph and someone passed you doing 66...would you say they were traveling "at breakneck" speed?

Re:Hyperbole (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540681)


Yeah, now that you point it out, it doesn't sound quite as good. Though I'm sure a 10% increase is no mean feat. Anyway, consider your analogy "borrowed." :)

Re:Hyperbole (4, Funny)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540683)

Well... it's 10% faster than Chrome, not than Firefox 3. So, to use your analogy, it's like you're going down the road at 35MPH when Chrome blows by doing 80, and then Minefield blows past doing 88MPH.

(Just better watch that flux capacitor...)

However.. it gobbles up more memory than Bon Echo (2, Interesting)

Qwrk (760868) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540535)

I've been running Bon Echo [Community Edition Release for Win64] for quite some time now, but some weeks ago it changed into the Minefield build. With 8GB RAM installed I did notice it's gobbling up more memory than Bon Echo did, but that's just a minor issue. It looks like the money spent on RAM hasn't paid off, as most applications I've got running on x64 are 32 bit, so no real gain to be expected. [It'll be my last WinOS, before I move to a Kubuntu/FreeBSD ONLY network.]

Is it faster than wget? (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540541)

Just asking.

This is irresponsible (5, Informative)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540545)

People. There is A REASON why Mozilla calls these builds "Minefield" rather than "Firefox".

It's because they're not ready for daily use.

They may be faster than the released version of Firefox, but they also may contain major, showstopping bugs, up to and including bugs that can cause data loss.

The only people who should be using them are people who understand this risk and are willing to accept it -- i.e. testers.

Anyone promoting these builds for use by the general public is being irresponsible and exposing anyone who takes their advice to risk.

TFA is bad enough, but it's worse to see major sites like Slashdot parroting this bad advice. You should be telling your friends to avoid Minefield, not to seek it out.

Re:This is irresponsible (5, Insightful)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540609)

I don't think anyone is encouraging the masses to use a nightly. However, slashdot is "News For Nerds" right? Nerds should be able to use a nightly without destroying their computers beyond recognition, if not they need to give their badges back.

Re:This is irresponsible (2, Informative)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540677)

I don't think anyone is encouraging the masses to use a nightly.

Yes they are. This whole "use Minefield, it's fast!!!!1!" meme is being spread by blog posts like this irresponsible post from CNet [cnet.com] :

Feeling brave? Or simply feeling like your browser is too slow? Give Minefield a try. It's a separate install so it won't affect an existing Firefox install. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

And this [wirememe.com] :

Firefox Minefield, a pre-release alpha version of the Firefox browser blows the speed limits out of the park making Google Chrome looks like a Toyota Prius against a Ferrari.

These articles generally include a token warning that Minefield is alpha code, but they seem to think of "alpha" in the Google sense of "try this, you might like it", rather than the more traditional sense of "dangerous, don't use unless you know what you're doing".

Re:This is irresponsible (mod parent up) (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540639)

Borrowing from my post above:

Don't use it unless you know what you're doing. Suggesting end-users use this, without briefing them on why it will crash [frequently], is irresponsible at best and does a disservice to the alternate browser movement.

Re:This is irresponsible (1)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540687)

Well, if you think it is, fine then. I downloaded it and started using it because there is an x64 branch for it, and I love it. I have recommended it to many friends, some of whom you would probably not consider "power users" and I have not heard any negative feedback, aside from some extention compatibility issues.

Re:This is irresponsible (4, Informative)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540779)

You got lucky.

A nightly build is exactly what it says it is -- a snapshot of the codebase as of a given day.

Some nightly builds may be completely bug free. Others may be chock full of major dataloss bugs. It's a crapshoot.

Your friends may be fine today, but if they decide to "update Minefield" on the wrong day in the future, they're gonna get screwed.

That's why I call it irresponsible.

Re:This is irresponsible (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541049)

I guess that would apply to people whose friends don't actually play in literal minefields. Funny story, actually.

You can never call MS Evil again.. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540557)

All these years people in the Unixy world gave Microsoft a ton of crap for VB, and now, after all this time, they've come up with something arguably worse... javascript, and now, a javascript compiler.

Re:You can never call MS Evil again.. (4, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540811)

All these years people in the Unixy world gave Microsoft a ton of crap for VB, and now, after all this time, they've come up with something arguably worse... javascript, and now, a javascript compiler.

Javascript was not created by the opensource community (it was created by Brendan Eich and ended up becoming part of Netscape, which was not open source at the time). Additionally, Javascript has reasonable structures that don't deteriorate when the software expands to large sizes.

Check out Synchronet [synchro.net] , it has IRC servers, NNTP servers, Gopher servers etc. all written in javascript. The code is completely readable (generally not the case with VB when the code reaches that complexity) and cross-platform.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Javascript language, like there is in visual basic.

Re:You can never call MS Evil again.. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541001)

javascript is a much better language than vb/vbscript. Who argues it's worse?

segfault on 64bit ubuntu 8.04 (1)

Meshugga (581651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540581)

Anyone else?

I wonder what the problem could be, LD_PRELOAD also doesn't help ...

Does anyone have it working on a 64bit hardy?

Re:segfault on 64bit ubuntu 8.04 (1)

nicomede (1228020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540771)

I have an explanation : you are using an alpha browser on a beta OS... I switched back to 32bit Ubuntu six months ago because I was fed up with the crashes in Firefox. I spent a few happy nights trying to get Flash to work, without success.

High speed wooting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540751)

Will this help me finally get a random bag of crap?

No thanks (4, Insightful)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540803)

The biggest advantage of firefox is the ability to block out javascript via NoScript. Why would I want to give that up?

And the downside is. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540847)

It uses a JIT compiler so it will be harder to port to another ISA.
Unless the JIT compiles to a virtual machine then it isn't so bad.

Anonymous Pirate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540863)

I am surprised to say that Minefield seems faster than any other browser I've used - Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. I've been using Chrome lately, and I like the fact that it takes up minimal screen space. I would say that's one problem with Minefield: I have noticeably less screen space using it than I do with Chrome.

If the bar at the bottom of Minefield right above the Windows taskbar (where it tells you what the browser is doing) was removed, along with the File, Edit, and other menu bars at the top (they could condense these and move them to the side of the URL bar, like Chrome does), then Minefield would be really awesome. As it is, I think I prefer Chrome to minefield despite the slightly slower speed because I get more screen space.

phoenix-firebird-firefox (1)

jameseyjamesey (949408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540913)

Minefield reminds me why I downloaded Mozilla Phoenix back in 2002.

startup time (2, Informative)

tarscher (1000260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540957)

Someone cheched the startup time of FF3.1 ? Compared to Chrome FF 3.0 takes ages.

SVG too (4, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541069)

One thing I'm most impressed with is the SVG performance. It's starting to almost become an alternative to Flash for interactive applications. I like it and I hope it gets even faster.

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