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Firefox for Intel Macs Planned for March 253

daria42 writes "Although there are unofficial builds already available, Mozilla will release an official version of Firefox for Intel Mac OS X in March, developer Josh Aas says. There are only a couple of minor bugs to work through, such as Flash and Java support."
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Firefox for Intel Macs Planned for March

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:45PM (#14478731)
    A file named "Please Spread Firefox.kext" has been located in the pre-release versions.
  • by orzetto ( 545509 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:46PM (#14478736)
    There are only a couple of minor bugs to work through, such as Flash and Java support.

    Is it so difficult to toggle them off already?

    • by WilliamSChips ( 793741 ) <full DOT infinity AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:11PM (#14478857) Journal
      Hard as it is to believe, some people actually *want* Flash! For example, I watch Homestar Runner cartoons, which need Flash. (Although I'm not on OSX86.)
      • Flashblock extension for firefox ...

        The best of both worlds.
      • Strong Bad Emails: 1 Not Strong Bad Emails: 0
      • Re:Why so difficult? (Score:5, Informative)

        by falkryn ( 715775 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:50AM (#14479724)
        and as the parent of young 'uns, I've (or rather my oldest son (7)) been discovering how much there is out there in terms of kids flash based games. and not just the old yahoo! type space invaders games of yore, full blown stuff a while back you would have had to pay for. one of my oldest's favorite site lately appears to be this: [] , there many more (pbs kids, kids wb, tvo kids, etc...) mind you, I have noticed that flash on safari here (osx on a g4 with a gig of ram) really can bring the system to a crawl (haven't used firefox on osx much, though extensively on other platforms)
      • Re:Why so difficult? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DrXym ( 126579 )
        Flash sucks on Firefox, at least on Windows anyway. Saturation advertising plus 10 or so tabs causes Firefox to sometimes peg my CPU at close to 100% as it deals with Flash. I guess this may be a Firefox bug since there should be an option to suspend plugins when they are effectively inactive (such as with tabs) but the net effect is I now use Adblock to control the situation.
    • If you didn't want things like Flash, you wouldn't be buying a Mac anyway.
      • If you didn't want things like Flash, you wouldn't be buying a Mac anyway.

        Ande how does this differ from your average PC user? I would hesitate to say that it is only a small percentage of users on both MS-Windows and MacOS X that care about shutting off Flash.
      • If you didn't want things like Flash, you wouldn't be buying a Mac anyway.

        Why would you be saying that when most flash objects are actually just tacky web ads? I think it is disturbing that ads with sound and motion are used on sites whose primary content is text.

        I really got turned off to flash when there was a (so claimed) glitch that caused an ad to blink white black white, people on the site complained, and later, more ads from the same company did that, this time, surely intentional.
    • by Geoffreyerffoeg ( 729040 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:29PM (#14479220)
      \lim_{x\to8}\frac{1}{x-8}=\infty \qquad\Rightarrow\qquad \lim_{x\to5}\frac{1}{x-5}=\rotatebox{90}{\mbox{5} }

      I don't know what's sadder, that you tried to make a visual pun by encoding it in TeX, or that I understood it.
  • by Diordna ( 815458 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:47PM (#14478738) Homepage
    Looks like the trolls have bitten even at the first post.

    Aaaaanyways, what I was actually going to say was that it shouldn't really matter that much, speedwise, whether or not there is an OSX86-native binary of Firefox or not, what with all of the good speed tests I've read. Either way, that's a pretty darn good schedule for *any* piece of software - completely up to date with totally new hardware within 2 or so months.

    Congrats to the Firefox team!
    • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:43PM (#14478994) Homepage
      it shouldn't really matter that much, speedwise, whether or not there is an OSX86-native binary of Firefox or not

      It's not just a question of speed. If I'm interpretting the what-Rosetta-won't-support statements from Apple correctly, translated PPC apps running embedded Java applets will not run on OSX86. The archetypal example of that is a web browser using a Java runtime environment. That makes an Intel-native version of Firefox necessary to maintain compatibility with a bunch of web-based apps and a fair amount of website candy. You can grouse about how horrid Java applets are, but it's a "failed" item on the capatibility checklist, which is Not A Good Thing for everyone's favorite cross-platform browser. (And it's another nail in the coffin of IE:Mac, which will never be distributed in Intel-native or universal binary format.)

    • by bdaehlie ( 537484 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:20AM (#14479829) Homepage
      Had Apple released their hardware closer to when they said they were going to, we would probably have been ready immediately. That was the plan :) That said, I'm happy to get off the Intel developer kit and onto production equipment and a solid OS release a few months early. -Josh Aas
  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:47PM (#14478739) Homepage Journal
    "We are targeting the official release of Firefox for Intel Mac OS X in late March with the Firefox update," Mozilla software engineer Josh Aas told ZDNet Australia.

    One thing I enjoy about Free Software organizations, but especially Mozilla, is that they give plenty of information about their release goals and we can trust them. After all, we can just download the nightly files and make our own, or check on the progress.

    It would be interesting to see a comparision of target dates set by companies, and see how well the initial target date was met. Microsoft vs. Apple vs. Mozilla vs. Opera for instance.
    Stop Sparky's brain from being probed by Bush []
    • Are you sure you're talking about Mozilla? I usually find their release goals to be... well, rarely met, and if met usually it's because it was a short-term goal anyway.

      Personally, I wouldn't trust their scheduling... the product is great, being able to peek at the progress (and occasionally help) is fun, but it's more of a "when it comes out" thing. Refer back to Netscape's estimates of when 5 was going to be released, for example ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Flash and Java support are NOT minor bugs.
  • Camino (Score:5, Informative)

    by Goalie_Ca ( 584234 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:49PM (#14478753)
    Camino [] is seriously a lot nicer gecko for mac than firefox. It actually integrates with OS X and it uses Cocoa. From a usability standpoint is much further ahead.
    • Re:Camino (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:55PM (#14478781)
      But it doesn't support extensions.
      • Or JavaScript console. Well, I couldn't find it, anyway.
      • Re:Camino (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pomo monster ( 873962 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:18PM (#14478888)
        That right? []
      • He means it doesn't support XUL. Though I'm sure you knew that and just wanted to be a pedant.
        • Who, me? Why would he say "extensions" to mean "XUL"? More broadly, who cares what language or technology lies behind something like FlashBlock, so long as it works?
          • The way he meant it it was apparent that he was pointing out that the vast amount of firefox extensions won't be available on camino.

            "More broadly, who cares what language or technology lies behind something like FlashBlock, so long as it works?"

            Even more broadly (yet ironically back to the OP's intention), who (as a user) cares if a particular extension technically could be made to work if it doesn't, and won't ever, exist (I'm not talking about flashblock but just the vast majority of FF extensions).

      • I wonder if it would be possible to make a plugin for non-Mozilla browsers to support Mozilla extensions? Probably more trouble than it's worth.
        • I don't think it would be more trouble than what it's worth so much as it would be beside the point. I mean, the only reason to use Camino instead of Firefox is that you want a native (i.e. not XUL) interface. If you then start using XUL extensions with that, you might as well have just used Firefox in the first place.
          • Well, I wasn't thinking so much about Camino as about Opera, really. :)

            Though I think if Opera switched to using Gecko as a renderer, I might consider giving up FF extensions.
    • Re:Camino (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pomo monster ( 873962 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:57PM (#14478790)
      I agree--the guys who develop the GUI portion of FireFox don't have good taste, or at least not the same aesthetic sense as people who use and enjoy the Mac. Camino's very much better in this respect. But I'd like to learn why, as someone who runs Safari with the Saft and SafariStand plugins, would I want to switch to Camino? I tried it out a couple months back, but didn't appreciate how much slower than Safari it was (probably due to Gecko). But perhaps I overlooked some features. Can I ask you what's so compelling about Camino?
      • I use Camino more often than any browser; as far as I'm concerned the interface is more mac-like than anything else including safari (even though safari's an apple product). It is usually rock solid (I use vers, 1.0b1), but occasionally has its moments of meltdown, usually when I have fifteen or twenty tabs open. One problem is the lack of easy integration with extensions that work on firefox; maybe I'm just dense but I have no idea how to use such extensions on Camino. Another is I would prefer a little
      • Re:Camino (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:08PM (#14478843) Journal
        camino follows the MAc GUI guidelines, firefox runs on many platforms and so it has to somewhat create it's own rules since it can never follow all at once without being inconsistant across platforms. one of the greatest things about firefox is that it is almost exactly the same on any platform.
        • "one of the greatest things about firefox is that it is almost exactly the same on any platform"

          So was Microsoft Word 6.0, and that was universally hailed as a flaming turd mountain []. Behaving exactly the same on every platform, it turns out, is in fact a terrible drawback. Something anyone with a Mac ought to know.
          • Behaving exactly the same on every platform, it turns out, is in fact a terrible drawback. Something anyone with a Mac ought to know.

            I have a Mac (three of them, plus the ones I use at work), and I don't "know" this. Perhaps that's because I also have three Linux systems (plus the ones at work), and a couple Windows boxes (plus those at work). Over the course of a typical day I spend some time using each of these OSes, and the fact that Firefox looks and functions pretty much the same on all three platf

            • Do you honestly need 6+ computers in your house? Just curious is all.
              • Do you honestly need 6+ computers in your house? Just curious is all.

                "Need" is a strong word. {smile}

                I could probably consolidate the web/file/mail servers into one box, I could use the G5 in my drawing studio (instead of the G3 next to my Linux desktop) when I want to view a QuickTime-format movie trailer, I could dual-boot into Windows XP instead of having a dedicated the-latest-crap-the-world-is-using system, and I don't really need a laptop to take out onto the front porch when the weather's nice or I

                • Well if you say you can consolidate it down to a few, ill just email you my address and you can send me some of them :-P (just kidding by the way)
            • Yeah, that's true. Personally, I use OS X at work and at home, so at least I'm not forced to restrict my apps to the least common denominator in the interest of consistency. Not that I'm sure I'd do that in your shoes, anyway.
            • Wait a minute. On second thought, I'll disagree. Why did you buy a Mac to begin with, or install Linux, or even Windows, except to take advantage of the unique strengths of each of these platforms? If you're just going to try to use the same software everywhere you go, what's the point of having different OSes at all?

              Just a thought (from someone who uses three different BitTorrent clients depending on my mood).
              • Re:Camino (Score:3, Insightful)

                by tverbeek ( 457094 )
                If you're just going to try to use the same software everywhere you go, what's the point of having different OSes at all?

                Because a web browser isn't the only app I use. I use software on each of these platforms that isn't available (at least not always conveniently) on the others. But regardless of which machine I have in front of me, I like being able to use roughly the same methods to open and close web browser tabs, etc.

      • Firefox can look pretty darn good on OS X; you just have to find the right theme (for example, I like these []), as well as some OS X-like widgets (such as these [] or these []).
        • Re:Camino (Score:3, Insightful)

          But it isn't about the look. It's about the feel. Seriously, I'm not trying to be funny; things in Firefox just don't behave the way they're supposed to, no matter the theme. For instance, passwords aren't stored in the Keychain. Text areas aren't native widgets and so feel alien to the Mac--no Cocoa spellcheck, for one thing. Finally, Gecko's text rendering is just plain shit: drunken, syncopated kerning and inconsistent antialiasing are just two of the more blatant problems.

          Camino doesn't suffer from thes
      • Re:Camino (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
        On a Mac, run AquaFirefoxSet and most of the aesthetic problems of Firefox on a Mac will go away.
    • I tried Camino, maybe a year ago or so. I found it unusable, and went back to Safari. I have now switched to Firefox, and for the most part it's working fine.
  • rosetta question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @09:54PM (#14478776)
    Anyone know what sort of performance hit there is running the current Firefox release under Rosetta? I mean, do the Flash ads stutter or anything? I'm assuming it would be a better browsing experience than I currently get on my iBook (G3/600).
    • I was wondering this myself. If I ran a hardware review website, the first thing I would benchmark when I got my hands on a new MacBook would be Mozilla-on-Rosetta vs. Mozilla-running-native. Does anyone know of a review where Rosetta's emulation speed is put to the test?
    • Anyone know what sort of performance hit there is running the current Firefox release under Rosetta? I mean, do the Flash ads stutter or anything?

      I hear the companies using spyware are up in arms and threatening a boycott if they don't improve spyware support in Firefox under Rosetta. The upload performance is so poor it just isn't worth infecting Intel Macs. They're hoping the final release of the Intel Mac Firefox will resolve this issue.

  • I'm really disappointed in the PPC version of FireFox. It's slow and chews up RAM. I've gone back to Safari, however am underwhelmed by the lack of ad-blocking plugins. PithHelmet is OK, but something like the AdBlock plugin for Firefox would be much nicer.
  • Will it be faster? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dasil003 ( 907363 )
    I hope it's faster than the PPC version, because that's the main reason I'm still using Safari as my primary browser.

    I have a feeling that the slowness has to do more with Aqua and Cocoa then with the processor.
  • ...such as Flash and Java support.

    These are minor?
    • yes, since a main point of using firefox is to block ads and annoyances which 99% of flash and java is used for.

      it's the same way that not having support for activex is firefox's main security feature.
    • Wouldn't bother me.

      I do tons of surfing a day. The only Java I use is the odd time when I decide to play a game on PopCap or Yahoo! Games. As for flash, I can't REMEMBER the last time I actually USED flash. There is probably a flash ad at the top of this page. But it wasn't anything I asked for. I almost never use flash (except, again, for the odd game I might play once or twice a month).

      These are not cons for me. It wouldn't bother me one bit.

      And as has been said, you can always run the old one under Ro

  • by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:07PM (#14478839) Homepage Journal
    Why make a Mozilla for x86 Macintosh and a Mozilla for PowerPC Macintosh? Make a universal binary, that's what they are there for aren't they? I mean relying on rosetta for a few things like flash and java can't be that big of deal, it's not like the bottleneck in a browser is the browser itself, it's more commonly the pipe feeding the browser. Isn't the point of Rosetta that Mozilla Firefox as it stands now runs just fine on a MacBook or iMac regardless of the proc under the covers?

    Also most of the user community doesn't care that at 10.4.4 there is a version that runs on an Intel processor and a PowerPC Processor, so when we download trying to decide between Mozilla Firefox for Macintosh OS X (PowerPC) and Macintosh OS X (Intel) isnt' something we should have to decide. The ability to make univseral binaries is there, why not take advantage of it? Why create yet another file the world has to mirror and worry about which is the right one?

    Just a thought.
    • by Nermal6693 ( 622898 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:12PM (#14478860)
      From the Mozilla wiki:

      The Intel Mac work for Firefox, Thunderbird, and Camino is largely done. All fixes are checked in, and you can build for Intel Macs right out of CVS. We have 2 more tasks:

      make a universal binary packaging system
      set up an Intel Mac tinderbox
    • Firefox on PPC is kind of inefficient, sometimes it makes enough load to kick the CPU fan to high speed. I would not want to run that in an emulated environment. The same goes for Thunderbird, that one can really be a dog for reasons I don't know.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:09PM (#14478848) Homepage
    Why is the beta release this kind of "under the table" beta release from one of the developers? It seems like it'd be a better idea to make the build they have now more widely available in a more prominent spot, especially considering the scarcity of x86 Macs at the moment. Is the problem one of public perception of releasing (even a beta) of a product that's not feature complete? Will there be a more official beta before the march release?
    • Because it isn't a beta. It is a build out of CVS that the developer has released on his home page. It is not official, it is exactly the same as if YOU pulled from CVS development and built a binary and posted it.

      It doesn't sound like there WILL be a beta for this. I don't blame them. They don't need it. People could get by with Rosetta until the new version was out (and based on other comments it looks likes the issues mentioned are almost fixed).

  • Bigger growth market (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:43PM (#14478993) Homepage Journal
    A bigger growth market is, by far, offering a version for Java-based phones (e.g. Opera Mini) and for Pocket PCs.

    I know Mac users are desiring an official release, but will Macs outnumber phones and PDAs?
  • by Stan Vassilev ( 939229 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @10:50PM (#14479028)
    "There are only a couple of minor bugs to work through, such as Flash and Java support."

    I knew it that Flash and Java support were bugs all along.
  • oh yey (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lubricated ( 49106 ) <> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:05PM (#14479112)
    how about some linux builds for 64-bit.
    • Re:oh yey (Score:3, Informative)

      I believe the problem as for x86 is again third party software such as flash and Java. Historically neither have had 64bit binaries from their vendor.

      For Java, Sun has said, in the short term at least, they won't go to the trouble of releasing the necessary software for 64bit - Java Plugin and Java Web Start. IIRC, the method of installation for 64bit Solaris (SPARC) is to install the 32bit JRE (which has the plugin and web start) and then install the 64bit JRE over top.

      This stifles usage of x86-64 with a 6
  • by nukem996 ( 624036 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:23PM (#14479195)
    Its funny how for years people have been petitioning Macromedia and now Adobe for and amd64 version of their flash player and have only weeks ago been told in a developers blog that amd64 is unofficaly planned after the flash 8.5 release for Linux x86. I am curious about Java though, I thought apple provided that in their OS.
    • Apple does provide Java plugins with their OS. However, the NSAPI (Netscape Plugin API) Java plugin that they bundle only does Java 1.3.1 and it has been fairly problematic for us. Maintaining it does not seem to be a priority for them - instead they are focusing on their newer Java plugin which uses a different Mac OS X-specific plugin API (which we don't support right now).

      Luckily for us, Steven Michaud has created JEP, which we use for Java support in our Mac OS X products. See here for more details:
  • by gasp ( 128583 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:42PM (#14479279)
    Two new Mac models are announced and Firefox with plugins is a priority. Meanwhile, AMD64/EM64T platform users can't run a native Firefox with plugins under any OS, with no ETA at all for that ability.
  • I was pretty psyched about the MacBooks, but roadmaps show that Intel will have 64-bit mobile processors this fall. Common sense suggests that there will be Intel 64-bit Apple laptops shortly after. It just doesn't seem to make sense to buy into a platform that is already planned for obsolescence in barely half a year. Any thoughts? I don't mind obsolescence, it happens very quickly. But less than a year? Bah.
    • Hmm..i guess if you're basing your judgment of obsolescence purely on 64-bit versus 32-bit processing. Let's take the topic of this thread stick to it, Firefox is not going to be obsolete because of the lack of 64-bit processing. Neither are a host of other programs.

      In fact, benchmarks suggest that 64-bit processing is slower for certain applications. However, put the benchmarks aside and just look at the market today, there are as many 32-bit desktops being sold as 64 and no onee is calling them obsolet
  • Firefox and Thunderbird are important for OS X.

    I'm wondering, though, does anybody know what the progress is on Xen for OS X/Intel? What about a port of Debian or Ubuntu to the MacBook hardware?

Enzymes are things invented by biologists that explain things which otherwise require harder thinking. -- Jerome Lettvin